Peru: Week Two Update

30 05 2009
Papa Relleno Plate

Papa Relleno Plate



Q'endo, an Incan Ruin

Q'endo, an Incan Ruin

Week two has been great. Fortunately, I have remained quite healthy. A girl in my house was hospitalized for three days because she had e. coli and giardia. Another person in my Spanish class was hospitalized due to giardia and salmonella. Needless to say, I’m happy to be feeling fine.

Below are some observations and highlights from this week.

Spanish Class and Talking with Peruvians

I am continuing loving my Spanish classes. They are so helpful and inexpensive, and before I know it, it has already  been two hours and the class is over. We have our first test on Monday!

I’ve been making friends with some of the Peruvian students at Maximo Nivel. It’s been nice talking to them in Spanish, and one of them told me I had a good accent. I find myself understanding more and more each day. So exciting!


Construction work has been fun, but I am going to talk to someone soon about switching to a different project. I  prefer to have more face-to-face interaction. I have heard very good things about a child daycare center about 40 minutes outside of Cusco, and I want to volunteer there.

The children come from families who cannot take care of them but do not want to give them up for adoption. From what I  hear, these kids are very underprivileged (little to no food and sanitation at home). I’d love to see how I can help and even maybe hold a fundraiser if possible.

New Food

My project leader at work, Marco, took me and a couple other volunteers to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant for a quick bite to eat before my Spanish class. I asked him to take me somewhere that was fast and cheap. He didn’t disappoint.

We sat down and he ordered four papas rellenos. Basically, a papa relleno is a deep fried stuffed potato. Inside the potato was a hard-boiled egg and veggies. The plate came with a side of Peruvian fried rice, cucumbers, tomatoes and spicy sauce and mayonnaise. Definitely not the healthiest lunch, but it was tasty, and it was under $1!

Nightlife and Taxis

As I adjust to the altitude, drinking isn’t so hard on my head. As long as I intake lots of water when I drink alcohol, I’m fine.

I went to the artsy neighborhood of San Blas last night, where I listened to live music at a hipster bar. It was fantastic, and the mojitos were only $2!

Everywhere I go, taxis beep at me. Since I’m a “gringo,” they assume I need a taxi. Sometimes they even stop and roll down the window and ask me if I need one. It can get a bit obnoxious. The drivers also think they can overcharge because they think I don’t know any better. However, I know how much a taxi ride costs, so when they hassle me, I just get out.

Music and Colors

I love the music here. There’s salsa, samba, reggaeton and mainstream music. People are always playing music, whether it be on the radio, in a house, in a bar or restaurant or on the street. I wish I could somehow update my ipod with all the new music I’m hearing!

I’ve also been noticing the colors on some of the houses. I really like the bright, bold colors because they make everything seem so alive. Today I saw a house where the door was painted green and the rest was blue and yellow.  My future dream house will have colors.

Incan Sites Near Cusco

Today, I did a lot of walking. I walked to some old Incan ruins right outside of the city. I was so amazed by the huge old boulders stacked on top of each other and the zigzagged walls at Saqsaywaman (Satisfied Falcon in English). Many tourists call it “sexy woman,” which I find very funny. Make sure to take a look at my pics.

River Rafting

I’m going river rafting tomorrow with four other volunteers! I’m sure it’ll be a blast.

Chao for now! Call me on skype!