Monday, August 23, 2010
Viva el Peru!!!! Oh Franny how I have thought of you!!!! (inside joke) At this point I'm tired but kind of energized at the same time. 4 days in Lima should give me enough time to get to know the city in the midst of the busy busy busy schedule.
Soooo my group (the first group) arrived at the hotel at noon...and they were waiting for us with pisco sours!!!! Already a good sign...it was delicious...and the musicians particularly enjoyed them. They NEVER say no to alcohol (sorry guys...you know its true).
The hotel, which was in a residencial part of the Miraflores neighborhood, was nice...but the rooms were freeeezing. Reminded me of Chile...where it's not so cold outside in the winter, but you feel it more because the houses aren't heated. Aqui era lo mismo...con estufita no mas...BRRRR. The first day I almost stayed in and slept, but my friends convinced me to stop being a lame and go with them on the ¨city lights tour¨. So we got on those city tour buses with the rooftop and lady talking on the mic...so much fun!!! We went all over the city, stopped at this GORGEOUS park full of fountains, laser shows and water sculptures...never seen anything like it. Everyone was cracking jokes on the bus, in spite of the fact that we were all freeeezing on that rooftop. I took a MILLION pictures.
The only bad part about the tour was the tour guide...she kept talking crap about Chile and la Guerra del Pacifico at any moment she could! ¨this is the famous plaza where Chileans MASSACRED our people¨...¨this is the statue that commemorates the heroes that DEFEATED THE MURDEROUS CHILEANS¨ until finally someone said ¨come on lady this bus is full of Chileans, cortala!!!¨ We just laughed at her. So extra.
The next day everyone went on this tour of nearby ruins and to a horse show...except for me. I skipped it, and I'm so glad I did. I mean, no offense, but after being in Cuzco I don't think I was missing much...I just needed some alone time and wanted to sleep in. When everyone came back that night I was nice and refreshed. A group of us took a cab that took foreeever (traffic in Lima is horrible) to the city center. We walked around Plaza San Martin and surrounding areas...it is so gorgeous, you feel like you are in Prague or something. BEAUTIFUL. Then we had a bottle of wine that was Peruvian and all my friends kept saying hmmmm this PERUVIAN wine is great, isn't it Stella??? Until I finally said ¨sure its alright, for not being Chilean¨ The owners closed up shop shortly thereafter and told us it was TIME TO GO!!!! LOL...hmmm...I womder if they overheard me. Closing at 8 pm though????
Poverty in Lima was what I expected...I saw it especially closer to the school of engineering. I'm sure it is much worse than what I saw. Also, a trend that seems to be repeating itself across the continent is Black folks having the worst jobs. I didn't see that many Black people in Lima, but the ones I did see were cleaning my hotel. My dad said that when he went to Lima they were like ghosts...lived marginalized in their own neighborhoods, looked terrible. The fact that I didn't even see them much says a lot.
The following day we had a mini concert at the Lima Conservatory...it was kind of like a sit-in rehearsal for the students to learn from. It was really nice. We had lunch...which was amaaazing. Oh My God. The food in Lima was so gooood....REAL ceviche (sorry Ecuador, but your ceviche has NOTHING on the Peruvian version), lomo saltado, papas a la huancaina, suspiro limeño....YUM....True Life!!!!
That night we had a concert at the Escuela de Ingenieria (school of engineering). So random...I'm still not sure why the presenters picked that as a performance venue. Nobody came....it was practically empty. And tickets were cheap too! Stupid engineers :-( It made me especially sad because the orchestra played El Condor Pasa as an encore for the first time. It was really beautiful. There was this one guy though who was so into the concert he made it worth while. For the Mahler symphony he fake-conducted with his hands the whole time...it was clear he new the piece from a to z. And when they finished he stood up and SCREAMED bravo!!!! It was hilarious.
The last day we had the morning off, so me, Ana, Emma, Monika and Siri walked around, bought souveniers and ate Burger King. I know it sounds terrible, but it was so necessary. Then, ANOTHER concert...this time at an elementary school. This venue was packed, but TERRIBLY equipped. We had to bring space heaters from our hotel and put them on stage because it was freezing and there was a risk of having the instruments break. I ran around Lima trying to find extension chords but everything was closed! I finally found this tiny boliche that had them, thank goodness.
At this point, after the concert, my stomach was tensing up and I started getting goosebumps...because I knew the next day I would be in Brazil!!!!
On the other hand, I was a little sad too. I was so close to Chile, I could see it and feel it. Listening to cumbia-sound music in every taxi, just like in Chile. The weather...the pacific ocean, the food, the pisco...it all reminded me of Chile and made me wish I could take that 3 hour plane ride to visit my friends and family.
The presenters threw us a really nice good bye party at this fancy schmancy Chifa restaurant in San Isidro. Such good food!!! Chifa by the way is a Peruvian version of Chinese food. Picture your neighborhood takeout with out of this world seasoning and elements of Peruvian food. HEAVEN. Great pisco sours too!!! It was a great way to end our stay in Lima.
Next stop....my adopted homeland...BRASIIIIIL, BRASIIIIIILLLLL.