So the policy for work when you travel, especially on international travel, is that you get to rest for a day before working. I was very much looking forward to my rest day to well, rest, and adjust to winter (in the Southern Hemisphere), and go talk to as many people in Spanish as possible. I find it helps for me to simply talk to be more fluid again. I do this by talking to the receptionist, the bartender, the cleaning lady, the old man selling candies on the street, etc.
Well, as I was reveling in my rest day, I receive a chain of e-mails marked “high priority” from one of my bosses not addressed to me, rather I’m copied basically saying “Sally is in Lima and can go meet with X person.”
So much for rest day. I’m going to at least eat lunch first, I thought. At this point my hotel phone rings, it’s the hotel manager asking if I arrived OK, she had made the arrangements for me for the taxi via e-mail.
“Yes yes, thank you. You were so helpful, can you recommend a place for lunch?”
She recommended a place and told me on my way out to stop at her office and she would give me a map and a voucher for a complimentary drink at her recommended restaurant.
So I went down and met with Valeria, she was adorable and very helpful, she does work in the service industry and comes from an incredibly polite culture.
I headed out for lunch but of course got distracted, I found a book shop. “Can you recommend a Peruvian writer of literature or poetry?” I asked the attendant. I picked the first book she recommended which was a book of poetry by César Vallejo, a 20th century Peruvian poet.
I didn’t make it far past the bookshop, I was drawn into an alpaca clothing store and I started trying things on. Alpaca is the thing here!
Eventually I made my way to lunch at Restaurante Alfresco and ordered a pisco sour. Pisco is a grape juice distillate similar to grappa or brandy but the difference with pisco is that it’s distilled from grape juice whereas grappa and brandy are distilled from the skin and pulp of the grapes after the juice is taken away for wine. Pisco is both Peruvian and Chilean and they both fight over who is the true origins of pisco. A pisco sour is a very common cocktail made with very sour lemons, egg whites, pisco, and sugar with a dash of bitters resting on the egg white froth on top. It’s excellent.
And then I asked the adorable waiter what he recommended. Ceviche, of course. Well, sorry Dr. Wright, I ordered the ceviche!
And wasn’t sorry I ordered the ceviche!
I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting at the table next to me. He was an American guy from D.C. popping off in Lima before heading to Cuzco to hike to Machu Picchu.
After a very nice lunch, I walked over to where I was to meet with this person. When I arrived they had no idea who I was and had not heard of the event I was a part of. Lovely. As it turns out I had gone to the wrong Hilton, on the other side of town so I got the correct directions and walked to the correct Hilton. I will say, this is not the first time I have gone to the wrong hotel in a metropolitan city. I tried to check in at the wrong Marriott in San Francisco one time and was very confused and disgruntled when they didn’t have my reservation.
I met with Eduardo. He was so polite and kind and asked when I had arrived, 5 this morning, I told him. He ordered me a coffee. We worked out all the details that needed to be worked out and on my way out he said, “wait wait here! I want to gift you a cookie.”
I love Peru.
My mom totally taught me to not take candy from strangers but warm chocolate cookies are a whole other thing.
I walked back to my hotel to work some more…I’m going to take a serious rest day on Saturday.