We are living and working in the Miraflores district, one of the 43 districts in Lima. It is quiet, safe, residential, and because of all of these things, not the cheapest. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the area, but I could be living in any city, there’s nothing super special about it. With the one exception: a beautiful cliff walk park along the coast. Lima is on the ocean and curiously, has huge cliffs going down to the shore. So there are almost two boardwalks, one on the actual coast, and another some feet above along the cliff. Anyway, the park is 10/10, complete with running/bike paths, a skate park, tennis courts, and lots of doggos.
Our workspace is Comunal, and we have access to multiple locations! Fun to switch it up. Also, because Parea arrived early to Lima, there is another Remote Year group here! Been interesting to see how the two groups differ and vibe. It’s been fun to have them around and do shared activities, but let’s just say I have a greater appreciation for Parea!
- Currency is the Peruvian soles, about $0.30 to 1 sole. Still in Spanish land.
- The population of Peru is 30 million and 10 million of them live in the Lima region, a fairly small piece of Peru all things considered.
- Peru is known for their food. Expect lots of commentary about it and maybe some new pants. So far, I’ve tried juane (a jungle specialty with rice, meat, olives, hard-boiled egg, all wrapped in bijao leaves), chifa (Peruvian/Chinese fusion food), and chicha juice (a purple corn drink that ‘tastes like Christmas’)
- Can’t flush the toilet paper here. You are more likely to see a sign that you CAN instead of a sign you CAN’T.
- The traffic in Lima is, according to a local, ‘horrendous, absolutely horrendous. I live 15 km away and it takes me 1.5 hours sometimes’. It’s true, and not even just during rush hour. Just too many people driving, not an efficient public transportation system. Honestly walking is the fastest way, that or SCOOTERSSSSSS! Yes, Lime scooters are back, baby.
- One solution they tried for easing traffic? On 5 roads in Lima during rush hour times, Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for license plates that end in even numbers and Tuesdays and Thursdays for odd numbers….a local said ‘there’s still chaos…and on Friday, extra chaos’. I found this idea kind of funny. What it then does is clog the side streets too. Also seems like a bitch to enforce.
- Because of the traffic, drivers have to be very aggressive at intersections otherwise you’ll sit there forever. Well, that makes it a hazard for pedestrians. Absolutely no one abides by the stop lines on the road. Must be nice to drive straight through a neighborhood and never stop at a single intersection. Well yeah, for me trying to cross the street, I think it’s almost harder than Hanoi.
- Can’t drink the water here, but can wash veggies with it.
- Two Peruvian words I enjoy: chisme, like gossip, and burlona, a person who tends to make good fun of other people. Guess if they have a word for these, they must be common.
- HALLOWEEN! In Lima, kids celebrate by dressing up and trick or treating through the local malls and shops. At around 5pm, I walked around the Miraflores center and watched hundreds of kids getting candy from the hair dressers, the cafes, the clothing stores, the gyms, the pharmacies. I suppose it’s safer than kids going up to strangers houses. Super cute! And of course the adults had their fun too. November 1st was a national holiday so the bars and clubs were hopping on the 31st, lots of people in costume.
After kicking off Lima with a fun night out, followed by a day of not leaving the house, this is what I’ve been up to:
- Morning run along the coast, I’m telling you, THIS PARK
- Meet up with a new friend and explore Miraflores. As much as I love Remote Year, it’s fun to leave the bubble sometimes. Got some tacos, a drink, and just chatted.
- Get a haircut! Only notable because they spoke very little English and Michelle and I really didn’t know what they were going to do with our hair. Turned out great though!
- Stumble upon Incan ruins in our neighborhood called Huaca Pucllana. Seriously crazy how in the middle of the modern city they are.
- Walk to the district of San Isidro to meet another one of my uncle’s former students. Marines has had quite the career, working as a nutrition consultant, then for the Ministry of Health in Peru, and now for the National Planning Committee. She is currently focused on addressing anemia in children, and the continual battle of poor nutrition for low income families. Once again, I had learned a ton and thoroughly enjoyed our time together.
- She brings me to Amaz, a restaurant specializing in food from the jungle (side note: it wasn’t until this week that I knew the Amazon spread into Peru). Anyway, we had a peach palm salad, hen juane, fried plantains, and camu camu juice. Holy party in my mouth.
- Spend a good chunk of the day searching for pieces of a last minute costume. It’s really hard to look for things in a city you’re unfamiliar with. Also, there are more sex shops than costume shops here and every one of them fooled me.
- Enjoyed an afternoon stroll watching locals trick or treat
- Dressed up and went out for our Hello-ween party (to celebrate the holiday and welcome us to Lima). Michelle went as her boyfriend Rhami (also in our group) and I went as his chicken because it’s the running joke that all he eats is pollo. Taped masking tape with his name on it to me because that’s how he labeled his food in the mansion.
- Hopped to a couple places in Barranco, the artsy neighborhood good for going out just south of Miraflores
- LAZY day, worked from home, took an evening stroll through the park and caught the sunset with friends
- Moving day. Went for a morning run then shoved all my stuff into my suitcase. Because we arrived in Lima early, the other Remote Year group was in our apartments. They left, so we moved in
- Lunch with the group at Pardo’s chicken before a few hours of free time while they cleaned our new places
- I took the time to walk around Barranco. Lots of cool street art and cafes. Also jumped on a Lime scooter because why the heck not. #immediatefun
- Checked into our new place, that looks like a grandma’s apartment, then enjoyed a Chinese food dinner with the squad at Chifa Restaurant Hong Kong.
- Lunch with the group for local Peruvian food then an adventure to the city center with two friends
- Check out the Plaza de San Martin, Plaza de Armas (same name as Santiago’s city center), and all the crowds that came along with it. I was particularly entertained by the many dance circles that formed on the promenade.
What’s missing from these lines is the bout of stress I have had this week. A culmination of complicated relationships, a new city, changes at work, and the realization that I only have three months left, have all left me with low energy and on edge. I am having a constant battle in my head, trying to push through all the thoughts overwhelming it to stay present. Taking it day by day.
Officially in month 10. Woah.