We had a big errand day today, and it was one of those unfortunate errand days where everything goes a little (or a lot) more slowly than you’re expecting, it becomes impossible to finish all the tasks on your list, and you go home feeling slightly defeated because you know you’re going to have to do it again.
Since it’s the weekend, we “slept in” and left at 9AM. We were headed to central Lima, which I hadn’t been to before. When we went into Lima for church last weekend, we were still a bit on the fringes of the city. Our first stop was to get fabric for curtains, and apparently one of the only places to buy bulk fabric like what we were looking for is in a semi-shady part of central Lima. Eddy (one of the Esperanza de Ana staff who does a lot of the driving), his daughter (who’s 2 years old and is one of the most talented escapees in Julie’s class), Julie, Debbie, and I loaded into the EA van, and off we went.
I want you to keep in mind the fact that I previously declared that I never wanted to drive in Peru because it’s terrifying… and now take whatever I thought I knew about driving here, multiply it by 1000 terrifying points, and you have the actual central Lima driving experience. I haven’t seen such a lack of order on the road since I was in China (crossing the street, in parts of Shanghai and Beijing at least, equals taking your life in your hands). I’m going to try to explain, but there’s literally no chance it does the experience justice. There are cars everywhere. No one pays any attention the lines on the road (assuming they even exist). Pedestrians boldly step out into traffic and act like the hand they’re holding up to tell cars to stop is creating a force field that will keep them from getting hit. Some intersections have literally no indication of how drivers are supposed to decide who should go (no traffic lights, stop signs, etc), so everyone tries to go at once. It’s like everyone is constantly playing a game of chicken: one driver says, “I’m going to put my car there,” and another driver says, “no, that’s where I’m going,” and then they both floor the gas pedal and head for that spot until someone decides that today is not the day to get into a car accident and backs down. Some drivers decide that it’s a great time to catch up on the happenings and read the newspaper while sitting in traffic. Everyone is constantly honking, as if that’s going to make all of the traffic ahead of them magically disappear. Our one cab driver definitely had some road rage issues, and at one point he started yelling out the window at the honking truck behind us, got out to yell some more, and came back to grab his baseball bat (which he probably had in the car because he had a softball game later… NOT. Clearly this isn’t the first time he’s felt the “need” to use it). Luckily, he just waved it around, got back into the car, and kept driving like a maniac.
We somehow made it to the fabric store alive… at about 12:15PM (I’ll do the math for you: 3:15 after leaving home for what should be maybe an hour and a half trip). We wandered around and asked a bunch of fabric stores if they had what we needed before getting directed to a shop through some random hole-in-the-wall hallway. Debbie got what she needed for the curtains, and I bought some fabric too for an undetermined future project.
By the time the fabric expedition was complete, it was around 2PM, and we were all starving. We located the closest quick and reasonably-priced place to eat and promptly stuffed our faces. I got “arroz chaufa con pollo” which is essentially chicken fried rice. I think it was really good, but I can’t be sure because my brain wasn’t fully functioning at that point.
Before loading back into the car, we walked around the historic center of Lima. There’s some pretty architecture and an epic central plaza (Plaza Mayor de Lima) that is surrounded by some government buildings including Lima’s city hall (Palacio Municipal de Lima) and the Palacio de Gobierno del Perú (where the president lives – basically the White House of Peru), and the Cathedral of Lima.
At 4:00PM, we had officially completed one thing on the to-do list. Ouch. Thankfully, most of the other things got cut. On the way back to EA, we stopped at Maestro (Peruvian Home Depot) to get some supplies for maintenance and a few upcoming projects, and after that, the only stop left on the list was home. By 7:45PM, we were back, and I was exhausted.
Now, it’s almost midnight and the neighbors seem to be having a competition to see who can be louder. The one party is at the same place as last week, I think two properties away from us. Word on the street is that some “young people” are trying to start a makeshift discoteca there. You might be wondering if there are zoning regulations or something against that sort of thing… and I’m wondering the same thing. This can’t be legal, right? On the other side, our immediate next door neighbors are having a party, and the music is so loud that we could just have our own party here using their music. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that I think they’re trying to outdo each other because the music on both sides has gotten progressively louder since the beginning of the night. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP??? I have ear plugs, but I hate sleeping with them in and my ear canals are so small that they always fall out. UGHHH. Get ready for a grumpy Lara tomorrow.