I am loving the fact that I´m back to staying in an 8-bed dorm room, shared bathroom, in a real hostel again instead of holing up in a private hotel room with my own bathroom. The thing is, that hotels simply don´t foster togetherness and acquaintence the way a hostel does. This Home Peru Hostel, in the Miraflores District of Lima, Peru, is really quite lovely because it´s a very large colonial mansion once occupied by a very lucky Peruvian wealthy family. Two stories high with gargantuan rooms and lots of windows wide open to the fresh air. They all have lacy iron security bars for safety….at least from intruders….but it gives the feeling of openness and light. So far, I´ve only heard one mosquito in the four nights I´ve stayed here. The back breakfast room opens wide to a private, grass and plant-filled back yard with more tables set up for yard dining. The house´s kitchen is discreetly set behind a lattice fence along with the servant´s quarters so that meals could appear, seemingly effortlessly on the table of the family. Now, our included breakfast of juice, coffee or tea, and two fresh buns with butter and jam, is served up to us every morning. We are free to use the kitchen to cook our other meals if we want. But, I´d rather eat out for $2-$8 in all the fine, international restaurants here.
Now to explain the unusual name of this blog: Due to the rapid ability to become good friends in this atmosphere, a temporary little family unit formed yesterday. Dana and her seven-year-old daughter, Annabella, are here while Dana studies and teaches Yoga. They are Canadian. Karl, from the far-flung northern regions of Canada is here to travel as I am doing. In conversation over breakfast, they discovered many points of connection – from their nationality to mutual friends, to the fact that Karl looks like Dana´s uncle and is a Scorpio, like all the other members of her family. Annabella is a very precocious and quite beautiful little girl, having a wonderful time getting her education on the road instead of in a stuffy school in the frozen north.
While reading my Lonely Planet, I noticed that there was a Hari Krishna Vegetarian restaurant, Govinda, right here in Miraflores, and since Dana and Annabella are vegetarians I mentioned it. Whee! Let´s all go there together for lunch! I had enjoyed so much the Hari Krishna restaurant I had patronized in Brataslava, Slovakia, that I knew that their food was pure and so tasty and so inexpensive. Have always wanted to duplicate the experience and now was my chance. So, off we went!
That´s where I suggested that we combine our last names and I would be the granny and we could all enjoy being a family, at least for a day. We ordered way too much food but loved tasting it all and took some home for supper. After stuffing ourselves, shopping in the little attached gift shop….during which Karl bought a dreamy long blue and pink scarf for Annabella, who has very good taste….we wandered to the center of Miraflores, intending to catch a cab home; put the leftovers in the fridge; and then go into the real center of Lima to gawk at the bones down in the bowels of the catacombs or something equally as unusual.
Also, yesterday was the big day of Carnival, the noise of which I was fearing. Guess what? Not a hint of it here. Total quiet and no water barrages. That which we fear, usually never materializes. How true.
Instead, we found ourselves heading toward the Pacific Ocean which I had walked to the day before. We are high on a cliff beside it, but Miraflores has done some beautifully creative commercial things with that cliffside in providing many fancy levels of shops and restaurants and even a movie theater, right there overlooking the sea. We wandered and bought ice cream cones until Annabelle´s new shoes gave her blisters. So we took a taxi back home.
So, now I must get myself into downtown and go visit those lonely bones in the catacombs below St. Sebastian Church. Somebody´s gotta do it! Might catch the Inquisition, as well.
OH YE OF LITTLE FINANCE!
Hurry on down here to Peru! Particularly, Lima, from what I’ve seen of it so far, which is only a smidgen of the suburb, Miraflores, (Look at the Flowers?). Everything seems to be so very affordable and this is a very modern and swanky city. Oh, I saw its edges last night coming in on the bus, and they are not the least bit swanky, but if you´re looking for a way to live well on very little doh-re-mi, then it seems to be entirely possible here.
My glorious bus-cama (bed-bus) ride from Trujillo, Peru, to Lima cost me $20 (Senior Discount)…it´s $26 regular price…for an eight-and-a-half hour ride in sheer comfort, which included three gentle movies, such as Evan Almighty, and plenty of food and soft drink served by an attractive stewardess. The three-course meal was similar to, but better than, airline food. Also, we were given two snacks towards evening. Apparently, many bus companies offer this class of bus,so I hope to ride them often.
I had reserved the Home Peru Hostel on the internet, so I taxied right there after dark and discovered myself in a fine colonial mansion turned hostel for $8 per night. That´s in a mixed 8-bed dormitory with shared bathroom, to be sure, but there´s only one other person in there at the moment. I decided to take myself out of seclusion and all the private rooms I’ve been luxuriating in since my cold, two weeks ago. Gonna get a little more social to weather the coming Carnival, which apparently, isn’t too crazy in Lima. Sunday will be the big day.
Now, I have discovered (thanks to the gang at the breakfast table this morning) a multi-plex cinema with movies that still have the English attached, so I am going to my first one right now for a Sr. discount cost of a little over $2. How´s that? First run movies too, and I am so starved for such. It´s hard work trying to understand the ones on the bus which are dubbed and subtitled, but with no English evident, though they are American films, albeit mostly violent ones which I don´t want to understand anyway.
During my fun days in Lima, I´ll be trying to discover what sort of bargains one can find here. Oh, the supermarket has more yummy-looking food and very cheap, but high and healthy quality. Plus, I may go interview the upscale hotels and ask them bald-facedly just how much of a bargain they are willing to give an American tourist in this abysmal age for attracting anyone at yesterday´s prices.
Okay! I´m off to my two-dollah show!