Day 2: Sunday, Mar 20
Today we met our Medlife group! We got to sleep in to 9am, which is only a lot because we went to bed at 10:30. There were eggs for breakfast yesterday but none today, only bananas and orange juice and bread with butter and jam. The hostel was filled with newcomers when we got up. Most of them had been flying all night and were congregated in the lobby. They were not, however, allowed to rest. We left at 10:30 for a walking tour of Miraflores, which is apparently a district of Lima (not its own city). We started on Ave. J. Larco, the "main drag" of Miraflores. There, the newcomers changed currency. Matt had already secured his place in a pod of newcomers (all females from another school). We walked toward the ocean, passing a Bembo's. Bembo's is Peru's answer to McDonald's. The burgers at McDonald's are too small for Peruvians, Bembo's burgers are bigger.
We stopped at an outdoor mall called Larcomar (because it was located at the intersection of Larco and the ocean, which in Spanish is "mar") with spectacular views of the ocean. It had some American stores, like Banana Republic and Tony Roma's, and some that were new to me. We took photos there for a bit. The mall is on a cliff over the beach, and it's an earthquake safety zone. Surfers take refuge in the mall in the event of an earthquake because there's a tsunami with reasonable frequency. There's a color change in the middle of the water, perhaps from a combination of currents from the north (El Niño) and the south.
We walked on to the Parque del Amor, which features a Gaudi-style low wall with mosaics, and a large statue of a couple kissing. It also overlooks the ocean and it is very beautiful.
We then walked farther inland and got lunch. I had ceviche and chicha, which is a sweet beverage made from purple corn. The ceviche was made from a fish I didn't recognize. The waiter said corvina was the best ceviche fish. The ceviche here was not quite as good as last night, but still very tasty. Matt ate with his new friends.
Medlife didn't have anything for us to do after lunch. We went to the historical district of Lima, starting near the Iglesia de San Pedro, which was closed. It's Palm Sunday (Domingo de los Ramos) today. There was a small procession with figures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus supported by bearers clad in purple church robes. There was a marching band and a choir of women in lace wimples. Locals sold palmas, smal handheld designs made from palm fronds, flowers, and occasionally statuettes.
We wandered around the historical district for a while. We saw a government building and the cathedral, which had a palm garland around the door. It was very impressive. We found a chocolate museum and got a short tour, with samples of cocoa nibs and cocoa tea, a beverage made from cocoa bean shells and sugar and water. We sampled cocoa-infused Pisco and I bought two little bottles - one of chocolate and one of aguaymanto, which is a yellow berry. The Choco Museo appears to be a chain, so I might go back to find something tasty and fun for Robin.
We also found a museum of Peruvian literature with free entry and an exhibit called "Todo es Ritmo" with the story of a black musician fighting racism in her industry. I didn't get to stay long here because the exhibit held little interest for the non-Spanish-speakers in our group. We all signed the guest book there and I bought water.
We wandered through a church courtyard on the way back to the main road. Camila and I hailed taxis. We got back to the hostel OK, and I journaled for a bit.
At 5:00 we had our orientation meeting with the Medlife team. My rotation looks really good! No dental and no pharmacy stations. We got t-shirts and stickers and information packets.
After orientation,we went to a chifa, which appears to be a general term for a Chinese restaurant. I got a vegetable soup and chicken fried rice (chaufa de pollo). Ricardo, the leader of our clinic (clinic 3) came with us. He really likes chaufas. In the less fancy districts, he says you can get a takeout bag of fried rice for like 1 sol.
After dinner, five or so of us went to a grocery store. I bought a mango and more water. We went back to the hostel and I read some of Go Set a Watchman. We went to bed around 11.
Until next time,