Howdy! Today began very early. In fact, we had to use the Spanish verb "madrugar," (to wake up early) to describe it. Our appointment to receive our visas and temporary ID cards was was at 8 am all the way across town and we didn't want to be late. Sometimes, an experience is so culturally different from what I am used to that I get lost in those differences and the rapid fire Spanish: that's what it was like to get our visas. Luckily, Joel and Mauricio (a man who works at a local tourism office) helped us with everything and explained what we needed to do. However, it was clear that it was a confusing process even for them. Let's just say that it was like the DMV on roids. One of the highlights of the 5 and a half hour process, most of which was spent sitting and waiting, was when the amazed woman behind the counter asked Britt how tall she was. Peruvians are generally short and at 5 ft 6 in tall Britt is a giant.
After we finally finished, Joel brought us to Miraflores to do some more sightseeing. Miraflores is the touristy section of town, complete with McDonalds and Starbucks. Sadly, it's clear that a lot of money has been pumped into this one area to increase tourism while other parts of Lima are extremely impoverished and clearly receive little to no funds from the government. Our 5.5 hour stint at the pseudo DMV left us feeling very hungry and we went for lunch as soon as we arrived in Miraflores. We shared fried yucca, ceviche, and arroz con pollo (rice with chicken)- and it was pretty good! After lunch, we walked through the different parks of Miraflores- including El Parque del Amor- and we did a little window shopping. Later, we took a taxi home and had a late dinner (at 9:30 at night!) with Joel and Alberto (another man who lives and works at the house. Apparently they both started the process to become Augustinians, but they changed their minds about the priesthood and now work for them. Last night and tonight we had a great time laughing with them and chatting about the Peruvian culture and vocabulary. This included everything from bacon to bad words. Don't ask!
All in all, we are having a great time in Lima, but look forward to our time in Chulucanas when we won't be so spoiled as we are now! Jokes about our Spanish abilities flow freely, our dinner conversations last over two hours, and it is a near death experience each time we get into a car or attempt to cross the street.
Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers and well wishes... They seem to be working so far.