Living in Lima Peru (12/2010)
12/07/2010 (Tuesday) Rita back from the jungle then home, coffee and writing
Again, I am apologizing for the long delay since my last entry. With everything going on and the visits from my Sister and friends, life got a little hectic for me. Rita, George, Cyndi, Richard and Cathy made it to Iquitos fine with some slight modifications to their plans. They had to spend their first night in Iquitos, delaying their planned itinerary by a day for their stay at Explorama Lodges. Their guide scared them a little on arrival and told them not to wander away from the main square. As a result they, like me, did not get to see much of the city. The next morning they were taken down river by speed boat to Cieba Tops to begin their adventure. From all the tall tales I heard after their return, I could tell they had a good time. There were stories about Monkeys, Shamans, falls, Medicine Men, trips to the clinic in Indiana, a giant black ant and other hilarity with which they kept me amused after their return. George, Cathy and Richard left Sunday night about 4 hours after their return but Cyndi and Rita were here for another day. On Monday I took them into Miraflores for more Sacred Shopping and lunch at Café Z. Then they also took off on Monday night. I think they all had a fantastic time.
The rest of my time in the past week, I spent having the writers’ group meeting, coffee with my friend Kathy in Barranco to catch up and breakfast with Tim and Lourdes. In the writers’ group meeting, Larry and I were able to do some significant discussions on the novel. Then after Victoria arrived, we went over a short story by Larry called “Nostalgia”, which is a good read. I hope you all make it to the website and check it out. Kathy caught me up on the events in her life. There is still a lot of drama and she is trying to work her way through it. I took my new Kindle to show her, she reads a lot of books and I thought she would enjoy it. Tim and Lourdes are doing really well. Tim has another new client he likes and Lourdes is about to get a break from school (both teaching and going) which will give them more time to enjoy life a little. I think they might be planning a trip for sometime in February.
Now I can get back into my regular routine. No more guests are expected but one never knows when people might decide to take the long trip down here to visit me and see the wonders of Peru. I hope to concentrate on the novel more in the coming months and try to get some short stories sold to some publications. It’s time I took my writing seriously and see what happens. Christmas is rapidly approaching and I hope all of you had some seriously wonderful holidays. I have my tree up now and am getting in the Christmas mood.
On a sad note, my friend Kelly’s mother passed away this week. My thoughts this past week have been for him and his family and of his mother. A wonderful woman with a great sense of humor and kind heart, I know that everyone that was in her life will miss her.
12/12/2010 (Sunday) Writing, meetings and getting ready for the holidays, holiday parade
Another busy week has passed into history. I managed to get some serious writing done in the past few days as well as meet with my friends for coffees. My Sister and friends all made it home fine and in good health. They are all rested up now and preparing for the busy holiday season. Rita has lots of shopping to do for the grandkids and has to decorate the house. Despite all that, she manages to get time in at the gym with her trainer. That has really paid off for her; I think she might be in the best shape of her life right now. Rita and George are planning on a trip to Italy in February with their friends Cathy and Richard Grant. They have rented a farmhouse in the Tuscan region for their stay. I’m sure they will have a good time and I am looking forward to hearing all about it and seeing the photos when they return.
I finished several chapters on the novel this week and managed to go through and do some editing on all of the 50 chapters that we have completed so far. We have written 5 more but they are not quite ready to add to the book yet. Today I have to write one more chapter to be ready for my meeting with Larry tomorrow. Larry and I have decided that meeting before our writers’ group does not give us enough time to discuss and revise everything that needs it. Therefore, we have agreed to meet on Monday mornings at 9:30 to give ourselves more time. I am hoping that this will work out better for us.
The writers’ group meeting on Thursday went well as always. This time we critiqued a new piece by me titled, “Like Father Like Son”. It is a retelling of a myth from the Amazon. I hope you will take the time to go to our website and read it. It will be posted this coming Tuesday. My interaction with the two other members has helped my writing and certainly inspired me to improve even more. I know that I need to spend more time trying to sell some short stories in an effort to build up my resume. To that end, I need to concentrate on getting more ready for submission to several magazines.
I had my weekly meeting with Kathy and as always, we discussed her situation and the progress she is making. We also talked about a short piece she has written that she sent to me by E-mail later that evening. She shows definite potential and one can tell the writing comes from her life experiences. A place all writers should dip into whatever they might be writing. I offered her my opinion and suggestions on the piece and told her it needed to be expanded. I also met with Lourdes and Tim for our weekly breakfast. I certainly enjoy being with these two. Young couples just starting out have something that makes a person want to be around them and enjoy their happiness with them. I need to cut back on the eating though. My waistline is suffering.
Finally but certainly not the least, there was a Christmas parade on the street in front of my apartment this week. It is one of the things I really enjoy about living in Peru and Lima in particular; you just never know when a parade will take place almost spontaneously. The dancing, the colorful costumes and the music makes you want to join the parade and dance off into the sunset with them. This one concerned Christmas though, easily discerned because there were a few people carrying mangers with the baby Jesus in them. Enjoy the photos from a recent restaurant review and the parade. That’s it for this entry; hope you have the majority of your Christmas shopping done so you can relax and enjoy.
12/17/2010 (Friday) Writing, Coffees, Christmas shopping and Sarritas
I always enjoy a really busy week, the kind with so much happening that you have trouble remembering everything. I’ve had a few of those here in Lima and remember having to go back to Facebook (where I usually do daily entries) and read over my status updates to help make my entry on this website. Well, I had one of those this past week. So busy that I really didn’t get much writing done. Something that disappoints me when it happens. Still, we did make progress with the book. A couple of chapters that had to be fixed were completed and we finished chapters 51 – 55 and are now working on Chapters 56 – 60. I’m struggling with a couple of short stories, they just are not panning out the way I wanted. “Oh woe is me!” as the saying goes.
