Monday, April 15, 2013

Go Big or Go Home... literally

Well, this past weekend was our final weekend in Peru as a class. We definitely went big this weekend. We went out to the discos on Thursday night, Lanisa's family had a party for us at her house on Friday night and some of her brother's and sister's friends came, then on Saturday Luke's brother and sister had a party for us at their apartment. Its safe to say not many things got done during the day...

On Friday, the high school that we have been volunteering at for a couple of weeks, made us lunch. They were put into pairs and they all made a popular type of Peruvian food. We went around to all of the stations and they explained to us how to make their food in English. There was a ton of food, but it was all really good!! Before we left they gave us all a card. All of the kids were really nice, and their English was really good!

On Saturday my mom and sister took me shopping at Tottus (Lima's Walmart) and we bought Cuy (Guinea Pig)! It came in a vacuumed bag which was odd. For some reason I thought we would be going to something like a fish market where they have a pile of guinea pigs and you can take your pick. But I was thankfully wrong! I also got to try some different fruits, Chirimoya Cumbe and Granada, and my mom bought me an ice cream sandwich :)

Sunday my mom cooked us Guinea Pig and it was rico!! I thought it tasted really good. One of my pieces had a lot of fat on it and I was surprised by that; since it's such a small animal... It was also a lot of work for a small amount of meat. But I'm glad I got to try it before I leave Peru and I'm glad my mom made it for me, since everything she makes is yummy! After lunch, Sunday was literally a day of rest for us. We were all tired for some reason and nothing too exciting happened.

This week is our finals week!! I'm excited for classes to be over, but since it's finals week I have a lot of homework and studying to do. I had one final last week, and tomorrow I have Grammar which will be a written test with listening, Wednesday I have my Literature final and I have to write a theme/thesis over one of the stories we read (in Spanish) and on Thursday I have my Conversation final where I have to write and give a speech over a problem the world is facing and I need a video to show during class, her example was that in Lima they don't have enough water for everyone but yet they have so much green space and won't fix their pipes. Whenever Monday comes around I think, why did I not do any homework this weekend?! But then I do the same exact thing the next weekend. At least this will be my final week to procrastinate!

I'm starting to realize and get really sad that this is my final weekend with my host family and living in Peru. I'm thankful to have some time with my parents and get to travel more with them before I go back to NE. I'm excited to go back home, but I know once I get there I'm going to miss Peru. So if any one wants to take a trip to Peru, let me know! I'll definitely come with you!

Cuy and Potatoes with a spaghetti meat type sauce on top.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

So much to do, so little time...

This past weekend was once again, pretty laid back. We didn't have class Wednesday because we had a class field trip on Saturday. On Wednesday I tried purchasing plane tickets for my parents and I when we travel around Peru. I thought it would be a simple process.... ha boy was I wrong! I wasn't able to pay online after trying three different credit cards, so I had my sister Liseth call into the airline company. They said I could pay with either credit card or cash, so we drove to their office which was about 20 min. or more away. We get there and the lady brings up my confirmation number and then said if I wanted to pay with credit card I needed to show her my Passport... The embassy has our passports right now because we need new visas (ours expired after 60 days) I told her I had a copy but she wouldn't take that, and since I have a limit on how much cash I can take out a day our trip was a fail. My mom had to make some legal errands so she came with us and we did it all in one trip. A trip that lasted 5 hours... I definitely wasn't a happy camper, but thankful I had brought my iPhone so I could listen to music and play some solitaire. At the end of the day though my mom bought me an ice cream cone so that made up for the long day! Thursday we were able to figure out how to pay for the plane tickets. Since I couldn't pay with credit card and it would take me about a week to get enough cash to pay, my family lent me the money and I paid them back day by day. When we went to pay for the plane tickets we also ran some quick errands for Liseth and Maria. One highlight was I tried my first churro!! It was really good, and only 1 sole (about $0.40)! How do you say no to that?
In the middle it had a carmel like cream!
After we went to the grocery store and I saw some bread with sprinkles. I was intrigued since I LOVE sprinkles.
Pan Guagua (Pronounced Wawa)
My sister said I could get one if I wanted to try it. She explained to me that in Quechua (the Incan Language) that Guagua means baby. That's why it's in the shape of a baby, one of the eyes sank, but it had two chocolate chips for the eyes and sprinkles on top! I told Liseth that sprinkles are for any age... She also told me in Cusco they make the bread a lot bigger and decorate it fancier with frosting. 

On Friday I worked on homework since we didn't have class and I also worked on planning my parents and my trips in Peru. In the afternoon Mariah and I went shopping at a market close to the grocery store, about a 30 minute walk from my condo. I bought some crazy printed pants. They are really popular here and probably the comfiest thing I have ever bought... along with being the ugliest things I have every bought. They almost look like MC Hammer pants, but they are really soft and stretchy, with pockets! I might go buy a plane pair this weekend so I can have a pair to wear in public... After I came home I was Skyping with my parents about details of our trip and our power went out... It was ok though since the sun was out, and I got a lot of homework done since I didn't have internet. But the sun set pretty fast, so we had to light candles. I told my family that as a child I had always wanted the power to go out so we could walk around the house with candles. So my childhood dream came true! Later that night we lost power again, but I was watching a movie on my computer and it had already buffered so it didn't bother me! 

On Saturday we went to on a class field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art with my Literature class in Lima. The museum showed a lot of Lima's history, the terrorists in the 80's and about the people that live here today. After touring the museum we did an activity with the workers. The museum had a little park attached to it where kids were playing and having a birthday party. We did a strange activity where we had long strips of cloth and we had to spin in circles really fast and meet the person on the other end in the middle... it was kind of fun, it made you extremely dizzy though, and non of us understood the meaning of it so we were very confused. After I worked on homework since we had a lot due this week! But I got bored with my homework and helped Liseth with her Architecture model that she was making. It was a lot more fun that my homework. Especially since she had already done all the cutting, so I just glued the landscape together. She said that it was the easier part of the project, but to get to that point was a lot of work and hard. My mom also gave me some cooking lessons that night! She had to work in the morning so she was making lunch for Sunday. I'm learning that all of their recipes are very tasty and very simple. I keep asking my mom how she makes food and she always says oh a little of this and this, it's easy!! So hopefully it's as easy as she describes when I get back to the states!

This room had pictures of different lifestyles in the town of Lima. The town is very diverse and this showed a little bit of where people came from, what they do now and their traditions.

This is a picture from the 80's. There was a little girl and the terrorists burned her house down and the only thing she was able to grab before she escaped was this picture of Jesus.
On Sunday I finally finished most of my homework for the week! Now that the semester is coming to an end we have a lot of things due. They haven't heard about "Dead Week" here in Peru... I had my first final on Monday and I think it went well. I was thankful that our teacher moved our final to last week so we wouldn't have four finals in a row next week!

I'm getting excited to have school over with and I get to see my parents in a little over a week!!!! But at the same time I am going to miss Peru sooo much! I'm both excited to come home and see all my friends that I miss deeply and family, but extremely sad to be leaving Peru. I feel like I'm finally getting a grip on the language and now it's time to leave... Hopefully I can find someone in the states to practice my Spanish with!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Weekend

Things are finally getting back to normal for me in Lima. It was my first weekend in Lima after all of our amazing trips. Since it was Holy Week the University and most businesses closed down on Thursday and Friday. It was nice to have a four day weekend, but not so much fun that we will have to make up two weeks of our Conversation class. On Thursday night I went to a movie, Silver Linings Playbook, with my sister, Liseth, and two of her friends. We got to the theater early and bought our tickets then walked around the mall and ate some ice cream. I was surprised that the movie was in English and only had Spanish subtitles. I suppose it's the same as watching a foreign film for us in the states, but I'm not sure if I would want to go to a movie and pay 20 soles to read it. If it were a really good movie I would go to read it, but I wouldn't want to have to read most of the movies I watch. Some of their movies have dubbed over voices but some do not. After the movie Griselda told me that she would rather watch movies in their native language. I've never had the dilemma of watching all foreign films so it's an interesting aspect for me. I really liked the movie though, and it was nice to hear it in English and read the subtitles to see how they translate. Afterwards I told my sister that after reading the subtitles, Spanish was easy, but when I speak it it's not so easy. Friday I just hung out at home, did some homework and watched TV. Saturday my sister and I ate at a Chifa, a Peruvian Chinese restaurant, with four of her friends and it was really good!

