My first stop was supposed to be Peru where I planned to take some Spanish lessons as recommended by the couple I met in Mongolia. However, as mentioned in my previous blog, I missed my flight to Peru so I started my journey without knowing any Spanish.
I took the bus from Puno to Arequipa for my Spanish lesson. It was a rip off. Other passengers paid 30 soles while I paid 45 soles and it was not Tour Peru. It was some other local bus. I knew it. The guy didn’t look that honest but I bought it at Tour Peru’s booth at the bus terminal. How ridiculous!
It was like a concentrating camp portrayed in movies. Stuffy. The bus stopped to get more and more passengers. People (vendors) were selling snacks on the bus. It was just like Ecuador or any other developing countries.
I was sitting at the front seat. It rained at one stage and then the sun emerged again. When it was sunny, it was very hot on the bus.
I didn’t enjoy this kind of bus rides but I needed to do it again to Argentina. And that trip was going to last for 2 days!!! I didn’t know if I could survive.
Finally, the bus arrived at Arequipa. 25 minutes late. They said it would be 2pm but it arrived at 2:25pm. I called the school to let them know I arrived and then took a taxi.
I arrived at the address the school headmaster gave me. It was their own residential address. They lived on a hill! It was very nice and quiet up there. They must be considered as pretty well off in this country. Then I was taken to my host family. The father came to greet me. He looked very nice. The mother came to greet me too. She was a beautiful lady and she looked very kind too.
They showed me their house. It was December so that entire house was full of Christmas decoration – Christmas trees, lights and even a manger. They were Catholics. After this ‘orientation’, I walked around the city to familiarize myself with the neighbourhood like the main square, the shops around the square and the way to school.
I found a juice place where I had my late lunch. This kind of place was quite common in Peru. I found one in Cuzco and then here in Arequipa. It could be a chain store. I needed it. I had a cold sore that meant I needed rest and nutrition.
As I was about to leave the Main Square, one of the churches was open so I went in. It was Sunday mass. Their manger was huge and beautiful. There was flowing water. It was absolutely amazing.
I strolled back to my new temporary home to have tea with the host family. They lit four candles on a wreath on the dining table. The host dad said the candles represented four Sundays before Christmas. They lit two candles because it was the third last Sunday before Christmas. The forth candle represented 24 December. I look forward to spending Christmas in Argentina. They asked me if I was I catholic so I told them. We then started talking about Christian meditation. They seemed to be very interested in it. The host dad then showed me photos hung in the house – his family, his sons. Two of them were twins who had tea with me. One of them ‘donated’ his room to me. His room was full of posters of Hollywood movies. I remember he had a tattoo on his arm. I told him I could read Chinese and Japanese and I might be able to tell him if the tattoo artist had written the character correctly and then he hid his arm away from me. That was so funny.
The host dad also showed me paintings that his sons did. They were really beautiful. I could tell they were very talented. I was sure my host parents were very proud of their sons.
9 December 2012
P.S. When I read my journal that I wrote in 2012 now (in 2022), I realised I had forgotten quite a lot of details. It’s good that I kept a journal back then. Thanks to my past self.
P.S. Happy New Year! It’s 1 January 2022! 🙂
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