Amy in Peru: An Odyssey

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Still in Lima and all is well!

A quick update on what has been happening of late. (Okay--- so this is long, as usual--- what can I say? Well, I guess I could say less, but where's the fun in that??)

The weekend was less relaxing than I expected but that is a good thing. Carmen, one of the CUSO office workers, picked us up early Saturday and we toured around on foot around the center of Lima. We started off at the old site of the University of Lima, which held a variety of functions (including a monestary in its early days) since it was built back in the 1500s. It is actually the site of the oldest university in the Americas, and we had a really interesting tour of the grounds. We then took a "cafecita" (coffee) at a once-fancy hotel off the Plaza San Miguel (photos pending). I say once-fancy because the center of Lima, which was once the hub of the city and a safe, clean and hopping place, is now quite unsafe, and a lot of its former majesty has been lost to crime and poverty. An interesting contrast, to see such largesse and so many grande buildings abandonded. They are apparently trying to bring it back by enticing new businesses and banks to move back into the area, but so far it looks like their efforts have not been too fruitful.

Anyway, we had a very nice afternoon walking around, exploring the downtown area. We also hit a beautiful church with caracombs (forget the name--- will add it here later) and had a great tour. It was a franciscan church, so had all of the catholic trappings of saints and crucifixes, monks and mary's galore. And some amazing architecture, most of which was in a sad state of disrepair.

We then decided to go for a 180 degree switch, and had another coffee later on that evening at Larcomar, back in our neighbourhood of Miraflores. It is a basically a fancy-pants open-air mall on a cliff facing the beaches of Lima, complete with overpriced cafes with AMAZING views, a bungee jump and a mechanical elephant (don't ask... I didn't) A lovely end to a lovely day (despite some inevitable tackiness in the mall--- they even had a bunch of american restaurant chains--- barf!)

Sunday was spent lounging around, and trying to get a few little things done here and there. I did some laundry, which it turns out is not a great idea unless you have either: (a) a dryer, or (b) a lot of time to wait. It is now 4 days later, and most of it is still not dry, which is crazy in my books!!

Which brings me to some of my general observations on the weather. I have been here for 9 days now and have yet to see the sun--- wow!! It is perpetually gray, and always feels like it is about to rain but never does rain. The humidity is incredible (hence the ever-wet clothes), and it really can get quite chilly in the evenings. Even as I am writing this, my nose and fingers are quite cold to the touch--- an unexpected thing for me, and makes me a bit nevous about the cold in Huancavelica... :)

Anyway, aside from these general observations, this week has been pretty much consumed by spanish classes. I am taking them from a great little school about a 20 minute walk from the hostel, called El Sol. It is only me and another girl (from the states and very nice) in the class, so there is lots of interaction and practice, and everyone at the school is very nice (and suprisingly lots of Germans--- in fact I have met a tonn of Germns--- more than from any other western country!). My spanish is slowly but surely coming back to me, and i am really enjoying and appreciating brushing up on the language. It also helps that aside from the woman who is here with me, no one really speaks English, so pretty much all your time is spent trying to make yourself understood--- great practice! The school also has cultural excusions/classes in the aftrernoons which is fun. Yesterday i went with some people to an ancient pyramid in the centre of San Isidrio (another neighbourhood near Miraflores) that was fascinating really---- layers of civilizations within the pyramid, dating back to 600 BCE. Friday we have a cooknig class which should be fun too!

Another thing planned for the coming days is on Sunday, where I will be accompanying the director of EDUCA (Betty Evans) on a trip to visit one of their other projects near Lima. I don't have a lot of information on it right now, but will fill things in as it becomes clearer on my end. So things continue to move along, and I can hardly believe tomorrow is Thursday and my spanish classes will be coming to an end in a little over a week and I will be moving up to the mountains---- time is bombing by!!

A couple of parting notes, or what I will call "Notes from a confused foreigner":

- a strange thing to notice, perhaps, but all the same, the napkins here are TINY!!! When you eat dinner, you get a little toilet-paper sqare sized piece of napkin, which is also about as thin as toilet paper. Not very absorbant or wipe-ish... :)

- this one is for Lesley---- there are a ton of chicken places to eat at here, but one I have not been to yet but desperately want to go to is called... wait for it... NORKY'S!!!! I LOVE this name, and have proceeded to turn this into a multi-purpose adjective. Someone says something stupid? That's a norky thing to say. You drop your pen? Honest to nork! Somone does something great? Norktastic!! I tell you--- it's a linguistic revolution (and I hope the chicken is as good as the name....)

- Inca Cola is a very popular drink here and is everywhere, but to me it looks like pee and tastes like liquid bubblegum. Ick.

- it is cheaper to eat out than buy groceries. You can get a three course lunch, with drink, for 6 soles, or abuot 2 dollars. I don't know how people make a profit, but whatever!! I am thoroughly enjoying it (especially since I don't have a fridge so have to eat out more than usual)

Okay--- enough for now. Happy Wednesday!

4 Comments:

  • NORK!!!!!!

    By Blogger Keri, at 7:01 PM  

  • Nork really is extremely funny.... norkariffic if you will... LOL

    Mechanical Elephant? I hope you took a picture.

    By Blogger Lesley, at 10:38 AM  

  • Nork?? Harrumphhh. Braaaap. Silly. Braaap. Harrumphhh.

    By Blogger Paradoxers, at 3:13 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:53 AM  

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