After eating at the Chifa we went to TGIFriday's and had some drinks and ordered desert! We ordered a brownie with ice cream and an ice cream sundae. It was really good! Especially since I never eat ice cream or brownies here. On Sunday I woke up early walked to church. Church started at 7:30 so I had to wake up early since the walk is about 30-40 minutes. But it was nice since I got to see the sun rise over the "mountains" and the temperature was perfect for a morning walk.

I live in the condos in the far left of the picture... If you can see them. 

Selfie of me on Easter Morning!

The Catholic Church that Marta (my UNK teacher) and I attended.  Once church started it was packed and we had 5 people in every pew. 
 Church service was really nice and only about an hour long. The man I sat next to was really nice and we talked while others went to communion. After service I walked to the grocery store to buy a mango, a chocolate bar for my "Easter Candy" and grenadilla (passion fruit) and ended up seeing my new "friend" again which was a little creepy and we talked some more. After shopping I was going to find a Collectivo (a taxi that is shared with other people) to take me home, but I saw my "friend" once again and he said he had a car to take me home and I told him I liked to walk; so I made the 40 minute trek up my "mountain". But it was a good walk and I'm glad I made it.

On Thursday night (Maundy Thursday) when Liseth and I were walking down the mountain to meet her friends there was a church service going on in a park near by. Over the past several weeks I have watched them build this monument in the park. Generally on the inside of them is a statue of Mary and Jesus. On Thursday when we walked by, on our way to the movie, there was a sheet covering the opening to the cave. On Sunday when I walked by, the sheet was gone and Mary was outside and Jesus was above the Alter. I thought it was a pretty cool way to present their new monument.

You can see Jesus above the Alter and Mary kneeling outside the cave.
The rest of the day Sunday I did some homework and took a nap. Later that day I was able to Skype with my family as they were all celebrating Easter at my house in Lincoln. In was good to Skype with them and the first time I've been able to see by Grandparents and Aunt and Uncle since I left in January. The nice thing about Skype is you can buy "Skype minutes" and they allow you to call any phone in the world for a cheap price so I have been able to talk to my grandparents.

Monday was my first day of going to a local high school to help girls practice their English. It's a Catholic High School and their 11th grade is only girls. One of the girls in my group was very fluent in English so it was fun to talk to her. Our subject to talk about was the differences of schools in Peru and Nebraska. After class the school gave us a snack of chocolate eggs and Inca Kola! I was happy to get a chocolate egg for Easter, and ice for my pop!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Machu Picchu!

We were finally able to make it to Cusco! I have to make a HUGE shout-out to our University here, UPC, and to UNK because when we had to cancel our original trip to Cusco, due to the threat the US Embassy received, we only received about $300 total from the hotels, airlines, etc. We all would have had to pay about $600 each to go to Cusco. But UPC and UNK split the cost so we could all go without having to pay for our trip again.

We arrived in Cusco and went strait to our hotel to take a nap and acclimate to the altitude. We all took pills to help us with the altitude, except Maria who is a champ and has a body of steel against anything and everything. After a light lunch we went on a half day city tour of Cusco. We went to the convent, church, and some ruins close to town. It was really interesting to hear about all the history between the Incans and the Spaniards when they invaded. We weren't able to take pictures in the church, which was a shame, because it was beautiful. A funny aspect that I saw in a painting of the Last Supper at the church was for the Last Supper the 12 apostles were eating Guinea Pig! This weekend for Easter, Guinea Pig is the main dish for families in Cusco. It was also interesting to see how the Incans would create and paint the Spaniards descriptions of Christianity. (Keep in mind that the Incans speak Quechua and the Spaniards well speak Spanish... and the Incans believed in Mother Earth, not God, so they had no idea what Christianity was.) The angels that the Incans painted looked like babies with colorful parrot wings, and the painting of Judas had features of a Spaniard who was taking over the city and was extremely mean to the citizens of Cusco, the Incans related the Spaniards descriptions to things that they knew.

The city of Cusco through doors of the Convent. 

