Huancayo Travel Blog› entry 2 of 36 › view all entries
The hostel: is a big, old house on the main street, painted brightly on the outside and with wooden interiors. It´s called La Casa de la Abuela, literally, Grandmother´s House, after la abuela who lives here, and it´s her son, Lucho, who runs the tourist company Incas del Peru across the road. Here at the hostel lives a fat, green parrot who greets you with ¨Hola!¨ and likes to imitate laughter, crying and the odd siren. There are two dogs, Kiko, who´s big and shaggy and old, and his son, a playful scruffy thing I call Kikito. There´s also a black cat and a very tiny grey and white kitten, and a bunch of guinea pigs. It´s a very good thing I love animals! At the moment there aren´t many people at the hostel, funnily enough, two other people from Australia, so it´s a bit lonely sometimes because the place is so big and empty but I´m sure when the season picks up and I get into a routine, it will be a nice place to call home.
The food: I´ve eaten most of my meals here at the hostel, because my payment includes 3 meals/day, and Nilda, the live-in cook/receptionist, cooks some nice food. Breakfast is included for everyone at the hostel and is the same every day: freshly squeezed papaya juice, pieces of bread (they´re very small and a little hard, but you toast them in this pot over some coals) with butter and fruit jam, a fruit salad of banana and mango in a creamy sauce, and strong coffee or coca tea. It´s healthy and yummy but I think after 4 weeks I might yearn for something else. I´ve had fried trout, beans, salad, beef skewers and lots of rice. However, one of these things, or perhaps a combination of them, made me sick, so these last 2 days I spent trying to keep down food, and barely succeeding.
The orphanage: After some discussion with Lucho, and then the director of the orphanage, it was decided that I will teach the kids how to cook. Only 2 small groups, three times a week (there are some 80 kids at the orphanage). The orphanage itself is a big block of land right near the mountains, and the children live in blocks, looked after by a ¨tia¨(aunt) who cooks, etc. The kids attend school either in the morning or afternoon, and washing clothes seems to be their major job. There are a few volunteers who work there already, including a girl from Melbourne who teaches them dancing. When I visited, I was accosted by some of the littler ones who obviously need attention and love. They´re cute, lively and like to fight with each other. Cooking classes are going to be a challenge.
The town: has a breathtaking view of the mountains on three sides. The altitude is 3,200m and the air is crisp and fresh, well, except when you walk into town and all you can breathe is the fumes from the cars and colectivos (combi buses). Not many roads are paved, only the main ones; traffic can be chaotic but it doesn´t really move too fast so crossing the road is ok. There are road police who stand on the corners in the main part of town, blowing their whistles, but I have yet to find out what their whistling means. People like to blow their horns here, all the time, for any reason. It´s often a taxi driver trying to entice you into his taxi. Can get rather annoying at 6 in the morning. There are stores/stalls that sell absolutely everything, and once you find one stall selling something, you´ll find 6 more selling the same thing. This goes for clothes, shoes, stationery, kids´ toys, crafts, materials, etc etc. It´s quite amazing actually. You´ll never really want for anything here, but good luck finding ít in the first place...
There will be more to come soon!