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Welcome to Peru

from Noah

We've been in Lima, Peru for a little over 24 hours now, and we have already experienced and learned a lot.

Math:

  • Mental conversion is required for all purchases - luckily, the exchange rate is about 2.65 sol = 1 usd, which allows us to do a mental exchange rate of 2.5 sol = 1 usd.

Science:

  • Any painted lines on the road or signage are mostly for color, not necessarily to be followed.
  • Cars only need about 2 inches between them to avoid collisions. That seems to be the normal buffer on the roads - sometimes less. Our first taxi driver delighted in pulling up next to cars at stoplights, reaching his hand out and slapping the back of the car next to us, and then saying "Temblor!" with a surprised look on his face. Wish I had gotten a video of the look on their faces...
  • Electricity in Peru is 220v on 60Hz. Although the plug style is the same, if you plug your US stuff into a Peruvian outlet, bad things will happen. We have a great travel converter from Helen, but this has created a bottleneck for charging our devices.
  • WiFi exists, but the backhaul to the internet is much slower than what we see in the states (about 1.5Mpbs down). Alex is learning to dislike the "Buffering..." messages on YouTube.

Negotiation:

  • Negotiate your taxi fare up front - taxis have no meters. Most rides around the city are about 10-15 soles.

History:

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  • Up until 1981, there was a huge pyramid covered by a hill in central Lima (in Distrito Miraflores). Now, it is a really cool archeological site that we visited yesterday - Huaca Pucllana.

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Culture:

  • We are white and tall. The average Peruvian is not. We draw a lot of stares, especially with our two (cute / loud) kids in tow.
  • There's a micro-culture here within the hostal (not to be confused with hostel - it means a smaller hotel or guesthouse, since hotel is used to refer to a large full-service hotel). The rooms and the people staying here are unique - Anne says it reminds her of "A Room with a View" by E.M. Forster. The fellow travelers are very enjoyable, and a great resource for advice, ideas, and storytelling.

Honestly, it's tough being here. Sure, it's cool to be somewhere else, and we embrace the adventure. But Day 1 in Lima was rough - our Spanish is poor, the city is big, we don't know our way around, we were all tired and stressed and crabby, and when we all got hungry around mid-day and couldn't find a place to eat, it was bad. But, it got better after we ate, and got better after we found our way around a bit and successfully bought dinner, and it will continue to get better as we go along and learn how to work together and deal with each other when we get crabby.

Now we're off for Day 2 in Lima, and then an early flight to Cusco tomorrow. We are telling ourselves to stay open in the moment. We can do this.

Posted by noahv 07:18 Archived in Peru Tagged lima lessons Comments (7)

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