By Mikey Beats
San Diego DJ Mikey Beats, and his nurse wife Jenny, decided to take a vacation to Machu Picchu, Peru. San Diego Free Press published their daily adventures. Read parts I & II, part III, parts IV & IV.5, part V, part VI, part VII, partVIII, part IX and part X.
Our plane landed in Miami at about 8am on the 12th of June, eight hours after leaving Peru. As we exited the plane it was a long walk to go through customs and we were greeted by an old, angry, white man with a badge yelling at us asking, “Why are you walking down this line?! You should be in that line!”
I responded, “Because your stanchions are wrong, calm down!” Jenny and I had to walk all the way around back to where we came in and then got in a line next to a middle aged, angry, black woman yelling at other Americans to get in line. We didn’t know what was going on and why people were so mad and then we realized we were back in America.
After grabbing our bags and re-checking them in, we were forced to exit the secure area to go through the security line. Like we weren’t already secure. It took us forty five minutes to get through the security line where people of all races were yelling at one another. Everyone was American and so mad, except for a few Cubans who glided by us smiling.
When it was my turn to deal with TSA and take off my shoes and put all my belongings in little plastic trays so Big Brother could see what I was packing, I refused to go through the X-ray scanner because I didn’t want to subject myself to any more radiation than I already have. I always opt for the pat down. TSA treated me like I was a criminal making me wait 10 minutes for a male agent to grab on my junk and rub me down. After getting completely disheveled, I pulled myself together and gathered my things.
Who were all these people and why were they so mad? They were Americans.
America is a society of hate and fear magnified by the media and multiplied by pop culture. Not all of us Americans participate in this, but enough do to ruin it for others. I fear as a society we have become socially apathetic.
When I asked the Quechuan guide who lead us through Machu Picchu if he had any ill will towards Spanish tourists traveling through his country for their ancestors raping their culture, pillaging their land and killing their people, he said no. Eddie our ATV tour guide said his people never felt prejudice against any other Peruvians whether different color or social class. I dropped a useless ticket, I was probably subconsciously littering, and a young teenaged boy ran me down to give it back to me. I was buying goods off of a woman and walked away not realizing I had given her 20 soles too much, she came to me with the 20 in hand telling me I had given her too much. These people were good people. They looked out for other people regardless of nationality, race, sex or financial status. Why can’t we be more like them?
I came in contact with a few good Americans that were drawn to that country for the same reasons as Jenny and I. I am sure they took some great experiences home with them like we did. Dan and Rebecca, Adam and Maria, Grant and Olina and last but not least, Mike. These were good people and there are more out there going to places like Machu Picchu and Peru who look for more out of a vacation than just a hat with mouse ears.
Once I got home, my friends came immediately over to my place to hear stories and receive their gifts. Most had been following my social media posts and asked questions about our adventures.
After we explained everything my friends wanted to take me to get a burrito because that is always the first thing I do when I come home from a long trip. After all, I am a Mexican American who loves burritos and there is nowhere else in the world with burritos as great as San Diego’s.
We rode down the boardwalk of Pacific Beach and I saw many tourists, as usual, but I looked a little differently at them this time. I realized that a portion of our local economy depends on their dollars or their euros or their pesos much like the people of Peru. I am thankful that I live in a vacation destination city and I will appreciate it more now after witnessing an almost entire country’s economy depend on tourism.
Lastly, I would like to mention that America’s food is terrible and we need to demand more from the people serving it to us. Never in my life had I had such wonderful cuisine from the dulce de leche stuffed churros to the fresh ceviche. Those people knew how to prepare food and cook it.
They also served up organic fruits and vegetables that weren’t aesthetically pleasing but made up for it in quality of taste. If I ever settle for fast food again, please slap me. We have a finite amount of meals in our lifetime and every bad one you have, you’ll never get it back. Treat yourself well and eat better.
Mikey Beats Beltran is a native San Diegan and veteran of the local music scene. He started off as a teenager working at Soma Live in Bay Park and he’s currently the co-owner and Vice President of Sleeping Giant Music. He has over ten years of DJing experience that has taken him all over the US. He lives in Pacific Beach, with his wife Jenny, where he was recently elected to the PB Planning Group. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeyBeats.