This I believe shall be my last blog for the semester and what a semester it has been as I look back at all then new things I have come to experience , I can’t help but be a little sad. Knowing that in a couple of weeks I will be leaving this country which I now feel like I can say is my second home. I will miss the people I have meet. The places I have visited, the food I have tried, and by far the most rewarding aspect of this trip is hands down the friendships I have developed with my UNK student classmates. Needless to say this past weekend has been a blast!
We attempted to paraglide, the reason I say attempted was because when we went the first time paragliding there was fog, which made it impossible to go paragliding since it was too dangerous. After that our next activity was in Barranco at Rustica a restaurant where we took our UPC professors out to eat, for putting up with us for a whole semester. The food was great and the atmosphere of the establishment was great. The whole time they were playing 80’s pop music. My good friend Amelia was singing along to almost every song. I got some Argentinian beef which I must say is soooooooo much better than any Peruvian beef I have had here.
After we concluded our dinner with our professors we proceed to go to dance club to help celebrate a good peruvian friends birthday. Brian is definitely someone I keep in contact with long after my time in Peru is over. We proceed to a night club called Gotica in Larcomar this club is pretty exclusive you have to be on the list to be allowed in. We danced the night away
The next day we went to a restaurant that showed dances from all the regions from Peru. Unfortunately with the little sleep I had from the previous night I dosed off on a number of occasions. It seems that I have had a knack for falling asleep at the randomest times since I’ve been in Peru. But thats neither here nor there. This past Sunday we went to a national league soccer game in Lima. When I told my host dads brother he said that I should be careful because some of the fans can get rowdy. And boy was he right, as we were walking into the stadium we actually received death threats. However some of my American friends didn’t take a liking to this.We also witnessed a police officer hit a person with his baton, I don’t know what the situation is but something told me that person would be feeling that the next morning. Needless to say we had fun its hard to describe what happened because no matter what I say I know it won’t give our experience justice. While at the game I witnessed the most blatant form of racism. Whenever a black member for he opposite team had the ball the crowd would proceed to make monkey noises. This was a complete shock to me, but according to James this was a fairly common thing. After the game we went and celebrated at McDonalds which I must say was pretty darn good.
And now come the hard part. My life in Peru is slowly winding down I would just like to say that I am really going to miss hanging out with all the Americans that came with us on this trip. We all say we’re going to hang out once we get back home, I really do hope thats the case. I have come to think as these friends as family I know most people will not get a chance to read this but I want to give thanks to Dr. Avilés had it not been for him we would not have been as organized, I am one to never go for help when I need it. So for him to be away from his spouse and for putting up with us in class. I would like to give thanks to Christian for showing me a new perspective on peruvian literature had I not come or taken his course I would not have read some interesting stories and learned a little about the history of Peru along the way. I would also wish to apologize for falling asleep in his class on numerous occasions. :) And for Roberto our grammar professor. I really thought he got the short straw out of all our professors he had to teach a crappy subject with students varying in spanish proficiency and he had to try and make it interesting. I know we gave him a hard time as well. I am thankful that he still kept trying. Any other teacher might have just given up. Once again thank you all for putting up with us. I must be shoving off now who knows I might continue documenting the last couple of days in Peru seeing as I’m going to visit the rainforest next week. I hope I don’t catch some crazy illness :D
Hello as I type this out I realize that I only have a few more weeks in Peru. I am full of mixed emotions when I think of my return date. Part of me is extremely happy and the other half is sad. I am happy because I will finally see the people I have missed. However I am also going to miss all the great people that I have met on this wonderful experience. But enough of that this blog isn’t about being sad! This past weekend we decided to go Punta Rocas again to have another campfire. We all met up in front of UPC around 2. Once we had all arrived the next thing to do was figure out how we were getting to the beach. We decided on asking another combi to take us there. We asked a couple of them and their response was they don’t go that far. A few of our Peruvian friends began to negotiate with them. The first one gave us a price of 15 soles each. Most of our group was ok paying that price. However our Peruvian friends thought that was too much. The next combi said his price was 12 soles. Which I thought was a pretty good deal, but I don’t think that was good enough for our Peruvian friends.
