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5 posts from September 2013

09/18/2013

Life and Times Of An Extranjera In Lima

Ten days, roughly 33 Peruvian meals, and countless hours of combi commuting later, I am back on here to report on all of my new Peruvian adventures! Due to classes and a generally busy schedule to boot, writing on this blog has become increasingly difficult to do, but that doesn't mean you won't be hearing from me! Now, enough rambling and onto the good stuff: What in the world has Morgan been up to for the past week and a half? In a nutshell, my life has revolved around university classes, gym, food, Spanish readings, commuting, and getting "cultured." From day-to-day you will find me taking the claustrophobic micro to school in the morning, sitting through hours of Spanish classes, eating more food than I thought was humanly possible, and experiencing all that Lima has to offer through various little adventures with my friends. Said adventures span from sight-seeing to nightlife outings to food (the majority of them are the latter). Before I dive into the detalles of my recent whereabouts and doings, though, please note that I am writing here which means I am alive and well (hi mom) and by some sort of miracle have not become lost in this city of 10 million inhabitants... yet. Even better news is that my Spanish language skills are improving! I recently held a conversation about World War II and Germany with my host brother and a more lighthearted conversation with my host sister about Peruvian music, pop culture, etc. This above all is so exciting! Any progress is good progress and I am inching closer to my ultimate goal of fluency (note: I dream big). All official & stuff

 As you know, most of my time spent here (and anywhere for the past two years) is as an über-sleepy college student. Now I can add  the word 'Peruvian' between 'sleepy' and 'college' (those two words strangely define my life quite well). I finally received my official identification card for PUCP earlier this week. As far as classes go, my schedule is now solidified. I am enrolled in a Latin American cinema course, Understanding Peru (an anthropology/history course on all things Peruvian), a fascinating lingüística course, and a Spanish writing class. All of my courses are interesting with great professors as well which never hurts. Listening to two to three hour-long lectures in only Spanish has become somewhat easier, but that's not to say it's effortless. Sometimes I feel as though even a IV of cappuccino couldn't help me maintain such strong concentration for so long!  Additionally, tomorrow marks the first day of my violin course! Yes, you heard me correctly. I am enrolled in a class where I get to learn how to play the violin at my university! Thanks to one of my professors, I even have a snazzy violin to borrow. Now, the next hurdle is just figuring out if I even have a musical bone in my body. I suppose that only picking up the bow plus a little time will tell.

Time for the Incan market

 Rewinding to last weekend, each day was chock-full of fun as per usual. A few friends and I enjoyed some KBBQ (short for 'Korean BBQ') in the San Isidro district and it was expectedly muy rico (as my host mother says in reference to good food). Who knew that Lima could have such tasty Korean fare? We then took a trip out to the Incan markets again to shop till we dropped. I ended up purchasing a llama sweater (which normal Peruvians do in fact wear, mind you) and these precious stone earrings. In our usual fashion, we found another discoteca in Miraflores where we danced and had a really, really, really, good time (yes, that was a shameless Macklemore reference). It isn't a night in Miraflores, though, without stopping by our favorite pizzeria. The employees there recognized us and we even made a few amigos nuevos back in the kitchen. This city is slowly beginning to feel more like a home to me (albeit a very enormous one).

Korean food  feast

Some fresh KBBQ

Interesting street art in Miraflores

A popular street at night in Miraflores

En route to Villa el Salvador

 Now, fast-forward to this Thursday. Not many of you may know this but there is an optional component in my study abroad program that allows me to volunteer and work with a local NGO. Well, I'm excited to announce that I will be volunteering every week at a school in Villa el Salvador (an urban district in the southern outskirts of Lima with shantytown origins). Last Thursday morning, I had the chance to tour the facilities and see where I will soon be aiding teachers in a classroom full of adorable, school-age children. How could I not be thrilled? One other girl in the program and I went and had the opportunity to speak with one of the directors of the NGO. We even got to see another connected NGO that is known as Deporte y Vida. Aside from volunteering, I also have the privilege of helping out the NGO in their marketing and public relations (that's right, mom, I'm putting my college education to use). They are currently without a website and need marketing/public relations efforts in order for their NGO to thrive and keep giving back to the community, so I'm teaming up with another girl in the group to do just that for their amazing program! Que emocionante. It's also worth mentioning that on the day of the visit, there were no kids at the school due to a holiday. What we did find, though, were a dozens of community members coming out to support the school by throwing a type of fundraiser that entailed cooking delicious food to give to donors who had bought pre-sold tickets. Inspiring would be one way to describe the experience.