Our group in front of Saqsaywaman (pronounced Sexy Woman) it is translated to Puma Head.  Every aspect of Incan Life integrated the Puma, Condor, and Snake. The Condor symbolized what we call Heaven, Puma is Earth, and the Snake is our equivalent to Hell.

The second day we went to Machu Picchu!! Since it is currently the rainy season they shut down part of the train tracks in the valley due to land slides, so we had to take a bus from Cusco to the next train station. The train ride to Machu Picchu was beautiful! Which made it hard to sleep, since we were all tired from waking up early.

We ended up making it to Machu Picchu Pueblo about an hour late due to the train taking a lot of stops. Once we got to Machu Picchu our tour guide was trying to go as fast as he could since we didn't have as much time as we had hoped. But it was still amazing!! The view of Machu Picchu was breath taking and some day I definitely want to hike the Incan Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu. 

Machu Picchu!! Can you see the face in the rocks behind Machu Picchu?
I think the most interesting thing about Machu Picchu and surrounding ruins is that everything has a purpose and everything is extremely precise. Some random things I remember is they knew that rain running off the roofs of the huts ruined the foundation of the building so they would put rocks around the building to help reinforce and then there would be a ditch around the building. They also had a rock that pointed directly South to the Southern Cross (the Southern Hemisphere's Northern Star) and the other points of the rock pointed North, East and West. In their Sun Temple on June 25 (Their Winter Solstice, our Summer Solstice) The sun shines directly through the window in the temple. I also learned that Machu Picchu is unfinished; before they were able to finish it everyone died from disease that the Spaniards brought. But luckily the Spaniards never found Machu Picchu to ruin it, like most of the other ruins and buildings in the area.
A Condor! The largest flying bird on the Earth, and it flew right over our heads. This one is 60 years old.
 The third day we went to an animal rehabilitation center. We were able to see parrots, llamas, pumas, condors and some other animals. Since my grandma taught me to spin wool, weave, knit, etc. I thought this lady was pretty neat! They don't kill any llamas or alpacas for the items they make and sell at the rehab center, and only use wool or hides from animals that were already dead. They showed us what they use to spin wool, and it's very tiny so it wouldn't be a fast process, but good for traveling and something to do while walking. I'd rather use my spinning wheel though... Then they showed us a lot of the minerals and items they use for dying the wool and the drying rack of all the colors. This lady was weaving, and just like in the USA and with our Native Americans all groups of Incans have their own symbols. After watching this process, I would rather do it on my loom at home, seems a little easier and quicker! My mission for the next time I'm in Cusco is to see if I can buy a bag of wool so I can do the whole process myself at home!


Peruvian Dog... Probably one of the ugliest dogs ever... They are hairless (which is good for the heat) and only have some hair on their tail and a mohawk on their heads. I haven't been able to figure our where to pet them yet. I have heard they have really sweet personalities though.

After the rehab center we drove through the sacred valley where they grow a lot of corn, because it is at the perfect altitude and climate for growing corn. It was definitely nice to see some corn fields again! While we were at our next ruins Whitney and I decided to buy some corn on the cob for s/2.5 (about $1.00) It's the first time I had eaten the peruvian corn without it being fried and it was really good! The lady served it with a slice of cheese that I declined and thought it would be interesting to eat without butter or salt, but the lady offered me salt to put on. The corn tasted delicious!! And since I was starting to feel a little sick, it was something light and healthy to eat.

Peruvian corn, the kernels are huge but it's very yummy! The taste is not as sweet as our sweet corn,  maybe a half way mix between field corn and sweet corn.
The rest of the day I was really sick. Which was definitely a bummer but at least the only thing I didn't get to enjoy to the fullest was our buffet lunch and another ruin with 204 stairs. I walked up about a fourth of the way and decided that was enough and I might puke so I walked back down and looked at the ruins on the ground while the rest of my group hiked to the top. After that I got to sit on a 2 hour bus ride back to Cusco, which was a lot of fun... I got motion sickness on top of my other sickness. At least I survived and right when we got to the hotel I puked. I stayed in my room the rest of the night and got a late checkout the next morning, stayed in the hotel while everyone else toured the town and bought some souvenirs. The only positive aspect to being sick was I didn't have to spend money on food since I didn't eat anything! I can't wait to go back to Cusco with my parents and enjoy more of the city (hopefully without getting sick!). Happy Easter Weekend to everyone!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Amazon!!!

