Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We had lunch with Maximo's family today; his wife, Dora and Wilma (Maximo's sisters), Jimmy and Richie (other relations). It was a great time to reconnect although we couldn't stay very long. We were invited back for a New Year's celebration tomorrow.
Our order of business today was to pay some bills and reconnect with friends in Peru. One bill was a health insurance premium. I've been bragging about how simple things are in Peru but this was anything but simple. I went to the bank to transfer the money as is usual to pay bills in Peru. They couldn't complete the transfer as they didn't (and I didn't) have a code they required. After three different tries, I finally went to the office of the insurance agent. They sent me to the insurance company, (fortunately close by) and I was able to pay it there. What a pain; fortunately we only have to pay this once a year. FYI, the premium to cover both of us with high quality insurance internationally was around $5000.00 per year.
We also changed our reservations for going north because our dalmatian won't arrive until after the 4th of January. Her rabies shot had to be administered at least 30 days prior to her transfer. At this point, we hope to meet her on the 4th and head home on the 5th. We're anxious to head home to see the progress on our home.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I've also decided to go through the rest of what I planned to take and rethink it. The piano and the loom will definitely go, but some of the other stuff we can probably do without or replace once down there.
We asked the man who built our cabinets for a remodel in our Wilsonville house and in our Molalla house if he would like to build the cabinets for our home in Peru. We didn't really expect that he would be interested, but he responded within minutes, "Hell yes!" He is building the kitchen cabinets, the bathroom cabinets and closets for our new home. These will go onto the container even though the tax will make them quite expensive. However, we haven't seen any decent cabinetry in Peru so feel this will be well worth it.
So many decisions, so little time. We still want to connect with friends and have tried to free up enough time to do so. Unfortunately, we will not be able to see all the people we would like to. So, those of you that we didn't get to see....you'll have to come see us and stay in one or more of our guest cottages!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Our first day back, we each made lists of things of things that needed to happen and went separate ways to accomplish those things. Doug went to check on telephone, internet and cable, retirement insurance, a month's membership at the tennis club, and contacting the plumber and electrician for repairs needed here at the house. I went to pick up paperwork to get our taxes ready, went to the post office for change of address information, went to Whole Foods for some VitaBiotics, REI for mosquito nets, and contacted our stock broker to set up an appointment so we can finance this adventure of ours. Our list continues and we hit the road each morning trying to get things accomplished. Doug's main focus will be to finish the remodeling we started a few years ago; painting, molding, the final touches. I've been relegated to gathering necessary information for taxes.
We did purchase a dalmation pup. She is 6 months old, so is house broken. She will be spayed and then shipped to Lima and we will pick her up there. Our first dalmatian, Smudge, was such a pleasure. We had to put her down after she was hit by a car and had broken her leg. She had lived 16 years with us and had gone deaf. There is no replacing her, but I think "Stormy" will be a good fit.
I've also been able to reconnect with family and friends the last couple of days which has been wonderful. I truly appreciate those connections now; for some reason I've been somewhat of a recluse in the past.
We broke ground on the construction of our home in El Nuro on Monday. I'm saddened that we weren't there for it; but so glad we are finally getting started. Koki, the architect has sent twenty workers and his best "maestro" (contractor) to work on the project. The biggest issue for them is food. They will build themselves a shelter to sleep in, but the food will have to be brought out to the site each day; possibly twice a day. I'm anxious to hear how they figured out the logistics.
Thanks to all of you that have followed this blog; know that there will be a guest bungalow available for you when you wish to visit.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
On Tuesday the architect, Koki came up to see the property, visit with us, and check on local prices for building materials. The bus dropped him off at the entrance to El Nuro and we met him there a little after 10:30 in the morning. He came up to the house and really enjoyed the view (he had only pictures and technical information about the property). We ate lunch at the house and shortly thereafter, Georg showed up and the beer started flowing. I let the guys drink and I packed up the house. When they were ready to move on, everyone chipped in to help us move things into a storage building behind Georg's house.
We drove into Los Organos and Koki visted some building supply stores to get some prices. Meanwhile, I checked in at the furniture store where we bought the bed and they had the missing piece and the queen mattress. So we loaded matress on top of the bedframe in the back of the pick-up, picked up Koki and took the furniture up to Jay's. Once unloaded into the room we will rent, we took Koki into Mancora to catch a bus home.
