Visiting Museo Larco

I know many of you do not like history and visiting a history museum may be the last thing you would do. Even I thought so. But a recent visit to the Museo Larco has changed my perception towards history museums. I thought that anything that has the word “museum” is for the old and the bore people. I didn’t want to go for this visit but it was included in my Spanish studies class and so I had to go.

When I entered the museum I still had the same feelings. But once the tour proceeded, my perception started changing. Boy! It houses some of the really cool artifacts! There are some incredible artifacts and they are very well-preserved. And you know – the museum also had a pretty cool collection of erotic art. All the information are offered in about 6 languages. It’s a “wealthy” museum. Very well organized artifacts were presented very well and there was no dust or dirt. I saw several pottery and small statues. Look for the photos I took during the visit.

Museo Larco is located in Pueblo Libre. The property is very well-kept property. I saw multi-colored bougainvillea and little cacti called as ‘little monsters.’ It was not shabby like many other museums we visited during our childhood. Probably the visit was more interesting because we found a guide who was proficient enough to show us everything and to describe in a very interesting way. And yes, he (a guy) was handsome.

Visit to the local market

Our whole group of six went to the local market today. Out Instructor Liz was with us but she was just a spectator. She was to help us only if there is any problem. So, we were on our own in one sense. We went in the market and tried to use our pathetic Spanish language knowledge. It’s embarrassing you know. People are intensely listening to what we say and then suddenly they burst out laughing. It’s really embarrassing. Whenever anything funny happened, Liz came to our rescue. She informed the shop keepers that we were going through Spanish classes. People here seem to see such students all the time and so they are very much helping in nature and they will correct us after having a good laugh at our mistakes.

It’s amazing, when you laugh with someone you really don’t know. The day went very well and they help us to learn a lot many words and things. According to our instructor, it is a very essential exercise because it helps us to move around well in the market and makes it possible for us to buy what we need. This is one of the straightforward practical language learning sessions that I went through.

I think I’d like the local people. They’re very welcoming and helpful. I could buy a few stuffs for the family I am staying with. I hope they would love the items bought from the local market. I am gifting them some fruits and vegetables today evening, which I bought using my Spanish language knowledge.

The Mirabus ride

Last weekend, my friend Damian suggested we ride the Mirabus sometime. He said since we’ve been here only a few months, we still have the air of tourists about us. So why not explore the city while we still can? Once we let the dust settle down, we will be too local-like to be tourist-like, he said.

I don’t know where they came up with the name Mirabus from (though I am sure there is a history to it, like other Peruvian things to see), but I would call it the miracle bus. These interesting red buses have a queer flattened front, like someone carefully sliced off a portion to give it that sliced off look, and they have ‘Mirabus’ written on them in happy yellow font, that make them look like perennial transporters to Peruvian carnivals.

There are two floors, and if you want the best view of the city, while the bus rides through it, you would want the open air seats on the top! That is of course if you are not a sucker for the air conditioning that is available in the lower storey of the bus.

The traffic here in Lima is scary, and you would stand out in the crowd if you were trying to follow the rules on the road, and if you want a respite from the chaos, the top floor of the bus is your best bet. And in a city of chaotic traffic, if you fear for your life, you can strap on the seatbelts on the Mirabus.

We are yet to get on it, but when I do, I will let you know!

The first encounter with the taxis in Lima

I reached Lima, Peru three months back from Boston. When I got down in the airport, my first encounter with the taxis in Lima started. First of all, there is no municipal public transport from the airport. I had to go to Miraflores. Once I get out of the airport main door, I was shocked. It was a chaotic situation. There were hundreds of taxi drivers trying to get the attention of the passengers coming out of the arrival gate. I was really worried but thankfully I made a friend in the aircraft itself. He was a local and he helped me. He told me to get a registered cab, which charged 60 soles from the airport to Miraflores. There are many unregistered cabs available who probably charge you about 30 or 40 soles, but my new friend recommended that I should stick to a registered cab. He took me to a cab company booth just outside the main gate and I got a prepaid taxi to my destination. My friend also told me that registered cab drivers are more likely to speak English and I found it to be true. My driver spoke English. That was a great relief.