I survived the Amazon!!! I felt a little bit like Jane in Tarzan... Our flight out of Lima was at 6 am and my sister and brother drove me and Luke to the airport. We flew into Iquitos and right when we got off the plane we could feel the heat and humidity. Our tour guides picked us up from the airport and from there they drove us to the pier. We walked by a market that had a lot of interesting fish just sitting out on tables for sale. Since it is currently the rainy season in the Amazon the water was high and we had to walk across some planks to get to our boat. It was a basic wooden boat with leaves on the top for a roof and a small motor. We drove about an 45 min. and stopped at a "reserve" for animals. There they had elephant foot lilly pads, alligators, piranhas, bats, and some huge fish that I can't remember the name to... They also had some birds there, the parrot was really good at drinking from a glass!
We then drove about 15 more minutes and arrived at our camp. The camp was built about five feet above the ground and I thought it was pretty nice for being in the Amazon! We had a room to eat in, a room with hammocks, and all of our rooms had a sink, toilet, and shower. They only ran the generator once or twice a day for a couple of hours, but it was ok since we were out doing things. The first day we went hiking in the Jungle and our guide found a Tarantula nest/hole. He started digging and then when he got close to the spider he would shake a small stick in the hole, then the spider grabbed it and our guide was able to pull it out! I was surprised by my courage to allow a wild tarantula to crawl on me, but when it started getting closer to my head, I decided that was enough...

The bugs weren't horrible in the jungle only if we stopped for a while the mosquitos would attack. I'm sure I have over 20 mosquito bites on legs, thankfully I think they look worse than they fell. After super we went on a night hike that lasted about an hour and we mainly saw spiders. We did find a snake, frogs, and some sort of little mammal. That night when going to bed it was great to fall asleep in the pitch dark and listen to the crickets and noises of the jungle instead of car alarms, dogs, families and all the other noises of Lima. When I woke up in the morning it was raining and that instead of being mad that it may ruin our trip, I was happy to listen to it. We went to breakfast and our guide said we would wait an hour to see if the rain would stop. So we all went and took an hour nap in the hammocks and listened to the rain. After our naps we got in our boat and went to another location and we were able to hold all sorts of animals!! I was able to hold a sloth, parrot, alligator, turtle, birds, Anaconda, and lots of monkeys!! The sloth was really funny because as a child you learn that they can't move fast, but they really can't move fast and it's so cute to watch them move slow! The monkeys were having a hay-day jumping around and playing with all of us. The ones that played with us the most were two baby monkeys that were trouble makers, and one larger monkey. I sat down on the bench towards the end of our tour and the larger monkey climbed into my lap and snuggled there. He was a little cold and I think tired from playing and happy to be out of the rain. He wasn't a huge fan of the smaller monkeys coming and playing on top of him and playing with my hair, so he would just shove them off, then go back to his nap. It was precious an I now want a monkey as a pet. They are so cute, and like little humans with personalities.
Two monkeys trying to take a nap and the other one playing with my hair.
We went back to our camp after and ate lunch then we went to look for pink dolphins and go swimming in the Amazon! It took us a while to find a dolphin because the river is currently high and the dolphins go into the streams so it's easier to catch fish. But we were able to find one and that's where we decided to go swimming so we could "swim with dolphins". We all jumped in and I was scared to put my feet down, since I always want to stay as close to the surface as possible because I don't know what is below me that might eat my toes. But since we were treading water it was a little difficult to keep my feet up. It helped that we didn't know exactly what was in the water though and our guide said piranhas only attack if there is blood. We all decided that we really had to go to the bathroom too but we were all scared to go in the Amazon River because we had heard of little insects/parasites that swim up there while you are going pee. Our guide put our fears away and said that was only in the Nile River... which is right next to the Amazon. Lets hope he was right because we all peed in the Amazon! The water was really warm (even before we all went to the bathroom), and pretty dirty but nobody got attacked by anything and I can now say that I swam in the Amazon!!

