Monday, August 15, 2011

Reggae, Harry Potter, and French Girls

August 11-15, 2011

Thursday evening Alex, Gabe, and I headed out for sushi. Afterwards we met Bianca and her friend Ana at a huge club that brought in a couple reggae DJs from Britain. I’ve never really seen reggae live before and it was awesome. The bass was so intense it went right through our chests. There must have been a lot of foreigners there because for once I wasn’t the tallest person in the room. We danced from 11 until 4:30 in the morning. That is two days in a row where we got back well after 4. I guess they know how to have fun in Lima.

Friday, Bianca and I kind of lounged around, watching Kill Bill and Rush Hour. I was told there was a chance that I might get the motorcycle on Friday, so I spent the day waiting for the call. It finally came at 6:00, and I learned that the bike was going to be inspected on Monday and it was almost through. I should get it Monday. I did some laundry and then it was time to say goodbye to Bianca. She was headed out of town for the weekend and I moved to Penny and Lolo’s house. I just want to say thanks to Bianca for taking me in and showing me around. I appreciate it so much.

Lolo cooked dinner on that first night, and we had a good time getting to know each other. They take in vagrants (aka, their children’s friends) all the time. Penny joked the security guards must think they are running a hostel. I learned a little about wine since I know nothing (my sister Mary will be happy about that) and I realized the wine I brought as a gift causes terrible headaches and no one drinks that kind. Lesson learned. :)

View from roof of Lolo and Penny's house

Saturday we went to the photo exhibition in Lima. Wow. I don’t know much about photography but the best photographers from Peru had their work on display. It was incredible. It made me want to try and do a better job of documenting this trip. I particularly enjoyed the photos depicting real life scenes of people and how they lived.

Photo Exhibition

Sunday morning I awoke with a little alarm. Not to gross anyone out, but this story is funny and embarrassing so why not. My “stomach issues” (code for diarrhea) had returned a few days before. At this point, I don’t even notice because it has been a week of semi-solid and a week of really bad for 8 weeks. But I have been trained to look for blood, which is a very bad sign. Well, it was bright red so I kind of panicked. We went to the clinic but it was closed, so we headed to the emergency room. Fortunately, Penny’s sister-in-law was there and started asking a million questions. All of a sudden, Penny started yelling in the car. She realized that we had a hearty portion of beets for dinner the night before. Haha, it’s all good, but I was pretty embarrassed as they made fun of me the whole way home.

After that it was my day to go out in downtown Lima and explore on my own. I took the Metro, which is a bus system that acts like a subway. It was a piece of cake, even though I took the wrong one at first and got to see some of the northern slums. I arrived downtown and saw the plaza with the great cathedral and palace.

Plaza de Armas in Lima

I then was told to check out the San Francisco cathedral because of its catacombs. I bought the ticket and waited for the guide to come. The woman said the Spanish guide was here, but the English guide was going to be a little late. So the entire room got up except two ladies sitting a little ways away. It turns out they are two lawyers from France on a 3 week vacation through Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. We had a lot of fun going through the tour. At a painting of the last supper, I told them how my favorite painting in Peru is the one in Cusco where Jesus and the disciples are eating “cuy”, which is guinea pig. Um yeah, it turns out that is a dirty word in French. Their laughter disrupted the guide's speech. The catacombs were unbelievable. There were rows and rows of bones everywhere. There also were several pits of skulls. The guide said they found about 25,000 bodies buried beneath the church. I have never seen anything like it. There was a sign about every 5 feet saying no pictures, but there was no way I was going to not document this. Upstairs, however, was by far my favorite room. There is a library that the monks used that looked exactly like it was taken out of Hogwart’s! Seriously, it is the coolest library on the planet. The books were centuries old, there were spiral staircases, and old cushioned chairs. All you Harry Potter fans should be so jealous.

Lots of Bones

Pit of Various Bones

Skull Pit

After the cathedral we went to Maury’s Hotel for their famous Pisco Sours. They were everything they have been touted to be. Pamela, Loudi, and I were trading stories and somehow the morning’s events came up. It turns out “beets” is another dirty French word. So my first two words I learned in French I probably shouldn’t repeat. Haha.

We headed out to dinner and I ordered Chicharron Pollo. It is the closest thing I will get to boneless wings down here, and they were pretty good. The ladies treated me to dinner to say thanks for all the information I gave them about Machu Picchu and traveling to Cusco. Thank you so much!!!! I hope I see you in Cusco!

Pamela, Myself, and Loudi in the Plaza

By 11 pm, it was 6 am France time and it had been a long day. I grabbed a taxi on the way home and the driver asked if I was Brazilian! This is a compliment, I may not sound Peruvian yet, but at least I am not a drop dead gringo. Maybe there is hope for my Spanish yet.

Monday came with the excitement that I would finally get my bike. Penny and I made reservations to eat at a fancy restaurant owned by the Swiss motorcyclist I met in Pisac. His place is amazing (La Romatica Ristorante: and he joined us for part of the meal. He and Penny had a lot to talk about since she lived in and met her husband in Geneva, and he gave me some possible routes and advice for my first trip across Peru. Penny treated me to yet another meal, thank you, thank you.

Roberto when I met him in Pisac

During lunch, I got the call. The inspector decided not to come in, so I would have to wait ANOTHER day for my bike. It has been 13 days. I give up. I'm going down to customs myself tomorrow and am going to start handing out bribes like I'm Lloyd and Harry in Dumb and Dumber. Thanks Barn, there ya go.

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