Living in Lima Peru (03/2010)
February 28, 2010 (Sunday) Back to Lima Peru
I am back in the St. Louis airport waiting for my flight to Miami and on to Lima Peru. This begins the next phase in my life. I have sold my house and car in the USA and placed those belongings I wanted to keep in storage. Now it is back to Lima and the life I have started building there. New friends and new adventures await. I will continue to write articles and do photography freelance and contribute to the “Living in Peru” webzine as I seek to learn what Peru, its people and culture have to teach me. I will use my web site not only to keep friends and family informed but use it to tell others what it is like living in Peru in particular. I will try to convey the good and bad, the easy and hard as well as my everyday dealings with life in another culture. I hope it informs and entertains you as you keep up with my new life in Lima Peru.
March 3, 2010 (Wednesday) Settling in
After an exhausting day on planes and in cars, I finally arrived in Lima on Monday morning at 5:30am. Steve was at the airport to pick me up and after loading all my luggage into the car, it was off to the apartment. A quick tip for those thinking of or moving to another country, you do not need all the stuff you pack. I loaded up three large suitcases, paying extra money to get them here, only to ask myself while unpacking; “Why did I bring all this crap.” Despite my exhaustion, I spent Monday unpacking, going to the bank and the grocery store for much needed supplies. Fortunately I am familiar with the stores in the area of my apartment so the shopping was relatively easy. Then a good night’s sleep and I was ready to take on the world on Tuesday. Waking up that morning I had my coffee and started a new article for “Living in Peru”, the website I submit articles to, and worked on the photos to accompany it. Then it was off to Steve’s Mother’s house for lunch and to visit. They have some construction going on there and were anxious to show me the new apartments they were adding to the top floors. It was nice to see his family again and hear about the things that are going on in their lives. Sonia also came and cleaned the apartment, I was amazed at how much dirt and grime can settle into a place when it is empty for a couple of months.
Today, I will be going to immigration to start the process of getting my Rentista Visa. I will write about this in detail in my next entry. Hopefully it will be informative enough to help others interested in going this route when wanting to live in Peru. I also hope to get my new cell phone and make it to the bank again.
March 5, 2010 (Friday) Rentista Visa and Banking
The last couple of days have been a swirl of activity for me. First it was off to immigration to start my Rentista Visa process. We stopped at the information desk to ask what I needed to have to submit my application and they provided the following list:
- Fill out Formulario F-004 (obtainable on the government web site)
- Pay $/.58.93 al codigo 01814 in the National Bank.
- Get a copy of my Passporte.
- My Tourist Visa
- A letter in Spanish requesting the Rentista Visa (Sample Letter provided).
- A letter (in Spanish) from my bank in Peru and the US stating that I have an income of at least $1000 from my Pension or other retirement income.
- A letter stating that I have no criminal record. (Sample Letter Provided)
After getting the info we left immigration and headed to Interbank to open an account in my name so that I can transfer money here from my account in the US. This was a very easy process and that has been set up, now I just need to start the transfers from the US to Peru. I’m sure things will crop up as I continue this process and I will keep you informed on my progress.
Spanish class was difficult for me this time. First of all I was two days late in getting started which put me behind the rest of the class. Secondly it appears that when they divided the class structure up to a new format they missed a chapter in the book. I am lucky in that I have friends to help me catch up or I think I would be doomed. I am sure I will not be top of class in this session.
I had coffee with my friends from Lip (the web site I write for) and met my friend Raafat for coffee also so that he could help catch me up with the class mentioned above so it has been a busy few days for me. I also went for a walk and took a few photos to include with this posting. I will post again in a few days with my progress on all fronts.
March 9, 2010 (Tuesday) Rentista Visa, Health Insurance and meeting up with friends.
