Hola amigos! I've been here three days, and I know that you've all been on the edge of your collective seat, waiting for an update. Well, here I am!
Lima is big, and lovely, and full of delicious fruits, and cloudy, and confusing, and beautiful. I've alternated between being exhilarated to be here and feeling totally lost. Apparently, this is a common experience when you decide to move to another country; go figure.
I'm living in Pueblo Libre, which is lovely. Here's a picture of our neighborhood, taken from the roof of our house. The dude in yellow is selling ice cream. He goes around blowing a funny horn that sounds like a bird. It's very different from the Mr. Softie jingle...
So far I've only explored three neighborhoods (there are about 50 in Lima; it's enormous)-- the lovely afore-mentioned Pueblo Libre; Jesus Maria, which is closer to Central Lima; and Magdalena del Mar, which is aptly named, since it's on the ocean. I went there expecting to encounter a beach, but instead I found a cliff, a cloud, and a construction site. According the billboards, there's a huge public works project going on to convert the coast into a green paradise for all. I am a little skeptical of such development (are they really builing condominiums and tourist attractions?), but what do I know? Either way, I came home from that particular expedition sunburned as all hell and more than a little bemused. My new roommates thought that the whole escapade was pretty funny-- only tourists would expect to find a beach in Magdalena del Mar-- and everyone keeps remarking on how red I am, but I think it's funny, too.
Speaking of the new roommates-- they're amazing! I owe my friend from college, Shruti, big time. She got us in touch with her friends, and now we're staying with them in this beautiful, colorful house. It's currently shared by 6 people (one of whom I still haven't met), plus me and Rachel. It's a little crazy, but three of the current occupants are leaving in the next two weeks. Then Rachel and I will move into one of the big rooms. For now, we're sharing a tiny casita on the roof! It's actually quite comfortable, and the view is lovely when you can see it. Lima spends much of the year cloaked in fog (part of the cause of my burn-- I forgot that what you can't see can still burn you). Here's a shot of Rachel playing Vinny Roberts III on the roof:
I've been in touch with Ana from Yuyachkani, and I'm going to meet her and attend a workshop with them this weekend. She's unbelievably kind and welcoming. If there's a Giant Karma Counter in the Sky, then I owe it some serious generosity to thank it for Ana.
And in conclusion, I give you: Maleto, the pre-Columbian Peruvian Perro. These dogs have been beloved in Peru for centuries (much like the Chihuahua in Mexico), but wow, they're ugly. Maleto is 20 years old and pees all over the place, but there's something special about him that makes him lovable. Maybe it's the tumors.
Love to you all!