We have grown accustomed to the noise of the nearby street. It starts very early in the morning about 5:00 with car horns and buses. With the construction next to us, the traffic has been diverted from four lanes to two. That has slowed the traffic way down and it is separated from us by a row of trees and bushes. The construction is moving along, however, and the road that passes our apartment will open again soon, thus more dirt and noise.
In the early morning hours, we hear a bike horn similar to a child’s bike horn a few times a week. They are notifying the neighborhood they are there to sell bread on their cart, beep beep beep beep.
Several times a day we hear what the Americans call the national anthem, car alarms! They go on for quite some time as a status symbol. Some of the cars are so sensitive, all we do is walk by and it sets them off. We are getting more adventurous taking the bus instead of a taxi. It is a lot cheaper and we are learning which bus goes where even though there are no route maps available online or otherwise. If we choose the time of day carefully, we can even find a seat. We tell the driver “la esquina” (the corner) or “baja aqui” (stop here) when we want to get off. If we do too much shopping, we have to get a taxi home which is only about $2 for every five miles.
Friday my computer was down so I went home and did the weekly cleaning. I cleaned the window sills, under the couch and under the beds, vacuumed, dusted, swept and mopped until everything was clean again. Then I went out and bought flowers just for the house and they are beautiful.. We did see a few drops of rain this week. A few drops (I really mean a few drops) fell on the sidewalk and a woman walking in front of me down the sidewalk whipped her umbrella out. I kid you not. I think she was just hoping. I did take a picture, quite humorous. And you don't see women in their traditional dress very often but this picture was taken by the church office building as she was selling vegetables to anyone who passed by.
A few weeks ago, the Relief Society announced they were looking for dancers to perform at the Relief Society birthday celebration. That sounded like fun so I talked Julene Kendell into joining me for the performance. Just think, I told her, when would you ever again get to learn a Peruvian dance and dress in costume to dance? She is older than I but she was a good sport and accepted the opportunity (challenge). We practiced Wednesday and Friday, 5:00-7:00 for two weeks, then performed last night. Our practices were very hot. The dance is from the highlands of Cusco, and part of the dance included going down on one knee, standing up, turning around and going down on our knee again, four times! Well, we’re too old for that so only the younger girls did that while we stole away and took off our heavy wool skirts to reveal our denim jeans underneath.
We ran back out with our “sombrero” cowboy hat just as the music was changing and ended with a country line dance to some real country western music. The audience loved it! We were glad we participated. Julene admitted she had a wonderful experience and would have never volunteered if I didn’t encourage her. We became close to the Peruvian sisters we danced with; a great memory.
Doing anything here in Peru is twice as much work as back home. Laundry takes twice as long because the washing machine is so tiny, have to get a taxi to go to the store for milk, dishes are washed by hand, and cooking is quite an adventure. We’re really pleased when something turns out good. I made my own chili in the crockpot and it was delicious. Last Sunday, I cooked ribs in the crockpot and, boy ‘o boy, they were better than anything downtown! I can't find powdered bitter baking chocolate anywhere, you know, like Hersey's. I have a birthday coming up so maybe someone could send me some so I can make my own birthday cake! :) A small package can be sent to the Area Office:
Oficina de Area Sudamerica Noroeste
Calle El Grifo, #151
Urb. Campo Verde
La Molina, Lima 12, Peru