Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blue Potatoes and Purple Corn

I would have liked to write sooner, but we haven't quite rectified the internet situation at home/my office. In order to get internet access, I either 1) go up on our roof and climb halfway out the window; 2) go to Starbucks; or 3) brave McCafe-McDonald's answer to overpriced espresso. After a long week in Hotel Mariel, working from either the bed or the floor, Matt, myself, and our ELEVEN various bags, moved into a 6th floor apartment on Bartolome Herrera Street. This is the first place we looked at, I played a bit hard to get, we thought we lost it, and now I am baking chocolate chip cookies in the oven here...and hoping i don't get salomenella from eating copious amounts of dough...

I'll start by describing the top floor, since that's my favorite. It is my favorite for several reasons; 1) the washer and dryer are up there and having them is making our lives so much easier; 2) we think there is a view of the ocean, but it has been grey and cloudy since we've been here so cannot tell yet; 3) it overlooks a large Incan mound that is still being excavated and restored-it's so wild to see ruins in the middle of the city. Literally, if I look to the left, (photos coming with more reliable internet connection), I look at the remnants of a civilization from hundreds of years ago; if I look to the left, one of the signs of "modernity" (and the culprit of some stomach issues for Mateo) is a freaking Chili's. Yes, as in "I want my baby back, baby back, baby back...." The last really fabulous part about the roof is that there is an itty bitty jacuzzi-more of an outdoor bathtub, but really who cares! We're waiting for our landlady's housekeeper to come here tomorrow and give everything (including the tub) a good scrub before we see if it works:)

Going down the stairs, the second floor is where we spend most of our time. A nice open room serves as the living room/my office, and the small kitchen has provided me so much joy in the short week we've been here-getting to eat salads, bake cookies, and keep beer cold. There is a small bathroom on this floor, however the toilet is missing its seat. Rumor has it that will be fixed soon, but no toilet seat has appeared yet. The place is very simply furnished, which makes our lives a lot easier, although I did go a bit crazy at WONG's (the grocery store/housewares store) down the street from us tonight, as I have been looking for two months for measuring cups and spoons. We even found a little grill to put on the stovetop.

The bottom floor is home to two bedrooms, lots of storage, and another bano. It is so much quieter here than Bolivia was. The area we live in is pretty residential, very safe to walk around at night, and has some pretty swishy restaurants. I do wish we had a yard, but we're planning on having an herb garden at the very minimum on the rooft.

We have three guards who work the door downstairs. When we introduced ourselves to the first guy, he said his name was "benedicto, como el papa." As we walked out, Matt muttered to me, "did he say his name is potato?" So the Spanish lessons have been somewhat helpful, but perhaps he should start going to Sunday school at the (always packed) church across the street. Papa also means 'pope', so we have the pope's namesake looking after our security.

One of the best things about Lima so far is the running culture and the availability of paths down the middle of roads and along the beach. I've been able to run as much as I want to here, which I cannot remember the last time I was in that situation. And being at sea level! We're both running a lot faster than we did at Cochabamba's nearly 9000 feet. Sweating a lot more, too, as most of the running paths go right along the Pacific Ocean-beautiful, but humid! Gotta keep it up as we are kicking off our honeymoon in December with a 50 mile relay in Patagonia….

I love grocery stores and Peru is no different. There is the equivalent of Whole Foods here, but the produce is actually affordable. What is expensive is the shitty processed food from America that gets imported. There are two grocery stores within walking distance of our house and I make multiple trips there a day.

The produce section is my favorite. Lots of the vegetables look like a kid just took whatever crayon she wanted to and colored the corn purple, the potatoes blue, and the spinach red. There are fruits I’ve never seen before and am trying out each time we go to the store. The other fascinating section, that I have been more of a voyeur than a sampler, is the “ham” counter. You would think it would be like a deli counter-beef products, pig products, turkey, maybe some chicken. But it is all different kinds of ham. Like “ham from the country” and “ham of ham.” Next to the ham center is the cased meat center-another area that I look at like most people look at car accidents-you don’t want to look, but you can’t help yourself. The mayonnaise aisle also seems to be larger than what I’m used to-seriously picture a supermarket aisle and literally, half of it, is full of mayonnaise-different flavors-and mostly in bags. Yuck.

That’s a slice of our lives right now-going to send this while I have internet downstairs. I’ve had a few Cusquenas and don’t think I should be halfway crawling out any windows……

No comments: