Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Despedidas + Lagrimas

I. Hate. Saying. GOODBYE.

I also strongly dislike packing.

This means that this week sucks a whole lot as I have to do a whole lot of those 2 things.

And it all started on Saturday..

For the first time in a long time, we actually made it to church on time! It was weird, but also quite nice. The only people that get to church on time are the little kids and as it was the last class I was teaching, it was welcome to have some time to do some prep before they all came in running and screaming.

Singing "Si Tuvieras Fe"
I was looking through the themes on the Calvary Chapel website for something that would involve keeping the little ones active, give me a reason to give them prizes, and of course give them some bible time. I happened upon a theme called "Running the Race" with 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 for the main scripture. I modified the lesson to fit my class. It was fun to plan and fun to hang out with my class again, though they ended up being a ridiculously noisy bunch. I enjoyed singing the song "Si Tuvieras Fe" with them, which seems to be the popular song for the year. It was an excuse for me to finally learn it as well. Plus, as per the theme, we did some stretching and running around to win some prizes. I was very thankful to have the help of the awesome mom, Jahaira. All in all, a good last class.

La Clase de Los Ninos Chiquitos 21.6.2014

As it goes, it seems goodbyes don't effect them or they didn't understand that Melissa and I wouldn't be returning. Either way, I was sad to say goodbye to them. I will always remember their sticky, wet (and sometimes mucousy) cheek kisses. They have the cutest dang smiles. Their enthusiasm and energy always woke me up and made me glad to be at Monte Sion. Thank you Yasmin, Clara, Yasui, Fray, Leo, Andy, Zauri, Maricielo, Natsumi, Sumiko, Diana, Cody Chelsea, Mirella, Meli, Kayla, Cielo, Alice, Raid, Aaron, Elias, Yusu, Nayeli, Britney, Alfredo, and Ruben for an incredible year! (Thankfully, they didn't normally come all at the same time..haha.)

After all the little ones went on their way, we had church. Ironically, or not, the theme for the weekend was Take Up Your Cross and living out your life for Jesus. After a very long time, Wilfredo was in charge of the service and Gladys preached. To conclude the night, Melissa and I shared some final words with the congregation to share our appreciation and fond memories we had with them. This was then followed by receiving hugs from everyone. As Maria is normally in charge of things, she brought sandwiches and juice and we had time to fellowship before really saying goodbye goodbye to Monte Sion. It was nice to spend the last service with Maria and her kids Gaby and Dairon, Maruja and her family Neli, Jose Luis, Andy, Jake, Marycruz, Elsa, and Nicole, Juan, Doris, and Shirley. Thank you for your love, support, and presence in our lives this year.

Obligatory Group Photo! {Monte Sion}

I didn't cry too much in Monte Sion, but there is definitely an ache in my heart knowing that I won't get to see my family there again.


Then the fun continued on Sunday..

Let me back up for a second. Ever since we started traveling, Prudencio has been asking to see our pictures from our trips to show him the places around Peru that he doesn't know yet. Finally, on Friday, we made time to do just that. Also, when we went to Lunahuana, Wilfredo told us that Prudencio had asked for some pure pisco, so we got him some. The plan was to make some sort of pisco dessert and share it with him while we showed him the pictures, but time got the better of us and it didn't happen.

Pisco Cake!
So back to Sunday, first thing in the morning, we went to the market to pick up ingredients for the cake. When we got to Prudencio's house, Livia let us use her kitchen to get to work on the cake. We made a pisco cake with pisco glaze and frosting. 

We had a great BBQ lunch with chicken and beef, corn on the cob, potatoes, and the oh so delicious sauces a la Hermana Livia. To top it off, of course, we ate the pisco cake. Yum yum yum.

For church in Filadelfia, Karen presided and Rocio gave the sermon. I liked this video that she used to talk about how the burden of the cross may seem like too much at times, but God gives us only what He knows we can handle. Good service.

