September 29, 2005
I spent most of the day today getting used to my new environment and catching up on some much-needed sleep. First, I found an ATM and withdrew some money. The machine didn't charge me anything; I hope it's like that everywhere. I also bought some food from the supermarket right by my hostel and made myself a few sandwiches. Next, I had trouble transferring my pictures and blog entries to the Internet because every computer I have found here still uses Windows 98, which means that my USB camera connection needs to install software on the computer for it to recognize the camera. I was completely unprepared for that one. Luckily, I eventually found the software the computer needed online and got it working. After I updated my site, I found the office for my airline and canceled the expensive ticket I was forced to buy. No harm done. After that, I a took a series of naps. I think I'm finally caught up on sleep after a long night of travel.
After my relaxing afternoon, I met some British guys who had just arrived in Lima as well. We tried to find a nearby restaurant, but it was not easy. There were several American fast food joints like McDonald's and Burger King, but we couldn't find any Peruvian restaurants in the area. Finally, we stumbled into a nice little place where we were the only customers. There was no menu, so the manager went into extraordinary detail of everything they served: a chicken dinner and a beef dinner. I had the beef. It was actually a very delicious meal, and the manager was very proud of her fine cuisine (She said that Peru's cooking is second only to that of France). I was most surprised that the food wasn't at all like Mexican food. In fact, the meal I got could be best described as a glorified beef stroganoff, but the sauce had so much flavor to it, it was like nothing I've ever had.
After dinner, we walked back to the hostel and discussed going out for a drink. I thought a bunch of people were going to go out, but it never happened. Instead, I played cards with some people for awhile and retired early.
My first day in Peru may not have seemed very exciting, but when everything you see is different from what you're used to, everything becomes exciting. Many aspects of Lima are exactly how I pictured them. It's a big city without any major "must see" attractions, but it still has a lot to offer. I'm most surprised at how cold it is here (colder than Wisconsin this time of year, believe it or not), and by how loud everything is. People honk their horns constantly and every "bus" (really just a big van) that goes by has a guy shouting out the window about where it's going. Wouldn't it be easier just to put up a sign on the front of the bus? The noise is hard for me to deal with now, but I bet after a few days, I probably won't even notice it anymore, like the parents of a screaming baby in a restaurant.
Tomorrow I'm going to check out more of Lima, figure out how long I want to stay here, and try to figure out what to do next.