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Lima Day 6 – String Glorious String

Jan 11th 2011

Did not sleep very well, too much going on in my head, probably didn’t help that Fernando fell asleep with his iPod on and the faint sound from the headphones filtered through the walls. Add to that my blisters from my sandals started itching badly so then I had to root around in my med kit to find the cortisone cream… if its not one things then its another.

Volunteer in Pisco???
I was meant to leave for Pisco today for a week of volunteering, but received an email yesterday saying they no longer had space and would only take volunteers for 2 weeks. I was a little annoyed but what can you do. We decided to change my ticket to spend more time in Cusco (which turned out to be a fabulous turn of events).

String!!!!
We had a fairly relaxing morning and then headed out to the Historical District to look for the string I use for making jewelery, Katia had given Fernando precise directions. Not only did we find it but it was only 7 soles (about $2.15 US) for about a 100m roll. I bought 5 and need to buy more. Fernando said he would be my string dealer and send me some when I need it.

Chinatown
There was a big commotion in the main square as the changing of the guards proceeded, apparently it was a special ceremony but no one could tell us much about it. Wandering towards Chinatown we picked up some street food on a stick, Fernando got heart and I got chorizo sausage, delicious. In Chinatown there was a big Peruvian guy harrassing an old Chinese guy begging for money, he was acting all tough guy (obviously making up for something). Fernando gave the beggar some money and very loudly chastised the big guy.

Ticket Change
After a quick but delicious lunch we grabbed the metro bus to Miraflores to change the ticket. The Metro buses are the new fancy big buses that will eventually replace the small buses that have no time table, careen through the streets like crazy and are generally a health hazard (all be it amusing to ride). We were able to change my ticket for only a $30 charge to leave in 2 days (13th), giving me 6 days longer there. It also means the possibility of visiting other places close by like Lake Titicaca.

Going Solo
Fernando headed off and left me to sort things out on my own. Found an internet cafe and wrote a blog entry, then headed to the main square. Then returned to the internet cafe to pick up my book I had left. I am telling you one day I will forget my brain somewhere.

Kennedy Park/Cat Park
As I returned to the main square I noticed a cat in the park, then another and another. As I was taking a picture some locals gestured for me to head around the back of the church. Low and behold there is an entire community of stray cats that are cared for by local groups and the city. They have beds, get food, and are quite calm around humans. Kids regularly walk up to them and drag them around, they seemed totally unphased. In the park they will walk and just plop down in the middle of the walkway and people have to walk around them. I also noticed a large absence of bird life in the park

Flying Dog Hostel
At 5.45pm I had set up a meeting with a hostel owner to look around his hostel and potentially get a link exchange for Bootsnall.com (an independent travel site I do occasional work for). the hostel was great and the owner was very proud of it. I mentioned I was heading to Cusco and he offered me a discount to stay at his hostel there. Little did I know that that hostel would turn into home away from home.

Heading Home and Dinner with Friends
Grabbing a bus back home, feel almost like a local, I headed back. the bus got super crowded and I gave up my seat for an older gentlemen. When I got off and walked across the street with a family we all nearly got hit by a taxi zooming past. We all laughed and they intimated how you had to suck you butt in when ever you cross the road.

Fernando showed up an hour later with the first of some friends who were coming for dinner and we went to shop for food. Or rather his friend and I walked behind Fernando and carried everything he passed to us. His friends were from when he was a young boy and they had a really close bond. Around 1am I went to go pee and ended up lying down and falling asleep, they all seemed to be having a very intense conversation downstairs anyway.

All in all another great day!

Stay tuned as things get emotional and we attempt another impromptu Spanish lesson.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Lima day 2 – New friends, new locations and a whole lot of heart…

Jan 7 2011
This morning turned out to be a great day to relax. Fernando had to go out the whole morning to do errands for a new business venture and I spent the morning recovering, catching up on my diary and reading.