Melissa and Me with our Chuyos & Llamas.
Jhonny prepared a sort of going away program for us. Wilfredo, Virgilio, Karen, and Jhonny all shared some of their thoughts and memories with us. They made a video of the kids from Monte Sion saying another goodbye (Gladys made it before church the night before - she kept pulling kids aside as if they were in timeout or something - now we know why). There was also a slideshow of pictures from over the year - wonderful memories. Then, Melissa and I shared some more parting words with everyone, which is the part where I started to get choked up. The real kicker though is when they sing the song "Dios Os Guie Con Su Tierno Amor" and everyone comes up and gives you a hug and says some sort of thanks/wish you the best/goodbye in your ear. Forget about it. I was straight up crying the whole time - to hug all 20 people. Those in attendance were: Prudencio, Livia, Melissa, Carlos, Gladys, Mirtha, Robert, Karol, Paulo, Wilfredo, Virgilio, Graciela, Rocio, Jhonny, Karen, Sandra, Consuelo, Eder, Betzabe, and Doris. It was torture. Nonetheless, I appreciate that they were there for us and we had the opportunity to spend the year with them. I also love my new chuyo and llama, which were our going away presents from the congregation!

Estribillo de "Dios Os Guie Con Su Tierno Amor": 

Always gotta have a group photo! {Filadelfia}

If only that was the end of the goodbyes..really, it was more of a see you later, as everyone is going to come over Thursday night to say goodbye again since they can't see us off at the airport Friday morning.

In the meantime, I will hop to on the packing, amidst all of the trips to do the "one more time" activities. The packing part - BOOOO. The visiting of our favorite spots - YAYYYY! 

Well, that's all for now.

~nos vemos~

P.S.  Depending on if we do anything noteworthy, I probably won't get in another post until we arrive in Honduras. Woo Honduras! I hope you're ready for us! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

La Copa Mundial!

I attempted to play soccer back in the day - I just remember getting lots of bloody noses, pulled muscles, and sitting on the sidelines. Needless to say, it didn't make a strong impression and I never really got into it.

As we are currently in the land of soccer, or futbol, as I have been told, it seems only necessary to give it another shot. With as much enthusiasm as we could muster, we started to watch La Copa Mundial/The World Cup Soccer Tournament.

Who knew this game was so addicting to watch?! We watched Brazil's first game on the opening day, of course. The next day, I turned on the TV and sat down with my computer to watch the Mexico v. Cameroon game and figured that would be enough for the day. But the next 2 games, Spain v. Netherlands and Chile v. Australia, came on so quickly. I just kept right on watching. Before I knew it, I had basically spent the whole day watching soccer. Never in my life would I expect to do that.

Melissa is more into it that I am and has been doing the research on the teams to keep me updated. She found this hilarious, but quite informative/depressing video to explain a little more about FIFA. Also, when she gets into a game, you know it's intense when her arms start doing weird things...reaching up to cheer, but then it is a miss, so she quickly pulls her arms down as if she was just adjusting her hair or something. Hahaha.

It was quite disappointing to be in church on Sunday during the USA v. Portugal game. Karen was nice enough to give us an update though. Afterwards, we found out it was a tie. This has to be the worst part about soccer - a tie! What the heck..?

Now, basically 2 weeks later, we keep watching and do our best to keep track of when the games are and how people are doing. Things are getting exciting now as we find out who is eliminated and who is moving on to the next round. I'm looking forward to seeing how USA does against Germany on Thursday! I think I've decided to cheer for the Netherlands to go all the way though. No offense, USA.

Good luck to all of the teams!

~nos vemos~

Pescado y Silbido

A day in the life of Consuelo: 

On many a Friday evening, we all jump in the car and ask if Consuelo is going to Monte Sion with us. Someone usually has the answer, but if not, we give her a call. I would say she is game to go about 70% of the time. So, we drive over to her house (well, across the street) and Wilfredo honks his horn. Apparently, that is sufficient to let her know we have arrived - and it works. 

Once Consuelo gets in the car, she starts on her rants as to why she was running late or is very tired. She always seems to forget to wash the clothes or start dinner because she fell asleep on the couch watching some TV show or another. She feels bad about it for a moment and then figures her kids, Eder (who is 26) and Betzabe (she's 30), will figure it out or she'll just take care of the stuff when she gets back. 

Terminal Pesquero de Ventanilla
The reason Consuelo is always so tired and the thing that amazes me most about her coming to Monte Sion is that her job is to sell fish. 

