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Archive for March, 2011

Mi casa

Hola,

I finally took a few pictures today.  They are mostly from around my home in Arequipa.  I live in a home-stay with two women.  The woman who owns the house is named Brenda.  She lives with her mother.  Earlier this week, Jackie, the young girl who cleans the house, left for school.  She turned 15 last Thursday. 

The first of the three doors

To get to my room is a bit of a hassle.  I have to pass through three different doors.  The first door is to the outside gate.  All houses have gates with locks on them.  These gates are always kept locked.  The second door opens up into an outside courtyard.  I then climb up the stairs, walk over the house, go down the stairs on the other side, and finally open the door to my room. 

Walking over the house

While it is considered a home-stay, I actually only eat meals in the house.  At first I was unsure of how well this would work, but I do get in quite a bit of Spanish practice during meals.  Today I spoke with Brenda´s mother for over an hour while I cooked my dinner.  I think she was lonely because Brenda left on a business trip.

One thing that is very different in Peru is the number of flies that are everywhere.  It is common to leave the inside doors to the house open, which allows the flies to come and go as they please.  I have actually gotten used to flies buzzing around while I eat.  A fun fact is that flies like to swarm in the air currents in the center of the room.  All food is covered and there are fly-swatters in every room.  Because I don´t like the flies, I only open my door at night when they are not around. 

Trees in the street

A view from the street

I think I have finally adjusted to living in Arequipa.  At first I was sick from the altitude difference, then from the water, and now I am finally feeling better.  While I can´t say I would want to stay in Arequipa forever, my classes are going well and I like my home-stay family.  I also enjoy the constant view of the mountains.  The architecture is definitely not as beautiful as in Buenos Aires, but perhaps the mountains make up the difference.

Laura

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First blog from Peru

Well, I have been in Peru for about a week and a half, and I am finally getting used to it. I have not yet taken any pictures, but plan to tomorow and will put them up then.

For this first post, I will show copy of an email I wrote to my family from the Lima airport.  Just after I wrote this email, I ended up having to wait another five hours in the airport because my flight was canceled.  However, the airlines gave me a voucher for lunch, so it was not that bad.  I also slept for a while in the airport because I was so tired.  This email is from March 10th:

I am writing from the airport in Lima. To say I am exhausted is an understatement. I have not gotten enough sleep for two nights now. Sleeping on the plane is not easy. From Chicago to Mexico City I was able to sleep pretty well, but I woke up at about 3:00am last night and was not really able to get back to sleep. I have avoided watching the in-flight movies, even though the one from last night was The King´s Speech, which I hear is pretty good. I got through the very long line and am now waiting for 11:00 to go and check in for my flight. I definitely stand out, however it has generally been possible for me to communicate in Spanish. Occasionally people use words that I don´t know, but for the most part the problem is the different accent and the speed with which they talk.

There are three people at my home-stay. A mother, her daughter, and their housekeeper. All I can think about now is my bed. At this point, I don´t even care if it has sheets.

There were a few things of interest on this trip so far:

I met some nice Americans who flew with me from Chicago to Mexico City and had a similar layover time. We sat together and talked. They were from the Art Institute and were architectural relief workers to areas with Earthquake problems in Chile. I also met a women on my flight from Mexico City to Lima. She was Peruvian and very nice. We spoke in both Spanish and English.

People tend to cross themselves and kiss their hands when the flight takes off. I only got nervous when we landed in Mexico City. I was too tired to be nervous when we landed in Lima.

At the airport, when you leave with your luggage, they have you press a button that yields a red or green light. You hope you get a green because that means you can proceed without a luggage inspection. When I arrived in Lima I saw this guy who got the red light. His luggage was open and he had about 50 pairs of what looked like Crocs. Hmmmmm. Not a very successful flight for him.

In Mexico City there was a drug sniffing dog. It went around our luggage check. It actually tapped it´s paw on a lady´s bag, but it must have been a test because she just smiled and handed something to the man.

People are very pushy in Lima. I was in the line to check in to LAN and the woman behind me kept hitting the back of my foot with her cart while the woman in front of me kept telling people to hurry up. Unless your flight is leaving immediately, I don´t see what the mad rush is.

Anyway, that is all so far. I am going to buy breakfast. I will probably not write again until tomorrow, unless my home-stay has a computer.

Laura R

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