Living in Lima Peru (09/2010)
September 4, 2010 Last Day in Argentina, Home at Last, writing, photos and a restaurant
Yesterday after my last entry into the August blogs, it continued to rain or should I say pour for the rest of the day pretty much. As a result we spent the day in the hotel room watching movies and napping. Today it is much the same. Although it is not raining all that hard most of the time, there is a stiff cold breeze and I swear I saw a few snowflakes on my walk. Our flight leaves at 8pm this evening and the hotel has rented us the room for ½ price till we have to leave at 5pm or so. I went for a walk to the Zoo in the hopes that it might be open today but no luck. I could see through the fence and even the animals were smart enough to not venture out of their shelters. The only ones who seemed to be enjoying the weather were the geese and pink flamingos. I walked the circumference of the Zoo grounds and made my way through a couple of parks before returning to the hotel to rest up before going out to get something to eat. Steve, being the night owl, decided to rest in the room till lunch. It was nice taking the cab back to the airport during the day and being able to see the sights along the route. We got to the airport in plenty of time but Steve had to turn in a form to get back the taxes he had paid on some purchases. It was over $100 so well worth the time. In the end we barely made it to the gate on time to catch the plane. It was 2am Thursday morning before I was finally in the apartment and able to get some sleep.
I was up early Thursday morning (7am) to go to the writers’ group meeting. Larry didn’t make it to the meeting so we were not able to discuss the book this week. I think we will get together this coming Monday in the morning to make up for it. Victoria and I went over my latest work, a retelling of a Peruvian Myth, and then chatted for awhile. Afterwards I headed over to the restaurant “Brujas de Cachiche” to do the photos for a restaurant review. What an amazing place! The food was excellent and we received the pleasure of the owners company for the lunch. He is an amazing man with an extensive knowledge of gastronomical history here in Peru. He made the lunch for me and I would happily return to hear him talk again. The lunch which would normally only take a couple of hours, lasted four. Finishing up, I went home and took a long nap before going back to bed. It was an exhausting day for me and I was still tired from the trip to Argentina.
Friday was all about catching up on my chores around the apartment and taking my Spanish Class. It’s getting a little harder, which I expected, as I have to remember how to conjugate all the irregular verbs and the rules that go along with that. Fortunately my teacher is a patient person. This weekend I will try to catch up on my writing, I need to start another short story and get to work on my three chapters of the book. That and I have to process the photos from the restaurant and send them to LiP for publishing with the article. I hope all of you have a great weekend doing something you love.
09/11/2010 (Saturday) Meeting with Writers, Barranco, Writing, Spanish, New Computer
Today the world is remembering that terrible day the planes crashed into the Twin Towers in NYC, the Pentagon and that field in Pennsylvania, a truly horrible time in the history of America. I’m sorry for the long delayed entry on the web page but as usual, time got away from me and the next thing I knew it had been a week since my last entry. The week has been full of ups and downs. The biggest down has been this cold I have which seems to love hanging out in my sinuses. I’ve had it for about 6 days now with some days being worse than others. It’s the first cold I’ve had in over two years so I guess I should count my blessings. The biggest up is my purchase of a new computer so that I don’t have to work on my laptop all the time now. This is definitely easier on my wrists and I have this screen as big as a wall so my old eyes don’t suffer as much either. It will definitely make working on the novel easier.
Speaking of the Novel, I met Larry in Barranco on Monday morning at my old hangout, Espige de Oro, to go over the stuff we had written so far and discuss where we were going from here. The biggest decision was to rewrite a couple of chapters to get them to fit into our timeline better. It was a very fruitful meeting and of course I enjoyed some of the nice pastries while we were there. We also discussed some future projects that we might do together. Before I met Larry, I went for a long walk in my beloved Barranco and took a lot of photos. I lost all the ones I had taken while I was living there when an external hard drive went bad on me. Even though it was a foggy cloudy morning, I loved it and got a lot of nice shots. I will definitely be going back on a day when the sun is shining brightly to get more. Most of the photos in the entry are from that walk.
We also had our usual Thursday morning meeting before the Writers’ Group meeting. We talked about the chapters Larry had corrected so far and the fact that we needed to flesh out our characters some more, including Peru (our subtle character). We both feel that the novel is going to be good and the more we write, the more we want to strive for perfection in the book. Then Victoria showed up and after chatting for a bit we went over Larry’s latest fictional piece on learning to dance. It’s something pulled from real life and fictionalized; I know you all will enjoy it. Most guys in the world will be able to relate to it.
I only had Spanish on Tuesday this week and I don’t feel like I made any progress that day with my head all stuffed up. I canceled the class for Friday because I was feeling tired and miserable and knew I wouldn’t be able to give it the concentration I needed to, hopefully I will be all better for this coming Tuesday’s class. I am going to talk to the instructor about quizzing me more on what she thinks I should know.
I also got my Bank Letter legalized this week. Now all I need to do is get it translated and I am ready to take all the documents to Immigration and get my Rentista Visa. With that, I can come and go in Peru as I please on the condition that I am in Peru for at least 6 months out of the year. It will be nice not to have to travel for a visa renewal but when I want to. Well, that’s it folks. My last week in a nutshell.