Later we went over to his parents where his mom fed us an amazing traditional meal of quinoa with beef, rice and boiled potatoes. delicious. I was also able to call the folks and check email. We also discussed possible trip plans and emailed some hostels. http://www.bootsnall.com sent me a proposal for link exchanges that should help me pay for a hostel night here and there.

After a quick change we headed to the district of Miraflores, the trendy area of Lima, to meet up with some friends. We met Danny, a masters student, at his place and hung out discussing his recent trip into the jungle and looking at photos of Machu Picchu. Fernando and Danny enjoyed, how should we say, a relaxing smoke, and around 10pm we headed out to meet Katia (Danny’s girlfriend). All 3 of them are biologists and met in school, its great discussing with them my upcoming venture in the Ecuadorian, its not so great realizing I might not be as ready as I thought I was. Oh well…
Katia now designs her own jewellery and some of it was worn by a Peruvian actress at the oscars. She also owns her own store that sells hand made items by trendy designers.

After meeting up we headed to the night scene area of Barranco and a famous restaurant for dinner. There was a line of close to 20 people waiting to get in, but the place has 3 levels and the line moves relatively quickly. Danny and Katia waiting in line and Fernando and I headed to explore some of the area (its great having a private tour guide). We came across this guy doing the most insane artwork (I will post a series of photos at the end of this entry for you to see). He uses spray paint and fire (call me crazy but I seem to remember mum telling me not to mix the two) and local household shapes like plates and lids, to create surreal landscapes, incredible.

All too soon it was time for dinner. The 3 of them ordered all in Spanish and I just sat there smiling like an idiot awaiting my fate. When it arrived it smelled delicious, braai’d/bbq’d kebabs sort of thing. With big pieces of potato and corn on the cob (not the american sweet corn but real maze, or mielies in South Africa). When I asked for a run down of what I was about to consume, Katia’s response was “don’t worry just eat it, it will be fine!” Well with that kind of reassurance what could I do but dig in. As I ate something in the back of my mind was telling me I knew what this was. Almost at the same I pointed to the one plate of little pieces of delicacies and looked at Danny, we both said intestines. Then I looked at the kebab on my plate, beef heart, and the one on Katia’s plate, chicken heart. Mmmmmm….. well it tastes good! I had a couple more pieces but soon found the potato was delicious and focused on that.

Along with now being full of heart I also had my first run in with Inka Kola, a glow in the dark yellow substance that has a similar taste to mountain dew but not quite. Rather yummy all around.
The finale was my favorite, a kind of fried donut type thing (close to vetkoek in South Africa) dribbled with a syrup made from sugar cane, A MA ZING!!!

But they were not done yet. There were still new and exciting things to introduce me too and this lot were on a mission. The next stop was a local hang out, more like a hole in the wall. Some older locals had broken out guitars and were crooning out Peruvian songs and adding a fantastic atmosphere. Apparently before the owner died recently, he would sit in the bar every night and fall asleep in the corner even with all the noise of the bar. He died at about 95!

The boys ordered us a Chilcano de Pisco, which is the local liquor Pisco mixed with ginger ale. WOW! Goes down smooth but hits you hard! I couldn’t finish mine, but Fernando was happy to oblige. He also ordered a shot of Pisco so I could try is straight, if I had to compare its almost like a very fine tequila. Nice flavor, doesn’t burn but you feel the subtle warmth about 5 seconds after intake.

Hopping in a taxi we headed back to Danny’s, that turned out to be Katia and his workshop not apartment. While the boys indulged in another relaxing smoke, Katia showed me all her stunning jewellery. I definately want to buy some. Then it was time to hop in a cab and head home, and wouldn’t you have guessed it was 2am.

After I quick shower I headed to bed and the sounds of Fernando playing warcraft. I think he finally made it to bed around 4.30am.

Another great day, with great people and interesting experiences.

Below is the progression of the amazing artwork in the park:

Stay tuned for further adventures as we attempt to sort out my tickets, buy a phone and the folks take me for a spin around the neighborhood.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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