Living in Lima Peru (04/2010)
04/02/2010 (Friday) Happy Easter, Lots of coffees and more health related stuff
Have a great Easter weekend everyone. Here in Peru the entire week has been a holiday of sorts with lots of businesses and government offices being closed for the entire week. There have been a lot of religious celebrations going on all over Peru, so obviously this is a big week here. Today there is hardly any traffic and I think most of the stores and restaurants are closed. They call it Semana Santo. As for me, I have spent the week doing an assortment of things from health care stuff to meeting friends for coffee and chats. Obviously no school this week but I will start back in next week for the final class of the Basic Spanish classes.
I went back for the repeat ECHO on Monday. This time I drank plenty of water before the test and they were able to see the bladder with no problem. I will be able to pick up my Health Insurance Card on Monday. On Tuesday it was off to the Dentist to have my teeth cleaned and check into the prices of ridge work. The cost to have full bridges put in was a little less than the quotes I get last year. I am in no hurry on this so I will wait and see how everything else goes.
I met an assortment of friends for coffee this week at a wide range of places. Café Z is my favorite in this area. They have the biggest cups of coffee and a great omelet, not to mention the terrific fruit salad that comes with granola, yogurt and honey. Once I had one of the great Ice Cream creations they serve at Haiti (a slightly more upscale place) which has a great menu also but is a bit pricier. I also made it over to Barranco to have lunch at Las Mesitas a couple of times. I love that place, especially their Aji de Gallina. The writers were not able to get together this week due to scheduling conflicts so I me with them individually on different days. Tim and Lourdes took me to breakfast last Sunday and I got to meet Lourdes’s youngest brother. He worked in Alaska on one of those work exchange programs for three months. The job was at Wendy’s and Dave Thomas would turn over in his grave if he knew how this young man was treated by his organization. Still he had a lot of nice photos to show us and a new lap top from the US. Levi is doing well, still packing and selling things to get ready for their move back to the US. Larry and his wife are off to Choclacayo for the holiday and Nathan has returned to the US for a short visit. Katrina is teaching English and trying to get a job at the Egyptian Embassy. She should know by today I think. Steve and family are doing well.
I did some house/apartment hunting this week. Property prices in Peru (Lima in particular) are going up. In all probability I will only be able to get a nice apartment but I will search as best I can before making that decision. Steve and his Mom are helping me with this task. I did find a small house in Barranco that was in my price range but when we got down to the bare facts, there was a lot of “fishy” stuff going on with the deed and I think Steve’s Mom saved me from a disastrous decision. It’s good to have friends here, especially Peruvian friends.
Well, that sums up my week. Didn’t make any more progress on the Rentista Visa but am satisfied with my progress so far. As I said, have a nice Easter Weekend all and I hope the Easter Bunny brings you lots of Chocolate.
04/07/2010 (Wednesday) Spanish, House Hunting, A ride to the North, Sunsets and a Castle
I love the 6th session of Basic Spanish. I can understand this instructor much better than the last. Her enunciation and speed of speed is suited for my poor skills in the language. She is assigning homework every day and the pace of the class is wonderful. There are 12 people in this class and once again I am the only American. Besides Spanish I have been house/apartment/building hunting for the past few days in my free time. I found a new bigger apartment to move to in San Borja. It’s a beautiful place and I will post pictures after I move in. Otherwise, the search goes on for a place to buy and live in or some type of investment property. You can see the photo of the two colored houses next to each other. That is an option for investment; I can build onto that building and rent or sell apartments plus business space. The other pic is a house I could buy to live in. Anyway you get an idea of the things I am looking at. We also took a trip to the North to see some lots for sale in an urban development. They are in an area called Puentes Piedras, a slightly poorer area than I might be comfortable with. Also it is much too far North for my taste but has a lot of potential for those who might be interested.
I have had coffees with Katrina and Kathy this week. We took Katrina to Mangos in that fancy mall called Larcomar. It has a terrace with beautiful views of the ocean. I got a great shot of a sunset, one of many beautiful ones here. I met Kathy for coffee after Spanish class in a small Café a couple blocks from the school. We just chatted about stuff going on in our lives and the good/bad of living in Peru. Both were nice and I enjoyed my time with the ladies a great deal. We are keeping our fingers crossed for Katrina to get the job at the Egyptian Embassy. She will find out this Friday. I also got to visit the Castle that Peru built for a visit by the King of Spain. Unfortunately the King got sick and did not make it to Peru so the Castle ended up being used as a Military School. Also, Steve’s family took me to a nice restaurant on Easter Sunday. It is owned by and the chef is the Chef to one of the Presidents of Peru. I got to meet her in person as she is friends with Jose Manuel. A very nice lady and the food was amazing.
As you can tell, not much new to add for this week; I have more meetings later in the week and will probably start moving into the new apartment this weekend. We have three weeks to move so I am glad I can do it a little at a time. I’m still wondering why I brought all this crap with me. Now I have to move it around with me as I get settled in here.
04/11/2010 (Sunday) Coffees with friends, the Zoo and a writer’s circle.
