Mi Cuenta Peruana!

Lima Travel Blog

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It was deLICIous!  I felt emotionally and physically comfortable - until about day 6 when the weight gain started to take effect - and culturally stimulated and there were visual and audio and culinary delights!  Even a few tactile delights for my long, elegant hands!  The only thing that wasn't delicious was the air pollution.  Yea for grey mucous.  Well, there was that one OTHER thing, but it was only non-delicious a week after I got back, so that doesn't count.  I lived like a ROCK STAR on $400 of spending money for 2 weeks, which was supposed to be more, but my insurance settlement didn't get in until after I did!

It wasn't angry (except that one time) or cold or hurtful or scary or annoying (unless you're my cousin 'cause I'm pretty annoying) or lousy!

We saw the PERU VS.

BRASIL 2010 World Cup Qualifying match!!!   O M G!!  It was FREAKIN SPECTACULAR!!!

The FOOD is EXCELLENT and fresh and different combinations of the same stuff  there is in the States and stylistically superior and their cows still eat grass instead of corn so even evaporated milk tasted like God!  The drinkable yogurt was actually DRINKABLE while still maintaining all the goodness and other characteristics of yogurt!  Chocolate was put on EVERYTHING and there were so many different kinds of potatoes doing interesting things to sea food in incredibly-and-simply seasoned dishes prepared by a REAL PERSON!  Sometimes with their BARE HANDS!  I loved it!  The things they can do with a BANANA there!  Oh my!  The pizza was.

.. ooh.... pizza was.... >sigh<.... um... wow.  I could describe it to you, but you'd never understand until you'd eaten this pizza!  With almost every meal we had booze and coffee.  Each time we at with any of our aunts or uncles, the meal was minimum 3 courses.  Appetizer the size of what I normally eat for a meal, a protein/carbohydrate main course TWICE the size of what I normally eat for a meal, fruit (again, Jaemy-meal-sized) and THEN DESSERT... with COFFEE!  They make coffee concentrate that's technically espresso but also technically very much NOT espresso, then serve it to you in an espresso-sized cup OR set the concentrate on the table and give you teacups (no such thing as coffee mugs there, no one drinks that much tea or coffee at once) and hot water to make the coffee as strong as you like!  The sugar clumps together more because it's not as chemically goo-ed, and there isn't much honey use goin' around.
  I had mate (pronounced MAH-teh) de coca - a tea made from cocoa leaves and it was pleasantly earthy.  No, I am not a cocaine addict now.

I haggled prices (after making my first purchase at full price 'cause the guys lost track of me) and made out like a BANDIT!  I told this one chick at a discount clothing store that it was hard for me to find jeans that fit 'cause my hips are so big compared to my waist... she said "Yeah, they're huge," in a very casual, matter-of-fact way (uh it's the truth and I just said it myself, so who cares?) and gave me a better size than I had picked out... ALL IN SPANISH!  Well, Castellano, but that's another blog.  I loved it!  You could brush by people on the street without apologizing - 'cause nobody thought you were being rude.

  I got drunk 4 times at the same place and there were a LOT of people and I didn't see even ONE angry/drunk confrontation.

Traffic would have been MURDER if you'd have put it in Nashville.  Pedestrians get really close to cars while navigating around the streets, cars get right up on each other's bumpers and you just kind of have to drive until someone else's driving prompts you to let them go first.  Lima centro (downtown) and more congested areas are a bit different.  Traffic lights, roundabouts and stop signs only occur in busier places.  All the other intersections have the word "pare" (stop) painted on the road and then a speed bump.  Many roads are one-way and the whole metropolis is built on as much of a grid as it can be while also following the coast.

  Cabs are really common and really cheap compared to what you'd have to pay here.  They have microbuses that drive around really fast on certain streets in the nearby districts and cost a fraction of what a cab does.  They also have bigger buses that look like school buses, just painted different colors, that go further out and cost more. 