The boats arrive at the dock around 3am and the first wave of people, those selling the largest quantities of fish or transporting them to other places to be sold get first dibs. 

Around 4am, Consuelo gets up (if her body gives her the luxury of sleeping that late, sometimes she wakes up at 3 or 3:30am - yuck!) to start cooking breakfast for her kids and getting ready for the day. She leaves her house around 5:30am and has to take 2 buses to get to the pesquero, which seems to take about 20 minutes when there is no traffic in the morning. I wouldn't want to be awake either. 

She gets to the pesquero and starts hunting around for the fish she wants to sell. After each purchase, she carries the bag over to a holding area, so she doesn't have to cart the fish all over the place. 

Consuelo picking out her picudos.
Once all of her purchases are made, a guy with a cart helps her take all of her fish out to the parking lot and Prudencio picks her up and takes her to the market. 

Around 8am, she gets to the market. After a quick run to grab breakfast from Graciela's HerbaLife store, she starts to set up shop and sell her fish. She usually finishes up and closes up shop around 2pm. 

In sum, she wakes up at 4am and then gets done with work around 2pm. How she has an energy or desire to go to Monte Sion from 6pm to 10 or 11pm is beyond me. Her exhaustion shows - Consuelo's nickname is "Con sueno" - as she is always falling asleep. She gets an A for effort for sure though! 


After hearing about her adventures all year long, we finally made plans to go with her to see what it's all about. Prudencio and Consuelo came to pick us up at 5:30am. We wandered around for a little bit upon first arriving - Consuelo doesn't wear a headlamp and says she prefers to wait until there is light to buy so she knows she is getting fresh fish, none of that frozen stuff. 

According to Prudencio, the place used to be very dirty and disorganized, and while it still has a ways to go, it is much better. I mean, I'm not fish market expert, but it seemed pretty organized and clean to me. 


We were told it would be cold and there would be lots of water and everything would smell like fish (surprising, I know).  As we don't have the proper pesquero clothes (mainly rubber boots!), we were told to wear short pants and sandles, but be bundled up on top. In the end, it was entirely unnecessary as there wasn't that much water and it wasn't that cold and Consuelo didn't let us touch much of anything. But so it goes. 

As the resident foreigners in Callao (not so much tourism here), we stick out like a sore thumb. In the last year, we have had the experience of getting whistled at, applauded, honked at, and people like to say "hello," "hello lady," and occasionally "hello baby," among other things. 

Now at the pesquero, where we stand out without any help, we also are the only people in capris and sandals at 6 o'clock in the morning. So in true Peru form, someone whistled at us. Ok, that was sort of expected. But then somone else started in and then someone else and pretty soon the sound of whisteling was straight up overwhelming. It was so incredibly awkward. I have been told to just ignore the "woo woos" and comments, but when everyone is whistling at you, it is so hard to ignore. I had to laugh, which I am sure did not help make it stop. And of course this happened on the way to drop off some of Consuelo's purchases, so then we had to walk BACK through the same group where we got another wave of whistles. So hilarious.

Consuelo's favorite part of the morning was telling people we were her nieces. And then, an old man asked if we were single and when she said yes, he proceeded to let her know that he too was very single. Hilarious times at the pesquero. 

Consuelo and Me
In all, Consuelo purchased about 25 kilos (50lbs) of fish. The types she bought were called: bonito, pejerrey, merluza, and picudo. I don't know if they have different names in English, sorry. 

And all that fish!
We survived a part of the morning of a fish vender. To close out our morning of hitting up the pesquero, we went for some juice in the market. A very successful morning indeed! 

~nos vemos~ 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Feliz Dia Papa!

This weekend was the marathon of celebrating dads! It was fun to be a part of the festivities and the family here. I definitely missed seeing my own dad, but that's what Skype is for, so I was able to chat with him and my mom for a bit on Sunday. :)

Let's start the marathon on Friday, while not part of the festivities, it was still an interesting day. For our classes at church, we are using a book that talks about love, relationships, families, and all that goes along with it (finances, trust, forgiveness, etc. etc.). As it goes, the topic for the day was "Ideal Matrimony" and my turn to teach. Ha ha ha.