It has been a busy few days for me. There is lots of homework in Spanish which I don’t mind but it takes up a lot of my time and the time I spend with friends talking over a coffee or gaseosus (Peruvian for Soda).On Thursday I met with Larry and Levi, the two writers who could make it to our weekly meeting. We went over an article I was working on and they gave me several helpful suggestions. The article is on my experience getting health insurance here in Peru. We met at a different place this time, a Gelateria across from our usual place. I actually like it more and their prices were more reasonable. We also spent time talking about the economy here, politics and Levi’s big move back to the States with his family. He still hasn’t found a job yet but retains his enthusiasm and thinks his chances are good, especially after he is back in the states. From there Larry and I walked to a new place he had found where we will have our meeting next week. It’s behind a store called Madre Natura and is a small patio with fountain and flowers surrounded by small shops. The place is wonderfully quiet and I am looking forward to having our meeting there. I took this photo of a parrot flying free in the area.
On Friday I had another coffee with Kathy after Spanish class. We had a good long talk about stuff in general and things that are going on in our lives. Kathy always makes for interesting conversation; she leads a very interesting life. In the early afternoon Katrina called me and SHE GOT THE JOB at the Egyptian Embassy. We are all very happy for her and I could tell that she was thrilled. We made plans to meet Saturday and do something together. Then it was off to the gym and out to dinner with Steve afterwards.
On Saturday I decided that I would like to go to the Zoo here in Lima. I had heard conflicting stories about is and wanted to check it out for myself. For one thing, one of the largest complexes of Huacas is located on the Zoo’s grounds and I definitely wanted to see those. I have to admit that I planned on getting at least two articles out of the visit for LiP. Steve and I picked up Katrina and headed over about 1pm in the afternoon. Arriving one could not help but notice the large amount of construction going on at the Zoo. They are improving the animal holding areas to be more like the ones in the US. I was pleasantly surprised seeing that all the animals appeared to be healthy, well fed and their cages and exercise areas clean and well maintained. The place is very large; it took us three hours to walk through part of the zoo and one Huaca. There were two large animal areas we did not get too and many other Huacas that I did not have time to explore. I was most impressed with the area called Selva (Jungle) which was well laid out and planted with vegetation from the Amazon area of Peru. Then, we had to leave as Steve was going with some friends to an Extreme Fighting event to watch one of his friends fight. I spent the rest of the evening working on my Spanish homework and massaging my poor aching knees from all that walking.
This morning I had breakfast with Tim. He’s doing well, still complaining about his girl friend’s family and the things they are putting her through but happy to be in a relationship and with his new job. He then took me to a Hostal so I could make a reservation for JP and his visit the first of May. It was nice, with clean rooms and in a good area so I hope he will be happy with it. This afternoon I will be moving furniture into my new apartment so more aching knees. I hope all of you had as good a few days as I
04/15/2010 (Thursday) Coffee with friends, classmates, writers meeting and packing
To expand where I left off on my last entry, no furniture got moved this past weekend. It didn’t stop my knees from hurting though. LOL I spent most of this week packing all the stuff I brought to Peru from the States so that it will be ready for the move to the new apartment. The new apartment is on Calle Velasquez in San Borja and I am excited to be moving into it. As you already know if you have been keeping up, the apartment is large enough to accommodate all the guests I have coming to visit this year. I still have some items I need to purchase so I hope that everything will be in place before my first guest (Mike) arrives on May 4th. I took these Fog photos the last couple of days as the mist was moving in from the ocean. It reminded me of that movie called “The Fog”. You could hear sirens and what sounded like screaming off in the distance so it was a little scary.
Besides the packing, Spanish classes and trying to get in some writing have been keeping me busy. The profesora has been assigning tons of homework every day. It usually takes me 1 – 2 hours minimum to get it done during the week. She also gave us the schedule for our final exams this month. The written exam will be Monday 4/26, the project will be on 4/27 and the final oral exam will be on 4/28. I know I shouldn’t worry about them but I do. It’s almost like my brain is full and I don’t have any more room. My problem in this session is remembering the past tense conjugation of the verbs, especially the irregular ones. I did get a picture of us, but Massimo, Claudia and another guy are missing from the picture. I might remember to try again in a few days when everyone is there.
I had coffee with my friend Kathy this week and breakfast with Tim last Sunday. They are both doing well. Tim finally has his contract at work and can now apply for his work Visa. Kathy is moving on with her life and seems really happy. Today I met with the writers group and we had a new member show up. She is Victoria and is from Russia. Well spoken in three languages and learning a fourth. She is submitting articles for Living in Peru now and hopes to make it to our weekly meetings as often as possible. We met at a new place with a beautiful patio with a bakery and café attached. It was very nice.
Not much else to add for this week, hope to be in the new apartment by Monday but this is Peru after all. Have a great weekend my friends. Life is so beautiful.
