miércoles, 12 de febrero de 2014

So Much More

A lot has happened since my last entry, I do not even know where to begin. I suppose I will start with my trip to the Peruvian zoo. My group and I visited the zoo "Parque de Las Leyendas." The fee to get into the zoo was only ten soles so I really was not expecting much, being from Omaha where we have one of the top zoos in the world. I turned out to be wrong. The zoo was so much more than I had anticipated. There was a large variety of animals all of Which were very active, making it more fun to watch and appreciate Their beauty. The zoo facilities were clean and in overall Seemed modern. A place where the animals had a habitat like to Their Natural environment. My favorite part had to be the monkeys. They swung from vine to vine and climbing ropes Were. It was fun to watch and observe. The current zoo Also featured from different ancient Peruvian ruins settlers, que I found to be interesting.

My group Also when on a hike to Matucana. Originally I was dreading waking up at five in the morning to walk in the heat but it turned out to be well worth my time as well. We took an hour bus ride to a rural part of Lima and ended up in this lovely small town outside the base of the hiking trail. The town was beautiful and unique with lots of wall art and murals. When we finally started up the trail, the lush green mountains were truly breath taking. It felt so good to be out of the big city and able to appreciate the true beauty of the nature that Lima has to offer. At the end of the trail we reached a waterfall. Around the waterfall was a quaint camping sight, so adorable. People out enjoying the natural world is defiantly my notion of fun. 

I've also made it to the beach a couple of times since I've been in Lima. This last time was by far the best experience yet. I was planning on taking surfing lessons but when we arrived they were not offering lessons that day. Not that it even matters, you really can not have a bad day at the beach. We ordered a few beers. laid in the sun and ended the day with an epic squirt gun fight in the ocean. (Best money I've spent since I've been here). It was an amazing day with amazing people.

My family also took me to largest craziest market I have ever been to in my life, Gamarra. It's basically a street shopping center, street fair, farmers market, carnival and strip mall all crammed together into one ball of excitement. I've never seen so many people shopping in one place at a time. There were dancers, people doing sidewalk paintings,and even circus monkeys along with thousands of small clothing stores and street vendors. It was definitely overwhelming at first but a crazy experience that I will always remember.

Last but not least I just returned from a four day trip to the lovely city of Cuzco. Upon arrival we where served "mate de coca," which is tea made from Coca leaves (aka cocaine plant). Everyone in the group was given this because Cuzco's elevation is 11,200 ft or 3,400 m. After exiting the plane I felt extremely disoriented and confused because of this change in elevation. We were also Instructed not to eat a large meal that Day because our stomachs might not handle it well.

The same day we flew in, we went around Cuzco City and toured a few places. The first place we went was a beautiful church built by the Spanish after the had conquered the Cuzco from the Incas. It was awe inspiring. All the art in the church was beyond real, I have never seen such detailed art up close. That same day we also went to a bunch of ruins which were interesting at first but rocks get old after a while.

The next day we where up bright and early (3:00 a.m.) and headed to the famous Machu Picchu. After an hour bus ride and an hour train ride and then two more short bus rides AND a small hike we arrived at the ancient royal city of the Incas. The view alone gave me goosebumps. Then contemplating the fact that people actually lived here thousands of years ago. My mind was blown that people did daily tasks like sleep and eat in these arbitrary and yet still extremely complex rock buildings. Although the day ended up lasting a whopping 21 hours it was still well worth it. Not many people can say they've been to the great Machu Picchu right?
The Following day in Cusco we visited more ruins, the sacred valley of the Incas and took a spectacular bus ride in the mountains to a little shop where woman make many of the products made from llamas. We learned how the woman dyed and spun the llama hair to make it into clothing and other various products. It was really interesting.
Well I know its a lot for one entry but believe me I did not even capture the gist of what the actual experience was like. This is truly the best decision I have made, I would not trade it for the world. I can not wait for what the next month has to offer.

domingo, 26 de enero de 2014

Here Goes Nothing

I Have now been in Lima, Peru for two weeks and can honestly say it couldn't get much better than this. The weather here is perfect! Always a slight breeze and temperatures in the mid 70's. The people here are also beyond amazing. Everyone is very friendly and is willing to help out a "stupid foreigner" with directions or other questions.
In this two weeks I have already experienced so much. Living in a Hispanic culture, Listening and, attempting to, speak entirely Spanish are just two huge new experiences. I also am getting to know my new family that I will be staying with for four months, who are fabulous by the way. Other new experiences include using public transportation. I am now getting the hang out riding in taxis and even combis. A combi is a, less than safe, public transportation buss that they pack full of people. It's defiantly an experience to say the least.
There are definitely a few challenges here too. I don't always understand everything that people are saying, which can be stressful at times but is all part of the fun I suppose. I also really miss my long hot showers that I would take at home. Living here with four other people and a small water heater I normally don't get my share of hot water. It is helping me save water and take less time in the shower on a positive note. I have also been a little sick to my stomach with all the new foods I've been trying and the different water here. After I took some antibiotics all the symptoms improved within the day. I highly recommend that anyone who feels sick start the antibiotics ASAP before it gets worse.
Overall my first two weeks here have been everything I expected and more. I am so glad I took advantage of this opportunity and can not wait to see what the future will bring.