This weekend has been a bit of a doozy, and by that I just generally mean I’m under a little bit of stress. Tomorrow is my first control–exam, basically–in my class called the Social Reality of Peru. Basically, it’s 4 essay questions about unknown topics. The subject we are currently covering is, in a sentence, all aspects of Peruvian society/history from the Conquest through Colonial times.
No small amount of information there, my friends, and thus I have spent the weekend locked away trying to finish readings and then extract information FROM those readings with which to study. Unfortunately it has largely been me reading, needing to come up for air and then wasting copious amounts of time before diving back in. The subject truly interests me and the readings aren’t actually too terrible–the problem lies in the fact that this class is an analysis of Peruvian history/modern times. Emphasis on analysis as in…not a re-telling. The authors and Professor presume a certain amount of previous knowledge from each student–and if you’re Peruvian, you’ve probably got it. For me, however, this means that each lecture and reading assignment is riddled with names, concepts, and events that are either totally new to me or only vaguely known from a wide, world-history perspective. This means that all of the additional information I have to learn in order to put the analyses into perspective is just enormous, and I feel like there’s no possible way I’ll be able to have a solid grasp on it by tomorrow morning…and then be able to write 4 intelligent essays in 2 hours in Spanish on the subjects.
Sorry, negative-nancy overload, I know.
To counteract all that, I’ll tell you about the one thing that happened this weekend that I was quite pleased about–on Thursday after my class, I went to El Parque de las Leyendas–otherwise known as Lima’s biggest Zoo! (There are two, FYI, so that does actually mean something.)
I went with my two Japanese friends from Mistura, along with three more Japanese students (one of whom I am acquainted with via my archaeology class) and 4 of their Peruvian friends. I, uh, may or may not have had “minority status” imprinted on my forehead all day long.
The zoo is located conveniently close to campus, so we literally walked out of the back gates, and after about a 15-20 minute walk we were there. Honestly you might even be able to make that a 10 minute walk, but I have to admit, this group was full of VERY SLOW WALKERS. I’m not usually a speed demon unless late, but I couldn’t physically take steps small enough to go their speed, which resulted in me wandering ahead unintentionally during various parts of the day. But, I digress. Onto the zoo!
With an entrance fee of only 10 soles (about $3.82) and the fact that we went in the afternoon on a weekday, we basically got a really good deal to have the place almost to ourselves. (Children were all in school for most of the time.) The park also happens to be built up around some ancient ruins (sorry, didn’t write down from whom) and includes a small archaeology museum which, unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit. Also featured is a sort of playground area for kids which really was more reminiscent of a carnival…kind of fun! 🙂
We started off with lunch in a restaurant located at the center of a lake in the park (not going to post pictures because I wasn’t hungry & therefore didn’t eat there) and then moved onto the animals. The zoo’s collection includes your typical African wildlife–zebras, hippos, giraffes, etc–but has a really cool focus on Peruvian wildlife, which was much more fun to explore given that they included animals that you don’t usually see in zoos, or really…ever, if you don’t live in Peru. They have several sections designated for some of the larger, more generalized regions in Peru with animals representative of each–the zone designated to the Amazon also happened to be really beautiful, including a model village and pond full of water lilies.
And, of course, there were several large fields full of llamas. As if anyone could ever forget them. ❤
We ended up being at the zoo for much longer than I had originally thought/planned (I attribute this to aforementioned minimal walking speed) but frankly I really enjoyed it. I spent a lot of time talking to a Peruvian girl who currently studies art history in London (but is on break until October) and she made some very insightful points about the art scene in Peru, and we compared prices of things like concert tickets, etc. I also enjoyed hanging out with the Japanese students again, they’re just generally so fun and adorable. Another one of the Peruvian students is actually Peruvian-Japanese and has lived both places, so he has kind of a very unique outlook about everything as he is both outsider and insider in both worlds. Hoping to hang out with this group some more in the future–they invited me to go with them to the Circuito Mágico del Agua on Saturday, but, as I mentioned, I’ve been on lockdown trying to study.
Speaking of which, I’m sure you’re all probably wondering why I’m procrastinating further by writing this post, but I’m actually writing & uploading photos in between chunks of reading. Like I said, I understand the lingo (mostly) but it’s not full of fluff, and I have to step back now and again.
However, time to crack down once more and prepare for what will most likely be an all-nighter of desperate studying. With Wikipedia for unknown-references backup.
Wish me luck.