04/27/2010 (Tuesday) The Move, Being Sick, Time with Friends
Sorry for taking so long to get to this entry my friends but it has been a very hectic week or so for me. It started with the move, first we had to hire a truck and movers to haul all my stuff to the new apartment. It was a little more expensive than last time, I had to get a bigger truck and hire two guys who could haul furniture. Total cost S/.220 Soles, not too bad considering everything I had to have hauled over here. Then it was off to Gamara to buy a couch and chair set. The first time we went the guy quoted me S/.2100 Soles for a couch, love seat and chair. When we went back we got the price down to S/. 1600 Soles. I was very happy with that. They brought the furniture and carried it up to the apartment that evening for an extra S/.50 Soles. Then in the next few days it was buying dishes, silverware, assorted kitchen things and a washer and dryer. I’m now all set up except I have to go back to Gamara and get a bed platform for the extra bedroom in the apartment. The apartment looks nice with everything in it but still feels a little cold, mainly because there are none of those little things that make a place feel homey yet. I will collect that kind of stuff over the next few years. I plan on doing enough painting to fill the walls here with my art work so that will help also.
Add to all the above my last week of Spanish class with my final exams being this week and I haven’t had time to take a deep breath. I have done well on the first two exams but the Oral Exam is tomorrow and I am always nervous about that one. I am fairly sure I am going to pass this final session of Basic Spanish and be moved up to Intermediate Spanish but I am nervous about it. I don’t feel that I have the speaking skills and vocabulary down well enough to go to the next level. In the middle of all this I got sick for three days and ended up sleeping for 36 out of 48 hours, the other 12 I was in the bathroom. I’m fine now and fully recovered so no need for anyone to worry.
During all this I still managed to make it to a few coffees with my friends. They are all doing well. Katrina is still enjoying her job at the Egyptian Embassy, Nathan is expanding his skills as an Editor at LiP, Larry keeps churning out his articles and his wife is in Spain with their daughter. She just had their first grandbaby. Levi and his family are moving back to the US this Friday, we will really miss them. I hope he finds a new job very quickly after returning. They will be living in Georgia for awhile. Tim has been offered and taken a job teaching English in Huaraz. He will be there for the next 8 months. I hope to get up there and visit him while he is teaching there. Archaeological ruins of the great Chavin Culture are very near there. Kathy is doing well and enjoying the single life. She is doing well in her Spanish class and is staying active. My friend Steve and his family are all doing great. His Mother will be going to the US to visit his Sister on the 29th. She will be gone about 4 months or so.
After my last exam tomorrow I plan on relaxing a bit before Mike and JP arrive for their first visit to Peru. They will arrive next Tuesday and stay for a week. I hope they like it here enough to return in the future for more visits. They will stay in Lima for this trip and I will show them the sites around here. That’s it for now folks.
04/30/2010 (Friday) Spanish Class, a Walk in the Neighborhood and Coffee’s with Larry and Kathy
Apparently I did well enough on my Oral Exam in Spanish to pass the last of the Basic Spanish Courses. Now, it’s off to Intermediate Spanish starting the month of June after I take a month off to play a little and entertain my friends Mike and JP when they visit. I am going to try to study on my own this month whenever I get the chance. I have enough text books and my Rosetta Stone CDs so I should be able to make some progress or at least keep the skills I have learned so far.
I met Kathy for coffee after my last class on Wednesday and we chatted about the stuff going on in our lives. She seems to be getting it together and will be making a decision soon on how she wants to deal with her separation. I know she is seeing a lawyer now and seems to like her. I hope it all turns out well and she ends up happy with her life here in Lima Peru. On Thursday we had our writer’s meeting. Unfortunately only Larry and I were able to make it. Still it was great and I always enjoy my conversation with him. He’s a great guy and has a wealth of experience in the writing field that he is willing to share with me. We discussed trying to write a book together and decided to give it a try. We will alternate chapters and see how it goes. I sent him the first chapter this morning and can’t wait to see where he takes it. The rest of the group was either busy with work or going to be out of the country. I think it’s getting hard for people to commit to the meeting on a regular basis.
In addition, this week I had the opportunity to finally take a walk through the neighborhood. There are a lot of small parks very close to my apartment and the area is clean and well maintained. If not for the walls surrounding the homes, you would think this is just another suburb in the US. I managed to get quite a few photos and I posted them on my Facebook page also. There are some beautiful homes in the area and definitely homes with interesting architectural details and the landscaping in the area is beautiful. The walk I took lasted about 45 minutes so I still have a lot of area to cover to see everything and photograph it. I’m looking forward to exploring this area on foot and getting to see the stories offered in this place. Also, I’m only a few blocks from the National Museum of Peru. It’s definitely a place I can visit when I am looking for inspiration. It’s a beautiful day here today. Every day this week has been stunning. Nice blue skies with a feathering of clouds, a slight chill in the air as fall starts to take hold. Of course when I say chill, I’m still in shorts and a t-shirt so it’s a long way from being the cold I am used to back in the States.
That’s it for now everyone; I hope you have a great weekend with lots of fun things. It’s either the middle of spring or fall for all of you so the weather should be perfect for doing something. Get out and take your cameras, I want to see photos of your adventures.