~The wonderfulness of traveling with fellow volunteers~
15.05.2010 - 15.05.2010
Day 1 in Peru’s Capital, Lima
May 14, 2010
I began packing for my upcoming trip to Peru in the morning. In the past two days, I nearly exhausted all of my strength, moving everything I own plus Stephanie’s (my suitemate next year) eight gigantic boxes into the storage. With excitement and fatigue faintly weighing on my eyelids, I boarded the bus taking my fellow travelers to the airport.
We used LAN-Chile, for our seven-hour flight to Lima. On this service trip, we had two groups of ten students located in Lima and Ayacucho. I was part of the Ayacucho team: we needed to stay over in Lima for one day before taking the once-a-day flight to Ayacucho at the “ungodly” hour of 5am.
I was surprised to see my name on an enormous advertisement at the Lima airport, as if welcoming me to the country (albeit the fact that it is a cigarette ad….).
We had a small breakfast at Burger King. The mini croissant and kid-size orange juice barely filled our hungry stomachs.
We walked around the neighborhoods in the vicinity of our hotel (Habitat Hotel, a clean, nice hotel located in the upper-scale section of the city). We wandered into many colorful souvenior shops. I saw lama toys, lama fur blanks, mantas, jewelry, and much much more.
In Lima, we discovered that the doors are Alice-in-Wonderland size.
In the wealthy, metropolitan streets of Lima, we often saw artwork stands that displayed paintings of the indigenous villages and people decked out in colorful traditional outfits. These photographic depictions touched our hearts and made us long for the opportunity to truly immerse ourselves in the Peruvian culture.
By luck, we strolled into the central park and found flocks of children playing a variety of games in the different parts of the park. On one side, kids gathered at tables, competing with each other at challenging board games. Nearby, children skipped around in a 3-D game park, which included Tic Tac Toe played with pilates size balls.
We asked some of the English-speaking program leaders if this exhilarating event takes place every Sunday. They told us that they were all elementary school teachers, and the event was organized by the government to stimulate children’s interests in mathematics. This was truly a praiseworthy educational program.
Robert and Danny competing to make a bridge across the board.
In the afternoon, we went on a tour around the historic pyramids in Lima. The pyramids were completely made of adobe bricks. The top of the pyramids was the sacrificial site where the ancient civilization burned and buried young women in worship. (Some of us unwittingly strolled onto these sacred grounds…)
For dinner, we went to a reputed local restaurant and regaled ourselves to a feast of Peruvian dishes.
Pisco Sour – Pungent Drink that Samir helped me to finish
Fish on Beef
Sweet Rice Pudding
At 3am, we went to the airport to catch the only flight to Ayacucho. Within 1 hour, less time than we could doze off and steal some rest, we landed in the middle of mountains, awed by the beauty of the piercing blue sky (after an entire day spend under the gloom of Lima’s perpetual gray firmament).