Lima – Sunday, October 7, 2007

Well, I believe that I have found an apartment. It is gorgeous! It is a two bedroom, fully furnished apartment on the eleventh floor. Our living area and master bedroom has ceiling to floor windows with a view that overlooks the park and ocean. It is absolutely gorgeous…and only $1,000/month. I figure this will probably be the only time in our lifetime that we will be able to afford a place with such a view! So, now, the negotiations have begun. I had to send an e-mail to the realtor stating our intentions to rent the apartment. The owner will then write the lease and the AMEC lawyers will review the lease. If everything is agreeable, we will get the apartment and can move in October 16.

I am cautiously optimistic as I have heard of a few of the other employees not getting their first choice in apartments because of issues with the lease. That is OK, it just means that we weren’t meant to live there and that there is another, better apartment out there for us!

David continues to work long hours due to the shut-down. He has left the hotel at 10:00 AM and arrives back between midnight and 1:00AM. Last night, they were doing start-up and he didn’t get home until 4:30 AM. A shut-down, is when a factory totally shuts down so new equipment can be installed. They have so much time to get the equipment installed because when the factory is “shut-down” the company is loosing millions of dollars a day due to lack of production. That is why there is a sense of urgency and long hours for the engineering/construction people. The start-up is when, after all the new equipment is installed, they start the machinery up. As you can imagine, it never goes smoothly and has to be started and stopped to get everything running efficiently. I guess that things are going well as David just called (4:00 PM) and he is on his way home!

My days have been spent looking for an apartment and exploring my new city. Mary and I have spent the past few days walking throughout Lima, exploring the shopping areas and sights. We have found a couple of nice grocery stores. They certainly don’t have the selection that we are used to in the states, but they will do. Peanut butter is expensive. For a small jar, it cost $4.00-$6.00. We can get papaya, mango and pineapple down here very inexpensively. Also, the veggies look good.

The other day, we were walking back from looking at an apartment and came across Huaca Pucllana. It appears to be this huge clay hill in the middle of a residential area. What it really is, is a huge adobe pyramid that was built by the Lima people around 200-700 AM. The archaeologist believe that it was used primarily as a ceremonial center. They used mud and seashells to make adobe bricks. Then they would stack them like books on a shelf…in what is referred to as library style…using this technique and the space between each brick, allowed for movement of the pyramid during earthquakes with minimal damage. Those early cultures were extremely smart!!!

They found several bodies; of young, virgin girls or women who had given birth, used for sacrifices. They represented fertility. They also found remains of shark, fish and poultry that was used as part of the sacrifice. The Lima people abandon the site when the Wari empire conquered them. The Wari people then built a cemetery on top of Huaca Pucllana to bury their elite.

The other morning, Mary and I rode out to work with David in his taxi cab. We were able to see the 45 minute ride they take everyday. It is mostly along a highway. Once off the highway, nearer to the mine, there is a small village. To me, this represents the “real Peru”. I honestly don’t know how to describe it. First of all, it was extremely dusty as Peru gets very little rain. There were buildings along the road made of bricks that housed small restaurants, stores on the ground level and on the second level is the living space. The road that we were on went through this town and there were several large construction type trucks kicking up dust as they rolled through to wherever they were going. I wonder how much of the “real Peru” I will actually get to experience while I am down here.

Our hotel isn’t far from a cultural center. The other night, Mary and I decided to go to the show “Tango y Mas Tango” (Tango and More Tango). I expected a show of tango dance performances. It wasn’t! Mary and I agree it was an episode from the Ed Sullivan Show or Lawrence Welk. There were two singers…Rosa Miriam and Persi Olaechea who sang various tango songs….sung with very strong emotions! The stage was very bare, except for a huge portrait of what we deduced was the original “King of Tango”. A couple of times, the announcer came out and in Spanish gave this elaborate speech – as if paying homage to this photo. I googled “king of tango” and came up with the name Carlos Gardel…it was his picture on the stage. So, now my friends, we know who the “king of tango” is. They actually did have a couple perform two tango dances. It was wonderful to watch and what skill it takes to dance the tango. We left at intermission…the dance was much appreciated, but the music wasn’t!

Tuesday night, there is a free concert by a baritone that Mary, Pam (the wife of David’s boss, she just arrived) and I are going to see. It could be fantastic or another “leave at intermission”…I will report about it later!

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