Monday, September 8, 2008

Trip to Lima

We have just returned from yet another "quick trip" to Lima.  We had to meet with immigration one more time - this time, to make Sarah an official resident of Peru.  So now we are all official card-carrying members/residents of the great country of Peru.  I say "quick trip" in a completely tongue-in-cheek sort of way because nothing is quick here.  We took a bus on Thursday from Huancayo to Lima (7 hours).  We spent half of Friday in the immigration office waiting for Sarah's paperwork to be processed.  Then we spent the rest of the weekend taking care of purchasing things that we cannot get in the mountains.  Then we took the ever so fun 7 hour bus ride home.  Don't get me wrong... all was not terrible.  We took advantage of being in a modern city and we went out to eat a couple of times.  Sarah was very happy to get to visit McDonalds for the first time in months.  I was WAY HAPPY to get to visit Starbucks!!!!  And we found a sushi restaurant around the corner on the last night, so we were excited about that.

So let me tell you about how you get items into the mountains from Lima...  We wanted a couple of lamps for the house, and they don't sell lamps here in Huancayo (bare bulbs from the ceiling is the norm).  After asking several people, "Where can we buy lamps?", and getting no real answers, we finally stumbled upon a floor lamp in a hardware store and we found two table lamps (hand carved) in a tiny hole-in-the-wall store.  Now, how to get them home on the bus???  We knew that we could pay for extra freight on the bus, but we would need to pack the lamps in a box (of course, they didn't come in a box).  Back in Texas, we would have just run down to Brookshire Bros. grocery and gotten boxes, or over to Cooters Liquor store for really good heavy duty boxes... but this isn't Texas.  We were told to go over to the neighborhood across the highway and find the man with the boxes near the Mercado, so off we went.  We couldn't find any boxes anywhere - we were forced to start asking around.  Finally we found "the man with the boxes"... he has a station wagon FILLED with flattened, used boxes.  He sells them out of the back of the car.  This was really feeling like a bad drug deal... we were making a clandestine box deal in the dark of night on the side of the road from a man who sells out of his broken down station wagon.  We paid 10 soles ($3) for two old HP computer boxes and started our walk back across the highway to our hotel to box up our lamps and lampshades for the bus trip to Huancayo.  At one point, all we could see of Sarah was two tiny legs walking under a giant box as she tried to help carry it across the way.   You'll be happy to know that the lamps made it home to Huancayo and are proudly plugged in and serving us well!

Just a side-note... on the bus ride home, we left Lima in the usual smoggy haze, drove through a snowstorm at the top of the pass in the Andes (halfway home), and passed through a thunderstorm closer to home, only to arrive in Huancayo to sunny skies and spring-like temperatures.  We were the only passengers on the bus that WERE NOT with the old-folks tour group from Lima who was traveling to Huancayo on a tour.  Everyone on the trip was easily double our ages and having the time of their lives traveling together - singing, dancing, laughing, handing out candy to each other, and giving the "stewardess" on the bus a run for her money.  

All is well here.  I am in my third week of teaching a bible study to college girls on Monday nights and high school girls on Wednesday nights.  We will begin hosting a disciple class in our home on Thursday nights this week.  We hired a Peruvian tutor today to begin helping us with some intricacies of Peruvian spanish (it is different than Costa Rican spanish in many ways) and to help me translate the bible study materials.  Sarah is doing awesome!  We are often asked if she was born in Peru because her spanish is flawless.  People can't believe that she has only been here for 3 months... they want to default to the idea that she must have been here forever and that Billy and I are the foreigners.