Tsunamis, cervezas y Pachacutec

On Friday 11th March 2011, I woke up to news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The footage was jaw dropping and the fact that Peru was on tsunami alert really didn’t help things. It was like deja vu, the earthquake in Chile last year had us on alert but we found some comfort in the fact that we were way up in the dusty hills of Pachacutec. Anyhoo, nothing happened then and given the distance I assumed nothing would happen now.

I was getting ready to head to the airport to meet my mum who was arriving from Brazil, when mis hermanitas returned early from school (9am). They said because of the tsunami warnings they had been sent home early. Err. Time to start worry then?

Anyway, I headed to the airport and met my mum. Zully and her niece Kio met us and we headed back to theirs. News alerts continued all day and projected times for the tsunami’s arrival kept changing. We didn’t know if to take them seriously or not, nevertheless there wasn’t much we could do but sit tight. I put off plans to take mum to see the Circuito Magico del Agua in Lima because roads were closed or inaccessible, areas along the coast were closed off and police were everywhere. We started discussing who should get dibs on Zully’s surf board should the wave arrive. The last predicted time for the arrival was 20:30 and by 21:00 thankfully there was nothing. Mum went to bed and Zully and I just chilled and had some beer and toasted to the fact that we were gona live to see another day.

Gorilla Mountain, Pachacutec

On Sunday, we packed our bags, got in a cab and made our way up to Pachacutec. I was so excited for mum to meet my host family and to see where I lived, where I worked and the work we’d done. When we arrived I introduced her to my family and showed her to our room. Then we sat with my casa dad Macario and had little chat while Liz (casa mum) and Yaritza (hermanita) finished making lunch- papa rellena, one of my favsssss! Yum.

papa rellena

We had lunch together and it was perfect. By the way, look at me, big time translator yeayerrrr. Some of mum’s Spanish from her school days was coming back to her too.  After lunch we sat outside and enjoyed the cool air, talking, laughing and soaking up an eventful yet relaxing Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon family time

Mum and I retired to our room and had a post sunday lunch nap. Perfection. Then we took a stroll up the hill to visit the family whose house I had worked on last year. The mother of the house Belen, whom we had worked closely with was in shock to see me at her door! I could really get used to surprising people.. hahaha it’s great 🙂 It was lovely seeing her and the kids and to see the work we completed was being developed even further to give them a home that they can all live comfortably in. On the way back to my house I made a few stops at some of the other host families. The welcoming and hospitable nature of Peruvian people will always amaze me.* We stayed for some time at each house and caught up on what’s happened over the last year. I was so glad my mum got to meet them and vice versa. We have about five lunches/dinners to attend now, mum won’t have time because she leaves here before I do, but I’ll see to it that any papa rellena, ceviche, rocoto rellena etc won’t go to waste.

rocoto rellena

(*They suck when it comes to queuing, but I’ll rant about that another day!)


Touchdown PerĂş!

Quick update because I just arrived in Lima and I am ty-arrddddd.

I worked all weekend and then on Sunday after work I had some running around to do and last minute bits to pick up. When I got home Sunday evening I had to finish packing but that went smoothly. My friend Kaylie came over just for a quick visit before I left so she helped me with the minor finishing touches- these shades… or these shades?.. what about these?- naturally we settled on all. Then I set off on the first leg of my journey, Uxbridge to a fellow platform2 (http://www.myplatform2.com/) returnee’s place to kill time and  I frantically tried to finish some reports for work but encountered some technical difficulties. My colleague is SO going to kill me. Luckily I am on the other side of the world so I have a few weeks of living yet.

Ready for the road

3.30am we started getting ready to head to Heathrow. Sye dropped me off, I wish he was coming with me, it´d be so much fun! Alas, I am flying solo. My bags were fine, I was worried I would be over the 23kgs or whatever the limit was but it was all good. When I arrived at Schiphol airport, Amsterdam I regretted not packing the euros I had laying around in my room… duty free shoppinggggggg.. MAC 🙂 Its probably for the best. The flight from Amsterdam to Lima seemed never ending, just like the first time around, last year. I was in and out of sleep on that flight. I watched Due Date (Robert Downey Jr. & Zach Galifianakis), it was HI-larious! Everything else I attempted to watch I just fell asleep halfway through. I flew with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, my first time with them and I would definitely recommend them and I’d use them again. Good service, friendly staff who remained polite and cheerful throughout the entire journey. Must also mention the hot towels, airlines still do that? Call me easy to please but I´m impressed by little touches like that. I also got my hot water bottle filled (my back has been killing me) so I was a happy, sleepy bunny.

When we landed there was a round of applause. It’s been a while since I’ve witnessed that, but I like it, it reminds me of returning home to Trinidad when I was younger 🙂 During the day I kept remembering that today is Carnival Monday and I was thinking about people on the road home in Trini. While I was waiting for my baggage I decided to listen to some sweet soca… no more fighting it. I’m not home but say what, I’m there in spirit. Well we know the effects of soca, I had to refrain from too much air wining (wining by myself) because although I’d already gone through immigration I still had to pass through customs, so plenty of time for them to detain me still if they thought I was crazy. I did spot two cuties that I thought might be good candidates to buss ah lil small wine on, but again detention, deportation all ah dat nah.

Coming out of arrivals, it was really weird being on my own this time, last year we were a group of about 30. As I waited for Zully to meet me I could feeling the fatigue really take over me, even keeping my eyes open was a chore. When she arrived we got a cab to hers and here I am now. We’re going to Pachacutec tomorrow and I just cannot wait to see my host family from last year and everyone else from the neighbourhood. My mum is on her last few days in Brazil and I’m really looking forward to her arrival here later this week. For now I desperately need some rest. Hot water finishes at 10pm and it’s just gone 9pm so I’m out.