Now that I’m a “local” here I am starting to see the day to day changes in the neighborhood. Biggest one; trees are in bloom. I love seeing all the color, especially the bougainvillea – one of my favorite flowers; a houseplant at home, almost a weed here as it grows so prolifically!
I see buildings come down in a day (wait – when did the fence go up and what was there before?!) Lots of construction and then it stops (often times for “norms of infringement” – something the builder did wrong, though I haven’t figured out what they did wrong). The infringement sometimes is fixed right away, but I’ve seen many buildings and those infringements have been happening since I’ve been here, almost 8 months now! And all the road construction around us. It started in October, a huge round of road construction which I thought was for the new 4G network – done fast. Now the second round of construction almost in the same place as the first round. This time bigger chunks taken out of the road, huge piles of dirt on the side of the road, and no need to bother with speed bumps in the roads as literally an 18″ section is cut out of the road at the intersection. One way of making traffic slow down to a crawl!
Last weekend the Papa Francisco was in town (the pope).
Lima’s traffic at best is a nightmare, now with the pope in town to say it was worse is an understatement.
The worse was at the airport (always bad at best of times). The airport was actually closed down (or very limited access). One friend’s parents had a 9:00 pm flight out and they left for the airport at 3:00 pm! I’m so glad we had no travel plans for that weekend. It would have been a nightmare!! Sunday the pope had mass at the local navy base; I thought I heard about a million people attended. I can’t even imagine that number.
But interesting, as John and I walked around our area, we noticed many of the Catholic churches were closed (or at least the doors were shut). Was everybody off to see the pope? One of my Catholic girlfriends said at the English service they go to, only 5 people were there. Even the English went to see the pope. Though the bonus of the pope being in town, no waits at restaurants. Too bad my tummy was still upset from Friday night’s dinner; my favorite cevecheria has no wait on Sunday (the wait is always at least an hour and a half!) And with everybody off to see the pope, traffic in our area was almost non-existent. Walked in the middle of the streets, very strange!
We took in our first cultural performance this past weekend; Flamenco dancing at the ICPNA, (Institute of Culture of Peruvian and North America). I needed to buy tickets; okay not to be too impressed with my Spanish – but I was able to sort of tell the guard what I wanted and he was able to tell me where the ticket booth was. Wow right?! Okay, it was mostly done through lots of hand motions by the guards of where I should be going.
But I’m slowly getting better – I was able to hear “2 floors” (though it wasn’t up 2 flights like I thought, but rather the ticket office was on the 2nd floor). Baby steps!! The dancing was wonderful; bonus not necessary to understand Spanish. The music was incredible; that is when it might have been nice to have understood what they were singing. I’ll need to check out the institute more – lots of different activities are offered.
Pictures from the program, I was able to “hear” no pictures allowed!
Off to a local pub this weekend with Australian friends to help them celebrate their Independence day (2 Americans celebrating an Australian holiday in Peru at an English pub. Very multicultural!) And going to see Panda Bear Festival of Lights with friends – not too sure what to expect. When I looked online, it’s a big deal in other parts of the world – first time here in Lima. I love lights; I’m thinking it’s like the Portland Zoo Lights at Christmas? Guess I’ll find out soon enough.
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