Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This is Peru!

This is Peru...Honking cars everywhere. Shopkeepers begging you to buy their wares. Children selling little dolls on the streets. "One sol!" (about 33 cents) Other little children, scarcely toddlers, grimey and wearing tattered clothes, begging for just a little money. Scuffed with dirt and dust on their faces and clothes but still full of energy and with beautiful smiles, I can barely resist the urge to give them money. If I were´t with the other students, I would give in. Taxi drivers that fly and swerve through the streets so crazily you are sure you will not arrive at your destination alive. Restrooms that almost never seem to be stocked with toilet paper. And when they are, do not put it in the toilet, put it in the trash! Cars, taxis, and buses that NEVER yield to pedestrians, even in crosswalks (be careful crossing streets!). Restaurants that are overwhelmed by groups of 7 or 8 people at one time. Clothes...hats, sweaters, gloves, socks...all sold for a fraction of what they cost in the U.S. (and I hear it's even cheaper in Cusco!). Cab rides that would cost about $40+ for one person in the U.S. are about $3 for five people here. The weather is cool and misty, and often cold...I haven´t been cold in months! Showers that have hot water...sometimes...but are often cold (or unpredictable)...needless to say I have only taken two showers since getting here four days ago, since I´ve only been able to time it right twice. Coordinated, organized packing is everything...I can't even begin to count how many times I've completely turned both my suitcases and my backpack totally upside down just looking for my toothbrush (not to mention numerous other things). And it was well-founded for me to want to bring food...I've only missed breakfast 3/4 times...yesterday my roommate Elise and I completely overslept both our alarms and BARELY made it to our 9am lecture! But peanut butter and crackers and granola bars rock!

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