Last day of antibiotics. Still couldn't drink caffeine and the long list of cautions when taking the medicine left me slightly bewildered as to what I actually could eat and drink and when. So I had a juice when I went to meet Katherine, an English teacher in Lima
. I wanted to talk to her about teaching and her school. She works with 3 other Americans where she teaches. We ended up talking about much more of course, and it was a fine morning to be out and about. The sun was shining for the first time in 12 days. Yes, I have been counting! I took some pictures of Larcomar and Miraflores Parque Kennedy as well as the flags that are out in preparation for the coming Independence Day celebrations on the 28th.
I stopped by the Explorer's Club to exchange a book and get some advice on my upcoming trip and then went home for lunch. The weather changed and the sun disappeared and the wind started blowing and it turned really chilly. Goodbye sun :(
A friend from Piura
in northern Peru was visiting her aunt in Lima and since she had come into downtown Lima on Tuesday night to meet me and on Wednesday to see the main square and cathedral with me, I reciprocated by going out to visit her. Well, the area where her aunt lives is pretty far from the center of Lima, and as you start going out from the center it gets poorer and poorer. I didn't know how to get there so my only option was to take a taxi, even though it cost 30 soles ($10) to get there.
That's compared with the usual fare of 1 or 1.50 soles to take a collectivo bus. But I had no choice. My taxi driver had to ask directions when he got closer. He wasn't used to taking people to that area. I was amazed to see the poverty on our way. There was poor, very poor, and then there were the shacks in a thin line going up the dry brown hills where it was clear there was no road, running water and maybe just a bit of electricity? This was the poverty that I had heard about, but nothing could prepare me to see it firsthand. These people really have nothing and live by scratching out an existence in the literal dirt. It's a sobering sight. The traffic on the Panamericana Norte "highway" once we got close was hectic and close and what I imagine as the third world.
Buses and small trucks belching black clouds, dust churned up by all the wheels, shouting vendors weaving their way through the traffic to jump on a bus and try to sell some candy or nuts or videos, shacks by the side of the road with a collection of car and bus and truck mirrors for sale, shacks selling just about anything, garbage littering the street and median and sides of the road. Pure insanity. I had never seen anything like it.
We got to Pro San Diego in one piece and I had noted the route we took so that I could take the collectivos back and save money. I met Danice and we walked around the park for a bit and then went to the hypermarket Metro to meet up with her mom and aunt and uncle and go on some of the rides that were in a kind of mini amusement park next to the store.
The whole area was a swarm of people and conglomeration of big box stores and smaller ones. On our way in I stopped to see why there was a crowd gathered and it was a dance instructor leading her students in some dance routines. I tried to take a video but after a few seconds a security guard came up to tell me I wasn't allowed. The whole thing was sponsored by the hypermarket and I just loved the ubiquity of music and dance here in Peru and South America in general. Can you imagine a dance instructor in front of Giant Eagle leading a hundred kids in swing dance routines? I actually recognized the song as by Olga Tanon that the instructor was leading the routine to. Danice went in to use the ATM and I stayed to watch. Next came a salsa, and then a reggaeton and the instructor for that one could have felt at home leading a class of exotic dancers.
Lion of Miraflores & Flags
Quite provocative! But to them it's just another dance with a different rhythm and different moves. They don't see it quite the same way us northerners would. So Danice and I went over to the rides and went on a couple before I had to get back to Lima centro. I finally caught a collectivo and was on my way. A change of buses and an hour and a half later I finally arrived home exhausted and a nervous wreck from the trip out there and back. It was really an experience.
I changed and grabbed a taxi for Barranco as Angela had invited me to a rock concert at the English Pub there. I reserved two tickets and invited Janet to come with me. It turned out that Angela was with a friend Silvana, and there were two free seats at her table so we joined them but didn't get much chance to talk because the music was so loud.
The band did only covers but they were excellent at mimicking each band they covered, such as U2, Queen, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, the Beatles, James Brown, Santana and many more. I was really impressed and the crowd was really into them. At one point they had a huge jam session with 12 musicians and singers up on stage. It was quite a show. The tables were pushed very close together and the clouds of smoke got to be nauseating. I was joking that it's not enough to breathe in the pollution out on the streets all day. They have to smoke Lucky Strikes too! Poor lungs. I can't imagine the state of them. I was starting to feel like I was getting a cold and the smoke wasn't helping. We stayed for one encore but I'd had enough and needed to get out of there.