Since my last entry I have made some progress on the paperwork for my Rentista Visa. I have received the letter from my bank in the US stating that I have the appropriate retirement income. I have set up my account here in Lima and I have arranged to have funds transferred on a regular basis. I still need to work on the two letters and get the bank letter translated into Spanish and approved by the Peruvian Consulate. It seems like it is taking forever but since I have barely been back a week I guess I shouldn’t complain about the time it has taken me. I have also gone to Clinica Good Hope and checked out the costs of health insurance for me. The total cost will be $/. 811.20 Soles per year. That equals approximately $285/year in US Dollars. Amazingly this also includes Dental and Pharmacy insurance. Add to that the fact that I will get a 10% discount for paying the entire year at once, and it comes out to be about $257 for the year. WOW, it was going to cost me more than that per month in the US and I would have a $5000 deductable before they would pay a cent.
On a social note, I met up with my friends Jose and Fiorella for coffee last night. They are both doing well and Jose’s business is doing OK despite the closing of Machu Pichu. He will be going to Florida in a couple of weeks to Disney World of course with his younger sister, Mom and Step-dad. I also met Tim Olson and his girlfriend Lourdes for a coffee on Sunday. They are doing well also. Tim is looking for a new job and Lourdes will be going back to school to get her Masters. Steve and his family are doing well. There is a lot of remodeling going on at his Mom’s building so he is VERY busy helping her. Still we find time to have lunch almost every day and see a movie once in awhile. We did go see Alice in Wonderland and it was amazing. See it in 3d if you can, I highly recommend it. Very adult oriented.
Spanish class is still difficult for me with the missing chapter and the fact that I was two days late signing up for class. I am trying to catch up but time seems to be a scarce commodity these days for studying. Still haven’t made it to the gym and have been eating out almost exclusively. Fortunately I have been eating at the Menus a lot so I haven’t been spending big bucks. I have made it out for a couple of long walks and naturally my camera accompanied me. It’s been sunny and warm almost every day since I have been here, much nicer than the snow and cold of Southern Illinois. Still I find myself missing everyone back home a little.
The walk I took along the Malecon the other day was wonderful. The sky was blue with only a few clouds. The park was beautifully landscaped with lots of flowers in bloom. There were lots of surfers on the ocean enjoying the waves and plenty of people on the beach watching them. The lighthouse of Miraflores stood out against the sky and Peruvian flags waved in the gentle breeze. There were lots of people walking, running, biking or just sitting on the benches enjoying the views of the sea. You could see the islands off the coast quite clearly. I hope there are lots more days like this before Fall and Winter set in. That’s it for this entry; there’ll be another in a few days with updates on my progress.
March 13, 2010 (Saturday) More progress on the Visa, Spanish Class and Writing
It has been a busy few days for me. I have made a little more progress on the Rentista Visa and will continue to work on all that I need to do. The funds have started arriving in my account here so I am not worried about that anymore. I have started writing the letters in Spanish that I will need. Thank goodness for the samples provided. I have to take the letter from the bank and have it translated into Spanish by a government sanctioned translator, and then I have to have the letter approved by one of the Peruvian Consulates. I should have everything ready to take to immigration in a couple of weeks.
I have paid in full for one year of health insurance. You gotta love the price tag. Personally I hope I never have to use it. I did have to go in for a pre examination (price included in the insurance). It was a strange exam; they did an echo of my abdomen and chest. I think the “Doctor” who performed the ECHO told me it was normal but I have to return Tuesday next week for the consultation with a physician. Price also included in the insurance.
I also took another tour of Huaca Pucllana this week and have written an article on that place. It will be the first of a series on the Huacas here in Lima. The place is amazing and I hope that all of you who come here for a visit will take the time to see it. I also made it to another Huaca (Sacred Place) this week. Steve took me back to the Huaca Puruchuco which is in another part of Lima. In an earlier time it would have been in what I would have considered a slightly scary part of Lima but now that I am accustomed it is just a poorer part of the city. Pucllana was built by the Lima Culture and Puruchuco was built by the Ichma people who came into prominence after the Lima Culture. It will probably be my second article. Anyway I got nice photos of both places.
I met with the writers from LiP yesterday and we had a nice discussion about our articles and future plans. Levi will not be with us much longer as he is moving back to the states for work. His wife will be getting her Doctorate I think so he will have to be the solo bread winner for awhile. Nathan has plans to travel some and Larry has left for the states to attend his son’s wedding. Soon Katrina will be back in Peru and joining us for our weekly meetings.