As I am not married and have no actual idea of what that means, I stuck to the book. The book uses an image of a ladder to signify a couple as 1 person. The bottom rungs of the ladder signify physical attraction, which is a starting point for bringing people together. Then, the ladder advances up through emotional and intellectual connectedness. Finally, it arrives at the top where the couple unites with the love of God. Having a relationship centered around God's love is what makes for an ideal marriage.

So, what do you say to someone who regularly attends class and is basically your biggest cheerleader for the church, when she essentially asks, "so is my marriage doomed since my husband doesn't believe in church stuff?" Grrreeeaaatttt. Just the question I want to get thrown. Oye.

To save myself the embarrassment, I'm not going to try to explain how we traveled through that conversation, but I feel we left things on a positive note. I hope.

Now we get into the Father's Day festivities.

On Saturday, the kids showed up full force (we were late of course, which means the kids were early). I had printed out cards for the little kids to color and then give to their dads. With the big kids, we folded origami shirts and ties. I guess at school, the kids wrote an acrostic, so they all added that to the shirt as part of their cards.

*A little bad news. We always have dogs wander into the church. Usually, we promptly kick them out. However, there is one dog that always comes with the kids it belongs to. He is a calm dog and usually just curls up under the table until it is time to leave. Well, this day, I'm not sure what happened, but some kid was messing with the dog and it bit the kid. This proceeded to throw everything else into chaos for obvious reasons.

** An update. The kid is doing fine. They took him to the hospital that night and we heard on Sunday that he was out playing and being a kid as if nothing had happened. I think he will need to get rabies shots. Hopefully, the wound heals without any problems.

Being that Marlene is the nurse in the group, she took it on herself to solve the problem. She was also in charge of the church service. When she found out she needed to go to the hospital, she asked me to take over presiding. (Btw, that's the 2nd time I've gotten to spontaneously preside at Monte Sion..I hope the unpreparedness doesn't show too much.) The kids started the service off with the Mostaza (mustard) song and shared the acrostic. Always good to get the kids involved. In Monte Sion, we had Hermano Jose Luis and Hermano Juan to celebrate. Our awesome dad received a mug with coffee and a mix to make mazamorra morada. :)

"Si tuvieras fe como un granito de mostaza..Oo Oo Oo"
"Papito Bueno"
Los Padres: Jose Luis y Juan

On Sunday, we were going to be ambitious and walk to church, but then there was a soccer game on and we really needed to see it, so we just took the bus. Haha. We had class on forgiveness with Marlene and then a service about the sacredness of creation with the sermon by Melissa. Afterwards, we celebrated the dads, Hermano Prudencio and his son Robert. :) Robert's significant other, Karol, is learning how to make cake, so she prepared a delicious treat to share.

Melissa sharing her last sermon.
Los Padres: Prudencio and Robert (w/ Paulo)
Feliz Dia Papito (Hecho por Karol)

In all, it was indeed a HAPPY FATHER'S DAY (weekend).

~nos vemos~

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Los Banos Termales

One place I had on my list of things to do while in Peru this time was to make it up to Ancash/Pomabomba to get to see the part where Wilfredo and all of his siblings grew up. Unfortunately, I still will not get to check that one off the list this time around. After much debate, it was just too much of a time constraint and it is a lot of time in a bus. 

As a shorter alternative option, Wilfredo suggested we visit Churin, the city of many hot springs. We have been hearing about this place basically since we arrived. Prudencio LOVES this place and goes a few times a year - and that is a lot for a 5 hour trek with a family too! 

So, on Tuesday morning we headed to Churin with Wilfredo, Graciela, Rocio, and Consuelo. The bus ride was about 5 hours, but with a 30min stop for breakfast/bathroom and then another long delay where the road was closed. 

Eventually, we did get there! 

We were promptly swarmed by people trying to rent us rooms in their hostels, which we were in need of. We ended up breaking off for a bit to check out some options and then coming back together to decide on one. It was a way more complicated process than it needed to be, which is a theme for the weekend (the simple being made difficult and the difficult seemingly made simple). 

