Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 19, 2015

Chorillos, near Lima – Today was my first day of work in Peru. I was doing stories and music at El Colegio Peruano Britanico working with second through 5th grade. The school is way on the other side of Lima and traffic was horrible. On other blog entries from past trips I’ve spent some time describing cab rides. Still, each trip abroad seems to add more depth and character to the transportation insanity I willingly engage in every day.  The most stressful moments I spend on these tours are the ones riding cabs from one place to another. I should just close my eyes but I guess I’d rather see my death coming than be surprised by it. On one of our taxi rides I noticed a taxi with the words “La Mano de Dios” printed on the back tailgate.  I can’t imagine a more apt slogan. The rules of the road in Lima could easily fit on a business card. Lane lines? Stop signs? I’m not sure why the city wastes the money putting them in place. If you are approaching a corner in the right hand lane you need to be aware that people in the left hand lanes will be making right turns in front of you.  That is, of course, unless you are able to make a left hand turn first. For all of that I have yet to see an accident. But  I don’t think that all of the chaos makes for faster traffic. I asked our cabby and he told me he replaces the brakes every three months.

The programs went really well.  I was working at the same place all day. My last two tours were marked by tough first days so I was glad to get into the swing of things early here. It was all the more satisfying for succeeding in a gym, my least favorite venue to perform in. Microphones almost never work in gyms. In fact, microphones are almost always a bad option anywhere on these tours. After I gave up on them things went even better.

Likewise, my Spanish seems to be settling in fast. I’ve already started thinking in Castellano (as they say here) and I’ve had negligible mental fatigue, though after the programs this morning I definitely had an energy let down.

Pablo and I decided to try for Thai food for lunch. Eating at foreign restaurants is always an interesting insight into the host country. I’m sure that U. S. Thai food is nothing like the Thai food you would find in Thailand. Peruvian Thai food was nothing like what you would find in the U. S. The restaurant was disappointing. We went to it, as my friend Bob Waggoner would say, twice: the first and last time.

Afterwards we visited some of the more excessively touristy traps to be found in the Mira Flores area. A chess game had just finished in the middle of one of the mercados. Looked
like a case of resignation after the loss of a queen to me. Nearby, some women invited us to start another game.  It was tempting, but we declined.

I’ve been hearing lots about Peruvian cuisine ever since I started telling people I was coming here. Once we got home I checked on line for some recommended restaurants and we stumbled on Mavery’s, a rustic looking eatery I n the Mira Flores region just north from where we’re staying. Once we found out there was live music there, Pablo and I were sold on going. But getting there was a bit of a trial. Taxis didn’t want to take us because of the traffic. Getting there by bus seemed impossible. We ended up taking a bus to Mira Flores and managed to talk a taxista into giving us a ride to the restaurant. Yay. More taxi rides. On the way we crossed over a plaza with a see through floor. 

The food at Mavery's was really good as it turns out. Delicious empanadas with vegetarian options! And a Lucuma tort to die for. The musician was OK. Great guitar player, solid voice. Latin American Pop repertoire. Next door to the restaurant was the place everyone in the world has been looking for.
I already have mine, so we decided to head for home.

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