Once in Mancora, Koki could not find passage on any bus line back to Chiclayo. Apparantly, there was a protest going on near Zorritos that had shut down the highway for two days. The protest was against a foreign oil company that had been granted permission to do siesmic testing on the ocean floor. This testing however interrupted the fishery there; driving the fish out of the area. No traffic was passing north or south so many busses were stuck. Koki finally found one seat on a bus and immediately took off. We had thought he would spend the night, so had made reservations for him, but he wanted to get back for work in the morning.
Our trip home was long, but uneventful. We left Georg's house Weds. afternoon, taking the reservation the architect didn't take at El Refugio. I figured we paid for the room, and since they wouldn't refund us for the room, we'd take it. I was really looking forward to the hot water shower. Not! It was our luck that their hot water was down and would be fixed the next day...so once again cold showers.
Victor, a driver we first met on an earlier trip, drove us to Piura. In Piura we caught a plane for Lima in the early afternoon. Domestic flights in Peru are very favorable for the foreigner. The fare for a Peruvian for this flight is $52. Doug and I each paid $138 a piece for the same flight.
Once in Lima, Maximo's wife, Teresa picked us up and drove us to the health insurance agent we had contacted to get insurance coverage. We found the office amidst rush hour traffic, which in Lima, is ugly.
We met with the agent, filled out paperwork and got the process started. We had to do it that afternoon since once Doug turns 61, on the 14th of December, he is no longer accepted for private health insurance policies. I was rather proud of myself for doing all the negotiations and filling out the application in spanish. As a matter of fact, the agent said my spanish "was very good."
We then went back to Maximo's house for dinner and a bit of celebration in honor of Maximo's birthday. Maximo and his wife returned us to the airport about 11:30 for our 1:40 a.m. flight to LAX. We spent the night in Pomona with Doug's sister and then flew to Oregon the next day.
And here we are, back in Oregon. The blog may get a bit spotty during the next six weeks, but will fill you in on anything that happens toward our final move to El Nuro, Peru. Meanwhile, you can contact us through the above phone numbers!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Lo 65.7, 78% humidity, clear becoming cloudy
This was a very quiet day, although Doug took a 4 kilometer walk up the beach toward the vilage of El Nuro.
Here are some other things we've learned;
We would never be able to do this without our Peruvian friends. They have watched over us and been ever so willing to answer questions.
Be patient. Peruvian time isn't the same as US time. Just because they say they'll be there, doesn't necessarily mean today, tomorrow, or the next day.
Our driver's have become protective of us. Before we had our own transportation, they watched out for us no matter where we were. One driver called us after we traveled to Chiclayo by bus to be sure we had made it to our hotel safely! Another offerred to bring the doctor to me at any time of the day or night when I had tonsilitis.
A lot of togetherness is a good thing when your companion is your best friend as well as your partner and lover.
You have to have the memory card in you camera to save any pictures you take.
Having only one hour of electricity is do-able.
Don't leave any clothes on the floor as some critter may take up residency.
Be thankful for normal bowel movements and rejoice if they are regular.
Spices come in packets like sugar in a restaurant and have some weird names that don't give you a clue as to what it is. One packet proudly displayed the name "Comino" which the dictionary translates to "I don't give a damn."
We don't have to worry about losing electricity no matter how hard the wind blows.
Hang your T-shirts by the bottom so you don't have clothespin marks on your shoulders for days.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The surf the last couple of days has been quite turbulent. If you look closely at the photos, you can see the spray drifting with the wind. We could see rainbows in the spray, but they didn't show up on the pictures.
Friday, November 13, 2009
There are a couple of places in Los Organos that have furniture. We found queen mattress at both; at one the mattress would cost S/.450 whereas the other it would cost S/.900. The first place had some headboards, but most had flaws and looked like they were used. At the other store, they had a pine headboard and a foot with drawers in it. The quality of the pine furniture was definitely superior to the other. We decided to look at our plans for the house, take some measurements, and then take a look at what might be available in Talara.
