Last week a friend and I decided to take a trip to Barranco, another district here in Lima. Barranco is beautiful and full of many old buildings. It is along the beach so we were able to walk down and put our feet in the ocean. It reminded me a lot of the Oregon Coast, maybe the Pacific Ocean is the same anywhere you are.
Barranco is about 25 minutes away from my district, Santiago de Surco, but it is a costly cab ride. Originally we went because we heard of a Mexican burrito shop, but the day we went it was closed so of course we had to return. Something I have come to find here in Perú is that many places are closed on Monday, instead of Sunday, because even on Sundays people are still out enjoying their weekend, where as in the United States, Sundays are the days to relax and recover from the weekend. So we returned a few days later to try out the burrito stand. I think I would have liked my burrito had it not had “fajita style” veggies in it. My first week I got sick off a dish called lomo saltado which has tomatoes and onions similar to a fajita, so now anything like that is difficult for me to eat.
After we had our burritos we went down to the beach and sat and watched the waves. I felt so happy because it was like having my own little piece of Oregon, here in Perú. Barranco is beautiful, as well as the rest of Lima!
If you look closely you can see the statue of a saint in the fog.
My lovely friend Katie
View from a hilltop
The walk down to the beach, and the bottom picture with the building is a night club and restaurant, which is so amazing at night to be able to go down on the beach after a fun night of dancing.
This past weekend I attended a festival in Lima called Mistura. It is a fair with JUST FOOD, yes you read that correct. This fair brings together all the different types of food from around Peru, including chocolate, coffee, pisco (the national alcohol). The festival was broken into all different “worlds”. There was Mundo Norteño (northern Peruvian food), Mundo Sureño (southern Peruvian food), Mundo del Ceviche, Mundo de las brasas (Rotisserie cooked meats), Mundo de los líquidos (drinks), Mundo Oriental, Mundo Amazónico (Amazonian food), Mundo Limeño (Lima style food), Mundo del Anitcucho (cow heart on a stick), Mundo Andino (food from the Andes), Mundo de las tabernas y bares (world of the taverns and bars), and Mundo de los sánguches (sandwich world).
This is a 2 week long festival that attracts people from all over Peru. I was so interesting to see all the different types of food that Peruvians eat. The food here consists of a lot of potato, rice, and meat dishes. Typically, we eat lunch at 1 or 2 pm, and lunch is the biggest meal of the day. It starts with either a type of soup, salad, or papas a la hauncaína which is a cooked, cold potato, with a cheese-pepper sauce. After that come the main course which I said is always rice, with some type of meat and/or potatoes. When we get hungry in the evening we eat the same meal we had for lunch. One of my favorites here is a dish called Salchipapas. It is hot dogs sliced very thin and fried, served over french fries with ketchup and mayonnaise. I was very surprised that I liked this dish because I have never been a fan of hot dogs.
Below are some of the pictures I took at Mistura, as well as an example of Salchipapas
The picture with the worm like bugs are a type of grub that live inside the purple, scaley looking fruit, and the people from the amazon fry them and eat them.
This past week was definitely a difficult week for me. I have had great fun in the last month that I have been here but reality really has gotten to me.
The first thing that really has bothered me is not feeling safe, my second week here I had a scary situation while riding in a taxi alone with a male cab driver, and then a few nights ago I witnessed a robbery on my street. Both situations have taught me things:
- Don’t get too comfortable speaking with cab drivers, by communicating with them about your personal life may allow them to think you are showing interest in them.
- Try to avoid walking alone at night, if you have to make sure you have your belongs close to your body and you’re aware of your surrounds, don’t walk with your phone in your hand or headphones in your ears, and walk where there are street lights and cars, even if it means taking the long way home.
- Don’t try and stand out; I have found it better to try and blend in as much as possible to avoid the looks, and “cat calls”.
During the robbery, I was very relieved when the police flew arrived within seconds of realizing what was happening, and luckily, they chased the guy down and took him to jail. That is something I am very thankful for, the amount of police here in Lima is insane, and I always thought there were a lot of police in Monmouth….LOL
I am very grateful for things: having an amazing host family that truly cares for me as my own family would, and having knowledge about what to do while experiencing culture shock as well as being homesick….the handouts given during the pre-departure orientation have come in very handy.