They started asking other combis and it turned into a bidding war! Some of the students from Nebraska grew tired of the bickering and went into the combi that was offering 12 soles and that was the end of that discussion. We arrived at Punta Rocas and were planning on having a great time when beach security told us they wouldn’t allow us on the beach if we had fire wood. As we were trying to convince one security guard, another guard calls the policemen on his radio( talk about bieng snitch) The police officer tells us we can’t be on the beach with firewood and that we had two options. 1) we leave the firewood at the entrance and they’ll let us proceed. or 2) we can go to another beach that allowed campfires. We all decided to go to the other beach in Arica which was about 5 kilometers away. Before we left a local who had seen our situation came up to us and said ” Come after 6:30 the police and security will be gone, you can then have your campfire”.
We arrived at the Arica beach and some of my classmates expressed their uncertainty of being on that particular beach. Anderi spoke to one of his host brothers who told us that beach was very unsafe at night. We stayed on that beach for about an hour and a half. Around 6:30 we made our way back to Punta Rocas for some good old fashioned fun. We immediately began working on the campfire. Once we got it started our groups atmosphere changed. Because personally I had thought the night had been ruined because of what had happened earlier. Around 12 some of my classmates began to head home. As for those that stayed we had to put up with the cold weather of the ocean. One thing I can say was I had never been so cold in my life. The dew from the waves caused most of our things to get wet including the blankets and towels we were laying on. Our fire had gone out and we had no more firewood.
This is where my former boy scout skill kicked in I noticed that there were still embers from our fire. I started looking for some things to burn and found nothing. I started calling people over because it was pretty obvious we were all freezing and we huddled around the embers for warmth. We then resorted to something that I would only have resorted to if it involved a math class. We burned our Deep Rivers book, gasp! I know but it was either we stayed warm or we froze to death. I choose warmth over hypothermia. After a night of nearly freezing to death we packed up early and decided to head out. As we walked up the hill to the bus stop we were greeted by a little brown puppy. This puppy was so cute that she followed us all the way up. By the time we had arrived at the bus stop I had proceeded to call her Jasper. I’m not sure why I called her Jasper seeing as she’s a girl but the name stuck.
This past weekend we went to Cerro Azul where my host family owns a resturarnt. We left on a Friday saturday morning we started off by going to some bus terminal where we could get a bus or a taxi for at least 20 soles. The first man to talk to me wanted to charge me 150 soles for 4 of us and 150 for a cab of just 3 of us since we were 7 in total. This we considered to high a price so we began to ask around. This one gentleman with no teeth walked up to Marshall and offered to take us for 10 soles each, only problem was he had no car. Someone from our group mentioned “thats how people get killed” we all thought this was funny. I then noticed a huge bus behind us saying they were going to Cañete which is only 20 minutes away from Cerro Azul I then ask the gentleman how much he’s charging and he replies 10 soles. I was like ” Get on guys!” We got on and to our surprise the bus was really comfortable and was playing a movie. Along the way all we could think about was how cheap we had gotten this bus for! Since we usually have to pay 10-15 soles just to get anywhere remotely fun and close in Lima. Once we arrived in Cerro Azul we proceed to my host families restaurant , I introduced my friends to my host dad who is only 23 years old. We then decide to go swimming. After an hour of beach we decide to go eat at the restaurant and let me tell you the food at this place is awesome. My friends also liked their food as much as I did if not more. After that we decided to head to the pier that is located in Cerro Azul. We saw the sunset and decided to have a game of cards we did this for a couple of hours and proceeded to light a campfire on the beach. Something that we have done quite often here in Peru. Then next morning we left really early back to Lima.
As for my classes my grammar I believe is improving seeing as I am taking two grammar classes. In Peruvian literature we are talking about the author Mario Vargas Llosa, from what we have learned I am really interested in the way he writes. I like how he incorporates actual historic events that happen throughout Latin America. I also like how he writes against authoritarian governments and corruption. Of all the authors we have learned this semester I think he is the one that catches my interest. Well this is all for now .
Wow its so hard to believe that in less than a month I get to go home. It literally feels like i just arrived in Lima. But lets not think of that that now and let me focus on what’s been happing these last couple of weeks. Last weekend we went to Arequipa, and let me tell you I think it has been one of the highlights of this trip. We left for Arequipa on a Friday. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:30 in the morning. Which meant that I wasn’t going to go to sleep since we had to be there by at least 4. The previous night some other friends from Nebraska decided to have a movie night, this is the reason for me not sleeping the entire night.
