1st day in Lima
My landlady wanted us to visit Miraflores together today at 12 so I went out for a short walk in the morning. And, to my great and happy astonishment, the apartment is literally two minutes away from the seaside!
So tomorrow I will have breakfast here... Stay tuned...!
Then I walked to the other side of my street... Today was the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, so Lima was extraordinarily quiet and calm. It seems fishers blessed their boats and come ceremonies were carried out elsewhere, but nowhere I could easily go. I'm still quite tired today. It was calm and quiet but still terribly polluted, especially for a village girl like me!
And I have to remember this is NOT Belgium, where cars stop for you before you even think of crossing the street. NO, here, they're out to get you!!!!
There are huge condos and then there are these old houses... Very few of them, unfortunately.
Then I went home, had some pineapple, and we went off to Plaza Kennedy, one of the two main squares of Lima. Why on earth did they name their main square Kennedy??? It's a big, green park, full of Limanos sitting around, walking around, and there's an amphitheater where anyone can go and dance or act or make a speech or whatever! I'd never seen anything like it (I've never been to Hyde Park, pobre de mio). And there are the cats of Our Lady of Lourdes, who climb up on you and demand you love them. So I did.
//This stupid blog is cropping my photos and I don't know what to do about it. It's cropped out the three cats sleeping, grrr....//
Damn, I only took videos of the Plaza and this stupid blog won't allow me to post them. I wanted you to see all the beautiful Peruvian faces, too. I can't get enough of them. It's so exotic to me! And so different, too...
Rosalba (my landlady) showed me the Pizza Street, so-called because of the restaurants that line it on both sides, and the department stores, and "Zapatero Street" which holds at least 10 shoe shops (where I bought a pair) and my school!! So I'll be walking through Parque Kennedy every morning next week, yaaayyy!
Rosalba left just after having imparted the sad story of her 3-year marriage to an alcoholic guitar player and sound engineer. They've been divorced for eight years but she's still madly in love with him and still hasn't met a single man as intelligent and wonderful as him... If only he weren't an alcoholic...
And then I was free to go shoe and SIM card shopping. People here like to talk and they're very patient with A1 learners... The shoe shop owner complained about the cold (it's 19 degrees) and I said that although I understood him, I came from Belgium and liked the weather here.. The SIM card guy sold me the card then said there was a problem. I asked what it was and he replied but there was no way I could understand what he said. So I asked him to type it into Google Translate. Telefonu aldı eline, alış o alış... He took my phone and spent like 5 minutes typing. I said, It seems to be a big problem!! and he laughed...and he continued to type...I got more and more anxious...he typed...he typed... Finally he gave me the phone and whew, it turns out I just had to go to the supermarket next door to get a recharge. I went, asked "where...?" they said "at the pharmacy." Like, DUH! How could I not know that the pharmacy sells phone credits?? The pharmacies here are so strange. There are ATMs inside (Mistercash), they change money, they have phone stuff and, oh yeah, also some pharmaceutical stuff. Next, the waitress at the small Peruvian-Chinese place where I had lunch offered me lemonade and coffee and was just generally lovely (I was totally unable to understand the menu and asked her to bring me what she likes most. It was delicious). And, of course, there was the carinoso, affectionate policeman at the Parque del Amor, who barged into the video I was posting on facebook! He wasn't a real policeman, rather something like a guardian of the peace, an unarmed presence throughout the city.
I'm not writing very well tonight, sorry. I'm so tired!!!
What I really wanted to say about the walk today is that Miraflores is extraordinarily like Kadıköy in İstanbul. There's the Bağdat Caddesi side, with all the shops, the clean streets, then there's the Sahilyolu, withe the promenades, the parks, people doing sports, making out, kissing, drinking (not much alcohol around, actually; people seem to drink more in Istanbul than they do here!), taking selfies... Everyone is so happy and smiley, you get the feeling that all is right in the world. Here I must add a multitude of photos. It's inevitable.
One more thing about Limanos: everybody dresses as if they were a tourist. Or as if they'd forgotten to change after getting got of bed that morning. I didn't stand out, with my walking shoes and backpack! When they're not in pyjamas or sweat pants, they're in ultra-torn jeans.
It seems that Lima is always grey like this, that you rarely ever see a blue sky. It may be depressing after a while, but I found it charming today. And it was cool, but fine with a jacket and a thin scarf. Some people were in shorts and sandals, others were in thick winter coats! There's 98% humidity but it didn't bother me at all. The main problem is that the towels at home just won't dry.
Tomorrow, I'm hesitating between two neighborhoods: Plaza des Armes (the real city center) and Barranco, which is at walking distance from here, a village in the city, with old houses and art galleries and a bohemian air to it, the nicest part of Lima, so they say... Yes, I'll go to Barranco. I'm going to meet up with my neighbor Guy's friend, Renaud, for dinner at a posh restaurant, also in Barranco. Yaayyy! I can already smell the ceviche and pisco sours!!!
And now... BED!!!! It's 4AM in Belgium and 9PM here. I still feel more Belgian, time-wise.