I have been doing lunches mostly with Steve and family at the Menus in San Borja but have also joined Tim once here in Miraflores. He has a new job now and is very happy. He actually starts his training today. No cooking at the apartment and I have had to give away or toss most of the perishable items I bought when I first returned. Eating out is so cheap; it’s hard to justify cooking at home. I also found out this week that not only are my Sister and friend Cyndi coming to visit at the end of November but my Sister’s husband and two of their good friends will be here also. I am looking forward to the “entertainment” challenges of having that many guests at once. LOL Spanish class is still giving me problems. I am not doing as well as I did in the first two. I think it might have been a mistake to take a two month break in the classes so soon in the learning process. I imagine that I will pass this class but I will not be comfortable moving on. My listening skills are very weak at best. This teacher speaks very fast and she assumes that everyone understands her. Unfortunately for me most of the students do. In this class there are students from Italy, Japan, China, Korea, Egypt, Turkey and two of us from the US. None of the non US students speak English. Oh well, I should quit moaning about it and just study harder. We received our final project assignment this week; I have to give a talk with photos about a trip I have taken in the past. I think I will do one about the trip to Egypt. That’s it for this entry, everyone have a great weekend.
03/17/2010 (Wednesday) Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, more Huacas, back to the gym.
I’ve been a busy man since my last entry. On Sunday I went for a walk along the Malecon after working on some writing. On the way back I met Tim for coffee and an ensalads de frutas at the Café Bierut close to the Parque Kennedy. We sat there for awhile and discussed all manner of topics. He has a new job now teaching English at another place. It’s pays good money and he can get bonuses if his students rate him high. Afterwards I had a little lunch and then went to San Borja to meet Steve. We went to Jockey Plaza and then to Polvos Azules to buy movies and some other stuff. I got 8 movies for S/.20 Soles which comes out to about $0.88 US each. Afterwards I came home and threw one in to watch. Then to bed and get ready to start another week.
Spanish class is still giving me a hard time. I feel lost still, kind of like I did lose some of the skills I had gained before returning to the US for two months. I hope it all comes back soon. The hardest part for me is understanding the new teacher we have now. She talks very fast and runs her words together. In addition her enunciation is poor so when you put those two things together it makes it hard for someone like me. I’m hoping I will do well on the written exam and the project but I am really worried about the oral exam. Once again this is my weakest area.
I had my physical with the physician for getting my insurance approved. Everything was great, BP 120/80, incredible for big guy like me. There was a problem with the ECHO, apparently part of the resolution was not good so I have to have that part repeated. I guess they couldn’t see my bladder well. After I get that done I will receive my card within four days and be all ready to go. As I stated originally, I hope I never have to use it.
Living in Peru has published my first article since returning. It’s on one of my visits to a Huaca. I plan to do a series of articles on the huacas here in Lima. Here’s the link if you all want to take a look.
The rest of the week has been lunch with Steve and family or writing. I have managed to make it to the gym one night this week and hopefully will get there a few more. I’d like to stay in good shape for all the visitors I am going to have this year. No more progress to report on the Visa application. Hope to get those letters written by the end of the week. More later amigos, hope you are having a wonderful week and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
03/21/2010 (Sunday) The gym, my project for class, another movie and a Life Lesson
It has been a slow few days for me. For the most part I have been devoting a lot of time to my Spanish class and getting to the gym. I decided to do my final project for class on my trip to Egypt with my friends Mona and Kelly. First, from all the hundreds and hundreds of photos I had, I had to select about 30 of them to go with my talk. Then I had to take those 30 and modify them for uploading to the ICPNA website so they can be shown on the large TV in class. Then I had to write up the speech to go along with it and translate it into Spanish. The speech will last between 5 and 10 minutes. It took me one full day just to do that. Add to the homework she assigns every day and you can see where all my time has gone. Next week are the three finals. Wednesday is the written exam, Thursday is the Project and Friday is the oral exam. As always I am worried about the oral part. My brain just doesn’t seem to be working as quickly as I need it to. I am not to the point yet where I immediately understand things and have to translate in my head before anything comes out of my mouth.