Well, we arrived at the airport at around 4 in the morning. Waiting at the airport was relatively uneventful We arrived in Arequipa at around 7 in the morning. Once we got off the airport I noticed that it was cooler than in Lima. I looked around and noticed that people were wearing coats and sweaters. All I could think about was how I hadn’t packed properly…. again. It always seems that when I go on trips I am either always under packed or I forgot to bring something that is needed. Regardless we leave the airport and we are greeted by taxi drivers who ask where we want to go. We each get into a taxi and they took us for 20 soles!!!! I was extremely surprised by this because at Jorge Chavez International Airport they charge an arm and a leg to get anywhere. Because they know we’re tourists. As we were making our way to the hostal i started falling asleep. When we arrived we didn’t see anyone so we assumed that we had been the first to arrive. So after 15 minutes of waiting we decided to call some of the other students only to find out that they had already been inside waiting for us.
For some reason there was some confusion regarding the rooming situation, I could tell that some were getting upset but we were then settled into our rooms. The boys had their own room. Derek, Andrei and, I got a room to ourselves which I have to say was pretty good. We had our own bathroom and shower. The girls had to share a room for the 9 girls minus the bathrooms. After a couple hours of much needed sleep we decided to go exploring since the Plaza de Armas was only a ten minute walk from our hostel. When we arrived at the Plaza de Armas I was taken back by the beauty of the cathedral. Thats something I have grown to appreciate during my time in Perú is the colonial architecture. Anywho I digress, We walked around and decided we were hungry so we went up to this one restaurant. I decided to get Recotto Relleno which was a stuffed pepper with ground beef inside. This was so good!
After lunch a tour company asked us if we would like to go on a 4 hour tour of the city for 15 soles ! I thought this was a good deal so I quickly said yes. They first took us to some petting zoo of some kind where they had llamas and alpacas. They also took us to a room where they had wool from llamas and alpacas getting ready to be processed. All I could say was that it really stunk. After that they took us to a park and explained some things. I really wasn’t paying close attention… Like always. After that they took us to this place where we could see the lush green fields. Here I had one of the best tasting ice cream. This was called queso helado. “frozen cheese” I at first was skeptical of this cheese because since I have been in Peru i have not been a big fan of their dairy products. But this stuff was delicious!!!
Following this little stop we went to this ranch where we got to ride horses, this time the horses were smaller and didn’t feel the need to gallop. Mind you I would have liked for my horse to have run but maybe I shouldn’t have thought so big, seeing as it was my second time riding a horse. The ranch concluded the tour and they took us back to the Plaza de Armas. We decided to go shopping at the local stores. I for some reason have been buying chompas (sweaters) like candy. I have a total of 4 which is ridiculous because I can’t wear them in Lima or when I get back home seeing as it will be summer. After that we returned to our hostel and called it a day
The next day we went white water rafting and let me tell you this was the highlight of the trip!! About half of our group had some experience and the other half had only seen white water rafting on t.v. I fell into the the half that had never gone water rafting. They gave us all our gear, gave us a quick lesson and we were off into the water. The water felt so good against our hot skins. A little ways down our boat which consisted of Brenda, Chelsie, Jessica, and I got stuck on a rock. As our guide was attempting to get us moving we ended up flipping our boat!!!!!!!! I have to say this was really cool!!!!!!! I could stand so I wasn’t to worried. It was funny because our guide had told us earier that if anyone fell off the boat they would be buying the first round of beer. We told him since it was his fault we fell he had to buy it . He just laughed haha . Andrei was so lucky he actually fell off his boat and was stranded on a rock for about 15 minutes. I really wished it could have been me. After that we went home and ate pizza hut I think.
We called it in early since we had to wake up early for our trip to see Colca Canyon and the condor. We woke up around 2:30 since our van was going to arrive at 3:00 am. This ride was anything but comfortable. As we climbed higher in altitude all I could think of was why hadn’t i brought a sweater! We ate breakfast at a little restureant in the capitol of the province we were in. What really blew my mind was that this “capitol” was roughly the size of Elm Creek. I couldn’t help but wonder how unequal the money distribution is Lima is so modern and westernized compared to Chivay. When we arrived at the point to look at condors we noticed that we were one student short! Wouldn’t you know it Adriana was the student that had been missing haha we looked at the trail we had just walked on and saw Adriana walking. A little ways up we came to the spot where we could see the condors but to our disappointment we didn’t see any. So in order to get over my disappointment I decided to buy another sweater. Our tour guides then decided to take us up a little further hoping that we could catch a glimpse of a condor.
They were right! we saw a condor fly right over us! After that we went to a thermal pool which I must say were really relaxing. We spent about an hour at the springs and then made our way back to Arequipa and ate at a restaurant I had alpaca for the first time! It was pretty good however, it doesn’t compare to the beef back home haha. After a long day we went to sleep early since we needed to be up by 5:30 since our taxies would be coming to pick us up.