After taking a moment to get settled into our rooms, we headed to our first hot springs called Los Banos de Fierro. I've been to various hot springs before, but this is Peru, and I wasn't sure what to expect. We go in to see the water and it is the color of rust. Hahaha. Alllrrriiiiggghhhttt. If you say it has medicinals properties and healing effects, let's do it. While it looked gross, it didn't smell bad or feel gross. Supposedly, it was only 90F, but it felt a lot hotter. The instructions are to sit in the water for 10-15min, get out for a few minutes, then you can get back in, repeat. The first round I felt fine, the second round, I barely stayed in for the full time, then the last time I only stayed in for like 5 minutes. It was hot and my body was feeling depleted, so I drank some Sporade. Lesson learned, don't forget to hydrate! 
Check out that lovely reddish-brown water! 
After a respite, we went to check out the other baths, with even hotter water! I don't know what the temperature of it was, but there were very specific instructions for this bath. If you had heart problems or "suffered from pregnancy" you are not allowed to enter. If you enter, you can't be in the water for longer than 5 or 6 minutes. If you stay for longer than 6 minutes, you will start to lose touch with reality (I can't remember the exact wording, but something like that). After sitting in the hot water, you are to sit for 15 minutes. Sounds a little frightening, doesn't it? 

As soon as I put a toe in the water, I realized this was going to hurt, but I had to persevere and go for the full experience. So, I ease my way into the water and find that if I was just still, it didn't hurt so much. You know when your foot falls asleep and then it tingles when it is waking back up and kind of hurts? It basically felt like my whole body was in the waking up process and it was painful. As soon as nearly 5 minutes was up, I was OUT! Been there, done that, not doing it again. 

That night, we had fried trout for dinner. It seems to be the thing to eat everywhere we go! I can't complain though, it is always delicious. This was no exception. Delicious. After dinner, we went to get emoliente. It is one of my favorite things to do in Peru. When I was here in 2011, everytime I went shopping with Carolina, we stopped to get emoliente from this lady that straight up looked like a witch. Such great times and I have been on the lookout for great emoliente since then. Emoliente is an herbal tea mixed with various natural sweeteners and other ingredients, such as alfalfa. It's really good and makes you sort of feel like a local. 

The next day, we got up early to head to Huancahuasi to check out some other hot springs. We were originally told we would leave at 7am, but then we didn't leave until 8am. Kind of frustrating and it was really cold while waiting..good thing all we did in Huancahuasi was sit in hot water to relax, calm down, and warm up. 

Having a good time :)
The hot springs there are done up pretty nicely as one of their previous presidents really enjoyed them. Originally, the hot springs were merely covered in adobe huts. Now, they are very nice stone buildings with a touch of Incan design to them. I think they are a positive thing now for the area, but there is a lot of bitterness as well as that president was very corrupt and I believe he is in jail now. As one person commented, Fujimori built bath houses instead of a school. Well, I hope the bath houses are helping the people now as they bring quite a bit of tourism to the area. 

At these bath houses, we followed around a tour group of about 15 senior citizens, or as they say in spanish, those of "tercer edad" (third age?). At the first pool, we watched them do some sort of cleansing ritual, which Graciela participated in. At the second pool, we helped them get into the pool as the water at the steps was very hot, so they wanted to get in on the other end without a step. At another pool, I helped Consuelo and Graciela get around as they can't swim and it was too deep for them to touch to walk around. Doing our community service - helping our fellow bathers in the pool. 
Water Aerobics // Water Rituals
After the second pool, Melissa didn't feel very well. Also, we were told the water at the 3rd pool was even hotter, which I didn't need. So, Melissa and I opted to go back to the first pool, while everyone else went on to the next place. It ended up being pretty great as we had the whole pool to ourselves for a little bit. Nice and quiet and relaxing. 

The next place we went to was farther down the road and had one pool that was sulfur water (and smelled great! not...) and one of colbalt water. I'm not really sure what the difference in minerals makes, other than sometimes the smell, but supposedly they do different things for your bones, or skin, or sicknesses, etc. When Melissa's friend came to visit, she was sick, and I ended up with it (which is odd, because out of everyone, I had the least contact with her, but whatever). I have had a cough, etc. for a week and now it seems to be pretty much gone. Everyone is convinced the water healed me. Who am I to dispute it? I'm just glad I feel better now. 

