Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Before we boarded the airplane to return from Peru, our group stopped at another market place.  This one was in Lima.  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. 

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 Peru not only possesses the greatest diversity of butterflies in the world, but it also has the most species. 

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 Atlanta, Georgia 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.

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 Idaho without any sign of tampering or damage.  We were worn out.  We went to bed.


Flea said...

Oh they're GORGEOUS. I'm so glad they made it unbroken!

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh I am so glad they made it you had me wondering for a bit.They are beautiful. B

Sarah said...

They are very pretty. Glad you got them home ok. I have some butterflies in a glass case too-but only had to get them home from Greenwich! They are from a stall where the lady buys all her stuff in French markets and are old. Still pretty though. I always have to prop them behind things as I am worried about them breaking.

Sarah said...

P.S.-it is nice that we were both looking at the moon the other night.

Regina said...

What a story!! So glad you all flew home safe!! (smile)..you got me going..how pretty and that you were able to take home this wonderful souvenir from your trip!! Well, I think I would of loved to see those cockroaches- serious..I enjoy critters..course I would flip if I ran into one in the middle of the night (lol)

Anonymous said...

so delicate. so exquisitely beautiful

TALON said...

The butterflies are enchanting, Leenie. I'm so glad made it home safe 'n sound. Remarkable considering the way they handle the luggage!

Linda Sue said...

Who would have believed it- all that fuss and worry over a bag full of bugs. Glad they didn't escape, they are very pretty and I am sure that every time you look at them , all dead and pinned , sandwiched in glass-you remember your jolly holiday in the sun.Well, it wasn't very jolly for them now was it, missy!
Speaking of "missy" I missed you yesterday when Dex and i went down to the beach where you and I ate a sandwich and drank a smoothy. The blues and greens are yearning for you.

DayPhoto said...

I agree with FLEA they are gorgeous! I'm glad you were able to get them home safe!