Lima, Peru – Here we come!

Presidential PalaceI arrived safely late on Tuesday after traveling most of the day. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I suspected, in fact it kind of flew by. I am doing this with one of my best friends from UNC, and he was there waiting with the leader/director, Julio, waving in excitement. Julio’s uncle came and picked us up in a taxi and led us to the house where we will be staying. The house we’re staying is great, the other volunteers are great, and Julio is basically one of us being a mere 26 years old himself. We knew this was going to be awesome from the moment we arrived.

My actual job description is very flexible and I have chosen to write about the music in Peru, which is very convenient because three of us are very interested in the topic, and the music section of Perupedia screams expansion. Don’t ask me how we landed such an opportunity, we got lucky and it just kind of happened. And it’s very laid back; we’re supposed to find anything to do with music really and just keep blogging on the topic. And they call this a job. I guess there is going to be a lot of shows soon, so we’re going to try and get out there and find a good one to start. A lot of the bars have live music as well, and that’s going to be a great time. I also read about these places called peñas that I really want to scope out. They are these small places where you go after you get a few drinks in you and people just play music together. Everyone participates, usually just acoustic-based and percussive. I got the impression they are organized kind of like drum circles, but I really have no idea. Either way, I’m pretty excited.

The way the roads and traffic operate was the biggest surprise for me. Pedestrians have no right-of-way – it’s kind of a big free-for-all that looks like a recipe for disaster from an outsider’s perspective, but it seems to work for them. I don’t know how people don’t get hurt very often – Julio says “they are good drivers” but it’s hard for me to buy that with the amount of honking you hear. However, honking has a completely different connotation here – instead of honking typically out of anger, their honks are basically just regular communication letting people know the direction where you are going. And they are not afraid to use them. The small, packed buses that fly around the city are going to be a frequent mode of transportation, and Peruvians do it everyday so they must be doing something right. They have a driver and one guy in the back who yells out the window of a sliding door (that never actually closes) looking for people who are looking for a ride. The bus starts moving before he actually hops back inside, but they apparently have it all coordinated. The whole city is very fast-paced on the roads, but seems fantastically laid back everywhere else. People don’t typically have cars, they just take these small buses to get from place to place, unless you want to throw down for an actual taxi which is more expensive.

After strolling around downtown Lima for a bit, we ended up at this bar where we had ‘pisco sour’ drinks. Two of those at $2.50 apiece and I was reminded of what a cheap date I am. Friday night should be fun as it will be our first real ‘night on the town.’ Stay tuned!

-AndrewPresidential Palace

Andrew Crawford

Coming all the way from the windy city of Chicago, Andrew Crawford graduated from Lake Forest College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Music. His primary objective for the volunteer experience is to explore and write about the music throughout the parts of Peru that he can reach, primarily Lima. He also loves to play music himself on just about anything he can get his hands on, mainly the guitar, harmonica, and drums – but he wants to add some Peruvian instruments to the list. Anyone want to jam??

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