09/15/2010 (Wednesday) Back to Spanish Class, Feeling Better, a little shopping, a movie
I’m going to try and be more attentive to my website. I realize that people are busy and they don’t have time to continuously check out my web page to see if it’s been updated. At some point I need to turn this into what it really is, a Blog. A fancier version of one, but a blog nonetheless. Then my latest posts will show on the front page and those of you so inclined can sign up to be notified whenever I have updated the site with my latest news.
I am feeling a lot better as of this writing and the sinus infection is all but gone. As a result, I had my first Spanish Class since getting sick. She is really moving fast with me now and I need to get her to slow it down. In addition, I would like to see a lot more random testing so that she can tell if I am retaining at an acceptable level. She is going over things I learned at ICPNA but in a lot more depth. The material she is giving me explains better than the material supplied by ICPNA also. I do miss the interaction with fellow students though and wish I had someone to practice with on a daily basis. Oh well, you can’t have everything.
In the past few days, I also took my Bank Letter to the official government translator to get it translated from English to Spanish. I am supposed to get it back on Wednesday and then I am all set to start the application process for the Rentista Visa. I will really be glad when this is over and I have the baby in my pocket. It has taken far too long as far as I am concerned, most of it my fault but I have learned a lot about the workings of the Peruvian Bureaucracy in the process. I can’t really say it’s worse here than in the US. After all, I can remember it taking almost a full day just to get my driver’s license renewed.
We went to see a movie this past weekend also. “Letters to Juliet” was the name, definitely a chick flick. The premise of the movie was great and it had some well-known actors in it. The unfortunate part for me was the performance of Vanessa Redgrave. It seemed she was on drugs through the entire movie and not in a good way. It was very sad for me to see this once great actress fall to this level. The movie is still worth seeing but I recommend you wait and rent it.
09/18/2010 (Saturday) Writers, Meeting Film Maker, Walks, Rentista Visa
I am totally well now and the sinuses have completely cleared up. Thank goodness cause I was tired of being sick. Our writiers meeting on Thursday was very nice. As usual, Larry and I met early to discuss strategies with the novel, some character development and responsibilities for the next few chapters. I spent most of this last week editing the chapters we have already written and adding a new one to help cover some things we missed. Larry is still working on his rework of Chapter 20 and will then start chapters 23 – 25. While he’s doing that, I am going to work on some chapters of my own that do not require we to know what he will be doing in the next three chapters. Victoria arrived on time and we spent a little time catching up in our daily lives before starting to look over her latest piece. She has had an article published in the Russian Cosmopolitan and is very excited about that. About half way through the critique, Mitch Teplitsky showed up for our meeting. He is a film-maker and his latest work is called “Soy Andina”, a film about a couple of American born Peruvians who are dancers and return to Peru to learn the original folk dances. I haven’t seen it but all my friends here have and they highly recommend it. We had a great talk with Mitch about all manner of things and he will try to attend some more meeting. I for one am looking forward to it.
I also made it into immigration this week to put in my application for the Rentista Visa. I thought I had all the paper work I needed but low and behold, they need a letter from Social Security also. This letter, like the one from my bank will have to be legalized by the State of Illinois and the Peruvian Consulate in the USA. I hope my poor Sister doesn’t get too frustrated will all the help I need. None of this would be possible without her.
I got in a couple of nice walks in the past few days also. One was along the Malecon after our writers’ meeting and the second was to a park here in San Borja that Steve showed me the other night. Naturally I had the camera with me for both of them and the pictures in this entry are a result of that. It was a nice day for the walk on the Malecon. They are planting the spring flowers now. There wasn’t enough sun to burn off all the fog but it was plenty warm along the coast on this day. The walk in San Borja was another matter entirely. The sun was out in all its glory and it made for a steamy walk. Nice after all the chilly cloudy days we have had. I probably won’t be looking forward to summer though.
09/22/2010 (Wednesday) Writing, visiting a Huaca, a movie and canceled Spanish classes
Time for an update on my exciting/boring life, It has been a slow few days for me. I have spent most of my time at the computer working on short stories and the Novel Larry and I are writing together. Work on the Novel has slowed down; we have been editing the chapters already written and adding substance to our characters and the background. We have finally finished that work and Larry will be working on the next three chapters while I consider where the three I write after him will take us. I think the hardest part of writing this has been the research into facts we need to know about Peru and Central America to keep the storyline realistic enough for the readers. That has probably taken up more time than the actual writing. The short stories for the blog have been a lot easier to write and I need to take some time while Larry is writing his next three chapters to get ahead of the game a little so that I feel like I have a little more room to breathe. Oddly enough, I find that inspiration for these short stories happens more often when I am having a coffee in a local café.
I finally made it over to the Huaca located here in San Borja. It is a small one although I am sure that the area occupied by the original site was much larger before. At present, it is not open to visitors so I had to do all these photos through the fence. It’s still an impressive structure despite its size and I am looking forward to the day when it is opened and they have tours of the site. Archaeologists are still doing active work on the site and I am sure they are making some amazing discoveries. The area that Lima occupies holds a treasure trove of history and ancient cultural artifacts. Slowly but surely the people of Peru are coming to appreciate their pre-hispanic history.
