After a far too short week with my friend in Houston, I found myself again at the airport waiting for a flight. There was no lounge I could use in Terminal A at Houston International, but there was a restaurant where I could get a discounted meal. I spent most of my time waiting for my flight walking back and forth to get some exercise before boarding. I was looking forward to two short and one long flight before arriving in my new temporary home.
Once on board, I found myself seated next a very interesting woman. By interesting, I mean that she listened to my stories with rapt attention. Before I knew it we were in Miami. Again there was no lounge I could use in Miami, but there was a restaurant. I didn’t have much time before my flight so I got a drink and a meal to go.
The couple next to me were French and spoke very little English, so I had a quite flight to Lima, Peru. When drinks were served, I ate the meal I picked up. By the time the inflight meal was served I really wasn’t hungry, but I knew that when I got to Arequipa I wouldn’t want to go looking for food, so I had better make sure I was well fed before I got there. I ate what I could, and anything that was in a secure package I put in my purse to have at the Airbnb.
The airport in Lima was frustrating. It was early morning, and the cleaners were working despite the terminal being packed. There was no one manning security, customs, and passport control, so all the people were crammed into the terminal waiting to be able to go to the gates at 0130. There were so few seating areas in the main terminal that people were sitting and laying on the floors. With most of the floors blocked off for cleaning, there was little space to walk.
The line at immigration was as long as it had been in Bogota, but since my flight wasn’t until 0445, I just shuffled along chilled. I was glad that I had taken my time going through emigration, and getting a boarding pass for my last flight, but I still faced nearly a two hour wait until I could through security, and the lounges were on the other side of security. Though there was almost nowhere to sit down in the terminal,. I finally spotted a seat in the food court where the cleaners had just moved their barriers. I set my watch to remind me to go back to security at 0130, and got out my kindle to read.
Finally I got through all the formalities to get back into the secure area and made my way to the gate before heading over to the lounge. Thank goodness the lounge had sleeping chairs in little simi-cubicles. I was too tired to care about food. I was one of the first people to get to the lounge so I got one of the sleeping chairs. Setting my watch, I pulled my hoodie over my face, and went to sleep. When I woke, I had enough time to diesel two cups of coffee, eat some exceptionally indifferent food and head for my gate.
After the short flight to Arequipa, it was a quick dash out of the terminal. I walked around just long enough to locate thea GolbalNet ATM, which my internet research informed me was at the airport. They do charge a fee, but my bank refunds these fees, so there wasn’t a problem with that. As I was exiting the terminal, I was intercepted by an official who told me that my taxi fare should only be 20 sol, and lead me out to turn me over to the taxi manager who lead me to a driver.
The driver was very nice and tried to see just how far my Spanish would stretch on the ride to the Airbnb. My new home wasn’t far from the airport. I recognized the front of the building from the photos on the Airbnb site. As I stood outside the locked gate, I realized that none of the texts I had sent since landing had gone out. I had data turned off for Whatsap. I turned it on and got in touch with the hosts. After some back and forth, I finally made them understand that I was on the sidewalk outside.
The hosts are very nice and spent a lot of time checking me in. I was glad when they finally went away and I could take a nap. When I woke up it was still early afternoon, so I got dressed and headed out the supermarket.
Unlike Medellin, I immediately felt relaxed walking down the street. The stunning view of the mountain helped. There is a train track running down alongside the street the Bnb is on. I love the sound of trains, and several go past a day. I found the supermarket with no trouble. I only bought what I thought I just had to have, figuring that I would be back the next day.
While I was shopping a lady gave me a sample of store made hotdogs. Boy where they good. I wasn’t sure if they were fully cooked so I looked up how long to boil raw sausages and cooked them as soon as I got them home. One thing I found interesting was that there was very little ground coffee and coffee beans at the store. There were shelves and shelves of instant coffee. It would seem that the folks here prefer instant coffee. That would explain why the Bnb doesn’t have a coffee pot. I was really regretting not packing my Aeropress. From now on I ask the Bnb owner if they provide a coffee pot.
On my first day of shopping, I bought a few things that the Bnb didn’t have or didn’t have enough of; a vegetable peeler, a wash cloth, three kitchen towels, toilet paper, paper towels, and trash bags. I found a coffee pot, but didn’t want to buy it without checking other stores for a better price. I assumed that the supermarket wouldn’t have good prices. So I got a tea strainer, thinking that I could seep my coffee in a cup and strain it into another. I got a very fine mess stainer, but found it let too much of the grounds go through.
I did return the next day, after a very restful night in my new home. Before into the supermarket, I toured the mall. It is pretty new and a lot of the stores are not occupied yet. even the department store didn’t carry a coffee pot. I am used to things in each country being different, but I really wasn’t expecting the preference for instant coffee. I did find a nice metal colander at the department store. It was about the same quality you would pay about $15 for in the US and was on sale for about $2.00.
