Before we boarded the airplane to return from
, our group stopped at another market place. This one was in Peru . Neither DH nor I felt like adding anything to our already stuffed suitcases, so we wandered around looking at more of the same tourist souvenirs we’d seen for days. We split up to see if we could find anything unusual. Off the main square I found a stall selling dried vampire bats, giant grasshoppers, huge katydids; and cockroaches the size of mice. But there were also butterflies. They were brightly colored--mostly from the Amazon. They’d been collected and carefully mounted in double glass shadow boxes. Lima
I truly liked the collections of butterflies, but I didn’t have enough Peruvian cash with me to buy one. I found DH. He still had some local coins he would have to exchange or spend. So we settled on a twenty-dollar assortment of fifteen that had two bright blue morphos, one clearwing, three kinds of swallowtails, two sulfurs and a red and black Agrias amydon. We learned later that
not only possesses the greatest diversity of butterflies in the world, but it also has the most species. Peru
The lady in the stall wrapped the shadow box in newspaper, but I told her not to tape it down. I thought I would take it as a carry-on when we boarded the plane. That meant security would need to see the contents.
Back at the hotel DH and I discussed how we would get the glass butterfly case home without it being damaged. We finally settled on putting it deep in his large suitcase wrapped in lots of newspaper, knotted shopping bags; and protected by layers of dirty laundry.
We claimed our baggage in
and took it through international arrivals. DH noticed the little lock on his big suitcase had been cut off. Did the butterflies make it? We did not dare look. Our group went through customs. No one was searched. Atlanta, Georgia
Our flight home was delayed by bad weather. We finally boarded and waited on the ground while our luggage was loaded. Through the window I watched the baggage handlers toss our suitcases onto the conveyor belt that went into the plane. I wondered about the glass butterfly case.
We arrived home late that night. We dropped our suitcases on the floor and searched through DH’s bag. The butterflies had made it to
without any sign of tampering or damage. We were worn out. We went to bed. Idaho