Lima - 2nd Week, Tuesday

Lima Travel Blog

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Tuesday was back to work at the Explorer’s club sending out emails to the volunteer organizations I had chosen.  I got a few replies and in the late afternoon I decided to visit one of them since it was on the walk home to my residence.  I met with the directors, Jos from Holland and Dennis from Iowa, USA and they told me all about what they do and invited me to come with them.  They go out to some very poor areas about an hour or so outside the city center to the outskirts and help tutor kids that are behind in school so that they can join their classes after the remedial work.  There is a regular Peruvian teacher for each class but the volunteers give additional individual attention to the kids all morning as they work.  There is a light lunch and then the volunteers return to the center where they have a more substantial lunch and talk about their experiences of the morning.  They have free time until evening English classes to paying students whose tuition goes to support the volunteer program.  The evening classes are only required 2 times a week.  Weekends are free.  Accomodation can be arranged in the house and there is a contribution for food and expenses that is minimal.  All of the programs were either free or practically free to join, a far cry from the programs I researched from back in Cleveland that required fees up to the thousands of dollars for a few weeks or more.  You can see how much of that money goes for administration.  That’s not what I wanted to contribute to and I knew I’d find plenty of opportunities once I arrived here.  I told the guys I’d meet them at 7:30 in the morning to go out and see what the work is like and we left it at that. The session would be ending in 2 weeks after which they planned a trip to Nazca in the south for a week of camping before coming back for the new session in August.  They said that they didn’t have a single volunteer for the new session and could really use my help then, as they were fully staffed at the moment.

I put my stuff down at the residence and headed to Loki hostel in the center of Miraflores to ask about a bartending job.  If I was going to have most of my nights free it would be a good way to have free rent and dinner, so that I wouldn’t be spending almost any money while I was staying in Lima volunteering 5 days a week.  I shared some beers and watched the soccer game of Uruguay vs. Brazil which ended up going into 2 rounds of penalty kicks and turned out to be a very exciting match.  I talked at length with a  doctor from Bogota, Colombia who loves to travel and was here on her own since her friends don’t like slumming in hostels and prefer to save up for much nicer tours and accommodation.  Nur Constanza (Nur is Arabic for “light of God” or “good life”) likes to travel this way because she loves meeting people and having spontaneous adventures.  She told me her boss keeps telling her that he doesn’t expect to ever see her again every time she goes on a trip!  I can understand her attitude myself.  What I was impressed with was the amount of time she had for vacation as a medical doctor.  Many weeks a year.  I explained to her how different it is in the States.

The evening got a little crazier when one of the Irish friend’s of the owner of the hostel asked for some Irish music as his flight back to Dubllin was leaving later that night.  After some weepy Irish songs, the old 80s rock hits came on the mood changed.  This guy produced a blonde wig from somewhere and put it atop his bald head and grabbed a broom to cavort about the room playing air guitar.  I didn’t have my camera with me and promised myself to keep it with me in the future.  It was a riot to see this guy, he was so funny.  Those Irish!  I love their spirit.  On my way back to the residence, just outside the hostel, a girl and her friend stopped me on the sidewalk with a huge smile and a “Hi, how are you?”.  I replied that I was doing fine and she asked “are you American?” Well, obviously yes on that one.  “What are you doing now?” “I’m going back to home.”  “Do you want to get a juice and talk?”  Well, as you all know me well, I’m not one to turn down a request like that from a pretty Peruvian girl and I accessed readily.  She asked if I could pay for her friend’s taxi since her friend was tired and wanted to go home.  No problem.  We then headed down the street and decided to stop at a place that had Salsa music called Son de Cuba, on Pizza Street.  As we walked in, another girl stopped me and said, “Hey, how are you doing!”.  I was mystified as I had never seen her before I thought.  Later it turned out she was at the explorer’s club that afternoon with her dad researching trips to Iquitos.  I didn’t recognize here.  She is from Kentucky but had learned Salsa in Miami and we had a dance later on.  The other girl, named Graciela, turned out to be a gold-digger because she told me I should go home and make more money teaching instead of staying here.  Then she lied to me and told me her taxi would cost 50 soles when I knew it would only cost 10.  But it takes an hour to get to La Molina and it’s late, she said.  But I knew La Molina was only 10 to 15 minutes away.  I caught her up on it and she said, “well, how about some extra money for food then.”  I’d had enough so I put her in the taxi and gave her a twenty soles note.  It was a shame, she seemed really nice, great dancer, very cute…but I didn’t like her trying to take advantage of me!

Now 3 am and it was time to go home…

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