Saturday, April 25, 2009

So much to say, so little time

I am so tired but I dont want to sleep I want to write stuff down so I don´t forget! On Thursday when I arrived in Lima I had breakfast at the guesthouse which was a piece of bread with jam. I also had lunch there which was very yummy chiken with rice and yellowy potato stuff with salad. Rice and chicken are very popular here. Everything comes with rice. Juan hailed us a taxi and the way it works here (oh by the way WUSC did pay for my taxi so phew) is that you haggle a price. So the first taxi was too expensive and we took the second one. There is no meter and if you are a gringo they will try to rip you off apparently. However Miranda got a taxi for only 8 soles when 15 would have been reasonable, which is probably because she is a blond white female and Juan says the taxi driver thought it was an honour to drive her. Hahaha. Miranda is another SWB student, from the University of Victoria. She is a business student so she will be doing some admin stuff and teaching too. She is going to Chiclayo and she is leaving with Juan in the morning. She is 23 and has travelled everywhere, like all over Asia and Europe and she is going to study in Mexico next semester. So, on Thursday we went to the WUSC office and sorted all the paperwork out. I was worried about my Visa as it was only stamped for 90 days, but apparently the extra 8 days are no problem, I just have to pay 1 USD per day extra which is no big deal. Everybody here gives us the price in USD dollars which is useless because I don´t have any and it doesn´t really mean anything to me. But I have asked and everyone thinks the USD and the Canadian Dollar are the same thing. We divide the Nuevo Soles by 3 to figure out approximately how much things cost in CAN. The head of WUSC talked to us about what they do in Lima and the provinces, they have programs to help with water and santitation and are focused on public education. Juan gave us an initiation and I feel like it would have been very useful to know a lot of what he said before I got here. However, the way of the Peruvians is not to hurry and telling you things 5 minutes in advance is okay. I chatted with Sonia, the maid at Margaritas, a lot which I view as an accomplishment as she speaks no English whatsoever. I was sad to leave even though I was there for maybe only 15 hours haha. Miranda was very very very upset because I paid 40 soles for my night, and she was there 2 nights and paid 120 soles. She doesn´t have any good feelings towards Margarita anymore, which is sad because she was really nice and I think it was just a misunderstanding.
Yesterday we visited ICPNA and we observed 4 classes, some children and some adults of all different levels. I think I should beable to do a decent job. I really hope so anyway. The students choose their teacher, so if you get less students in the second month then you know you have done a crappy job. So no pressure! This morning we went to watch 3 more classes starting at 8 with Simon´s class. Simon is from Montreal and I am taking over from him. His first language is French and he has a strong Quebecois accent, so I have trouble understanding him sometimes. He speaks Spanish very well, and I must be getting better because I can understand more. I act as translator for Miranda sometimes which is pretty cool and I´ve managed to ask for things in stores and restaurants and actually get what I asked for. An accomplishment, I think. He is also very good looking as some of the advanced students were telling me in a break, but they think he is very serious. I met two girls, both named Lucia who were very nice and a bunch of other adults whose names I don´t remember. They are all shocked that my parents let me come when I am only 18. One of the teachers was telling me that she was offered a job in Canada when she was in her 20s but her parents forbid her to go. Another girl had a similar story. They both regret not going.
The house I was supposed to stay for 250 USD per month caused a problem because the lady is away and I can´t move in until the end of May. Living in a guesthouse for all that time would be very expensive. So I went to look my other option and they wanted 500 USD a month. Good grief!!! More expensive than living in Canada! Cajamarca is expensive now because there are a lot mining companies here. This is the reason why so many people want to learn English, because the companies are mostly all American, although there is one Canadian company. I was really upset because the house is gorgeous. It is really modern. The family is also really nice, the lady has a son and a daughter who live at home, and her son speaks English very well which is handy because he can translate. The dad is a doctor so he says if I get sick he can help, and the mother is a teacher. I really wanted to live there, so I went back to the house again and explained my situation (i.e., just because I am white does not mean I am rich) and said that I dont need cable or supper. So, they came down to 280 USD which is much much better!!!! I think what swung it for me is that the little girl told her mum she wanted me to stay and they really seemed to want to have a student live with them. It is a really safe place because they have about 8 locks on the door and 3 alarms. The mother said she will treat me äs if I am her daughter. She speaks a little English as she studied at ICPNA for 2 years, but she does not speak much. She says we can help each other, which is fine with me. The first option was with the academic advisor of ICPNA and she has no children so it wouldn´t be so fun. Also, i would have to take a taxi, mototaxi or Cambi to work twice a day at least, which is not so safe. I think it is okay, but the lady at the house I am going to be staying at said it is not safe because I would be a white female travelling alone and thus a target, plus it would be dark when I went back. It gets dark here at about 5;30. I am going to move in tomorrow morning at 7 and the family is taking me on a day trip with them! For no extra cost! How awesome is that!
If you are still reading and not bored then I applaud you... haha.
This afternoon Juan took us to Los Baños de Incas, the natural hot springs of the Incas. You can take baths there mixed with cold water as the temperature of the water is 70 celsius. Apparently there has been accidents where students fell in because they were messing about and got burned up pretty severly. I cringed. There are also water massages, pretty nice I think. I managed to have somewhat of a conversation with the tourist information guy. On the way back we took a Cambi because Juan wanted me to practice. They are these vans that drive around with a person yelling out the window where it is going, like the one we took had a boy yelling hopital, hopital. You have to jump on fast or they will drive away. It is 70 centimos for anywhere in the city. I got to tell the guy when we got off ¨stop at the corner¨ and then we paid and hopped off quick. It´s so awesome I love it. The man is always yelling he says go go go go come come come come quick quick quick and it is very loud but so... I cant find the word but I love it!
I have to mention the rain, it is hilarious... one minute the sun is shining and there are no clouds, the next second there is torrential rain for 5 minutes. It is so funny. People here might think that white people are crazy because I am laughing all the time like a hyena or something.
Oh, when we were walking home today the lady in front was carrying a massive bag of leaves, Juan says its coke, yes, coke, you understand no.... I was like, cocaine and he says no its for medicinal purposes. Apparently that part of the plant is medicinal, he says it helps them feel better... hahahaha.
There is no such thing as a presciption here. You can buy anything you want at the drugstore. There is also no drinking age.
I have to go because Juan is coming at 7 and I should wake up Miranda. We are going to meet Simon and go out.
I had chinese for lunch and there was so much food, I really haven´t eaten much, yesterday I had a sandwich. I am not hungry, which is really weird for me. I gave my xtra rice to a begging lady on the street. She was very grateful. Its okay to give them food but not so much money. It´s heartbreaking to see all the beggars though.
Thanks for reading all of this you poor souls! Bye for now.
P.s. The pic is of Cajamarca


  1. You think that blondes have it easier? Give yourself some credit. You are having this most amazing adventure. WOW! Glad to hear you are safe and the house worked out. Good luck teaching - I'll bet your classroom will be overflowing in week 2. Don't get mad at Mum for letting me know how to contact you. Wishing you the best and Good Luck.

  2. Gems! This is beyond fantastical. I am glad everthing worked out with your living situation. I started freaking out when I read you didn't have a place to stay, but figured it would work itself out if I just kept reading. Soak it all up senorita - and keep the updates coming!

  3. Anonymous, this blog is for anyone with an interest to read! Of course I am not mad!
    And fantastical is the right word I think Brandy! It is awesome!