On a positive note, I did make it to the gym three times this week. Between that and the daily walking, I think I am doing well as far as that is concerned. I went to another movie with Steve on Friday evening. It was “My best friend’s girlfriend”. I really liked the movie (hilarious) but I must warn you that there are shocking moments in it and it’s definitely not suitable for children.
I had a couple of coffees with friends, the writers group did not meet this week which was just as well since I needed the time to work on my project. My friend Kathy is back in Lima and we will meet for a coffee on Monday. I haven’t heard from Katrina, I hope she is OK. She should have returned to Lima by now. Tim O is doing well in his new job and his relationship with Lourdes is progressing well. Nathan has been traveling in Peru and having a lot of fun. Larry is still in California for his son’s wedding. He should be returning next week I think. I went for a nice walk this morning before it got too warm. The sun is out and the views along the Malecon are beautiful again today. I took a pic of the Clinica Good Hope where I will receive my health care and snapped a few other photos I hope all of you will enjoy.
My friend Steve had a life lesson this week. He was on his way by taxi to come get me and only had S/.100 Sole notes in his wallet. He asked the driver to pull in to the gas station so that he could go in and get change to pay for the ride. He left his gym bag containing his wallet, cell phone, gym shoes and clothes in the taxi while he went in. The minute he was in the store, the taxi driver took off. The funny part of this is the way Steve is always telling me, “watch your money”, “watch your camera”, “watch your jacket”, etc. etc. It’s not funny that he lost all his stuff but this shows you what can happen in one careless moment. Don’t think this is a problem exclusive to Lima, I’ve heard of the same thing happening in New York and Chicago. It’s just another life lesson; watch your stuff because you never know when someone else is.
That’s it for this entry folks. Hope you had a fantastic week and an even better weekend.
03/27/2010 (Saturday) Finals in Spanish, my Project, tour of Huaca Huallamarca, coffee meetings.
It was a wild ride this week. First off I had coffee with friends on three occasions this week. On Monday I met Kathy and Katrina for coffee and catch up. They had both just arrived back in Lima from their trips back to the states so we exchanged tales about our visits home to family and friends. They both had a great time and wish they had stayed a little longer. Then I met Larry on Thursday for coffee and we talked about his trip home to attend his son’s wedding. Apparently the wedding was really nice and Larry was surprised by the fact that the newlyweds were going to honeymoon in Croatia. Of course that led to talking about my Sister’s trip there to visit long lost family and what a great time she had there. On Friday I met Kathy again with Sonia for a quick coffee and conversation in Spanish.
I also finished up the two letters I needed to work on to get my Rentista Visa. Now, I think all I need is to have the letter from the bank stating that I am receiving a pension of more than $1000 per month translated into Spanish and I will be all set for my first round with the immigration folks. Wish me luck with all that, I think I will have all the paper work ready to take over there sometime next week barring unforeseen circumstances.
This week I took the final three exams for the level 5 course in Spanish. I didn’t think I would do that well but apparently the teacher thought otherwise. I scored well enough on the written exam to get 3 of the 4 possible points available. I got 4 out of 4 on my project (I gave a talk with power point photos on my trip to Egypt) and I scored 3 out of 4 on my Oral exam on Friday. All that and my attendance, homework turned in and a couple of quizzes had me end up with a score of 94 out of 100 possible points. Personally I think I was more at the 70 – 75 level but who am I to argue with the teacher. I have already signed up and paid for Level 6 which is the final level for Basic Spanish. After that I graduate to the “Intermediate Level”. No classes next week but I plan to do some studying anyway.
Today I walked up to Huaca Huaramarca in San Isidro to tour the archaeological site and get some photos. I hope to have an article written on the site by the end of tomorrow for publishing in LiP. It’s a nice site to visit, not as large as Pucllana but this one has been restored to what they think it looked like originally. They have also discovered a lot of artifacts and burial sites atop the pyramid. For those of you from the US reading this, I was in the museum at the site and they had this photo that looks remarkably like the arch in St. Louis. I wonder if the designer of that arch copied the idea from this one.
Well, it’s lunch time and I want to get me a nice fruit salad and have some coffee. It’s another beautiful day here in Lima and it would be nice to get out for the rest of the day also.