After we arrived back in Lima we were told that we would be visiting high school in the area. I have to say I really enjoyed talking to these students. Their English is really good which I am surprised. Everyone thought I was peruvian which by this point I am getting used to. In this one group I was in the asked me to speak in Spanish, i did and they started laughing! This had never happened to me! I asked them what they thought was funny and they proceeded to tell me that they liked the sound of my voice and how I transitioned so easily from English to Spanish. I however will be going to another school, and according to some of my peers, these students are bad!
Yesterday I went to a documentary called “Choleando” the theme of this video was racism in Perú watching video made me think of the subtle ways racism is still practiced. One part really caught my intrest, the part about ” Mejorando La raza” Which translates to “Bettering the race” Some not all people believe that they should marry someone who is of light skin so that if when they have children you make them whiter. Because in their minds being lighter skinned its better. This is sad to see and hear but unfortuenly this is the reality. I find it hard to imagine that anyone could think like this. Well this is all for now !!! Later.
It has been almost two and a half months since we have arrived in Lima, as I write this I am staring to feel feel sad knowing that my time here is limited. But enough of that these last couple of weeks have been great! For starters some of our friends from Peru wanted to camp out at a beach. And after a lot of planning problems we were able to decide on day. We decided to go on a Friday, since we would have to get up early for our bus to Ica.
My friends and I split up the cost of the food and other supplies. We meet up at 4 in front of UPC but as usual things never go the way we planned. We had to wait for some of our Peruvian friends because for some reason they don’t believe in being punctual (mind you not all Peruvians are like this). The next problem we faced was getting to the beach Punta Roca which is 45 minutes away from Surco with no traffic. Our Peruvian friend Badi was able to convince a bus driver to give us a ride to Punta Roca. What made this even more awesome was the fact that this apparently was illegal. As we approached the toll booth we anxiously waited. To our great relief we were able to pass without a moments hesitation.
Once we arrived at the beach Marshall, Andrei, Juan Manuel, Brian, Hugo and I decided to jump into the ocean. The water at this beach was so clean I was able to see the bottom. Unfortunately this be ach has been known to have strong waves. On one occasion a wave was able to take us under and dragged us to shore. I got a couple scrapes, but Marshall got it worse then I did his back was all scraped up from being dragged. Apart from this incident the campfire went off great we spent the night just hanging out and having a great time.
The following Sunday we went to Ica which was a 4 hour bus ride,the ride there was very comfortable with two movies showing. Prior to coming to Ica I had slept very little during that weekend and was extremely tired. Unfortunately once we were checked in I began to unpack my cloths only to find out that I had really under packed. It seems that anytime we have a trip I always under pack. Once I had purchased my shorts and t-shirts we began to participate in many of the activities. I mostly swam in the pool the first day, but once the sun had set we decided to try sand boarding. Which turned out to be a blast and not to hard to do standing, the only problem was stopping. Regretfully my first attempt at stopping resulted in face planting in the sand. Which I must say was not the most fun. I went down twice and the result was the same for the second time around only this time I ended up with a mouth full of sand. After we finished sand boarding my friends decided to go play soccer, I on the other had decided to sit it out and rest my neck since it was really stiff from the falls earlier.
The next day we went on a tour in Paracas where we visited a national reserve where we were able to see sea lions. The tour guide told us that men had to stay 3 or 4 months out of the year to clean up all the poop that had been left on the ground by the birds. The sight was unbelievable but the smell was entirely a different story. Once we got back from this tour most of us went to the pool and played a water polo/ wrestling/ soccer game. The next day was short since we had to leave but before we left a few of us decided to go horseback riding which i think was the highlight for the weekend. I would also like to add that this was my first time horseback riding. The next day I was a little sore from the riding but other than no serious damage.
As for our classes it’s starting to fall into a routine all our field trips our finished, Both my grammar classes at times feel as if they are running together. My literature class is by far my favorite class we have been discussing about José Maria Arguedas who was a famous author. His stories mostly deal with indigenous cultures. What make this author so interesting is that he places himself in the indigenous role. Seeing as in a way he was part of that world since his step-mother mistreated him. In our Latin American Politics we have been looking at different countries like Bolivia and how the indigenous people of that county had elected their first Indigenous President and the problems that Evo Morales government faced. We have also discussed how this victory for Evo Morales helped legitimize indigenous movements which may or have influenced how the indigenous people go about things.