Larry and I decided we needed more time to discuss the book between us, so we moved our meeting to Monday mornings. We had our first get together this past Monday and the increased amount of time definitely helped. On Thursday, only the writers’ group met. We went over a story by Victoria that will be published this coming Tuesday. I look forward to these meetings with a great deal of anticipation.
After the meeting on Monday, my friend Steve picked me up and we went to Sarritas in Punta Hermosa for some of their delicious Tamals. They are still as good as I remember them. I had something new there this time in addition. A salad called “Ensalada Completa.” It was quite delicious and I have been missing a bowl full of mixed vegetables.
On Tuesday, we took my paper work back to Immigration to apply for my Rentista Visa. My sister brought the last piece that I needed when she came for her visit. This time they accepted the application and I should be receiving my visa in about 1½ months. It will be great not having to leave Peru every 6 months just to renew my tourist visa. Afterwards we went to Las Mesitas to celebrate. We went to see the new Narnia movie also. I give it a “take the kids” rating. They will love it.
Wednesday I met with my friend Jose. It had been quite a few months since we had talked and it was great to get together. We talked about my trip to Argentina, the visitors I had received in the past couple months and stuff we needed to get together for. He is the main source of most of the knowledge that I have about Lima and Peru in general. A great friend and the first I made here in Peru.
I also managed to get some Christmas shopping in with Steve and get a few gifts for his family. I will be enjoying Christmas Eve at his Mom´s again, watching the fireworks from the roof. I’m looking forward to that, it was spectacular last year. Well, that sums it up for this entry. Have a great weekend everyone.
12/24/2010 (Friday) More on writing, Meeting with friends, getting ready for Christmas
Merry Christmas everyone, I sincerely hope that all of you have fantastic holidays and Santa brings you everything you need to make you happy. I know many of you, myself included, already have those things. They include family and friends who love you, shelter, food, clothing and the time to enjoy them. So my second request for this time of year is that you take the time to think of those who do not. Those who may not have a meal today or tomorrow, who have no family, who lack basic shelter, who dress in discarded rags and those who subsist on so little that they cannot take the time to be off from work and enjoy a day with their family. If you are so inclined, say a little prayer for them, even better, do something to make another man, woman or child´s life a little better if you can.
It’s been a rough week as far as writing is concerned. I think I have a little writer’s block going on. Concentrating on my latest short story has caused me to ignore the novel a little. The way it’s going now, the short story is going to turn into a two part piece. I just can’t get it all on paper in less than 1500 words. But in doing that, I have to have a good place to break the story so that readers will want to come back and finish it. I met with Larry on Monday about the novel and we hashed out ideas for the next 20 chapters or so. He had a cold and wasn’t feeling well so his writing has suffered also this past week. At least he was better by the Writer’s group meeting on Thursday. We went over his short story that will be posted next Tuesday. Victoria wasn’t able to join us as she had family commitments.
I took Steve and his family back to Sarritas for lunch this week. We stopped by the beach while we were there and enjoyed being next to the ocean. I completed my Christmas shopping and all the presents are wrapped and under the tree. Tonight I will be going to Steve´s Mom´s house for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Afterwards we will watch fireworks from the roof of her house. It is a spectacular site. I’ll take my camera and try to get some good photos for all of you to enjoy. I had the usual Sunday breakfast with Tim and Lourdes. They are looking forward to the holidays also. Didn’t see my friend Kathy this past week but she is in Mancora enjoying the beach with her husband.
Once again my friends, enjoy your holidays and take the time to give a hug or a kiss to all those you love.
12/28/2010 (Tuesday) Writers Group, the Novel, a summer walk, Christmas and more
Like all of you, I’ve had a hectic few days. The holidays can bring out the best and worst of people. I was rather fortunate this year and only experienced the best. I had a very nice Christmas. Here in Peru, they tend to celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day. It’s all about a family get together for a big dinner just before midnight, fireworks all over the city starting at midnight and then opening presents. I went to my friend Steve´s Mother’s house Christmas Eve. She had a huge feast prepared, far too much for the number of people there. Seco de Pavo (a turkey), Res assado (a beef dish) and all the trimmings were laid out before us. Everything was delicious and as always at these dinners, I ate way too much. Afterwards we went to the roof to see the fireworks all over the city, a truly spectacular site. It was probably 3am before I went to bed.
Christmas day I got up in time for a nice walk around the neighborhood and took these pictures of flowers and the park. It was a beautiful sunny day. No plans for New Years, I think I will just be grateful for the great year I had in 2010 and hope that the next year is just as good. I’m glad I’m not enjoying the snow and cold with my friends in the US.
Monday I met with Larry and discussed our book. We plotted the next 25 chapters and have finished ½ the book if our calculations are correct. Our main concentration for improvement is in laying out the plot and character development. It is our opinion that we need to concentrate on our main character a lot more. So, this week I will work on finishing three more chapters and starting a new short story. I also need to finish up a second article on the jungle for Living in Peru.
Steve and I went to Sarrita’s for Tamals again on Sunday. It was another beautiful sunny day and the drive out of the city was nice. The blue sky and ocean made for a great backdrop. We weren’t the only ones headed for the beach. The traffic on the way there was thick and slow. Fortunately we headed back early enough to avoid the return home traffic jams.
This will probably be my last entry for this month so let me wish all of you A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. If you are going out New Years Eve, be careful out there. Avoid the crazies and if you are going to drink a lot, take a cab home or have a designated driver.