Everyone has black/dark brown hair!  It was awesome!  I loved looking at everyone.  Since it was like the Los Angeles of Peru (with a population of 8 million), all the girls were healthily skinny and wore lots of classy, simply designed clothes and leather shoes with high heels.  Lots of boots 'cause they were coming out of winter - which still doesn't get below 60 or so.  The men were clean and confident-looking, also wearing classic styles and black and a lot of them actually dress like my younger brother does with the groovy screen-print tees and snazzy jeans and good shoes.

  My favorite thing about the guys there is the hair (lots of longish curly-ish hair  >squeals<) and their eyes! 

Anyway, there were artists of different kinds hanging out everywhere.  A LOT of guitarists - like in Nashville but, you know, darker - and film people and photography things and cool stuff going on.  Great graffiti and some super street art performances.  A bit of poverty and street-corner gum-selling by women holding sleeping babies, which sucks, but every country's got SOMETHING going on.  I didn't get pick-pocketed OR stabbed (thanks to my younger brother and my cousin), but there WAS a championing of my pride after some "Why are they speaking English?  They're in Peru, they should speak the language!"  that went down at 3am while trying to get food.

  I thought it was HILARIOUS because I was reverse discriminated against in what is, very literally, my Motherland.  It was - say it with me kids - d e l i c i o u s.  Very good.  Can YOU tell how many languages a person speaks just by looking at them?  Awesome.

I even went to the gym once - all by myself - and spent 20 minutes on the exercise bikes!  Like a real person!  Like I really lived there!  It was so cool.  We went to the grocery store and a huge department store called Wong that had a booth that sold tickets for things like concerts and tours.  That's where we got our tickets north to Trujillo to see the ruins (that's another different blog).

I drank a LOT of beer - and I don't even like beer! - and felt very safe and LUCID while drunk with my brother (mostly not drunk), cousin ("drunky drunk") and his friends (drunk... and mostly HOT).

The water there is very hard and very full of minerals, which meant that my soft, gypsy hair became not so soft BUT incredibly curly because of the kind of humidity.  It was soft to the touch but NOT run-fingers-through-able.  Bummer.  Also with the dry skin 'cause of the hard water.  There was lots of bottled water everywhere, but not a lot of recycling, which is silly. Also, you tie up your little trash bags and just toss them out on the curb at night and people come around and pick them up (I suppose) and they are magically not there in the morning.

My favorite place was Larco Mar, which is this open air "mall" with cafes, 2 snooty dance clubs (didn't go, don't do snooty), lots of fast food places, lots of different kinds of shops including a Ron Jon surf shop and sit-down restaurants including but not limited to Tony Roma's.  We didn't go anywhere near anything "American."  I took a picture of a Burger King storefront and avoided it like the nutrient/money vortex it really is.  There was a park named for my birthday (7 de junio) we went to a lot and there were police EVERYWHERE.  Mostly traffic police and they were mostly women, but they were ALL OVER THE PLACE.  They weren't jerks like some Metro Nashville cops I know, just police hanging out, keeping the peace, earning a buck.

.. with guns.

Lots of Daewoo's and weird models of cars I've never heard of.  No fanatic EPA.  Diesel for the buses and probably most of the taxis.  Yum. >hackcoughcough<

80s music all over the place.  The average store music was 80s and the sales people were comfortable, casual AND helpful without that stuck-up "professional" attitude you get with people here.  Mostly you have to get THEIR attention (not difficult at all) if you want something or when you're ready.  They don't ask YOU.  Lots of cultural/ethnic style in the clothing and goods and names of things and just daily life things.  You'd run across and "Inca" or "Inka" this and "Macchu Picchu" that thing or "Cuzco" this other thing all over the place.  Lots of patriotism in random spots... "I love peru" tees and soccer jerseys and buttons and crazy stuff.  The kind of thing you'd have to LOOK for in a special store that sold that kind of stuff in Nashville can be found - at least a little bit - just about anywhere.

>pant<  Well, that's about all I can spit out tonight, kids.  I'm goin' back in for a minimum party month with my cousin and will probably try to get dual citizenship (my mother is still a citizen) or residency or just get a worker's visa so I can make some money and stay there as long as they'll let me.

::sings:: Ole, ole, ole, oleeee, peruuu peruuu

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544 km (338 miles) traveled
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photo by: rsvpme