Getting to know Lima

February 7, 2008

Yesterday started with a Spanish lesson at 0830.  You’d think that having a Spanish lesson every day would improve my Spanish but it is still VERY basic – we’ve done pronunciation (which I manage much better than my Kiwi/Aussie collegues as I can roll my r’s and pronounce vowels properly) and the conjugations of the 2 verbs they have for ‘to be’ (ser and estar if you’re interested).  I’m not sure that teasing my head of department about his Spanish is really a good move, but I can’t help myself…

We then met up with Alan Tin-Win, a chemistry teacher from the school (British, but originally from Burma, hence the surname) who showed us round the department (the biology dept. has it’s own zoo including rabbits, guinea pigs, a ferret, some primates, terrapins, a tarrantula and various birds – one of the jobs naughty children get in science detention is cleaning them all out!).  We were then given a brief ‘tour’ of the intranet which seems HUGE, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it when I’m using it a lot.  He then took us to lunch and gave us LOADS of useful information on what there was in Lima, where to go, how to get about safely etc.  I went back to his house with him and met his wife and got more info on school and Lima etc.  He even e-mailed me this morning with a map of miraflores (the area we’re in) and directions to the interesting markets and parks nearby.

 Apparently the taxis here are not safe if you’re on your own.  People hide in the back and attack you, the drivers may stop and demand money, they might call on ahead and then pull in to a layby where their ‘friends’ are waiting etc.  Half of them don’t know where they’re going and there is no licencing system.  If you’re obviously  gringo and you stand still long enough any passing motorist will stop and offer you lifts places – it’s insane!

Today also started at 0830, but this time with a driving tour of Lima, along with the Bocks (the new physics teacher and her husband, who are German, but have been living in New Zealand) and my head of department (Jon) and his wife and 2 kids (Kia aged about 2 and Lloyd who is about 10 months).  We were shown the residential areas of Lima that are considered safe enough for us to live in, given a brief tour of the lower school (which is on a different site to upper school) and then taken back in time for lunch.  The best news of the day is that a teacher who lives literally 2 min away from school, in the nicest area of Miraflores, is looking for someone to share with – her flat overlooks a park and seemed (from the outside) to be really nice.  She is currently in Brazil, but should be back on Friday – watch this space…

 We had lunch in a tiny ‘local’ cafe next to the school that one of the gap teachers had been taken to by his host family.  The lunch menu was 6 soles (about 1 pound) and consisted of cancha (a bit like salted pop corn, but made from larger maize and not popped as fluffy), a fruit drink which they topped up when you’d finished it, starter of salad (onion, carrot, maize, cheese, green beans and ceviche sauce) followed by beef stew (with potatoes, carrots, red peppers etc) and rice.  And so far it hasn’t disagreed with me so all good!

After today’s Spanish lesson I went to my head of department’s house for coffee, a chat and to play with his kids for a bit – they’re really struggling with the heat and are being quite ‘grizzly’ a lot of the time.  They are really nice people – he’s a Kiwi, she’s Welsh and they met in Kenya when they were both teaching there (there’s hope for me yet!).

Not much left to do after that except write this, watch the Matrix and then bed – another 0830 Spanish lesson tomorrow! (School here starts at 0730 so I’d better get used to this being a late start…)



  1. Hi Cally

    They eat guinea pigs in Peru. Sounds like you’re having a good start to your time in Peru!


  2. What is cerviche sauce?

  3. Ceviche is a local speciality – it’s raw fish, or seafood, marinated in a sauce that has lemon (or lime), chilie and sliced onion in it. It’s nice – you’ll have to try it when you come over…

  4. What did we say, you’d marry a Kiwi. . .

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