As of this morning, after several hours of stewing in lines (seriously, I got there 30 minutes before enrollment opened an was towards the BACK of the line) and sitting in a room with nothing to do but wait, I am finally enrolled in courses at PUCP! I ended up not getting into one I had assumed I would, but my backup came through and, as things stand, I actually now have a crazy awesome schedule-one morning class Mondays & Thursdays, 2 classes Tuesdays, 3 Wednesdays, and none Fridays. That, my friends, is by FAR the lightest load I have ever had. But then again, looking at some of the lengthy required readings for these classes…maybe that’s for the best.
In any case, now that I’ve got official classes & homework to handle, I thought I’d squeeze in this post about my weekend before I got too busy. (Although…this is so much more enjoyable for me than homework, I’ll far more likely neglect the tarea than the blog.) I’m dubbing the past few days the “Lost” weekend because I had some rather grandoise plans to get ahead on lots of work, and did…well..none of it. I’m letting it go this time with the excuse of cultural exploration/experiences, but in the future I need to not do this, because grades are pretty important to me, and these transfer DIRECTLY back home.
Shall we start with Friday? Let’s start with Friday. After chatting online with my language partner/compañero on Thursday night, we made plans to get together Friday afternoon to chat, teach me some local slang, and eat some delicious Turkish food. We chose to eat at the branch of said Turkish restaurant that is in the neighborhood of Barranco-a very artsy, bohemian district full of brightly colored houses and more traditional/colonial architecture. We met up first, though, in the metro station in Miraflores, since I didn’t know how to get to Barranco yet. (The station is on the left side of Calle Benavides, several blocks into the city, for those looking). From the station, we took the metro (to get to Barranco you want to take either the A or B routes, headed SOUTH, and get off at the Bulevar station) for a quick…what, 10 minutes? and soon were ambling down the pretty streets whilst I was oohing and ahhing over the aesthetics. There also happened to be a coffee festival of some sort in the main plaza that weekend, so we also paused for a tasty and flavorful free sample at a kiosk.
We ambled all around, even all the way to the edges of Chorrillos (another district, with a pretty good sea view), but the highlight was probably the picturesque Puente de los Sospiros (Bridge of Sighs), famous for lovers and romantic date nights. As a matter of fact, a couple was taking engagement photos while we were there. By day, the little wooden bridge is quaint, and crosses high over an older cobblestone street lined with boldly colored houses that leads down to the sea. We didn’t go all the way, but enjoyed the view nevertheless. After our absolutely stellar meal, we returned to the puente by night, when the big globe lights are softly glowing and the bridge is tactfully illuminated. What with the bright yellow church in the background and the navy night sky, I have to say…I was impressed.
Side note: Barranco is pretty safe by day, and I’m told reasonably safe in the more populous, touristy areas by night (for said tourists, that is) but do take caution, especially on the little dirt street which, ironically, is the path from the metro to the main plaza-it is the equivalent to Miraflore’s infamous Calle de las Pizzas, where a seemingly charming little street is actually home to a bit of drug dealing, theft, and some good old-fashioned prostitution.
Double side note: Metro stops running at 10, so if that’s your way of getting home from Barranco…keep an eye on the clock.
Saturday was the day that I had intended to get down and dirty with my homework. It was also the day I spent in the blogosphere, watching youtube videos, and doing other various forms of disturbingly lazy procrastination.
Sunday, then, became homework day…but once again my language partner offered a cultural opportunity off of my Lima Top 30 checklist that I just couldn’t turn down. Meeting up in the late afternoon, we hopped onto a micro from Miraflores and made our way down Avenida Arequipa to the Parque de la Reserva & the Circuito Mágico del Agua. Essentially, this is a beautiful, fenced-in park (4 Sole entrance fee, fyi) filled with all kinds of fun fountains. Even in spite of the cold weather, children and adults alike were not only walking through the tunnels formed by water arcs, but even jumping right into the fountains and playing in the water! My language partner offered to hold my things while I took a dip, but uh…
Not happening in the wintertime, kids.
There were all kinds of vendors selling snacks and toys, and the green spaces in the park had beautiful bright pink & red flowers, and sometimes featured some topiary masterpieces. Speakers are everywhere, and each area plays a different kind of music-from classical to indigenous to childrens’ songs. However, friends, the real delights come at night-when the fountains and music are accompanied by light shows. There is indeed something pretty magical about the spectacle of water shooting up with soft colorful glows illuminating it from underneath, and, much like El Puente de los Suspiros, I can see this as being a pretty popular date night option-but dozens upon dozens of families were there too, with children splashing the adults, and even groups of friends wandering around and pushing each other into the water.
Brave souls, I say.
In any case, though I feel the guilt (and regret) now of not working over the weekend, it was still what I would consider a very pleasant couple of days, and I had a fantastic time getting to know my compañero better (and learning about 4,000 different phrases and tips from him!). Here’s to many more such adventures in the future!
(PS, here’s a picture of Larcomar by night-it’s an uber-upscale mall built into the SIDE of one of the cliffs-totally subterranean-full of yummy/expensive restaurants and designer clothes. I snagged dinner here after the water/lights show and often go just to kinda chill/walk around, since it’s about 15 minutes from my apartment.)