I bought just enough food to get me though a day or two, but loaded up on other things for the Bnb. Since I am going to be here for so long, I have a slightly bigger budget for buying things to leave behind. I bought a small pair of scissors, since since I don’t like using my little ones in my sewing kit for the kitchen to open packages. I am using the dinning room table as my desk. It has a slippery glass top so I found a plastic mat with a rubbery texture to keep my laptop from sliding around. In addition to laundry soap and other cleaning products, I bough some storage containers and plastic storage bags.
I found some cone shaped coffee filters, but couldn’t find one of those plastic cone shaped things you put over a coffee cup to hold the filter. I thought that Maybe I could use a mid sized strainer, to make my coffee. It didn’t work out very well, so I decided that I was going to have to break down and buy a coffee pot. I decided to check out a couple more shops to see if I could get a better price than at the Supermarket.
Then next morning I decided to take a walk before getting more food. My hosts had told me about how to get to a park with lots of trees. It was a nice walk. Not long after I made the turn that was supposed to take me to the park, I noticed a flower seller, then an other, and another. The flower stands gave way to clusters of flower shops. It was Saturday and a lot of shops were closed, but the flower sellers were all open. I was thinking that the locals really must love flowers.
I was about to give up and head back toward the supermarket, when I saw tall trees ahead of me. I must have spotted the park. When I came to the gate, I realized that it wasn’t a park, but a cemetery. I considered back tracking and seeing if I could tell where I had turned wrong, but figured that a pretty cemetery was just as good a as a park too walk in.
There were several funerals going on while I was there. It seems that Saturdays are a favorite day for funerals here. It is hard for me not to grin all the time, but I arranged my face into what I hoped was a solemn expression and began to explore. Normally I visit more historic and less active cemeteries. I walked up to the large cross, which stood over the grounds and found that it was a commanding view.
When I got to the top of the stairs, I turned around and I saw that one of the funerals had ended and what seemed like a priest and a rabbi where leaving side by side.
I went up and took some artsy photos of the cross, and them began to explore. That area really wasn’t meant for visitors, so I really did enjoy poking around.
The cemetery really wasn’t very big so it didn’t take me long to see all there was to see. I found that what I had thought was a large drinking cup the lady was carrying was in fact a one of the cups provided by the cemetery to water flowers. I also located the place where they can be picked up and filled. Next to the watering station, were several large trash cans so that families could depose of old flowers and other debris from the graves.
Having finished my walk, I decided that I should go get some more food before heading home. I carry two small nylon shopping bags when I go shopping so that I don’t buy too much stuff at once. I also shop with a hand basket, rather than a rolling one for the same reason. I was pretty thirsty when I got to the market, so I made my way back to luncheon area and bought a bottle of water. As soon as I finished my water, I picked up a six-pack, a roast chicken, and a box of French fries, to take home. So fortified, I made my way to the small appliances department and got my coffee pot.
When I arrived home, I realized it was my birthday. I had forgotten to get myself something. Looking at the coffee pot, I figured that with the joy I would get out of it over the next months, it was a good a present as any. (No I am not forgetting the Apple watch I bought myself.) I was getting pretty sad that no one remembered my birthday, when I got a note from my friend in Houston. I am glad someone remember. I am sure I will hear from the rest on January 1st, since that is the fake birth date on my Facebook profile.
This time procrastination worked for me. The coffee pot was on sale now. Either that or they gave me a senior’s discount. I would like to think it was on sale. The day had worked out so well, I decided that the next morning I would walk to a park closer to town. It wasn’t the park the hosts had told me about, but it was recommended on the internet. I figured that on my way back, i would go to the supermarket before heading home.
Before I saw the store above, I had seen a several stores filled with cords of wood. I was wondering if people heated their homes with wood. When I started noticing all the barbecue pits for sale, everywhere, I understood what the wood was for.
There are lots of busses. Each one has a man or woman standing in the door, calling out where the bus was going, helping people in, and taking their money. It seems that you can flag them down on any corner, though I have seen some bustops.
As I walked, soaking up the flavor of being out of my element, I spotted a abandoned mansion. I wish I could get into the locked gates to get some better photos.
At the end of the bridge leading into town was a parklike roundabout. The planters had these signs on them. In the caption above, I pasted Google Translate’s exact translation of the sign. This is the program that the US government thinks is good enough to use on a social media page to tell if a person is a terrorist. What is meant is that the roundabout is part of the UNESCO world heritage sight. Prohibited: Loitering, Selling in the street or the sidewalk, and / or installation of Kiosks or other (stands).
