Taking it all in....

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Apr 08, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, January 7, 2008

From where I'm sitting I can hear the sound of some snappy Latin music in the street...maybe a car radio...maybe from someone else's house...it's a beautiful 70 something degree evening, all the windows are open letting in fresh ocean air...even though it's about 10 PM people are bustling in and out of this hostel in Miraflores, Lima, Peru.  What a dramatic change from the single digit temperatures of the last few days in Syracuse...it's not that I don't like winter...I actually loved the frigidity of the past week...the coziness under blankets and the welcome rush of warm air from the car heater.  But this is not so bad...in the 80s during the day...the mist of the morning is burned off by a brilliant sun, and when that sun is plummeting down towards the horizon, the moisture returns to the air...resulting in some soft yet dramatic sunsets over the Pacific. 
But this place is about so much more than the weather.  Rocking around in a bus as we drove through the city today with the radio blaring Latin dance music, with people all talking at once to anyone who will listen, I feel nothing but the joy of being in South America...the Latino culture feels very comfortable and lively and fun to be moving within.  I'm dying to practice my Spanish...so much so that I'm asking for directions when I don't even really need them...but the people that I speak to are just as eager to practice their English...and frankly their English is better than my Spanish....so I'm more than willing to accommodate.
Lima - a huge city - with lots of poverty (I read that 55% of the population here lives at the poverty level), but here in Miraflores, you wouldn't know that...  We're right on the ocean above big bluffs that support well-groomed parks...hang-gliders flying off the edges, kids running around their parents, surfers crowding the waves, music and food, and most noticeably, multitudes of coupled teenagers making out on benches.  I've never seen so many couples publicly displaying their affection at one time.  Appropriately enough this is called Lover's Park...the centerpiece is a giant statue of two reclined people in the depths of a passionate embrace...so maybe these couples are just emulating the larger-than-life stone figures...however, it's almost difficult to find a place to sit without feeling as though you are being somewhat intrusive.  But the ocean is the lure....the beauty of the lengthy stretch of beach beneath me...the ceaseless waves gurgling through the cobbly gravel at the shore...the smell of salty air confirming you are walking in the right direction....
So that's my picture of Lima for now.  I'm getting my bearings, making some contacts with people involved in environmental work, eating as much fresh fruit as I can safely stomach at once, planning the next few weeks travel, and enjoying flip-flopping around with only shorts and a t-shirt on.  It was hard to leave Syracuse...but I'm getting back in to the traveling groove again, the over-stimulation  - a product of incessant, multi-dimensional input....sounds, smells, visual...all new and there for consumption and appreciation...time now to lie flat on my back, close my eyes,  and process all that input quietly....except for the sound of a Latin beat that makes me wish I had paid better attention in that meringue class....
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shoefits on

mmmm warm weather
Sounds delightful! Eat a banana for me. XOXO

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