The first picture here is of the waves near the harbor of El Nuro. You can see the fishing fleet moored in the background which is about three kilometers away. The rocks often sport a beautiful spray of water when the waves hit. It is also the one and only surfing spot of El Nuro. In the next picture, you can see the fishing boats returning to port after a day out in the ocean. Often times they disappear over the horizon and come in late in the afternoon. The tuna have been running so many more boats than usual are going out, and are going out even further than usual. We knew something was up when so many boats left the harbor than the usual amount, and were out longer than usual. Once we went to the market and found tuna available again, we figured they were running again.
We contacted a gentleman about getting health insurance here in Peru. He sent us various options which we will have to study before making a decision.
I worked some more on my tapestry while Doug read the New York Times on the Kindle and studied Spanish. It was a very relaxed and peaceful afternoon. We even laid out in the sun for a while.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
There are two boats somewhat similar to the river drift boats in Oregon. They paddle their boats stern to stern. Each has a net aboard, and they join the nets and then take off in opposite directions, laying their nets out as they go. They make a big circle and then spiral in toward the center. Then they start making noise in the water with some kind of plunger; we think to attract the fish. Then they reverse the process, pulling the net in as they go and removing the fish caught up in the net.
Sorry, some of these pictures are out of sequence. I spent the better part of an hour trying to put them in order without much luck. Hopefully you can figure out the order from our description of the process.
By the way, I love all of you who are following this blog. Only three people have become "followers" but I know many more are reading our entries. It would really be nice to know who all is reading the blog....send me a message?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
We did a little shopping in Los Organos for Sanchez before returning to the house. Along the way we picked up some bamboo pieces to use as pots for the plants we have started from seeds. The dirt we tried was very much like clay, and the seedlings were very small. We shall see.
I got my loom set up for my tapestry. I wanted to get more detail, so I made the warp 12 per inch. However, when I started to use the yarn that I have, some of it is too thick to cover the warp as weft. I do have several fibers that will work well, but won't be able to use more than one fiber at a time. It changes my whole idea about how this tapestry will work on this loom, but am not unhappy with the new look. We are going into Talara tomorrow morning and will look for more fibers to work with as well as a place to print the plans for the house.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
This morning we went into Los Organos for a quick shopping trip. We found tuna at the market again; it has not been available for a couple of weeks. Doug had said that a larger amount than usual of the fishing boats had left the harbor early in the morning. This morning was the same. We figure that is because the tuna are biting.
This afternoon and evening, Doug and I did some planning for the next month or so. We had return tickets to the US for the 19th of November. I called the airline to change them to Christmas time. However, according to the conditions of the tickets we had, it would cost us over $500 a piece to change. So, we will be going to the states on the 19th of November and plan on staying until after Christmas.
It seems like every day we see something that is so "Peruvian", but we either don't have our camera at the ready, or aren't quick enough to catch it. Today is was a surfer returning to town on a motorscooter; sitting on the front end of his board over the seat, and the rest of the board hanging off the back end. In Talara the other day, we saw a pick-up loaded with building materials; metal screens, rebar, plastic tubing, and various other things. Also in the back were two men holding the materials down...no need for tie-downs! Earlier we saw a mototaxi coming into town with a tuna; it's head sticking out one side, and the tail sticking out the other side. And numerous times we've seen trucks full of passengers in the cab, and up to fifteen other people in the back! I'd love to make a collage of these sights; they define Peru and Peruvian culture.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Our friend Feruquo was so fun to watch during this service. He was looking over everyone's shoulder and got right in the middle of everything. At one point, he was in the passenger seat while a technician was in the driver's seat, asking about this dial and what it's function was; and what about this dial? The technician was very patient with him and explained things to him. At one point, the service technician took out the manual and pointed out where in the manual he could find answers to his questions. Feruquo was going to make sure everything was as it should be!
After the service, we took our friends to the bank. They are managers of a hotel in Mancora noted for its yoga, and do their banking in Talara.
We then walked through the market; somewhat akin to a flea market. Much of what we saw was junk; cheap stuff. I did find some mechanical pencils, a watch, and some kitchen knifes. The pencils are made by Faber Castell, a familiar brand so should be fine. We'll wait and see about the watch for S/.12 ($3). We were told that it had a 30 day guarantee; but he never gave me a receipt or bill of sale. Does that mean the 30 days are any 30 days we choose? We saw many poorly made knives but found a cleaver for S/.11 (about $4) and a 7" kitchen knife for S/.5 (less than $2) that were of decent quality.