For lunch after the multitude of hot baths, we had to find more of the local flavor - trout! This time, I had chicharron de trucha. Usually, chicharron is a way they prepare pork, but they seem to chicharron everything. I'm not really sure what the method is, but it is dang good! The trout just melted in my mouth. The flavor was really rich and oh so delicious. I could have had 2! 

Trout all around!
Once we got back to Churin, we hopped in a 12 passenger van and headed back to Lima. The idea was that the van left at a better time and would get there faster. We did not think so much in the downsides. It ended up being crowded as there was no trunk, so we had to put our bags at our feet and there was not a lot of leg room. The van is not as well sealed as the bus, so I could barely breathe the first 2 hours we were driving down the very very dusty unpaved roads (I was very thankful to see pavement!). And it was really hot with all those people and no air conditioning. As I told Melissa, I think the van undid all the work the hot water had accomplished, but so it goes. We got back at 9pm, instead of 3am. I suppose that is the win. 

Also, in all the moving around, the rubber piece from my earbud fell off and ended up under my seat. The driver was very nice and let me take time to hunt for it and then when the impossible happened and I located it, he helped get it out. Yay for headphone recovery! They're my favorite set. 

Overall, I had a great time hanging out with Wilfredo, Rocio, Graciela, Consuelo, and Melissa in Churin and Huancahuasi. Get to know a little more of Peru and spend a little more time with some of my favorite Peruvians. 

~nos vemos~

Monday, June 9, 2014

Last Sermon in Peru

Yesterday was my last turn at speaking here in Peru at Filadelfia. It's not really a big deal, but it is kind of a big marker. As I said last Sunday when sharing communion, June is the month where we start saying "this is the last time __________." And so it is, this is the last time I gave the sermon for the FIladelfia congregation. 

Just so you know, I really tried hard not to procrastinate on preparing my sermon. I may or may not have procrastinated, but it was certainly done by the time I got to church. :D And I would post it if I knew how, but I think my PowerPoint turned out pretty well too. 

As it was the last time I would be in that position, I had to take a picture for memory's sake of my audience. I started to get all choked up, but thankfully was able to get it back together. 

(: Lleno del Espiritu :)

2 Corinthians 6:16 - As God has said:
“I will live with them
    and walk among them,

and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”
I think the sermon went over pretty well, though I haven't asked anyone. I did alright with the Spanish and only had to ask for help on a few words. If nothing else, I can say I've gone from having to write out my whole sermon in English and translating it into Spanish to writing out notes in Spanish like I would prepare for a sermon I am giving in English. Gotta count for something, even if my Spanish isn't perfect. 

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

At any rate, I think everything ended on a good, solid note. 

We are down to our last 3 weeks here in Peru. It's been an incredible journey! I thank all of these guys for being with us for every step of it! 

~nos vemos~

Lunahuana in the Sun

We have done a lot of traveling on our own around Peru, so it is a nice change when people from the family can actually go with us. Since Rocio and Jhonny were on vacation, they wanted to go out. They opted for a day trip to Lunahuana. Since it was supposed to be pretty close with good roads, Wilfredo drove. 

Unfortunately, the roads ended up being awful and what was supposed to be a 2-2 1/2 hour long trip, became a 4 hour trip, but so it goes. We got stuck in morning traffic leaving Lima, then it was smooth sailing, until we hit the only road to Lunahuana that is currently getting paved. One thing that is interesting about the roads there is the billboards. They are HUGE! Some of them are full on cut out scenes too, not just rectangular boards. Otherwise, the drive down is pretty boring as it is just hills of dirt on either side of the road for MILES. 

Once we got into town, per usual, we were rushed by tour agencies. We got to talking to one woman about our possibilities and opted for rafting (canotaje) and a tour of the city to visit the bodegas and see the sites. 

Rafting was such a great time! At first, it seemed like the river was really low and wouldn't be too exciting, but I was wrong. I think it was actually pretty perfect for our group. We had Wilfredo, who had to buy a swimsuit because he didn't think to bring a change of clothes even though the plan was to go rafting. Then there is Jhonny who doesn't understand what it means "you will be soaked" and had to make so many trips back to the car to leave something else behind that wasn't waterproof or that he didn't want to lose. Finally, Rocio forgot to bring a change of clothes and also had to buy something to wear. I'm not sure any of them "know" how to swim either. Wilfredo can handle the water, but doesn't know any strokes per se. So, it ended up being good that the water level was lower, but still enough for some excitement. The water was so clear and fresh and it was sunny - beautiful day for rafting. 

