Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peru, I´m getting to know you

Sooo, I arrived in Lima, Peru about 2 1/2 weeks ago (August 10 to be exact). I arrived in the middle of the night, thanks to an unexpected delay in New York, Newark Airport. We were on the runway, ready to leave when the pilot comes on and says that there´s a storm in Jersey, so we couldn´t leave until it settled down. They turned off the plane and we sat on the runway for more than two hours. Just before we left, we decided to quickly try and call home to have them inform Abby´s host family to send a taxi at a later time than originally planned. Since we only thought of that literally 30 seconds before we were finally taking off, there wasn´t time to tell them my email address, etc to contact the people who were sending a taxi for me. Which, unfortunately, resulted in me paying double the amount that Abby paid and still about twice as much as a Peruvian would have paid at any given time. I had to pay 100 soles, which is about 33 dollars which, for a 20 minute taxi ride, still isn´t bad, but for Lima standards, was out of this world. Oh well, that´s the way it goes I guess.

Anyhow, arrived in Lima, got to our respective new homes, and got some much needed rest. The next day, I spent organizing my room and getting ready to explore Lima. After being here for a couple of days, I had met all of the 20?? people that live in the same hostel as I and had also gotten a small map of the blocks around my, what I will now refer to as my house. Grocery shopping, exploring and all the normal things followed. I also met Abby´s family and told them that I was going to begin searching for a job. That night, they gave Abby a jobs listings paper with a few interesting options circled. I emailed those places and got a response back that day from one located in the city center. They wanted to interview me the next day bright and early! Ahhh! I don´t know my way around the city!!! So, I found my way, clumsily, to the interview, they hired me on the spot and I began training that day. My job is to train people on English comprehension and how to use a specific software program utilized in the job. So, basically they have to go through me and my three co-trainers in order to be hired on for the job. The business works with transcribing voice mail messages into text messages so that you can recieve your voicemails without having to take the time to check your voicemail. It comes as a text, nice and easy, to your cell phone and you can quickly read it. It´s a simple idea, but one that´s taking flight all over the US, Europe, Canada, and South Africa. Interesting, eh?

So, I´ve been working in the job now for about two weeks and I really like it. Besides that, I´ve been working at finding flights back to Brazil to visit, with no luck so far. The flights I´ve found are not only extremely expensive, but they fly first to Miami, Florida, and then back down to Brazil! Yeah right, I´m not flying for 15 hours just to get to Brazil. I might as well take a bus and take in some scenery for that kind of travel time. Yuuuck. I´m still looking though.

This past weekend, Abby and I, along with about 58 other people, went with this hostel in another part of the city and drove to a city called Ica. From Ica, we took vans to this small lake called Huacachina, which is surrounded by restaurants, hostels, and desert!! We took dune buggy rides through the desert and stopped three times to go sandboarding. We went, head first on our stomachs down huge sand dunes, while laying on a smaller version of a snowboard. It was soooo much fun!! In total, I think I spent about $65-70 US. It was really cheap! That included the excursion, the hostel, all our food and a club + drinks on Saturday night. Not too shabby, huh?

Hopefully, our next trip will be the Amazon. We´re trying to get there before their rainy season hits, which will be starting before too long. Yikes!!! Keep the mosquitos away!

Soo, until next time...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Arrival in Peru

ok, sooo first day info. here it goes. today, i unpacked, organized my room, got a better tour of the place where i'm staying. met the owner's wife, fiorella, who is WONDERFUL! she's so sweet. she has a five year old and she's pregnant with another, due in december. there are about 10? people living here right now, i haven't met any of them...yet. some haven't arrived yet, but they are coming in the next couple of weeks.

abby came over around 3 and we went to a mini market close to my place and bought some food cause i hadn't eaten yet at that point. i had lunch/breakfast and then we head out to find a certain supermarket so we could get some shampoo, conditioner, milk and other things that weren't' at the mini mart. well, we were told to take this form of transportation called a 'combi' so we stood on the street corner at the stop and asked a lady how to get to the market we were looking for. she flagged down a combi and told it where to drop us off. combi, we learned, is a miniature full sized van...if that makes sense. *think full sized van look only smaller proportions*. this thing is sooo shady looking! it was awesome! we cram into this van with another 10+ people and it costs 1 sole, which is about 35 cents, and they take off before you even get a chance to sit down. sink or swim, baby. anyhow, they take off and swerve through traffic, slamming on the breaks and throwing open the sliding door any time they see an interested customer on the side of the road-just hope to God they are on the same side as the combi, or else we're doing a major lane change on the fly. when it's your turn to get off, you go and go quickly, cause they're doing their thing as fast as possible. soooo, we jump out and look around, not seeing the supermarket and without a clear idea of where we are. we decide to follow the crowds and walk straight ahead. we walked for a couple blocks, with a map in hand might i add, looking for this so-called supermarket. we decide to ask someone and they say, "oh yeah, it's straight ahead, keep walking". well, we walk a little further with no luck and i suggest that we ask another two people to cross-reference our directions (brazil taught me that people tend to give directions, even when they have no earthly clue where you need to be going). of course, the next two people (independently asked) each gave us different directions. thanks guys. we finally saw a hotel and stopped there to ask directions.

the lady said that she didn't know the market we were looking for, but there was another close by. we went to that one, picked out some stuff, were heading for the checkout line when i realized that it was going to be a pain in the a** to carry all of that stuff home. crap! i contemplated putting it all back and nixing the whole idea until i got better accustomed to things, but i really needed some of the stuff. we decided to bring it all back to abby's place, so i could see where she lived, and then we would find a way to get it back to mine. not having a car is really annoying when you're wanting to bring stuff home. soooo, we started walking to find our way to abby's. wait a sec, we don't know where we are. we can't find the roads, really, on the map and things are just not adding up. well, after asking about 4 people, we finally discover that we aren't in abby's neighborhood (San Isidro), like we previously thought, but are actually in the neighboring one (Miraflores) and it's now dark and not a good idea to walk all the way back. crap! we find an extremely nice lady who explains it all to us after much confusion and then flags down a taxi and speaks with the driver. i heard her speaking to him and was really glad when one of the first things out of her mouth was "you better not overcharge these girls. how much will you take to bring them to...yadda yadda yadda". haha, sooo in the end, we took a taxi back to abby's for 6 soles= about 2 dollars.

we got to abby's and spent the rest of the night talking with her host family. they're really great, but man do they loooove to talk. i spaced quite a few times, don't tell. they're really sweet, though. the mom insisted on driving me home because she didn't want me to get lost. thanks! aaand, here i am. just got home and am exhausted. i can't wait to sleep. busy day, more planned for tomorrow.