Some things in Peru are very inexpensive. Many things are of poor quality as well. Diesel is about the same as in the states, $3.50. Paper is quite a bit more expensive and harder to find than in the states. Cartridges for the printer are probably 20% more expensive. Food is generally much less expensive; good meals at reasonable restaurants run about $10, a dozen eggs are $1, one kilo of fruit or vegetables will run about $.60, fresh fish at the market (marlin, tuna, shrimp, calamari) is about $2.30/lb., rice is about $.60 per kilo.
On our way home from Talara, Feruquo wanted to stop at milepost 76 to have Lucia, his wife, take his picture. He is 76 years old. What a character!
We then came back to Los Organos where Lucia and Feruquo wanted to take us out to lunch. The restaurant was right on the beach and have a wonderful view of the fishing fleet and the pier at Los Organos. The food was excellent! Lucia's son, Feruquo, joined us as well.
Once back at the house in El Nuro, I worked on setting up my table loom for a tapestry while Doug worked on the layout for the house. It was a quiet afternoon and evening.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Then we were off to the market. Yesterday, we pulled some chicken out of the refrigerator and it was nasty! I think it probably wasn't so fresh when we bought it and then combined with the marginal coolness in the refrigerator, it didn't survive. That was the chicken in the sea. Today, I started to make a soup of calamari and shrimp, but the shrimp was even nastier than the chicken! Doug took it back to the sea, came home and took a shower, and I did laundry to get rid of the smell. Even the soy milk had curdled. I'll bet even Hostess donuts wouldn't last a year here. Lesson learned; buy only for today and the next. Nothing more.
One thing I was looking for in the local market was some crochet thread I was using for the warp on my loom. They didn't have anything there, but suggested I find a Senora at the grand hotel in Mancora. The place where I saw the sign for "hilos" (threads) in Los Organos apparently sold jute twine for macrame. So we bought our groceries; broccoli, cauliflower, fish, chicken, eggs, rice, water, wine and beer. I was very tempted to buy some octopus, but don't know how to cook it. I'll have to investigate and go from there.
Then we headed to Mancora to find this Senora. We did indeed find her at the Grand Hotel and she then took us to her shop next door. She had a large selection of beads, thread and yarn in her store. She actually had the exact same crochet thread that I needed for the warp on my next project. The lot number on her thread matched exactly with the thread I bought in Santa Cruz.
My tomato seed sprouted today. When it gets a bit bigger, we'll plant it in some dirt in a large water jug. We can then hang it upside down to conserve the water. The sourdough starter is getting bubbly and starting to smell sour.
When we went to Lima to buy the truck, we decided not to bring our camera. I remember putting it in a safe place; it was so safe, we couldn't find it when we returned. While in Lima, we needed to have Sr. Sanchez send Doug's driver's license. Sanchez had come into the house and searched through my purse and sent some cards from my wallet. When we realized that he had sent the wrong documents, we had him look again for Doug's wallet. The second time around, he had the right documents and we had what we needed in Lima. Upon our return, we could not find our camera. I knew it was here, but could not remember where I have put it for safe keeping. I finally asked Sanchez about it, thinking he might have seen it. He hadn't, and I figured it would show up eventually. This afternoon, Sanchez asked me about the camera and I told him I had not found it yet. I told him would keep looking for it and that I was sure it was in the house somewhere. He asked if he could look for it, and I said sure. In a matter of minutes, he found the camera in between my blouses stacked in the closet. I was astounded as I had already searched through my closet. He was so happy to have found it as he felt responsible for the security of the house. He is truly a treasure!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The wall to the compost pile had been knocked down, so Doug built it back up and went higher yet.
The sourdough starter is perking! Time will tell if it works or not.
Doug also created Chicken of the Sea. The chicken we bought a couple of days ago went bad so instead of putting it in the garbage, he threw it out into the ocean!
Georg was here this evening (though he said he would be here at 11:00 this morning) and installed a new solar battery so hopefully we will have more electricity than before. It is almost 8:00 and we've had electricity since 6:30!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Just after lunch we drove into Mancora to visit our friends at Samana Chakra. We need to take our truck into Talara for its first service. Lucia and Feruque are quite familiar with Talara, so we asked if they might go with us to show us around while the truck was being serviced. We'll go with them on Thursday.