Santa Maria
After the rafting, we went out to lunch. The same foods were popular in this region as in Ica. Everyone got "chupe de camarones" which is a soup with shrimp in it. Some had sopa seca and others carapulcra. I had fried trout. Hard to go wrong. The shrimp in this area were small with really long legs or something at the back end of it, not really sure and there was some weird black stuff inside that was either some sort of body excrement or sand, couldn't tell. They weren't my favorite. 

Then, we went on our tour of the city. We visited the Santa Maria Bodega first. We got to try some more Borgona and a Tinto. The white Borgona was just like drinking white Welch's grape juice. I still haven't found a favorite wine at the Bodegas we've visited. I liked the wine we tried from Tacama, but unfortunately, didn't make it to the winery. Shucks. 

Graffiti Art

Next, we visited La Casa Encantada, which I didn't realize, is some sort of haunted house. I didn't understand all of the story, but it seemed the occupants were murdered during the war with Chile and the spirits haunted the house. Maybe as a game or something, as is fairly common across cultures, it sounds like people used to go and hang out at this house and when spooked would flee the house. Unfortunately, this led to some deaths as people would run straight off the hill right onto the main road. Now, there is a wall to prevent that from happening. The place is covered with graffiti inside, but otherwise it is still in pretty good shape. A beautiful place for a house though, overlooking the river and the Lunahuana valley and out onto the hills. 

Pretty View..Unfortunate History

Last stop, Puente Colgante. I'm not sure why the hanging bridge is so popular, since 8 years ago they completely tore out the latest original structure and put in something more friendly for more traffic, but whatever. We walked across the famous bridge. On the other side, Rocio went horseback riding and I bought some honey made from bees that pollinate the avocado plant. It is good stuff. I especially like that the honey is sold in reused glass juice bottles. Very Peru. 

Puente Colgante

Due to tiredness and Jhonny complaining about needing to get back, we cut our trip short after that and headed back through the road work, big billboards, and traffic to Quilca. All in all, the trip was a success! Always good to hang out with the family doing new things. 

~nos vemos~

Lineas de Nazca

See the Nazca Lines - CHECK!

Ever since we got to Peru, and especially since we started doing souvenir shopping, going to the Nazca Lines became a must. They are on everything! If it doesn't have Machu Picchu on it, it has the Lines. 

To conclude our Ica adventure, we headed to Nazca. 

Apparently, like everywhere else in Peru, the weather is very temperamental, so you have to plan with flexibility to have time to wait in case the weather sucks. With that warning, we planned our Nazca trip with Alfredo while we were in Paracas. 

After our adventures on the sand dunes, we hopped on the Soyuz Bus. I thought I heard it was only an hour or so ride, but it was actually more like 3, which is a less than pleasant surprise. The bus ride wasn't so bad though, other than the fact that because they let people on and off throughout the ride, they have to check your ticket sporadically. Less than good for falling asleep. Ah well. 

When we got in, Micki came and picked us up and took us to the hospedaje. We got in late and needed to be up early, so after finding a quick meal we headed to bed. 

Said quick meal, was not our brightest moment. It gave a few of us some real problems. And so began our rocky day... 

When we woke up, the weather wasn't great, but fortunately we had planned to do a tour of the area that day as well. Instead of doing it in the afternoon, we started with the tour. 

First, we visited the water filtration windows. Basically, they are tiered circles in the ground and water runs under them. It used to be part of Nazcan aqueduct system. Next, we headed to see the trapezoids, which show the direction of the water flow. They were made by lining up the heavy black rock that is found in the desert in the desired shape and then the winds keep the middle part clear, so the upcome is real easy. Then, we headed to Los Paredones, which is one of the Incan ruins that is now being restored. When people started moving to Nasca after the Incans, most of their structures were dismantled and destroyed, so not much is left. Finally, we stopped by a pottery shop, where this guy does replicas of pottery found on the archeological sites using techniques from the time. That's pretty awesome. 

