Monday, July 13, 2009

Montezuma’s Revenge

Hello, again! Our group finally arrived in Lima, Peru very late Saturday night and headed off to a local hotel to grab a few zzz’s. Sunday was a very busy day, filled with interesting first experiences. My first impression of Lima is that it is a HUGE city filled with crazy taxi drivers, American fast food restaurants and the sweetest people you will ever meet. Everybody here welcomes you with open arms. My host parents are Oscar & Julia. These are the wonderful people who really make this trip special. We live in a cute duplex apartment with my “host sister” Amber who is also on the trip.

Monday was the first day of classes at “La Universidad Cientifica del Sur.” We were originally to be at “La Universidad Nacional de San Marcos;” however, it was changed at the last moment. Because it is a satellite campus, it has only three tall buildings. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we take a bus to the main campus, which is 40 minutes away, to take part in a speaking class with other native students. They try to improve their English and we try to improve our Spanish.

Living in Lima is very different than living in the United States. It really makes you so appreciative of what you have and what you have access to. Not many people have cars, so everybody takes taxis. We have to negotiate a price depending on where we are going, because they do not have meters. The more people you pile into a taxi the cheaper it is. On average we can fit 5 to 8 people in one small taxi including the driver (disclaimer: I don’t recommend more than 6). Lima is also full of McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa John and KFC restaurants. I’ve eaten at a Pizza hut and it’s very similar to the restaurants in the U.S., yet at the same time a bit different. However, I highly recommend the local authentic food — it is amazing. Here you can eat a huge three course meal for only eight to ten soles, which is about $2.66 to $3.33 American dollars. Lima is an up and coming culinary capital of South America. There is a huge blending of Peruvian, Japanese and Chinese cultures. One thing that remains truly Peruvian is the Pisco Sour! This cocktail is AMAZINGLY tasty and my beverage of choice! I wish you could get these back in the U.S. because there is no other comparison.

Although the food is amazing, you have to be very cautious of where you eat. If you eat at a bad restaurant, Montezuma’s revenge will hunt you down and find you!!! I unfortunately have been laid up in bed for the past three days from a horrible bout of food poising. I would not wish this on my worst enemy! My host mom has been so sweet by making the best homemade chicken noodle soup, so I can recover more quickly!

Until next time!

* Stephanie is participating in a study abroad program in Lima Peru, organized by Valdosta State University's International Programs and Modern and Classical Languages.

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