I will have no Spanish classes this week. My teacher called yesterday and canceled. She has the flu and she had already canceled Friday’s class due to a conference she needed to attend. I will use the time to study and try to memorize some of those irregular verbs. I also saw a movie this week that I really enjoyed. Agent Salt with Angelina Jolie, an action packed thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I must admit though, I figured out who the real bad guy was before the movie revealed it. Of course you have to suspend reality to enjoy the movie, much in the way you would with any of Arnold’s movies. LOL That’s all for this entry folks. Hope you enjoy the photos.
09/25/2010 (Saturday) Coffee and breakfast with friends, writers group, working on the Novel
The past few days have been busy for me due to an assortment of reasons. One big one has been trying to help friends and relatives arrange things for their visits to me here in Peru. My friend John will be here October 5th for a couple of weeks. He will spend about 6 days in Cusco and the rest here in Lima with me showing him around. Then my friends Mona and Kelly will arrive November 2nd and stay for a couple of weeks. They will only be in Lima a total of 4 days with the rest being split between Iquitos and Cusco/Machu Picchu. I will be traveling with them. After they leave, my sister Rita, her husband, their friends Richard and Cathy and my friend Cyndi plus her sister-in-law will all arrive in stages on November 22nd and 23rd. They will also spend just a few days in Lima and split the rest between Cusco/Machu Picchu and Iquitos. Needless to say, the next couple of months I will be busy entertaining.
We had our usual writers’ group meeting on Thursday with Larry and I going over our progress with the novel. Editing seems to be taking up my life these days, that and trying to add chapters to the novel along with short stories for the blog. I feel that we are making excellent progress and the story will be interesting and a little different from the others in the genre. Then Victoria arrived and we discussed my latest contribution to the blog, a short story called “Gordito.” It will be posted next Tuesday and I hope those of you who read this will take the time to go there and read our short stories also. If you do, leave comments. We want to know what you think about them.
Friday I met with my friend Kathy for coffee at Café Z. She just arrived back in Peru from the USA. She went back to visit friends and family and take care of some business. She had a great time and enjoyed seeing everyone but is also happy to be back in Peru and with her friends here. We had a nice long chat about everything that is happening in our lives. Afterwards I went for a little walk in Parque Kennedy. The sun was out and they had planted the spring flowers. It was quite beautiful and I took the photos in the entry.
This morning, Saturday, I met Tim and Lourdes at (you guessed it) Café Z for breakfast. This coming week will be Tim’s last in Huaraz, he has given up the job with the mining company and wants to settle down here in Lima with Lourdes. They make such a cute couple. Tim talked about his plans for getting a job back here, if you want to teach English this is the place to be. They love having native speaking English teachers. I had the huge Café Z omelet special. You all who follow this blog know how much I love them. Then it is back home to work on the novel some more and write this up. I hope all of you have a great weekend where ever you are.
09/29/2010 (Wednesday) More breakfast and coffees, writing and a couple of walks
There’s not much to talk about since my last entry. I met up with a friend of Tim´s to collect a camera Sunday morning at Café Z. Of course, another of their great American Breakfasts was involved. Andrew (the friend) and I talked for a bit about living in Peru and all the things we enjoy here. He’s a young guy (20) from Michigan who is trying to see as much of the world as he can before settling down. He teaches English here at one of the schools that specialize in it. As I stated in the previous entry, they love native speaking English teachers here. After he left I went for a little walk in Parque Kennedy again and then met up with Lourdes and Tim at Haiti, a local hangout for expats and the more well off Peruvians. Not a place that I normally go to but it was convenient. I gave them the Camera and we sat and chatted for awhile before Tim had to head out to catch his bus back to Huaraz for his last week.
Tuesday was a day of chores for me. I tried to spend most of Monday writing on various projects I have going, including the novel. Laundry, shopping for food, some banking and getting caught up on some E-mails were part of it. Sonia (my maid) came and cleaned in the morning and Carmen my Spanish teacher was here in the afternoon for my class. We had missed having classes for almost two weeks so I needed to review some previous lessons, especially with the Reflexive Verbs. Their use can be a little tricky and I am having a little problem understanding the appropriate times for their use. I’m sure I will get it eventually but it all comes down to practice, which I get very little of unfortunately. I am hoping that will improve with time and my improved use of Spanish.
Today I met my friend Kathy at Café Z again. We had a nice long talk about writing and what it takes to be a writer. Not that I have so much experience in the field but I have read some advice from other writers and their formulas for success. A general theme runs through most of them. One is that each writer needs to figure out what works for them and two is that you should write every day. Kathy is trying to take up writing to release the inner artist in herself. She has started her first story and hopefully will continue to explore this side of herself. Of course, as always, we talked about what was going on in our daily lives. After our meeting, I went for another walk along the Malecon. The sun was trying to come out and I thought I might get in a couple of good shots. Most of the photos in this section are from that walk. The one of the glassed-in bridge is interesting. They put the cover on it because too many people were using it to commit suicide. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them. Happy Hump Day everyone.