May 29th, 2011
Today was a muuuuuch needed free day. We were supposed to visit the port city of Callao, but since everyone was so exhausted and we had such a long day yesterday, Callao was cancelled. It would have been neat to visit Callao because I have heard that it is very beautiful, and interesting as well, since it is frequently talked about in our Lima book. But, I won’t complain about the free day at all, since I have been feeling quite run down myself.
I didn’t sleep as much as I was hoping, probably since my body has been programming itself to wake up early for school at El Sol, but I was soon joined by my roomies Syeda and Natalie and we worked on some homework and picture uploading after eating breakfast. We were waiting to hear the update on paragliding, which about 15 of us were planning to do today since we had the day off. Kristen’s host mom was in contact with one of the paragliding places in Miraflores and it had all been arranged for one of the woman who works there to meet us at Kristen’s apartment at 2pm. We all met there, but were met with unfortunate news, that because of the rainy weather, paragliding was not going to happen today. I kind of had a feeling this was going to happen as Syeda, Natalie, and I made our way over to the apartment while being hit by raindrops. It was definitely a bummer, but even if we had gone, the weather was so gloomy we would not have had much of a view. But, we still want to go paragliding! It doesn’t look like we will be able to in Lima, since time is running short, but soon enough we will be in Cusco, and we have heard there is also paragliding there, with views that promise to be breathtaking!
So a few others and myself wandered over to the area of Lacromar, where there is a big, upscale mall. This mall is where all the tourists are hiding. The mall was not all that interesting, but we did have a nice lunch overlooking the ocean, and this restaurant actually had legitimate vegetarian options, so I was happy! It was definitely gloomy, but the Pacific Ocean certainly was a sight to see. But, the most interesting part of our excursion to the mall was the difficulty we had getting there because numerous streets were blockaded off for the presidential debate that was to take place at the Marriot Hotel right in the area. There were countless policemen and women, riot police, and secret service agents for blocks, and we had to navigate our way around the blockades to find the mall and see the shore. It was definitely a really cool thing to see. We are in Peru during an exciting time, and ever since we landed we have been seeing and hearing things all about the election, and now we could almost feel like we were in the heart of it.
As we sat down to dinner tonight, our host family was gearing up to watch the debate. The TV volume was cranked up really loud, and the lights were dimmed, as if for ambiance, and we could tell that watching the debate was a big event. It was interesting to see the areas we were just at earlier now swarmed with people waving signs and chanting for their favored candidate.