Later this afternoon, we went into Vichayito for massages. Origenes spa is a beautiful spot right on the beach with very modern facilities. The massages that we've had there have all been great and at reasonable prices; probably high by Peruvian standards, but quite reasonable by US standards ($60-70). I tried the hot stone massage for the first time and really liked it.
We then went by El Refugio to talk with Georg who is up from Lima. When we do break ground, one of the first things they build will be the cystern for water. The plan has it located in the exact spot Georg's septic tank is. Within the next week or so, Georg will have to move his septic tank onto his own property. We also talked about getting a generator; asking him for his opinion as to what would be needed.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I started a sourdough starter today. We'll see how it goes.
I also started the compost pile today. Doug built a rock wall around a small area and we put a cylinder of wire mesh inside. Hopefully the dogs won't get into it.
We spent hours on the computer this afternoon at El Refugio trying to download books and podcasts onto my iPod. We didn't have much luck though. I think I only got two new podcasts. Oh, well; this will have to wait for unlimited electricity.
Doug talked with our friend Perico about getting some spanish lessons. Perico will send his nephew up here in the mornings to work with Doug.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
We arrived safely back "home" last night at about 8:00. We unloaded the pick-up and pretty much fell into bed. It was nice to get back to our own routine, space and time today. We went into town for groceries and supplies; amazing how much faster the trip was in our own vehicle versus the mototaxi! Doug spent the day on our property laying out the house and locating markers for construction. It is impressive how accurately the architect has designed the house to fit the contours of the land.
I spent the day cleaning and restocking the kitchen. I also finished the table runner I had on the loom so am now ready to begin putting a tapestry on!
The final plans for the house should be ready by the 6th; and total material lists and costs done by the 13th! Finally.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Actually, most of the day was unremarkable but our arrival in Chiclayo was interesting, to say the least.
We left Lima this morning at 6:00 hoping to get through town before the traffic got crazy. Being a city of 10 million people or more, it still took us an hour to get out of Lima. Once on the Pan American highway north, things went quite smoothly. For the most part, there were no problems navigating through towns along the way. We learned that things were not very well marked; and following the majority of the traffic didn't necessarily keep us on the Pan-Am!
We were stopped once by the national police. He checked our paperwork, and asked our destination. Once we told him we were going to Chiclayo; he sent us on our way. He made sure to tell us arriving in Chiclayo, or other cities along the highway, later at night would be dangerous and to take care. He didn't check our passports or driver's licenses.
We had already been warned Chiclayo was a dangerous place to be after dark. Being a port town apparantly offers some unique challenges. A transient population added to a population with a very high unemployment rate is not a good combination. We planned on staying at the Inti Hotel as they had secure parking facilities; the problem was, we had an address, but no idea where it was in town. We even located it on line before arriving in town; but the roads were so poorly (or not) marked, we were soon downtown in traffic with little idea of what to do!
In order to get this picture, you have to remember that driving in Peru is crazy! A four lanes accomodates six or seven vehicles across. Stop signs are ignored; traffic lights are only for decoration. Merging traffic happens with fraction of inches lee-way and the most aggressive wins. So, I'm looking at the map on the computer in the car and Doug is trying to navigate the streets. We finally find the hotel; I hop out and run in to find out where there parking is. The receptionist tells me to back up a half block to enter the parking lot! Right...no way. (she must be living on another planet!) All in all, we make it into the parking lot, into the hotel, and into our room. Whew!
So now, after four glasses of wine, I'm feeling good and looking forward to an evening of TV, hot water and sleep.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
When we finally did get the SOAT documentation it was about 12:30. The only piece that had not yet been confirmed was the installation of the GPS system required by the insurance company. We had thought this had been done while the pick-up was at the dealership... But, no. Our agent told us we would have to call the insurance company, make an appointment and have it done. Fortunately, we were able to do it this afternoon and now are planning on leaving Lima early in the morning!
We're ready to get back to the sunshine, our own space and having some time we plan for ourselves. We're not looking forward to cold showers, and limited electricity!
We had time for a quick shower before we were on our way to Maximo's opening. In the rush, I sat on my glasses and totally bent them out of whack!
