Sunday, March 24, 2013

Scenes from Lima II

Love those rare days when I can just chillax. I'm at a cafe and just earlier I tried using their facilities, only to find the door was locked. There was a person in there. Five minutes go by and I'm still waiting. I push the door again just to make sure that there's someone in there and yes, it is confirmed. I decide not to wait anymore as I know what they are doing. 

Instead, I decided to do this.

 Llamas and alpacas (I still need to learn how to tell the difference between the two) greet us at the entrance of the ruins of Pachacamac.

Exploring the gallery of ancient artifacts.

This, my friends, is the ancient dog of the Incas! I was so fascinated by these as I've never seen hairless dogs before. Their skin felt like a bald man's head but the dogs were so sweet. 

 Separation of city and sand.

 Instead of driving, my companions and I opted to walk. We walked a long way... imagine hiking on sand... but it was all worth it. 

 Templo del Sol, the main ruin.

View from the top. One can see the ocean. 


 Inka market. Nice place to do souvenir shopping.

 La playa de Santa Maria del Mar a.k.a. private beach in a fancy neighborhood. Private because even the bus driver got lost finding the place. Fancy because of the location and the beach goers. Also, look at those apartments! 

 We brought the little kids from the orphanage here.

Returning home for the day but not before passing these hills. This view greatly resembled the East bay.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


My goal of writing a draft of that book by December 2013 won't be happening. I'm quite okay with that. I have other priorities and while that will happen in the unknown future, I am concentrating on three short term goals for now.

Also, I have the cold and it irritates me that this is the second time in the past month that I have fallen ill. Either that flu shot back in January just made my immune system weaker or my system is just weak. I'd go with the former. I would have never taken the flu shot but the traveling nurse insisted it as a precaution as I was going overseas. No ma'am. No more drugs unless I'm extra, extra, extra sick. For now I'll just drink all the liquids I can and keep a roll of tissues in handy.

*Actually. I haven't figured out what this is. Cold or allergies? My eyes are watery. One nostril blocked. Whatever it is... it's annoying. Get out of my system, you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Messing up the timeline of photos just a little with a few instagram photos from this past weekend. I finally got the chance to explore Pogonip. Would have brought at least a digital camera but I was alone for half the way and didn't want to risk being robbed. Crazy thought, I know. Like who is going to rob me, the mountain lions?

View up from East field at UC Santa Cruz. 

Didn't want to waste the beautiful day so I looked down at my flats and exclaimed, "Let's go!". Next time I'll remember my proper shoes.

These were scattered everywhere. I still don't know what they're called.

The area was so beautiful I wanted a picture with it too.

Happy Spring! Bring on the sun, flowers and baby animals, I'm ready!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Scenes from Lima

I spent one full week in Lima, Peru as a volunteer back in January. While I was regretful the trip was too short, I LOVED the summer weather, being able to lend out a hand and also meeting people from different places. My american dollars could definitely be stretched there. I also wished I brought more shorts.  

 Combis, also known as buses, are the main form of transportation. Some buses are small like vans, others are like this. Sometimes the bus driver blared music on the radio. 

 Snacks and shampoo from the corner store down the street... all for under 3USD! Loved the casino biscuits in the middle. My favorite flavors were chocolate and strawberry. 

 Pachacutec - where I volunteered at a summer school. As one goes higher up and away from the metropolitan area, the more prominent poverty is. 

 Done with a morning of substituting a summer class.

 Backyard of the house I was staying in. I planned to lay on that hammock everyday. Sadly it didn't happen.

 My first day at the beach! Ironically, also a friend's hometown. 
On this day we took the kids from an orphanage here.
The water was cold but the sand was unbearably hot without any shoes on. 

 Friday night calls for a night out to Parque de la Reserva where we watched a water show. The water show only plays at certain times but it was all pretty cool. 

 There were also other water fountains in the park.

 Including this, which we walked under. 

Last obligatory tourist photo for now. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

10 Things I Learned from Lima, Peru

Combi in Lima

I'm alive! Right after my trip was the start to my final semester. Being bombarded by homework and thinking about summer and vacation sucks big time. I tagged "summer" in this post because it was summer in Peru when I went. It still is.

1. Lima is a desert city, second largest after Cairo, Egypt. It rarely rains. Plus, the city is huge! I had no idea. I guess I need to wrap my head around the idea that many cities will be larger than San Francisco.

2. Wifi is not readily available and free at Lima airport. You either buy (a pricey) Starbucks to get access to their wifi or find the room where you pay for internet use (this I cannot confirm as I never did find the room). 

3. Traffic is busy and dangerous. Stop lights seem to be non-existent and drivers do not use their signals. So pay extra attention when crossing streets! In the cab ride from the airport to the homestay, I was wide-eyed at how close vehicles got close to each other on the road. They got really close... sometimes as close to an inch. I was just hoping to not get into an accident. 

4. Toilet paper cannot and should not be flushed down the toilet. 'Nuff said. Piping is a problem in Peru in general. Throw them in the trash.

5. It is difficult to get change for big bills. 50 and 100 sole bills are difficult to get change for (soles is the Peruvian currency), especially when we needed a couple soles to catch the bus. So when you have these in your hands, try to get change for them right away. I would go to the corner store and buy a bunch of snacks but sometimes the small establishments won't even take them. The buses definitely will not take them. 

6. Taxis do not have meters. Decide on a set price before setting foot in any taxi to your destination. Also, beware of fake taxis! Only real taxis are allowed into the airport. I was usually with a group of others so this wasn't a problem for me. 

7. Combis are the best form of transportation. (Picture above) Seriously. Destinations were written on the outside of the buses. And rides were only 1 - 3 sole depending on where you wanted to go. That's as cheap as 30 cents! 

8. Hot sauce is not popular. If you like spicy food like me, sorry but you won't find it here. I probably found some hot chips at a liquor store but they were so mild it hardly constituted as "hot chips". To this I said, "ah well!". 

9. Cereal is eaten with yogurt. This I found strange and interesting at the same time. Now that I think of it, it is eaten like parfait. I found that regular milk for them is steamed and watery. 

10. Peruvian red wine is really sweet. Dangerously sweet. Also my first time tasting a red wine that is this sweet. Probably best consumed indoors or with good company. Funny. Upon knowledge that wine was bought from the corner store, our house mother Lidia, offered us Argentinian wine, which she thought the foreigners would like better.