At first the sounds were soft, like windchimes on steroids. As I remembered Drunken Patriot had left me sans clock, the thought infiltrated my mind, oh good, I´ll know what time it is. I counted eight, nine, ten... twelve, thirteen, fourteen... eighteen, nineteen... twenty-two... and then ceased. Clearly the chimes were documenting every second of my suspended Snow White slumber.
Thirteen minutes and a choir of hell-bells later, tears threatened to antelope-gallop down the sides of my squeezed-shut eyes. I screamed incomprehensibly and tore the alpaca (llama) blankets from the cocoon I had fashioned around my body. I sleep-staggered to the door, tossed it open, and blinked into the streaming daylight, aka inferno.
I huddled on the 2nd story balcony, white knuckles gripping the banister as if I could strangle the bells that continued to accost my ears. It was only upon shrieks and the monkey-laughter of small children accompanied by pointed fingers in my direction that I sniper-reconaissanced myself. I had forgotten that I hadn´t worn any shorts to bed that night, just underwear. Peruvian children were laughing at me, and I was the pantless solo American girl standing there covering ears as if a bell bomb had exploded inside my ears.
I later learned what I had believed to be chimes were actually church bells. They lasted from 5:45am-6am. I also learned that Peruvian children are not used to seeing anyone in underwear. I know this because the hostal´s owner enlightened me as to dress propriety: ¨You wear pants. Children no see lady things. You cover up. You wear pants.¨