Mike: Well that was our final week in Huancayo!
It has been a week of meals. The last week we ate out pretty much constantly, this week we have been eating round each others.
Monday turned out to be a pretty standard affair.
No work on Tuesday - makikita had some Uni students helping out as part of a community project. Juliana said that she didn't really need our help so we decided to be healthy and make a fruit salad, we headed to the supermarket to pick up some Fanny (their make of tinned fruit) as well as all the fresh exotic fruit we could find. When we got back we had to google most of the fruit to find out how to eat them. But it turned out amazingly and fed us for a few days.
Wednesday was our final lesson teaching, we finished off our lesson on basic english conversation (this week "we do you live?" "brothers and sisters" and "saying goodbye"). In the evening we had everyone round ours for curry, we made a chicken and an aubergine curry. The girls bought some beers, bread and ice cream between them. It was just the right amount of food and we ended up pretty full.
Thursday - Juliana and her mum cooked as they had heard I was a big fan of meat which we were supposed to eat at lunch time. Juilanna in typical peruvian fashion hadn't told us though so we where out looking for presents for the kids. We ended up having it for evening meal and turned out to be some beef with potatoes and salad, it was very nice and a welcome break from all the cooking yesterday.
Friday - was our leaving party at Makikita, there was some food (more fruit salad and Alicia made brownies) and drink, they also brought a radio down so we could dance with all the kids (it got a bit weird when LMFAOs "sexy and I know it" came on) I got to play some football and ended up a big sweaty mess by the end of it. We then sat up in front of the whiteboard with all the kids in a semi circle infront of us, they each took turns going up and saying something to us which we pretended to understand (Juliana later explained they were wishing us love and happiness and thanked us for the English lessons). They came round gave us a hug and some even gave us presents. I got a photo frame from the kids and a leather Peru notebook from Juilanna. Alicia got a pen pot from the kids and a pencil case from Juilanna. One of the children "Franklin" made us a beaded keyring monster which was amazing (unfortunately it hasn't survived travelling). We gave the kids their presents of an abacus, junior pictionary and Jenga. Hopefully they'll like them but at the time were chanting "KISS! KISS! KISS!" which was well awkward. Friday evening we went round the other volunteer flat where Anne, Chtistine and Colette live. Anne (from France) really wanted to make crepes, both sweet and savoury, we also tried to make ourselves some pisco sours which involved squeezing many, many lemons by hand and was met with only reasonable success.
Saturday was our penultimate day we got up early headed out with the Juliana and the other volunteers to see some pre inca ruins just outside of Huancayo. We got into a bus and went to the infamous Chupaca (infamous because loads(!) of buses go there from Huancayo with people hanging out of the bus sounding "Chupaca!" also because when they shout this it sounds like Chubacca, which got me excited that it was a city of wookies). Chupaca was nice town full of markets, we found a whole street dedicated to selling rolls and whole roasting pigs which they cut up and put into the rolls, it all looked and smelt brilliant although it was fairly early in the morning so we saved them for later. We hopped into a taxi and headed out up a mountain until we get to a pathway where we got out. Walking along the path we were joined by a random dog that can clearly smell the pork in our bags and pockets. We headed up some old steps which were surprisingly difficult till we got to the top. We are greeted with a row of pretty well preserved pre inca ruins, Juliana explains that they were used as "bone barns" we have a look around, then sit out on the ridge over looking the mountains and the valley and eat out sandwiches (it tasted as great as it smelt). We sat in the sun for about an hour before heading back. On the way back we stopped off at a nice restaurant where we could sit outside and I figured this is the last time to try cuy (Guinea Pig) which is the national dish of Peru. It's reasonably expensive (a whole on is 50 soles) so I lumped for a 1/4 cuy, Alicia chickens out, literally, she goes for the chicken. The cuy comes out and everyone makes the same noise ("errrm") the cuy is complete with head, teeth, ears, legs and feet, splayed out on the plate. There is very little meat on it and what there is pretty fatty. It's a strange tasting meat with dark flesh and with a pretty wet texture. Alicia doesn't like when I decapitate it and start making it talk. I am glad I had it but it's not something I'll be in a hurry to repeat.
We then headed back to start the massive amount of hand washing we had to do. This takes all afternoon. We drop the rest off at the lavanderia in town and head over to the other volunteer flat for more food. This time Juliana is cooking in the kitchen making spaghetti. We also try our hand and making some more home-made Calientitos. For dinner we are joined by Juliana's cousin. promptly after dinner we head out to a bar, we are expecting to go to a place called taj mahal and are a little disappointed to find out we are going somewhere else. This soon fades as we turn up outside the awesomely names ******a ******a" which was hilarious. We had some more Calientitos but the live band playing local music is a bit loud for talking so we head out to a club called la noche ("the night"). On the way there she informs me the local football team is called deportivo ******a. I must find a t-shirt! La noche plays a mix of peruvian "cumbia", 80's rock and western music. We stay there till about 1:30 am before heading back home.
Sunday - we woke up early to start packing, we sorted out money and final arrangements with Juliana. She informs me that there is a massive Sunday market just a few blocks away that might do the Deportivo ******a top. Consequently we immediately head out to find the market. The market is huge and goes on for as far as the eye can see. Alicia buys a hat but unfortunately no top. After we get back and make some decent head way into out packing we meet up with the other volunteers and head to a park we are told is nice. We took a long taxi ride though a not-very-nice looking area full of old high-rise flats when the taxi pulls up outside a fantastic looking park. It's reasonable small but very well laid out. It's got winding gravel paths surrounded by gardens and statues and sculptures with a stream flowing round and bridges makes out of wood and shells. It reminds me of some you'd see in Barcelona, not Peru. After looking around we head over to a local restaurant for some chicharron (pork that's flash fried in oil) and then home to get ready to leave. Our Cruz Del Sur bus leaves at 11:45 in the evening. We bought the cheap tickets so I am sitting next to the toilet and every time someone needs to loo the door hits me in the head. Consequently I get about 1.5 hours sleep before we arrive in Lima at around 6am. Luckily Alicia manages to sleep pretty well.
We sat in the bus station until it gets light where we cleaned our teeth and rinsed our faces. About 7:30 we took a taxi over to Miraflores were we walked down to the beach to ate our free Cruz Del Sur breakfast of a chicken roll and cake. Getting to the beach is hard going with all our stuff. We didn't have anywhere to go till our flight to Iquitos at 5:30 in the evening. It was going to be a long day.
We relaxed on the beach, watching the scores of gannets and other sea birds dive in and out of the water and the tide slowly coming in. We stay there till about 10:30 when we decided to have a walk around. This was very difficult with all our stuff as the day had started to warm up and the town was entirely a steep uphill walk from the beach. We stopped off at a nice restaurant for a snack and around 3:30 we headed to the airport to catch our flight to Iquitos. It's was a tiring day but we had seen snow capped mountains, warm seafront and beach and jungle all in one day. Not too bad.