Peru – Day 12

Today is the 12th day I have been in this country, 5 days beyond my scheduled return to the sunny California. Too much has had happened within these twelve days. With my return date still an open question, the only way I can tell my travel stories is to go backwards, and the photos (over 1,000 of them) have to wait until my return.

Where am I? For the past week I have been a guest in the Hostel Mami Panchita, “A colonial style guesthouse, run by a Dutch-Peruvian couple,
in the quiet neighbourhood of San Miguel.” The Dutch in this case is Toon. Toon speaks elegant English, enjoys smoking and drinking beer while watching soccer. There are two administrative staffs, who can speak limited English (Yesenia & Eduardo). Two guys who cleaning up the rooms. A driver. One person who always came for the night shift. A lady runs the kitchen. And a young man who came for the Sunday shift (Jose). The computer guy, whom I also met, is Reronato, aka, Nato Wolf. He owns a Vaio laptop, which he said costs up to 5,000 soles in Peru (about $1,760). There are also a dog, named Deekertje (fat lady) and a gray cat, who showed up at night in the reading room to sit on the chair.

The hostel is situated on a quite street, and is by far the most handsome building on the block compared to its neighbors. It is one block away from the ocean. Unfortunately there is not so much beach to speak of. I have yet seen a blue sky and green water. A small park with skate boarders and a John Lennon statue define the beach atmosphere.

The hostel is also ten minutes away, by walking, from a buzzing market. There are rows of stands selling meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, drying ingredients, flowers, fruits…Like in any other markets, it also has stands offering half-processed food, as well as places to sit and eat. I tried the chicken rice at one stand. It was delicious. Cost? Five soles. Less than two bucks.

My room is on the second floor. It has a single full bed, a small square table with one chair, a bed stand, a bathroom with stand shower, and a tiny TV. Every morning I wake up between 7 and 8, walk down to the first floor dining room to have my breakfast. Breakfast consists always a glass of freshly made juice, tea, three bread rolls (one wheat, two white), a roll of butter, a small jar of strawberry jam, two half slices of cheese, two thin slices of ham. Also on the first floor is a small bar, next to a living space with sofas and TV.  I spend majority of my time in the reading room next to the living room, with a small bookshelf and two desktops. Over the week I have figured out one computer does not have the sound card, and took the control over the other that has. On this one I have installed Skype, Google Chrome and tried to install the Chinese typing input. Eventually I found a way around by copying the characters from Google translator. Two days ago I “discovered” wi-fi, which unfortunately only works within a limited area downstairs. Glad my iPhone is back to life. Usually I ask the staff to bring me a cup of tea while I am working at the computer. Except for the coldness everywhere, this place feels more and more like an office to me, with the TV as extra benefits. Cost of the accommodation? $25 per night. Cheaper than my rent.

Today is a Sunday. Cloudy as always. I spent half day laying in bed and catching up sleep. Went out to the market for food. Bought a few baby bananas, cost me less than one sole. Came back to watch the games. And continued to the tea and internet time. Looking forward to staying warm in my room and reading a book.

Everyone who knows my situation is hoping for my safe return next week. I do hope so. To the blue sky, the warmth, the green veges, the silk and the cup of green tea.


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