So much to tell and I keep putting it off and it just builds up and I forget it. But here goes for some of it.
My last night in Lima I went to a marinera dance class with Tanalees, an girl from the US working in the SAE. She was amazingly helpful during my two solid days spent there plotting my course and researching. The dance class was just what I needed to loosen up for my overnight bus ride to Trujillo (a coastal city in the north).
Trujillo is a lovely city, much more relaxed than Lima but it still bustling with about a million people. It was the economy bus and I didn’t sleep much but it was worth the $8 savings. I arrived and stayed in spartan quarters. It was nice of the hosts to take me in too because I called a day in advance and they only signed up to have girls stay with them. They were, however, an awesome family and were incredibly welcoming. They took me around to check out the city. There were a mother, father and five daughters. I was visiting one of the daughters: Elva, a firecracker of a schoolteacher and activities director. She reminded me a lot of the Choices counsellors. The first day I visited some ruins with one of the sisters, Rosana, who is a archeology buff. The Huaca de la Sol y la Luna was awesome. It’s an old pre-inca city with lots of colorful painting.
More interesting was that on the way we passed a sign which says: Chicha de Hora which turns out to be a drink. As best I could understand it’s a corn based beer/alcohol made in plastic buckets and left in the sun for a few weeks. Like many recent food experiences it was tasty but scary. It also threw my stomach for a loop. Best so far is the ceviche: raw fish with lemon and garlic. Unbelievably tasty and on my last day in Trujillo I even tried Ceviche Mixta which comes with raw octopus, squid, and conches. Good but the fish is the best part.
I visited Elva’s school and watched a mid year show of their artistic talents. Pretty cute watching 8 year olds do a taikwondo workout. But it was cool and the flutes demonstration in the evening was awesome. I ended up leaving with a party on my last night, drinking more than I expected at Elva’s friend’s birthday party. Her friends are mostly English speakers because her school is an English speaking school, Flemming High School.
Trujillo sports its military pride by having the local school bands practice for Fiesta De Las Patrias, Peruvian Independance Day.
Elva’s family followed the typical pattern of bread with butter and Nescafe for breakfast, a huge lunch with meat in it followed by more bread with butter and Nescafe for dinner. Elva was really shocked that I wanted to help with the dinner dishes (not that there were many). “Men don’t do that here” she exclaimed.
Elvas sisters make awesome crafts but it’s weird because they’re all USA style “country” crafts: the kind of stuff that goes with potpourri. I don’t think Peru has learned about potpourri but I think it’s be all the rage with Elva’s family.
My fourth and final day in the city I met a fellow SERVAS traveller. He had hurt is foot and didn’t want to go hiking in Cajamarca so I got to stay with the host where he was planning on staying. Seeing a fellow SERVAS traveller gave me a lot of good reinforcement. We gave each other a little advice. Mine was on calling hosts. He had been emailing them weeks before. My system so far has been to call them up on the phone at the wrong hours and stuttering out “I am traveller from SERVAS. Sleep you please?” Talking on the phone is infinitely harder than in person, quite possibly because the people on the other end can’t see my apologetic looks as I stumble through tying to tell them that I only want to meet them if it’s convenient for them. When I called the host in Cajamarca I spoke to a child. Or I thought I did. It was confusing. I called back later though and braved it again and spoke to the mother. I think.
Anyways, that night I took a bus to Cajamarca. It was fancy: we had beds and were served tasty sandwiches and hot drinks and I arrived rested.