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11 12 2008

Things have been shaken up a bit in the last couple of weeks.

Up until last Tuesday I lived in a house with nine fellow foreigners. This was a perfect scenario when I first arrived. I immediately got to know people who were in the same situation as me: twenty-somethings travelling to Peru to do internships or to study whilst embracing/experiencing/immersing themselves into a new culture and language. My housemates were Bolivian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, French, German, Swiss and, like me, were all new to Lima and Peru.  We discovered the city together: did all the touristy stuff in the city centre, went out to bars, had parties at the house, went on excursions outwith the city and generally just chilled out together in our free time. The multicultural/international vibe was cool with various themed nights based on different countries, with food, dancing and liqour from all across the world featuring for the arrival and departure of new people.

However, as is a consistent feature of life, things always have to change. I have now moved into a new apartment with two aussies, one of whom is from my work. Our apartment is on the edge of a slightly more run down part of town with the surroundings noticeably less pristine – though I’m not sure if you would ever use the word pristine to describe any part of Lima.

Nevertheless, it has several benefits. We live on the seventh and last floor on a newly built high rise building which means we (and only we) have access to a generously sized roof terrace which has a spectacular view across the city. The security is fine with a strong fence stretched around the perimiter and 24hr security guards at the gates. This is pretty much standard for a district where gunpoint robbery and other such violent crimes are commonplace. 🙂

The apartment is good and new with plenty of space though it is lacking in maintenance and furniture as of yet. But most importantly I have my own room after sharing for almost 5 months. Sorry Peter, but I’m sure you appreciate the peace and quiet too 😉 So I’ve been pretty busy in the last couple of weeks, moving my immense mass of possessions (haha), buying mattresses and learning the directions to give taxi drivers.

Leaving the old house was pretty sad, I had good times there and met alot of good friends, but I couldn’t have lived there forever. One feature of the house is that there is a constant turnover of personage; the nature of temporal internships and studying meaning that people only stay there for the months that they needed to be in Lima before travelling or returning home. So alot of the people that I have known from the start have left and now felt like my time to move on. Plus the kitchen was always f**king manky and constant noise is no good for a light sleeper.

For my own despidida (leaving party) I slapped on the kilt, made some stovies and scotch eggs and gave a typically sarcastic appraisal of my country in powerpoint presentation form whilst fuelled by a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label. Not sure if Scottish self-criticism has quite the same ring in grammatically questionable Spanish. The next day I made my last house-excursion as we all went to a beach resort 2 hours south of Lima to swim in the Pacific, lie on the beach, sample some (delicious) seafood and soak up some sun. In my case meant getting badly burned after stupidly skipping my stomach when applying suncream and simultaneously forgetting that the southern hemisphere has a nice big hole in its ozone layer. Lesson learned …

So that’s it – my time in the house is over. Granted, I’ve taken a slightly different approach to my interning housemates after only buying an expensive one way ticket and leaving myself with only enough money to move in with my ex-pat Australian friends and briefly sojourn to Bolivia in order to change my 2-month-expired visa.

Which leads on nicely to me saying I’m going to Bolivia on Sunday. 2 weeks in the heart of South America, followed by Christmas at Lake Titikaka with a whole bunch of stuff I’m not even going to dream of planning for in between.

Good times.