Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jazz and Ceviche

August 10, 2011

Wednesday morning I took over the hotel computer and loaded up the slideshows. I hope they aren’t too cheesy. I watched them many times thinking about all the memories from the summer. I also spent a lot of time on the phone with my shipping agent. It seems that shipping anything to Peru is a HUGE mistake. Don’t do it. I should have just shipped my old bike to Chile and rode it back. Customs wanted a serial number for the engine so they can make sure I don’t sell it and replace it with a cheaper one. Really? Like I would sell a piece of it. They also want a $710 deposit, I will allegedly get back when I leave Peru. Great. That is a ton of money and I don’t trust customs to repay me. Arg. Whatever. So my agents are working on it and I just have to try back tomorrow.

For lunch, Gabe, Alex, and I went out with Bianca for more ceviche. I know I raved about it in my last blog, but wow. This new flavor is simply incredible. I can’t get enough. The restaurant was tucked away through a few narrow aisles surrounded by tiny shops. We sat in green plastic chairs in front of a stand, and the walls were covered with awesome retro posters. One was a photo of Ernesto “Che” Guevara and had a famous quote of his that I couldn’t quite translate. For the first time since spring break, I had the feeling that I was on vacation. I was sitting in a little café, in Lima, Peru, eating ceviche with a group of friends. I had no responsibilities and was able to simply enjoy the moment.

After a power nap that afternoon, we returned to Lolo and Penny’s house for Pisco Sours. Then it was out to catch some live music and have a few drinks.

As we walked into the venue, it was an assault on the senses. We walked through an art gallery to get to the patio in the back. First, it was the eyes. We passed ceramic pots and sculptures, deep mahogany cabinets and chairs, crafted picture frames, colorful mosaics and paintings, intricate marble inlaid plates and even books with original bindings. Entering the patio, the nose was next. We smelled the fresh, wood-fired pizzas along with the smoke of a nearby cigarette, which had a hint of an herbal flavor. The ears were next as a jazz trio jumped into their set. They consisted of an electric guitar, classical guitar, and a stand-up bass. I felt as if I had been transported into Greenwich Village. The taste buds were then treated to the Popeye pizza with spinach and bacon with a fresh marinara sauce over a soft, flavorful dough. Behind the musicians there was a large white sheet with silent movies from the 20’s playing in the background. We laughed as a guest singer hopped in to sing a song Cab Calloway style. He was a slightly stooped, awkward young man in DC shoes and a black coat who absolutely killed it. He was amazing. What an evening.

After the set, we headed off to grab drinks at a local pub and meet some of Bianca’s friends. I am so frustrated at my lack of Spanish skills, but I am still improving. Soccer and beer seem to make new friendships simple to forge, so it wasn’t so bad. We ended at a place that played some gringo music, which was kind of nice. I did meet a guy who is in charge of the climbing gym in Lima. We talked advanced routes and it gave me the idea to get back into climbing with Bianca once I’m back in Cusco. (Too bad I didn’t bring my gear.)

Thursday morning Alex, Gabe, and I went for even more ceviche. It is so good, Gabe mentioned how most people kind of bypass Lima in Peru, but stopping for ceviche is a must. In the afternoon I talked to my shipping agent again, there were more problems with the payment of the deposit. They won’t accept cash, only a bank certificate from a Peruvian citizen. After battling all day and figuring that out, we discovered the entire, arduous process was wrong. I thought I had explained my entire trip to him, but he thought I was shipping the bike back out of the port after I was done at the dorm. Everything is messed up. But, it is too late to change anything, so now I have to just hope that when I leave in December the customs officials are understanding and notify the agent in Lima to return my $710 deposit. Arg. I am not really freaking out, at this point I just want my bike. But if I don’t get the money back it is such an incredible waste and that kills me. One girl can live at the dorm for a year for $600 and I might lose that money because of stupid paperwork. Peru customs is not my favorite right now.

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