If you come to Lima to meet me, never take an unregistered cab. Most of the people and drivers do not speak English and so you may not be able to negotiate a price with the drivers. I reached the family where I was supposed to stay under the Homestay program.

Studying Spanish in Lima, Peru

As you know I have been studying Spanish for the last three months in Lima, Peru. I have joined the “El Sol Spanish Language School” after checking out different schools and institutes that teach Spanish to foreigners. The experiences of the reaching here from Boston are quite different and interesting. I choose the school because I found out that it’s the only Spanish language school in Lima approved by the Peruvian Ministry of Education. I’m taking a specialized Spanish language course. The school is located in Miraflores, Lima, which is a modern and beautiful seaside district. I’m included in a group of 6 people. Besides learning Spanish in the class, they also organize different social and cultural activities which help in practising what I am learning in the classes. The extra academic activities also need us to go out and visit different cultural and local places.

I am staying with a family under a home stay program. Staying with them also helps me to understand the local culture and try my poor Spanish language skills. But you know I am developing a lot by doing that. The home stay is quite different. Their culture is different from others and so I cannot expect to have something similar to Boston. But I seem to like them. They are different and during my time (one year I am going to stay here), I am definitely going to like them more and more. Will let you know more about my life in Lima in the following posts.

My Zoo Visit

As a child I loved visiting zoos. I would go there on weekends, with mom and dad on Saturdays, and dad always bought me candy after. Even when I grew up I never really stopped visiting zoos, and even though some of my friends still yank my chains because I love going to a zoo, I never have been able to get over my fascination for zoos.

In Lima too I made it a point to visit the zoo when I reached the city. I found out that there were not one, but two zoos in Lima. One of the things that struck me when I went to the Park of Legends, or the Parque de Las Leyendas was that there were lesser number of tourists than locals at the zoo. This one is the traditional zoo of Lima.

Apart from the well separated sections that house the animals from the three different regions of the country (the tropical jungle, mountain sierra and the desert), the zoo also houses museums, and a Botanical Garden.

There was so much to see, and thankfully I had reached early to check out the sights the zoo had to offer. It opened at 9 and by the time I was done it was already 6! Apart from the animals the zoo also has pyramidal structures that were reminiscent of the old civilizations of ancient Peru.

There is also the Museo Petrolo where I learnt how crude oil is dug out and transformed in its usable form. Also I checked out the butterfly exhibition at the Celestino Kalinosky.

At the end of the day, I missed my dad and mom a lot. There was no one to buy me candy this time. So I bought some for myself.

Dentist I am coming!

My night out at Lima

We have been planning to go out drinking and partying one night. I have made friends with this very nice Peruvian couple, both of them studying with us, and an exchange student Nick. Then there is Damian. He seems to be everywhere, wherever I go. And I must say that I have come to be very comfortable having him around. He seems to like me too!

So we decide to go out Friday after school. Aaron the boyfriend suggests we hit the Xcess Bar right after class. So I pack my jazzy blouse that I had picked up from Gamarra a few days back, so I can change into it before we hit the party scene.

Once classes are over, I pick up m y satchel and rush to change and in ten minutes I am all prepped to party! Damian of course looks like he has just got out of bed, and Nick wants to get to the party right away. Everyone’s bubbling with energy and we head out for Larcomar shopping center where the Xcess bar is situated. Huge dance floor, great music, and a young bubbly crowd.

The alcohol is great too  we quickly down some tequilas and then settle down with beers. The music has heavy beats and a foreign DJ is playing for the house that evening. We dance and go on to have the first great night out since I reached Lima. Needless to say we are sloshed.

Once we are done drinking and dancing, and then drinking some more, someone drunkenly suggests playing a few hands, and we decide to get back to my apartment and try the Casino Estrella on my laptop. We hire a taxi back to my place, which is like halfway across town, and when we reach home, only Nick and Damian are still willing to play.

I crash, and give Aaron and his girlfriend some privacy. The guys play of course, but I am oblivious for the rest of the night to anything on the outside world.