Karlee showing off one of the
bigger water filtration windows.
Showing off one of the replica vases..
or maybe it is real?!
Can you see the trapezoid?
Por fin! The weather cleared up just in time for the tour to end, so we headed straight to the airport. Once there, we checked in and got settled in for a movie about the Nazca Lines, which we proceeded to watch 1 1/2 times. SO. MUCH. WAITING. It was an interesting documentary though, that talked about how little rain the area gets and how the people lived in such conditions and that people gave themselves up in sacrifice for water. 

After what seemed like forever of waiting, we finally got called up to go through security and wait for our plane. 

So, the plane fit 6 people and it was called "The Magic Green Carpet." Haha. 

We were briefed on the plane and shown where the barf bags were and then we got in! The pilot and copilot went over their safety checklist (which was odd, but comforting, considering the reputation of some airplanes is less than stellar - only about 40% of the planes are in operation now, because they were not up to code/standard and there were lots of accidents). 

The Magic Green Carpet

We got up in the air and our pilot began directing us where to look to see the lines. The first image we passed by was the whale. I thought the lines were going to be a lot bigger, so it took me a bit to find it, but no worries, I did. Then, it became a sort of game to find the rest. 

Melissa knew what was coming...
The other part of the game was not getting sick in the plane. I've been in a small 2 seater plane before and knew they you can feel more of the bumps and changes, than in big planes. I didn't get sick last time, so I didn't think I would have problems this time either. The difference with this ride is that in order for both sides to see the lines, you have to approach the lines, then tilt to the side to see out the window. Then you make a circle and tilt to the other side. It was so awful. 

The pilot would turn around to ask us how we were doing and I kept shaking my head that I was fine, but apparently Melissa and Karlee's body language told him otherwise. For the rest of the trip he was giving us a countdown until we'd be back. Haha. Once on the ground and parked, Melissa and Karlee basically fell out of the plane. I wasn't so bad off, but I didn't feel good either. Out of the 5 of us, Rebecca was the only one that didn't feel sick from the plane. 

From the Chinese food that didn't sit well, to the plane ride that made everyone nauseous, it was an exciting day, just not necessarily an excellent one. 

However, we can all say we've seen the lines now! I attempted to take pictures of them, but as I said, they are smaller than I thought and I haven't been able to refind all of them. I saw them all in person though! 

They are: whale, trapezoids, astronaut, dog, monkey, condor, spider, hummingbird, heron bird, pelican, tree, hands, & parrot. 

"Tree" // "Hands"


Done and done.

~nos vemos~

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chickens.. Ugh!

I just thought I would update you all on the fact that we now have chickens! Not just any chickens, but the MOST ANNOYING CHICKENS EVER. 

Tomy and the Chickens
We have gone through spurts of keeping animals in the house over the last year. We always have the cat Tomy, we have had a few puppies visit, and now we have chickens. The thing is, everyone here really enjoys having animals and pets in the house. The problem is that no one likes to take care of them for a long time. We always seem to be leaving when the animals come, so I haven't been here the entire duration of an animal stay, but it is something like a week, maybe 2 at the longest, it seems anyway. 

Even though they know their habits, they keep getting more animals. So, on Monday, Graciela decided she just had to have some chickens! The very nice shop keeper even gave her a bonus baby chick with the purchase of her 2 chickens. I asked her why she got them and she just shrugged her shoulders and laughed. Graciela is hilarious like that. 

Now, the chickens are home and go between being kept in a box and roaming around the back patio. They share the space with the cat. I'm impressed he hasn't tried to eat them. Really, he seems confused by their presence and isn't sure if he is supposed to be a cat that hunts birds or a human that takes care of them. #domesticanimalproblems

Tomy Keeping Watch:
This is MY side, that is YOUR side.
The worst part about these guys so far is that they chirp ALL DAY LONG. I don't know how they keep going so long. The chickens in Huanuco would make noise, but not all day long. Plus, if you wanted to get away from them, you could. Here in Lima, there is no escape. My solution has been to just keep my headphones in, unfortunately that means everyone else is blocked out too. Also, I need to work on my sermon, which is usually better done with quiet, not music playing in my head. Rawr. Shall be an interesting weekend. 

I hope these birds have the longevity of all the other animals or they just stop chirping... please oh please! 

Rant over. 

~nos vemos~