Since it was still sprinkling a little that night we decided to not go on another night hike. But some of us woke up for a hike at 6 am and it was fairly muddy. But I'm glad I went! We were able to see some wild monkeys in the trees and did some bird watching. We found a vine to swing on, but because of the rain the vine was wet and it was hard to grip. But after one failed attempt our guide took off his shirt so I could use it for more grip. 

After breakfast we went fishing for piranha's I only had little ones biting my bait. For bait we used some chicken skin/fat that they didn't cook. The little nibbles were kind of fun though and a challenge to pull them out of the water. I was able to pull some out of the water, but because they weren't on my hook they just fell off. The girl standing next to me caught a little catfish though! Our guide kept it, and most of the girls felt bad for the fish...

The last adventure we had in the Amazon was meet a tribe. They painted our faces and we were able to use their blow dart. They had 2 soles for a target on top of a wooden head/stake. With my first shot I hit the head in the eye, and my 2nd shot was the right hight, but a little to the right. Even the tribe member next to me thought I was close though! Then after we all shot, they did a dance for us and we danced with them. 

We were supposed to fly back to Lima that night but after many problems they decided to cancel our flight. Trying to make accommodations for the night and schedule another flight on Monday took several hours, and we were very cranky. We were happy we had Maria with us, who needed to be back Monday for a class so she was not letting the airline get away with anything fishy. The airline paid for our taxi ride to and from the airport and our hotel for the night with continental breakfast. The next day we even had some left over money so the three of us that had to split money could buy some food for lunch. Our flight was delayed again and instead of flying out at 2:30 it was more like 3:00 and of course we were a connecting flight so we stopped in another town on the way back to Lima. Once in Lima we got a taxi and ended up hitting rush hour so it took us about 2 hours to get to our district. Maria joked and said that it was worse than crossing the Mexican border. You can definitely we say we were tired after it took us over 24 hours to get home. But the trip was well worth it! I am exhausted and tomorrow morning at 6 am we fly out of Lima to Cusco!! I am so excited to see Machu Picchu, and the allotted time we get in Cusco to acclimatize ourselves (AKA nap time!!). 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ica, Peru

Yesterday on my walk to school there was a big flood in the road, and because of a gate it would have been difficult to cross without walking through it. I was surprised by the flood because it never rains here and I didn't realize that it did rain. But thankfully some random lady asked if I wanted a ride and of course I said yes! She also gave a ride to some other guy and Luke (who is from NE). Her random act of kindness made my day. Yesterday was also a big day because Eduardo came home! He is my new Peruvian brother. It was so cute to watch everyone great him! When someone arrives at the airport here, it is a family affair. I met another one of my aunts and her family, and also got to see my cousin Fanny and Brenda again. My mom, Maria, is so happy to have her son home again.
This past weekend our NE group went to Ica, Peru and stayed in Las Dunas for 3 days/2nights (Sunday-Tuesday). It was a lot of fun, and the resort was really nice! We rode a bus there from Lima and it ended up being a four hour ride, but it only cost 55 soles ($22) and they fed us. The bus was also very comfy, they played movies and the seats reclined. At the resort we found a lady who for 10 soles/person would be our chauffeur for the day. She took us to a place to go sandboarding (snowboarding in the sand) and ride in Sand Buggies! It was so much fun!! I think it's even better in Peru because it's a lot cheaper than in the USA and they don't have the safety restrictions like they do in the USA (which could be a problem I guess...). But our guide drove us around in the dunes, the boys weren't having the best time with the harness that we had to wear and all the bumps but I was loving life! Then our guide stopped on top of a big dune and we all got out to sandboard. The first hill we went down on our stomachs because it was so big. There was a row of 3 dunes, one after the other, so we wouldn't have to walk up the dune that we rode down. On the 2nd dune I stood up on my board and the 3rd dune I sat down on the board.
 The 1st dune. I never put my feet down so I flew... 
Our sand buggy

After we were disgustingly sandy our chauffeur took us to a winery. It was dark out, but still interesting to see the process. If we had went to the winery the night before we could have helped stomp grapes with our feet, but since we were so sandy it was probably for the best... At the end of our tour I bought two bottles of wine, Borgoña and a Cream (like Bailey's). When we got back to the resort we went swimming and played basketball, a good way to clog the filters and get all the sand off of us!
 Inside the winery

