27th of January- 3rd of February
My mom and sister arrived late Thursday night, mom with a cold, Jasmine with a recently dyed section of blonde hair. During their stay we had an apartment in Miraflores, the fancy part of Lima. My mom brought me: more Luna bars than I could count, a jar of peanut butter, tortillas, cheddar cheese (three blocks!), bagels, green chile enchalada sauce, and my favorite organic hippie chips. None of these you can find in Peru or they're EXPENSIVE if you do (and not the same), so I was very happy.
On Friday I walked around with my mom in the morning while Jasmine slept (surprise). We then went to the grocery store to buy some breakfast food and we returned to make a huge meal. After lounging, we walked around some more with Jasmine and went to Kennedy Park, famous for its art scene, and cats everywhere. No squirrles, just cats. I took them to my favorite (and one of the few) coffee shop, La Maquina. Later that night we went to a folklore dance show that was hosted by my rotary club.
On Saturday I took them to my dance class: Marinera and Huaylarsh. They left me to walk around on their own and then I met up with them to go to the art museum. At night we went to the famous "pizza street" close to where we were staying, which in other words: restaurants who try to sell horrible Italian food, and the waiters follow and yell at you, trying to get you to go into their restaurant. Then there are the creepers who hit on the tourists, and one guy tried to follow my sister talking to her in Spanish. We didn't eat at these restaurants and instead we went to a fancy steakhouse and that was scrumptious!
Sunday we went to my current host families house to have breakfast. They served us traditional food, tamales (different than Mexico's), bread, onion salad, cheese, pork, sweet potatoes, (you usually put them together to make a sandwhich) coffee and juice. My mom loved it, my sister not so much. I played translator, which was kind of fun but a little stressful when everyone would talk at once and it felt frantic... but I think I did a good job. We were supposed to eat lunch with my former host family but they canceled, so instead we went to the zoo. It's probably the biggest zoo I've ever been too and we were miserable walking around since it took us a long time to get past the kids section to see the animals. I was also agitated with the amount of ignorant people (adults and kids alike) who were leaning over the ledges to pet the animals and intentionally throwing their food and bottles into the monkey cages to watch them try to eat it. It was the worst zoo that I've been to in terms of management and caring for the animals, which is a shame because they had some really neat ones.
Monday we took a cab to Pachacamac but it was closed and in the end wasted 80 soles to get there and back... we returned to go downtown to the cathedral and the catacombs. We had lunch and then went to a monastery. Just like the zoo, there were people who were touching things that they shouldn't. In the catacombs, people were reaching over the ledges to touch the thousands of bones. I can't even imagine all of the people who have stolen things because of the poor way of protecting the artifacts in the various buildings we went in. When we returned back to our apartment, my mom made me one of my favorite dishes from before Peru, tater tot casserole! It tasted mainly like the real thing, but we had to make some adjustments based on ingredients. I was very happy. Also, every night during their stay, we played some card game which I loved.
Tuesday we went back out to Pachacamac which is a ruin with temples and everything! We walked the whole way (most people drived around) which we estimated it to being 3 miles long. This site is estimated at being created in 200 A.D. Anyway, they're still working on excavating it but what they have now is incredible! They also had a museum full of the various jewelry, pottery, clothing and other artifacts they've found. It took us a couple of hours and we went straight to a restaurant on the beach when we returned, Rustica. I took them there because it has a buffet with the most popular Peruvian food. My mom enjoyed it, my sister didn't. Jasmine didn't like any of the Peruvian food from the whole trip, not even the desserts! Later that night, me and my mom went out to eat dinner and see a movie while Jasmine chilled in the apartment.
Wednesday we went to the National Museum and there we saw a REALLY intense exhibit on the conflicts between the government and the shinning path from the 1980's-1990's. After this museum we went to the inquisition/government building and learned about their old methods of torture and so on- it was incredibly boring, but the wax figures displaying the history was interesting. We were also allowed to enter the dungeons that they used to use. That night I invited some of my close exchange friends over to have dinner with my mom and sister and play games. We ate our Peruvian attempt at Mexican food, which was delicious with my cheddar cheese and tortillas.
Thursday was our last day. We packed and did a little bit of tourist shopping, ate food and hung out until it was time for them to catch their flight. It was easy to say goodbye to them, partially as by the end of the week, I was tired of being translator, tour guide (no offense ma) and I had lots of things to do. I had to pick up my life again, I didn't want more vacation time. The other part was that I had already been away from home for 5 months, another 5 seemed easy. I felt so grown up waving goodbye and walking away to go "home", unlike when I was leaving Colorado when I felt so... well, lots of things, but not like this time. I enjoyed having them and showing them my current life style because a blog and pictures simply just doesn't serve my experience justice. It was the best week that I've had with my sister since middle school and that was fantastic! What's kind of funny is the fact that this was the most touristy (I haven't been to most of the places that we went) I've been since in Peru and I'm more than half way through my exchange. Even though I was being a tourist, I was also being their tour guide and translator... it was a nice balance.