I thought I would share some... wait for it.... PHOTOS! since I know everyone is itching to see where I am living and what I have been doing.
This is my casita:
Here is the foyer from the viewpoint of my bedroom. I really lucked out with my house it is beautiful and unusually large for houses in Lima.
Here is the kitchen- the table where I eat breakfast every morning. Dina and I usually share 2 meals a day - breakfast and dinner. Avocado or Palta ( not aguacate) is a very common food here and is eaten at almost every meal. Peru is also the home of the potato! So they are almost always present at lunch and dinner. I have not had a shortage of food thus far - everything is delicious and Dina is an excellent cook!
The lovely sitting room.
This is a little outdoor patio - the stairs lead to the roof where Dina has her garden and her bedroom. Today the sun came out a little bit so it looks really pretty!
Here is the dining room - this is where we eat when there are more people here. Dina and Klaus' home is something like a bed and breakfast but for close friends and friends of friends. When I first came there was a family of 8 from Denmark - it was so interesting because a couple of them could speak english and danish but not spanish, one girl spoke all 3 languages. So there were languages flying all over the place it was absolutely crazy and I absolutely loved it!
I would say the house is similar to houses at home except it would not look like a house from the outside. All of the streets are pretty much lined with walls with little shops and doors that lead to peoples' homes. You generally cannot tell the size of the house from the outside. Next time I will share photos of Dina and Klaus, my host father, who I met for the first time today. He has just returned from Denmark where he was visiting his children. He speaks spanish with a heavy Danish accent and is very quiet and sweet. He is also very tired from traveling all day ( it is about 2a.m. in Denmark right now). A couple of his friends came to visit and we all had a Pisco sour, a common Peruvian cocktail which consists of Pisco, lime juice and egg whites. Que rico!!
Aside from enjoying my pleasant abode I have been exploring Miraflores and spending time with the other students from my program. Everyone is great we meet up for coffee and lunch at little chifas - restaurants that serve a chinese/peruvian fusion cuisine. I love that we can go to a new place everyday and know that there is still so much more to see and do. There are also some frustrations that we have learned are a part of life here in Lima. Inefficiency is the state of existence. Counterfeit money is a serious problem. It is not uncommon for a cashier, taxi driver, or vendor to not accept your money. They examine every bill for water marks and every coin for the correct color and texture. There is also very little self-serve services. To buy a pen you must go to a store that sells things like notebooks, pens, folders, etc. and ask the person at the counter for 3 black pens with dry ink. This is just the beginning. They ring you up and give you a receipt. Then you must take the receipt to the cashier to pay for the pens. But sometimes they don't give you a reciept and you have to tell them how much you owe and they look you up on the computer. The cashier then gives you another slip which you take to another counter to recieve your pens. This is how almost every purchase works and I suppose this process creates jobs for 2 more people per store but it is also extremely time consuming and classically inefficient.
I don't have many other complaints. I am loving the city life! There are always people walking around enjoying the park, eating icecream and enjoying the company of friends. There is a lot of passing time with friends and Peruvians take their time with arrivals and departures. Last weekend I went out to lunch in Barrancos with Dina and her French friend Anes. Lunch turned into a 3 hour event while we waited for an hour for another friend to join us. After lunch we were scheduled to have "a glass of wine" with Dina's neice who is an anthropologist and her husband who is a writer. One glass turned into 3 bottles and we did not end up leaving until 8 o'clock at night! So is the leisure of life in Peru!
The traffic is another story. It is fast paced and more hectic than you could ever imagine. Pavement lines mean nothing, turn signals are rarely used, and the sound of honking horns has become like the boy who cried wolf - no one listens because the honking is constant. And the busses - or combis - are an experience like no other! In the door of every combi there is a person who hangs out of the door and yells the name of the streets and landmarks where the combi will stop. "Sube Sube Sube!!" ( Up up up! ) and then everyone rushes on and either stands or sits depending on how crowded the bus is. And the bus takes off. Sometimes people come on and try to sell you candy, sometimes people come on and play music. You never really know what is going to happen on the combi. And they are cheap! it costs 1 sol 20 ( about 50 cents) to get across town. You must always know how much it costs though or the cobrador will try to over charge you when they see your blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin which scream GRINGA! at the top of their lungs.
So this is just some of life in Lima. Too much to tell in one sitting so for now I will leave it at that.