The mail and buses

Yesterday, I wanted to mail my Mother’s Day card to my mom in Maine. I had already gotten my stamps one day while passing one of the two post offices. So, my card was ready to go. I asked our doorman where I could mail it. He told me of the two post offices that I already knew of. They are on the other side of Miraflores and kind of out of the way for me.

There are no mail boxes that one can drop a card in to be picked up later by a postal person. So, then I asked about the mailman, when he came to our building, if he would take it. No, he only delivers!!! Very interesting, no?

So, to officially mail a letter down here, you have to go to the post office. Mom, your card is on its way….

As you know, if you have been reading my blog, I have been taking the bus to central Lima three times a week. It is a hoot, to say the least. I think the government has created an extra job, because when you get on the bus, you don’t drop your money in the little box, like in most countries. Here, in Lima, there is a man who walks up and down the isle collecting the money and passing out tickets.

So, the other day, I am on the bus…for the most part, the time I travel the buses are not too crowded and I am usually able to get a seat. This day, the bus was very crowded and traffic was HORRIBLE! I had a seat but an elderly lady got on. No one offered their seat, i.e. young men, boys, so I offered her my seat. I am standing and the bus just sits in traffic for what seems to be forever. Finally, we inched our way towards my stop, except the bus is so crowded that I can’t see exactly where we are on the road.

I have a couple of landmarks…a church and a bridge that goes over the interstate. Well, by the time I saw the church and realized I had to get off; the bus was up and running again. That is another thing, you are suppose to exit from the front of the bus….what a pain when there are two rows of people standing in the isle!

OK, so, I have missed my stop and the bus is heading over the bridge….oh my gosh, I have never been “over the bridge”…..I don’t know exactly where it is going and what kind of neighborhood is on the other side of the bridge!!! By this time, I have made my way to the front of the bus and evidently, there was a lady who was in the same predicament as me. She wanted off the bus and they wouldn’t open the door because we were in traffic and not near the sidewalk. The bus turns left….please, let me off this bus!!! Finally, it came to a stop and I had to walk an extra 10 minutes to get back over the bridge and to Kika’s house for my class. Everything was fine, when I stepped off the bus, there were two policemen on the corner, so I figured I was safe enough.

The other fun part of riding the bus is trying to get one to stop so you can get on. In Miraflores, where I get the bus, it is relatively easy because there are no other buses around. However, catching the bus from central Lima to Miraflores is interesting. Where I get the bus, is a “bus stop” so the buses and combis (little vans) come zooming in long enough to drop off and pick up passengers. There are two lanes to this bus stop area and if my bus is in the outside lane, the light is green, the driver just keep going regardless if you flag them down or not. Usually, for me the third time is a charm…..

So, there you have a couple of observations of life down here. Don’t expect me to write a letter with snail mail too soon! I am off to pack for our trip….

Oh, tonight, my friend and former teacher, Susan (her mother gives me my Spanish lessons now), is in a singing competition sponsored by the Italian Embassy. I believe she is one of the 9 finalist competing from an original group of 30. Anyway, if she wins, she gets an expense paid trip to Rome, Italy!!!! Isn’t that exciting? She won a similar competition last year and went to France. She is an amazing, accomplished woman. Susan now works for David’s company teaching Spanish and has invited all of us to attend the competition tonight. I will try to post a quick note to let you know how she does before we leave on our trip.

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