And just remember, no matter where you go, whether you’re in another country, state, or even in Monmouth, there will always be dangerous situations. I think to myself “maybe it would have been better if I chose to study in Costa Rica, or Puerto Rico” but then I remember no matter where I am, anything can happen, and I also think had I not chosen Peru I wouldn’t have been blessed with such an AMAZING host family.
I do not have any pictures that specifically relate to this posting but I do have some that I would like to share
The picture below is my friend Katie from Ohio who is also in CIS
Me having a mimosa on my roof
Today was my first day at the university, and as I already have realized, Lima’s schooling system is much different that those of the United States, but I didn’t realize HOW different it really is.
Before departing, I wondered if bringing school supplies such as notebook, pencils, pens, etc. was necessary and I thought, no, there will be stores in Lima with all the supplies I need….WRONG. I had no idea it would be so difficult to find a simple lined spiral notebook. All the notebooks that I saw had spider man or hello kitty on the front and the pages had paper that was cubed, like graphing paper. So then I moved on to my next option and thought I’d maybe find some lined filler paper, wrong again. I couldn’t believe that no one store I went had just a normal notebook…..not even the university could show me where to find a notebook.
The next difficult encounter I had was buying text books…there is 2 stores to buy books, one at the school and one in another district, but nowhere else. Luckily books aren’t as expensive as they are in the states but I am used to ordering them offline for a low price, and here they don’t have that option.
Lastly, there is no printers in the school…anything you need printed you have to take to a print shop and pay 30 cents per sheet. That is something I am going to have a difficult time with because I need to have things available in front of me to be able to look at, such as schedules and syllabuses.
All these things I know I will get used to, I just feel that I am back to the first week of arriving here, everything was different and took awhile to get used to, and as soon as I started getting accustomed to one thing something else popped up that is going to take time to get used to. It’s all a learning process
Below is a picture of the only “simple” notebook I could find…
The entire group of international students in front of the university
During the first week I noticed something that really had me mind boggled. Here in Lima, gringos and gringas, as well as cholos and cholas are commonly used words. In the United States the term gringos(as) comes from Latinos and can be used as a derogatory term, and cholos(as) are sort of like Latino “thugs” or gangsters.
While walking around Lima I found out quickly that the term gringa is not used as a bad thing, little girls would walk by my room mate and I and say “aye que lindas las gringas” which means oh how pretty the gringas are. It also could be used to our advantage, for example during hora punta (rush hour) it is almost impossible to try and merge into traffic from side streets, last night during this time all I had to do was roll my window down and as soon as the bus driver noticed that I was a gringa he let my host mother merge in. The term cholo and chola is used to describe people of Peruvian descent.
The information I found was verified very quickly when, like I mentioned above, it was obvious that being a gringa wasn’t a bad thing, also I went to a restaurant called La Dama Juana and there was a show with all different types of Peruvian dances and my program coordinator says to me “look at how well the chola dances”
I discovered, and am still learning, that many terms and words we have in the United States, other countries have as well but with totally different meanings.
Something that caught my attention upon arrival in Lima was the weather. It was very cold when I got out of the airport, not at all what I was expecting. The air was cold but also humid, at midnight it was around 60 degrees and 95% humidity. I arrived late Tuesday night and it is now Thursday. Although today has been one of the warmer days, it still feels very cold to me. In Oregon 60 degrees doesn’t feel as cold as it feels here, it also could be because I’m near the ocean.
When I got dressed the next day my host mother, Ana, was surprised to see me in sandals and a light sweater….I didn’t understand why until we went outside. She explained to me that right now in Lima it is winter time, out seasons are opposite of theirs. I really should have packed less summer clothes….
After finding out that it is actually winter right now, and that I’m not going to be swimming in the ocean and laying on the beach like I thought I was, I decided to look into the weather to see if it was get colder or warmer, to decide if I should buy some different clothes.
I found an awesome website with a lot of information about Peru. It says, as I now know, that winter begins in May and ends in Novembers, since I will be here until mid December I hope to be able to experience a few nicer days. Even though the weather isn’t what I expected, I still love Lima!