I was enjoying my walk so much that I was almost disappointed to find the Parque Selva Alegre. It cost 1.50 sol to enter the park. That is about 0.45 USD, and was well worth it. The park was filled with families enjoying a Sunday in the park. There was music playing. I was well past the woman planing some music from a speaker, before It sunk in that the tune was Sound of Silence, with the song being sung in Spanish. I doubled back with my video on, trying to get near enough to record. Just when I got close enough the music stopped and the woman started preaching. I took off further into the park.
There were all sorts of food vendors around the park, each displaying signage reading that they were approved by the city authorities. Or they might have been employed by the city. My Spanish isn’t quite good enough for me to make it out for sure.
Unlike the parks I am used to, this one had recreational activities for children and a very small no-petting zoo. The sidewalks were painted with various cartoon characters, and hop scotch grids. Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
I walked around the edge of the park making sure that I missed nothing. There were several groups of musicians playing, as well as a few orators. I couldn’t make out what they were speaking about, since they spoke so fast. The park is elevated over the city and catches the wind. It was quite cool.
Once I got tired of walking around the park, I decided to head home. I thought about getting some of the food being offered, but I have yet to read up on street food here, so I wanted to do that before buying any. Once I got out of the gate, I spotted an ice cream vendor. She offered me a one, two, or three Sol sized serving. I got the three sol.
The ice cream was very good; coconut flavored with cinnamon sprinkled on top. I found a spot to sit down and relax while I enjoyed it. (Update: I found out that this “ice cream” was made with cheese! No wonder it was so good.) I was sitting on a wide slopped edge of a stairway. The concrete was warm and felt very nice. As I watched, I noticed a man in a city uniform and carrying a clipboard was questioning each of the vendors, seeming to be doing a sanitary inspection. That makes me a lot more eager to get some street food.
The ice cream vendor had the container of ice cream setting in a larger container of ice. As she waited for customers, she spun the inner container around to keep the ice cream cold.
Once I finished my ice cream, I set my phone to take me back to the apartment. For some reason Maps told me that I couldn’t have turn by turn walking directions when I wasn’t on the internet. My phone has data, so I was on the Internet. Rather than messing with it, I decided to set the Maps to driving directions, since the whole way home I would be walking alongside the streets. I really wanted to explore the town, but I needed to get back and do some shopping before going home.
About halfway home I spotted some nicely maintained grounds. They seemed to be part of a hotel compound, though they didn’t seem to be closed to the public. What really caught my eye was llamas staked out.
I made sure that when I got to the main road leading back to my neighborhood, I was on the other side of the road, because I had seen two shopping malls on that side. I stopped and walked around one, and was very entertained by watching an animatronic shark at the entrance. I found a kitchen store and learned that their coffee pots were more expensive than the one at the supermarket. I did buy a silicon spatula, and received a Spanish lesson from the clerks.
Once I got back into my neighborhood, I canceled map navigation and set up a new route to the Metro supermercado. That took me up a road that was new to me. I bought as much food as I could comfortably carry then headed home. I have a problem walking home, from the store. When I cross the street in front of the mall, for some reason, I keep turning left, when I need to go straight. I finally had to start telling myself, “Go straight, go straight.” as soon as I step out of the mall, until I have gone past were I seem to be compelled to turn left.
Though I have to boil water here, it really hasn’t been much trouble. I have a large pot on the counter, which I keep full of water, which was boiled. Before I got to bed at night I boil a teapot of water. It is cool enough the next morning for my coffee. The rest I use to top off the pot of water. There is also a larger thermos I keep filled. I have tow containers of cold water in the fridge. To wash vegetables; there is a large bowl. I put the vegetables into the bowl, cover them with treated water, mix them around, stain and repeat. I let the lettuce sit in the water for a while to get it crisp up.
I didn’t find much to take photos of the next few days, as I was busy in the apartment when I wasn’t dashing to the store for more food. It wasn’t until three days after my walk to the park that I saw things that attracted my camera. The first one was when I saw a bunch of boys playing soccer on the grounds of a nearby school. I was stuck that some of them were playing dark suits and ties.
There is a auto repair place just down the street. I had seen their dog hanging out on the sidewalk several times before. I thought he had cataracts obscuring his eyes. On this days, I realized that he had ice blue eyas with very clear pupils. I have never seen a black dog with blue eyes before.
One one of my shopping trips I bought several different kinds of bread at the supermarket bakery. They have large bins of bread. You pick out the ones you like. They are labeled as price one, two, or three so you have to bag each type of bread separately. I got a bunch of one price. Like in Warsaw, I had to weigh, print out a price sticker and place it on the bag. In the produce department they have the same system, but the scale has photos of the types of produce, and you tap the photo to print out the right sticker. I am glad I learned how to do that in Warsaw. With loose olives. You put them into a container and take them to the deli counter to be weighed.