2 October, Life in Lima, Peru
The next morning I had a shower. The shower´s here are similar to Central America. They are clever little units where the hot water is heated as you use it. It doesn’t heat a whole tank which can be very expensive. I was told by Enzo, my host here, that the water and electricity is expensive here. They pay around US $20 per month but their income is approximately 30,000 (Nuevo Sol or solas) per year. If you convert that to US dollars it would be $8,250 per year which is very low, so their costs are high.
The flat I am staying in is 1st floor and it is located near a park in a densely built city at the northern side of Lima. The flat has a kitchen area, a small lounge (my bedroom) and two bedrooms. It is comfortable and nicely decorated with all the mod cons. It would be a middle class home. The parents, two children and the grandmother live here as well as two dogs. One is always playing I see it as the clown dog. Has a sense of humour. They have an outside area where you can wash and dry clothes. It is quite small but comfortable. They are very generous hosting me as well. Thankfully I can do some washing and it will dry, unlike the high moisture content in Costa Rica.
Spent the morning chatting to the grandmother and father. The grandmother comes from a village called Araquipa and had 10 children. She never learned to read or write but she told me through Enzo that she was very proud of her children they were all educated and became professionals. They are looking after her now. She is in her 90´s and lives half time at her home village and half time with her children. She looks fabulous for 90. She had a nasty fall and broke her leg and hip, so post operation she is using a walking stick. I could feel her energy as we spoke, she had a high energy and really wonderful woman. She had a sense of humour which was evident as everyone laughs, we are quite similar and felt an instant connection. I met Enzo´s mum and two sisters and aunty. They all live together and I enjoyed their peacefulness together.
We all sat around at lunch time and had an entre with egg, potato and a nice curry with peanuts, sweetcookie and wagati together with lettuce, this is called ocopa. Then for the main lunch a little meat (never mind vegetarianism, waver on this occasion). We had potato and salad, it was a nice lunch with a nice red wine that was more fruity. After lunch i did some washing and then Enzo and I decided to go downtown. Great to be able to dry washing yayyy.
We waited on a busy highway in the city (near hills) for the number 3 bus. There were people everywhere. This is a city of 9 million with not a good public infrastructure for transport. Although I was told the metro opened today which is 20 km of railway and some articulated buses. There was a buzz in the air and i felt I liked Lima. I liked the people as well, many families and couples out. I definitely noticed the romance here, you always see couples kissing. I liked that they are open about their human nature. I guess that is Latin America. The men and women always notice me, I had a few winks from men and one told me he loved me. A woman came to me and said i was beautiful. So I guess they like western women here. You can see as in most countries the American influence with some fast foods and the movie industry. There is aspirational middle class here. Enzo tells me 70% are middle class. That is a good sign for stability. However, I am warned about theft and told it is common.
We wait for the bus and lots of little buses go past. It is not unlike Egypt with the little buses that have men hanging out the doors and advertising the bus. Enzo tells me sometimes they change the route if more people on the bus want to go somewhere else, so it is not guaranteed you will go where they advertise. We catch the bus to downtown and Enzo encouages me to cautious with my bag. A river runs past the downtown area and it is at a trickle. In summer I am told there is much rain and the river is full.
We cross the bridge into the downtown area and the first thing I am shown is a little Agora where funny people (comedians) are making a crowd laugh. They collect money after their show. Enzo felt some were not that funny and people who are not educated laugh anyway. We walked up to the market and I loved seeing all the peruvian colours in bags, clothes and little tourisy items like key holders, purses and dolls. As we walked along i saw balloon sellers, it looked and felt very community oriented and not heavy. Quite a light feeling pervaded me. We walked into a main square and to my surprise it looked like Europe, particularly Switzerland. The architecture was spanish and the buildings were large, ornate and elaborate like palaces. The square had these palaces and churches on all sides. There was a water fountain in the centre. Then we walked on and looked at shops in malls. We tried food such as fried flour paste with syrup and a custard type sweet. Later i tried some rice with onions and a potatoe type of food in banana skins. I bought a nice peruvian bag which is ideal for clowning. I even found a glowing clown nose. I ended up clowning around in the park with a child. I had glowing fluffy plastic balls which light up as you move them. I also put on my clown nose that glows and smiled at people saying ´hola´. They smiled at the loco Gringo. The grandma calls me a gringo and i laugh with her. She wants me to come to her home and live here. I think she wants me to marry Enzo, she certainly suggested it, i was flattered she wants me in the family. I laughed and told her my age. They all think I look like I am in my 20´s, keep going I like the compliments. I must have done something right.
I watched the people as I walked, lots of people at all hours with children, a very busy city. I saw some people on the street begging. I gave one old man 3 solos and was kind to him. I told Enzo I was giving him love or what i say as luuuvvve, money was secondary. To my surprise as we crossed the road he and a woman were waving and saying goodbye to me, many times. I didn´t think I gave much but obviously he felt touched. I waved back and blew kisses. I do that a lot to people, it is the clown that has become part of the person or the person becoming the clown, definitely integrated. I find i can clown around without the suit and am getting better at it. So I may turn into an animated character which is really learning to express myself fully without feeling inhibited. I intend to become free in myself.
Enzo was helpful all day and helped me with anything i required. He was very flexible and gave his time generously. It has been really nice to have a new friend guide me around. He also helped me buy stuff which surprised me. I found some cheap shoes and had to dig in a bin to find the right size. He was determined to find the right shoes for me. He spent a lot of time searching for the right shoes, and blow me down he found them. I looked at all the other men just hanging outside waiting for their partners and i could see Enzo was different. I asked him why he did that he said ‘I don’t care’. That’s what I like about him. He also was determined to find me a glowing clown nose. Where I may give up I noticed he didn’t. That was something to keep in mind.
We got back around 11.30pm. We arrived at the door and Enzo suggested putting on the glowing clown noses. So we did as his mother opened the door. It was very funny with the quacking duck. She just smiled.
Had a great day… now i must stop as it is really late and get some sleep. I am going to the electoral booths tomorrow to see more of Lima.
Night night (mwa)