The show is being put on in an old spanish colonial home in the center of Lima. The inauguration began with a few speeches and a welcome toast. Then two dancers performed in the center of the courtyard. The dancers held what look like a pair of shears in their hands; but they rang like castanets in time with the music. They did several moves including handstands, the worm, somersaults; a native breakdance?! There were many photo ops and then people began to walk through the galleries to view the tapestries.
Maximo displayed 75 of his tapestries dated from 1997 to 2009. He displayed a new series of work called the Galapogos Series; designed and made in honor of Darwin's anniversary. Of all of his work, I think these are my favorites. He used the same bright colors that I like so much, and the subjects are the various types of wildlife one might find in the Galapogos. The show was well attended; we guess about three hundred people were there.
Afterwards, George, Nathalie, Doug and I went out for dinner. We went to a very posh shopping center in Miraflores on the oceanfront. We ate at a Japanese restaurant that was fabulous. We ordered a "boat" filled with a variety of sushi, fish, and tempura which easily fed all four of us. Not being familiar with Japanese cuisine, this gave us a chance to try out several different dishes. I'd definitely return for more.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
We are still in the hotel in Lima awaiting the paperwork for the truck before heading north. Not much we can do to speed things up, so we are trying to develop some patience.
Our good friend Maximo has an exhibition opening here in Lima on Tuesday. He will be showing seventy-two pieces; the largest show he has ever had. We will be attending the inauguration on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of his show.
Since we came down only to buy a vehicle and planned on returning North in a few days, we were not prepared for an opening. I called Maximo's daughter, Paola, and she and her friend Karina took me shopping this evening for an appropriate outfit. Karina was definitely the one to have on such a shopping trip as she was very familiar with the offerrings of the mall. I tried on dresses that ranged from the conservative to the high fashion sexy. We finally agreed on a practical skirt, top with shawl and heels. It really was great fun to try on dresses that I probably never would have worn again. There was a part of me that would have liked to dress the sex-pot; but...don't think I could have pulled it off.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Maybe I'm just ready to go back north into the sunshine. I don't think Lima's weather, not wet but dreary, has been helpful.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
We are still waiting in the hotel for the documents for the truck. Nothing yet.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday we went out to Maximo's (the master weaver) home for lunch. Many of Maximo's family joined us and it was a grand time. Lunch and lots of beer. We also had the pleasure of viewing two new pieces of Maximo's new line of work in celebration of Darwin's birthday called the Galapogos. They are beautiful; very bright colors and not as busy as others.
Saturday night we met with my Spanish teacher, Edinson. He brought a friend of his who is also involved in teaching Spanish as a second language. We had a great visit over dinner and drinks.
Sunday night another friend of ours met us at the hotel and we had dinner.
Today, Monday, we were able to get a couple of things done toward the process of getting our truck on the road. We met with the insurance agent again to actually sign the policy. We paid him for the private insurance as well as the nation required insurance. Once we get the paperwork, he will purchase the SOAT (govt. insurance) sticker and bring it out to the dealership before we drive off. We also had pictures taken for an international driver's license. We have been given many conflicting opinions as to what we do or do not need to drive. Some say we can drive with our US license and passport. Others say we need an international drivers license along with our US license and passport. And yet others tell us we need to get a Peruvian license. At this point we would like to avoid having to get a Peruvian license as they are rather involved. they require a physical health, a psychological exam, a written and driving exam. And as things are in Spanish, we'd rather delay this as long as possible.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Meanwhile, we wait. We are getting good at waiting. Really good at waiting.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Once we decided to buy the truck, we went to the bank and transfered the money directly into the account of the dealership. We then took this receipt to the dealership and gave them copies of our passports. They will take care of all the paperwork, file the right forms with the ministry of transportation, get the license plate, everything. Once the paperwork is done (in 5 to 7 days), we'll be able to head back up north.