The next day we woke up early, ate our continental breakfast of fruit and bread then got picked up to tour the Ballestas Islands. We ended up having to wait an hour since it was foggy and they closed the port. But I'm glad we waited because when we got to the island it was still foggy at first. The islands are mainly populated with sea lions, birds, and penguins. We also saw some huge, red jelly fish and a spider crab. 
Before the boat ride! Lanisa, Danielle and I

Sea Lions and birds, the water was a rich color of blue
Baby Sea Lions!!
When the tide is high they climb on the rocks then sun bathe when the tide goes down during the day.
Birds! There were so many of them. People go and collect their poop for fertilizer. 

Their version of the Nasca Lines, El Candelabro
 After we returned to Ica some of us went to a Chocolate factory, Helena Chocolates. We couldn't go in and take a tour due to health codes (the first time every being stopped in Peru for a health or safety code). But we bought some chocolate and it was to die for! The best truffles I have ever tasted.

The next day I woke up for breakfast and decided I wanted to go horseback riding since the resort offered it and we didn't have anything planned. Mariah wanted to go with me so we both went, I was surprised that the first time she had ever been horseback riding was the weekend before. It only cost 50 soles ($20) for an hour ride in the desert. We didn't have to wear a helmet and before we left our guide said something about galloping and I said sí and he nodded so I guess it was an ok answer. After we got to the desert I realized what he meant, our horses wanted to gallop and run! I was definitely ok with that, and our guide didn't care what we did. It was the best experience I have ever had riding a horse, and so much better than following a horse on a trail. I could tell in the end I definitely tired my horse out, but oh well, she got a good work out :) did I! After our horseback ride we all ate lunch and got on the bus for Lima. Then it was time to do all my homework....
Mariah and I on our horses.

 Tomorrow morning (Friday) at 6:40am our plane flies out of Lima for our trip to Iquitos/The Amazon Jungle!! I'm starting to get a little sick, probably from the lack of sleep, hopefully I'm better by 6:40am! I can't wait to see the Amazon, but because of all the bugs we have to wear jeans and long sleeves. With the heat index I'm sure we will all be sweating off a few pounds...

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Dog Days of Summer

February is over, and I can't believe how time has flown by! I survived February with only getting one water balloon thrown at me and I skillfully dodged it. (And when I say skillfully I mean it was thrown at my back and I could feel it go through my hair and just miss my face.) I should have noticed the two boys standing in front of me staring, but staring happens all the time here! They watched the whole thing happen and after asked if I was ok. What gentlemen... even though I'm pretty sure they were in on it. I forgot to mention what February means here, the entire month is a "Water Carnival" and so kids and adults throw water at you. When we went to Arequipa it was really cute because there were little kids running around with water guns and spray foam/soap.

It's hard to see but there is a little girl behind the wall giggling and hiding from the little boy. Precious!! Later we got the little boy to squirt Danielle.

Friday I went to Les Miserables with Marta at Jockey Mall. The movie cost about the same as in the US, but the popcorn was a lot cheaper! It was 8 soles and we split it so only 4 soles and I was craving popcorn! Kim was a happy camper. The movie was amazing and I'm glad I was able to watch it in theaters and not just watch it on my computer.

Saturday night I went to a birthday party with my sister and her friend, Griselda. The rest of the weekend I was doing homework or watching some TNT movies en español. It was all very exciting.

I'm a little jealous that people are starting to have their spring breaks and get to go home for a week and see family and friends. It would be nice to get a break and see everyone back home... 
Oh and if people were wondering how far I walk everyday, or how far I live from school, here is a map. Now that I have an iPhone I know how to drop pins! But... it wouldn't let me make a route because I live kind of in the boondocks, so you will have to use your imagination on what roads I take.

Notice that the blue dot is on a "mountain" so I get a nice walk everyday! But I don't mind, it's a good workout, especially in the heat...

Last weekend I made my host family Swedish pancakes. And since then my mom has been making me pancakes!! I love it, and her, she is the best! She even bought some real syrup. My real family would be so proud that I am drinking coffee every night, it has milk in it and tastes like Starbuck's but still its coffee!

The perfect meal and reminds me of home!