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January 8, 2018

Day 57 [Mon 1/8/2018] - Callao, Lima, Peru

Day 57 [Mon 1/8/2018] - Callao, Lima, Peru

Milking a Dead Cow

Hostal Las Fresas

I saw a mural yesterday that was truly disturbing. I'd love to go back and shoot it, but I'm not clear where it was. Also, I don't have my bike, so I can't easily just grid search the area for it. I've looked on Google maps, but I don't see it on there. Ugh.

I purchased a ticket today, and I fly back tomorrow night. Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

I feel like I'm just milking a dead cow. And, I honestly think that I made that expression up, just sort of ad hoc. I created that colloquialism, at least, in my mind, I did. Then, I googled it. And I do see some uses of it, so who knows?

But, yeah....I feel like I've had enough of Peru. I want to get home. I've been on the road for a long time.

So, at some point this afternoon, I sort of figure I need to start packing up and get to the airport. Then, I realize, my flight doesn't leave until late tomorrow night (ok, early wednesday morning, really), so that means I've got at least one day to kill.

Now, I start thinking about what I'd really like to do. What I'd really like to do more than anything, is go back and find that mural I saw when we (Victor and I) rode back from the Lima airport with out police escort.

I look for it on Google maps using street view, but I don't see the mural anywhere. Finally, I decide, I'll just go outside and start walking until I find it. It can't be more than 6 blocks away. So, I go outside and start walking.

I make sure to take a few things with me...a business card from the hotel in case I get lost, fully charged cell phone programmed to find the hotel using Waze. Now, I start off on foot. People are freaking out to see a gringo walking down the street in Callao. You'd think they'd never seen a white person before. But they're all friendly and nice, and kids are playing in the street. So, my argument always is, if it's so freaking dangerous here, then why are there 4 year old kids playing in the streets on scooters? Splain that one to me how bout it.

I walk about 2-3 blocks, and find a woman selling some sort of fried meat in a bun. I want to stop and eat so bad I could die, but I want to find my mural even more, so I keep walking.

What I remember about the mural was, that it was so distrubing. Like...I can't recall exactly what it was about, but at a glance, I thought....wow...that's fucked up. That's all I remember really.

Now, I walk just another 20 yards, and there's my mural, in Callao, on the corner of Omicron and Quilca. That has to be it. There's nothing else remotely like it around here. It's a mural of a woman, with a hummingbird coming out of her eye. Ouch.

So, yeah. I'm sure that's what I saw.

And the reason I didn't see it on Google street view, is that the photo on Google street view was taken in June of 2015, and the mural was painted by Roldan in 2017.

And, I'm happy that I found it. That would have bothered me forever. Now, as a bonus, I get to go back and eat some of whatever it was that that woman was selling.

Now, I walk back to her food stand, and tell her to set me up. As it turns out, what she's selling is "cachanga". It's a kind of bread, stuffed with hamburger meat, it seems. Delicious. And for an Inca Kola, I go next door and tap on the metal frame of the door with a nuevo sol coin until a woman emerges from the shadows and hands me a cold Inca Kola.

Now, I'm walking back, and everyone is fair game now. I stop for a bottle of chicha morada. Then, at another store, a larger bottle of Inca Kola. Only now do I realize that CocaCola owns Inca Kola. Rats.

Now, a couple of ladies are closing down their food stand for the night. Not so fast, ladies...what do we have here?

I buy some of whatever they're selling. When they say how much it costs, I'm getting better at understanding how much they're asking for, but the Nuevo Sol coin sizes are just meaningless. (Sort of the way a dime is smaller than a nickel. It's confusing.)

Whenever I pay, I just dig all of the coins out of my pocket, and put my open hand out, full of coins. They take some coins. It's all good. I don't bother to do the math.

It turns out she's selling something like a sweetbread filled with a sort of jelly/cream? But not quite as sweet as a jelly filled donut. Delicious.

Also, I stopped and bought a plastic bag filled with...i dunno....looks like Jello? Haven't dived into it yet. I'm pretty stuffed by now.

People were all laughing at me / with me. These people have never seen a tourist in this area. Never. Not once.

And, this, I think, is what I like most about traveling. To let my guard down. To walk around with the locals. To try to communicate with people in Spanish. Meet new people. Try new foods. New deserts. New entrees. New drinks. I really like that. Exploring...even though, by all accounts, Callao is a rough, gritty place. That's intuitively obvious to the casual observer. But, having said that, if I put aside my issues surrounding shipping the motorcycle back to the USA, I was able to, for about half of the day, enjoy myself walking around the neighborhood, petting cats, eating, and taking photos with my iphone.

What's sort of funny about it is that, it's a very different than being in Los Cabos, La Paz, Cancun, Cozumel, or Tulum, because in those touristy places, they just think..."stupid tourists". But this is much different. This is like..."where did you come from? are you from the United States?" These people have never seen a gringo walking down the street before. It's like I'm going to be on the cover of National Geographic magazine or something. Dr. Livingston, I presume?

Later, I'm still hungry, so I go walking around the neighborhood again, scrounging for food. What I like is that the shops have signs that say things like:
Panaderia - pasteleria - bodega - lavanderia. And, I can only guess as to what these mean, but it seems they mean:

Panaderia - Bakery
Pasteleria - Cake Shop
Bodega - 1. a small grocery store. 2. a wine shop or wine cellar.
Lavanderia - Laundry

When I get to the hotel, the front door is locked. Another thing that I see down here is that, when a door is locked, and you think you're hosed, you have to hunt for a little secret switch. Here, instead of doorbells, they have a little white plastic, square button you can push. It's not lit up. It's not obvious what it's function would be. And it doesn't make a sound that you can hear. But, if you believe that it works, and you push it, then someone will come to the door and let you in. Very different from anything you'd see in a modern city, but this is how it works down here. And, if you don't know about this trick, you'd be locked out.

Also, in all of the countries I went through, and I went through several, my regular 110 volt plugs worked fine in every country. Only occasionally, the ground plug wasn't available, so I used an adapter I brought to plug in my macbook air when the ground plug wasn't available. But, other than that, I never had to use my special adapter for Latin America, and I went through the following countries:

  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 8, 2018 at 2:06 PM


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