Monday, October 12, 2009
On Tuesday of last week, I became ill. By the morning I had a raging sore throat and had trouble swallowing. I had Doug take me into Los Organos and our driver, Juan, took us to a clinic. I was able to see the doctor at the clinic within a few minutes. He diagnosed tonsilitis and prescribed some anti-biotics and some anti-inflamatory medication. The consultation with the doctor cost me about $7. The medication, about $40. By the next morning things were worse and I was in considerably more pain. So, we went back to the clinic. The doctor then asked me if I had been drinking or eating anything cold. Well, of course I was; weren't you given ice cream as a kid? The doctor said anything cold would only agravate the tonsils and impressed upon me how important it was to stick to warm liquids. I guess the ice cream came after surgery.... He also gave me a shot for the pain which put me out for several hours. By the next morning things were marginally better, but still very painful and the infection had spread into the sinuses and my right ear. We checked with the doctor once more, and he then prescribed a stronger anti-inflamatory medication. The doctor never charged me more than the original $7.
It was that very afternoon we boarded a bus to Lima. The trip is an 18 hour trip which I wasn't looking forward to in my condition. We left Los Organos at 6:00p.m. and got ourselves settled into our seats on the second class upper level. The seats were surprisingly roomy and reclined quite a ways so sleeping was not too uncomfortable. Because it was such a long trip, they also served us dinner and breakfast. However, at about 8:00 in the morning, we were delayed because of a head on accident with a bus that closed the highway for about two and half hours.
Once arriving in Lima, we were picked up at the terminal and taken to our hotel.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
We ate lunch with Luis and Ed and then said our goodbyes. We walked to the bus station to get our return tickets to Los Organos. We also shopped for a printer. We also found a a nice griddle. We have been looking for decent cooking pans; something other than the flimsy aluminum ones.
We met again with the arquitect, Coqui and looked at his floor plans. We made a few changes and he promised to have the floorplan and views of the inside and outside by Wednesday.
We were back at the hotel by 9 and retired.
We then ate lunch at the home of Luis' nanny, Imelda. She served us a shot glass of the "agua caliente" after some fruit had soaked in it for a couple of months. It was very smooth! She then served us cuy with rice and potatoes. Ismelda's cuy was probably the best we had tasted so far.
After lunch we went to buy tickets to the final round of bullfights. It was scheduled for 3:30, but it was after 5 before things got started. The first matador to go tonight was one that didn't perform well in the last two rounds. His performance was a bit better, but he didn't kill the bull quickly. Even after the bull was down, it hung onto life. Finally, someone cut his throat and opened his chest to open the heart. We found out later that cutting into the bull is not appropriate and the stock contractor should be fined 20% of the cost of the bull for the infraction.
The second bull fight was better; not the best in style but a quick kill. He earned one ear.
There was a long delay after the second bull. The crowd was definitely getting restless; getting drunk and shouting "toro!" It escalated to throwing bottles into the ring; the glass ones breaking and scattering glass. The police came to find the culprits which turned into a physical confrontation in the crowd. And still the delay continued.
Unbeknown to us, the stock contractor accosted Jorge, Luis' brother who is the president of the festival, demanding his payment right then and there. The organizing committee had paid half up front and were to pay the rest at the conclusion of the event. But, for some reason, the contractor wanted his money right then. Even after Jorge esplained that he didn't have the money and that ticket sales had yet to be counted for the night, the contractor threaten to attack Jorge. As the grape vine picked up the action, cell phones went into action. Soon there was a support group behind Jorge. Jorge was also arguing that the fine should be withheld which helped to fuel the escalating tensions. The contractor then called the matadors and told them not to fight the third bull as he hadn't been paid. So all was at a standstill but emotions both in the stands and behind the scenes were on edge.
Then someone released a bull into the ring, but the bullfighters stood by. The bull then jumped the inner wall toward the crowd. We were four rows up and people in front of us were screaming, yelling and scrambling up into our laps. The fans are behind a second wall that is close enough to the first not to allow the bull room enough to come over into the stands. At this point, the bullfighters got involved, got the bull back into the ring and the third bullfight commenced. The matador was the famous Fernando, the rock star. He did a great job fighting the bull with some entertaining moves. However, when he tried to kill the bull with the sword, it took four tries before he was successful. And even then, he had to stab the bull in the brains to finish the job. Bloody, gorey, and brutal.
And behind the scenes.... the contractor was paid and violence was averted. Such drama tonight.
This evening Doug and I went to the yarn shop and bought 1/2 kilo (1 lb.) lots of 7 yarns, another small cone, 4 balls of crochet thread for warp, and some butterflies of some additional colors to serve as accents. All this was about $40. I'll be able to start a small version of the tapestry I've been designing with the fish, lizards and pelicans.
