Peru: Week 6!

Hola again, it is me. That's right you will be getting two, back to back blog updates from yours truly. Life, indeed, is good. Since my last post, the Fujimori edition covered the most important events of week 5 here, I will now fill you in on what happened week 6 which, it just so happens, is quite a lot.

Last Thursday another student studying abroad here from Indiana University, as well as a local Peruvian student decided to go to a festival of food here in the city called Mistura. At this event samples of food from most of the restaurants in the city was available for sale at considerably discounted prices. I had heard from my host parents that Mistura was quite the popular event here in Lima and, never being one to pass up an opportunity gorge myself on the local cuisine I was very excited to go. After class we met up outside of school and took a bus.

(Gorging myself on local cuisine at Mistura)

The trip proved to be even more of an adventure than the usual journey through the chaotic Lima traffic. Whilst stuck in the slow moving traffic in a rather run down part of the city, two men with pistols exited a car at the intersection in front of us. They proceeded to shoot a few rounds into the air, run up to the taxi in front of them, take the driver prisoner, and then have their captive drive off with them into the sunset in their newly acquired taxi much like the wild western bandits of old. Needless to say the other student from Indiana University and I were quite surprised to see something like this occur in the middle of the day in front of literally hundreds of people who simply stood there and watched. The natives on the bus then assured us that this sort of thing is a fairly normal in Lima (which was not, at all, reassuring), but told us not to let it spoil our opinion of the city and that the vast majority (80 percent according to one woman) were decent and kind-hearted people. The event served as a sobering reminder that no matter how careful you are, there is always the possibility that a group of gunmen may randomly decide to hijack your taxi and whisk you away in full view of the apathetic citizenry and complacent police.

(It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood)

We arrived at Mistura without further mishap and fully enjoyed the local food. They had many native dishes from both the jungle and the sierra, as well as more cosmopolitan dishes from the city. Though not quite adventurous enough to try eating cow stomach (though I did eat cow paws last week), I took advantage of the event and tried a wide variety of dishes and enjoyed bonding with my fellow students. A fellow Indiana University student and I even had our picture taken with a giant chicken.

The rest of the week and weekend passed fairly quickly, I went to class, studied, enjoyed the local nightlife, was asked by multiple young, local entrepreneurs if I wished to purchase cocaine (I said no, don't worry), and before I knew it, Sunday had arrived.

(Also, they looked like this)

On Sunday, I went with another IU student and her host mother to the Metropolitan Museum of Lima. This proved to be quite the cultural experience. The museum was in a rather festive looking neighborhood call the Park of Expositions. It had a large plaza, and a park where another food festival (apparently they are almost as popular as violent crime is here) was taking place. Upon entering the museum, despite its quaint, colonial period looking exterior, I found that the inside was relatively modern. They used fascinating interactive exhibits and simulations to take us on a journey through literally billions of years of Peruvian history (the geological formation of the region up until 2000). The highlight of the experience, I would have to say, was the earthquake simulator, complete with fake cracking walls, dropping chandeliers, and of course, a shaking floor. Learning is fun.

Until next time,

Christopher Moore

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