Saturday, July 2, 2011
San Pedro de Casta
We got out of bed at around 8 and, after showers, headed down to breakfast. After showers, we read about San Pedro from the materials Globe Aware sent us. By this time it was around the time we were to be picked up and our guide, Yeseña, was waiting for us in the lobby.
We got our bags into the van that Yeseña had arranged for us and we headed off to Chosica, a town about an hour away from where we'd catch the bus to San Pedro. We actually went to Melina's (the coordinator for projects in San Pedro for the last five years) house first to pick up food...her mother and sister, Jahaira, were also there. They had guinea pigs and chickens right in their house! Melina was very appreciative for the computer which we had brought from the states. We got the food loaded (it was a good thing that we had a taxi in addition to the van) and headed out to Chosica.
The drive was interesting, but was mostly traffic filled...actually, it was really traffic filled...bumper to bumper the entire way. It was interesting that as we left Lima and started to enter Chosica, the sun finally showed itself. Yeseña told us that Lima was so smog filled that they basically never see the sun and that people go to Chosica just to get some sunshine...woah!
When we got to Chosica, our driver took a left turn against the wishes of a traffic officer, and quite the interesting argument ensued. It was ultimately settled when the taxi driver called a cop friend of his to mediate the situation. We then pulled in to the parking lot from which the bus to San Pedro would leave. It was crowded! We quickly put jackets on some seats in the bus to reserve them, gave our other bags to the guys so that they could put them on top of the bus, and left to get lunch at "Norky's," a fast food chicken place, and then walk around the center of Chosica.
Eventually, we got on the bus and headed up into the mountains. Karen and I had a few looks at each other during this trip that were pure joy...smiles from ear to ear. It was just like you read about in books...a bus filled to the brim, luggage on top, driving on a crazy one lane road into the mountains...the only thing missing was live chickens. The road really was crazy...one lane, dirt road right on the side of the mountain, with no guardrails of any kind. One tire over the edge and we were done for.
After three hours of this (we picked people along the way who were walking back to town from their fields and also tried cocoa leaves....Jimbo survived them and liked the effect, everyone else thought they we're horrible), we eventually arrived in San Pedro. We got our luggage, checked into our hotel rooms (no heat, but great alpaca blankets), and then headed to the "restaurant" (this is attached to the school and is where the teachers eat all week...we would spend a lot of time there over the week).
We helped to unload all the food, then carried our water and TP back to the hotel. When we got back to the restaurant, there were a group of four students from Lima there. The interviewed us for a project they were working on, took some video, and then left. We had dinner (it was very traditional Peruvian food, cooked by Jahaira), and then headed to bed.