The men stood outside for at least a couple of hours drinking beer and trying to dispel the tension of the early evening. They were joined by a maestro (building contractor) Luis plans on using to build the fourth floor of his building in Lima. The maestro wanted to see the design of our home so he came in and we discussed the project. Without studying the plans, he estimated a price per square meter $100 less than the arquitect in Chiclayo. We agreed to get a bid from this maestro, who was a school mate of Luis in Santa Cruz. He was here for the festival, but lives in Nasca.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
On our way back to Santa Cruz we stopped in the small village of Chancay for something to eat. We sere servers a soup made from Casga, a river fish that has a hard "shell" like a lobster but looks something like a small catfish. The soup was very tasty and getting to the meat of the casga was interesting as well. All in all, quite a tasty meal.
Upon our return to Santa Cruz, we were offerred lunch. All three of us declined, as we felt the fish soup had served as lunch. If nothing else, our hosts wanted us to be well fed!
The second course of the bullfighting came this afternoon. The same three matadors competed with very different results! One of the bullfighters from yesterday that had such a poor performance had the best performance of the afternoon. He earned two ears as well so there was a tie for first place.
On our way home from the bullfights, there was a minor accident involving the truck carrying the matadors. In the back and hanging off the rear were their helpers. Apparantly, someone bumped into the truck from behind which could have been serious if one of the helper's legs had been inbetween the bumpers. Tempers flared and the matadors were out of the truck and attacking the driver. However, it was all over in a matter of minutes. The girls in our van were both excited to be in such close proximity and concerned for the welfare of Fernando, the famous Peruvian bullfighter. Such teenage idolatry. " Ohhhh, Fernando!"
After dinner we gathered in our hosts living room and drank beer and visited. The principal of the school came by and we discussed what the most urgent needs of the school might be. Most of the classrooms had ancient chalkboards and the chalkdust was creating some health problems for the teachers. Even more ancient were the computers in the lab. The school has a total of 14 computers for class sizes of 40, which meant that there were 4 students per computer during a class. They did have internet access which was controled by the ministry of education and was pulled from a satelite. None of this was very reliable. They were also hoping for a language lab where they could teach english. The ministry sent them the CD's but the school doesn't have a way to deliver these lessons to multiple students at a time. After much discussion, we proposed the following;
1. Doug and I would look into buying white board material in the states and transporting along with our household belongings.
2. Our friend Ed was going to try finding donations for more up-date computers or people willing to donate the cost for a new one here; $350.
3. Ed was also going to check with local schools in his area to see if they had out-dated language lab materials that might work.
4. We also offered to begin a fund for "speedy" internet access. The problem being that once they declined the ministry's satelite service, they would never be able to go back to it. So Ed and I donated a total of $1500 to be used for this purpose. That would guarantee them three years of service. That would give everyone some time to think about how to maintain that balance for them.
5. I also volunteered to return in March or April to teach a week of english.
After visiting the school, I realized how easy we had it in Wilsonville. We did our share of complaining, but these teachers deal with what they have and are still cheery.
After some hours of visiting and discussion, we went to bed early.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
on time," he says. And sure enough, when we arrived at 7:15, there were about a dozen people sitting in the plastic chairs that line the two walls. No tables, no music; just people waiting. On the stage were several women with four or five huge pots. At least two of the pots had been used over a wood fire. Imagine how heavy they must have been! By 8:00 our host arrived, set and things began. First, a toast with sangria; brought around on trays like at communion. Dinner was pork, rice and potatoes brought around for us to eat in our laps. Bottles of beer were distributed and were drank in the Peruvian way; one glass, one liter bottles of beer shared among five to ten people. And finally, shot glasses of "agua caliente" were served to flush out the fat of the pork. This liquor is made from the sugar cane; something like white lightening?
After dinner we went to the town square to listen to the various bands and to wait for the fireworks to begin. The square was very crowded with all sorts of people but I think we were the only gringos. One of the firework displays was in honor of Luis' mother. It too was built of bamboo and had her picture and El senor del Costado on a banner that unfurled as the fire
works went off. There were also several of the paper hot air balloons that were launched.