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Living Like Students in Lima

PERU | Friday, 16 November 2007 | Views [718]

While Lima is a huge sprawling city with a few areas of safe refuge for the traveler, the area we're staying in, Mirflores, is pretty well patrolled by police, and relatively safe to walk around. It's like any big city, pockets of good and bad, rich and poor. There's a Starbucks across the street and I think we're going into reverse culture shock. Our friend Valerie, from Holland, whom we met in Xela, Guatemala volunteering at the prison together, and taking Spanish, has been living here in Lima for the past month, and volunteering at a local hospital on the outskirts of the city. She's a med student in Holland and in between classes and a residency, taking the opportunity to help others and increase her already very good Spanish fluency in the process. She, like our other European friends we've met along the way, has had the great fortune of learning multiple languages early on in life, and picking up a 5th or 6th language is quite easy. Valerie is a pure inspiration for me; full of energy, ideas, and brightens the lives of everyone she meets. Her sense of humor is hilarious, direct, say it as you think it type honesty, that keeps us laughing for hours. She's recommended that we stay in the Flying Dog Hostel, they have several properties in Mirflores and are more reasonably priced. The property she stay at was booked out weeks in advance, so we're staying at their overflow lodging. Our room brings back memories of living in dorms in University... or perhaps crashing at fraternity houses after a long night of drinking. The walls are paper thin, and the room that we're given is bordered by the TV lounge and internet room. Needless to say, we get no sleep here for two nights, as they have no curfew where people need to turn off the TV, or vacate the room. We really feel like old farts here, all these kids living around us, partying until all hours of the night, coming in from the bars at 3 a.m. and continuing to party in the lounge until 5 or 6 a.m.

We meet up with Valerie on her second to last night in town. We reminisce of days in the women's prison and life in Xela over beers, wine and tapas. As we sit at the bar, some woman actually tries to steal her jacket hung below the bar counter top directly in front of her. She tells off the woman, causing the thief to promptly leave, before Valerie sticks her buddy the bouncer on her for attempted stealing. We are reminded to hold onto our belongings, nothing is safe in a big city. We bid each other farewell, as Valerie is off to pick up her boyfriend Bas who is arriving at the airport from Holland to travel through New Years with her. We have an uncanny feeling we'll all be meeting up later someplace in South America...

Tags: Party time

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