Looking down a street in Villa el Salvador

Example of a classroom that I would be volunteering in

Adorable classroom wall

Little dogs on the rooftops of Villa el Salvador

Exploring Barranco

 Given that I don't have class on Thursday or Fridays, the moment I arrived back from my Villa el Salvador commute (which will range from an hour and a half to two hours one way) marked the official start of my weekend! These past few days have been wonderful; I have been able to spend more time with some of the group members, see more of Lima, and eat as much Peruvian food as my heart desired. On Friday, we went out to Barranco which is officially one of my favorite (if not most favorite) districts in all of Lima. Note that there are 43 of them here, so I definitely have some more intracity traveling to do!

Walking along the coast

The burrito bar of Barranco

 Most of my time has been spent with friends talking, watching quality films, and exploring here and there. In Barranco on Friday, we went to a little hole-in-the-wall burrito bar. I never knew how life-changing an experience one burrito could be, but I must tell you that the burrito I ate was probably the best I have ever had! We then found ourselves at the house of one of the students in the program's host family in the district. To say the house was a piece of art would be an understatement! For example, art hung from all its walls, there was a room devoted to little birds, the rooftop views were spectacular overlooking the illuminated Pacific Ocean, and there was even a legitimate art studio inside. It is one of the most beautiful properties I had ever seen.  

Rooftop views

Friends & me at the burrito bar Friends & me at the burrito bar (that's me sporting my new llama sweater)

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

The following day we found ourselves traveling out to the Lima district of Lima (yes, that is a thing). So, we were essentially exploring the historic centre of Lima and its calles decorated with balcony-crested walls and colonial buildings. Traveling to the center of Lima helped me grasp just how enormous this city truly is in both terms of population and geography. We visited the Plaza de Armas, a famous square in the city, that hosts the government palace, the cathedral of Lima,  and several other elaborate palaces. After a long commute, we were ravenous, so we made our way over to the Barrio chino otherwise known as Lima's Chinatown. Naturally, we had chifa (Chinese-Peruvian fare) for lunch and it was easily one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed. The chaufa, Peru's version of fried rice, was incredible and I was quite the happy (and full) camper.

Cathedral of Lima Cathedral of Lima

Colonial architecture

Government Palace Government Palace

Entrance to Lima's Chinatown

Entrance to Lima's Chinatown

A cherimoya stand on the street

Strolling through Lima's streets

Balconies on balconies

The crew with our Todo Dulce desserts

The crew with our Todo Dulce desserts

We then made our way back to the Pueblo Libre district (where I live) to stop at our favorite local bakery, Todo Dulce. I tried the tres leches cake there and was not disappointed. The rest of the night consisted of returning to one of the student's homes to hang out and watch the film The Descendants (it has my stamp of approval). Following that, a few of us found our way back out to the Barranco district where we went to a venue called Trepiche. We danced, as per usual, and enjoyed the nightlife Limeño. As I mentioned before, I am in love with the district of Barranco. Along every street you will find colorful wall murals, intricate architecture, and quirky little decor that gives this district its "bohemian" vibe.

Typical street art of the district

More art

...and even more!

A popular plaza in Barranco at night

 Given that it's a Sunday night, I'm looking forward to beginning another week of classes at PUCP. What's even more exciting, though, is the fact that in four short days I will be flying to Cusco! This weekend marks my program's trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu. Words cannot even begin to describe how thrilled I am for this! Soon enough I'll be able to check off one huge thing on my bucket list and I cannot wait for the adventure that lies ahead. It still doesn't feel real to me. This whole experience actually feels somewhat surreal, but I am enjoying every minute of it. Yes, even those moments of pure terror when I've missed the correct paradero (bus stop) or freeze mid-speech because I don't know how to convey my thoughts in castellano (Spanish). This entire experience is everything I wanted it to be and more so far and to think it has already been one month! One month full of learning, living, and loving every moment of it in Lima— I feel incredibly lucky and fortunate.

As Russell from the film Up exclaims: Adventure is out there! Stepping through my doorstep each morning marks a new day and a new adventure of the Peruvian variety for me. It's strange to think that I still have four more months of it, too. As of now, I can say that coming to Peru has been one of the greatest decisions of my life so far and I don't see why this trend will not endure. To everyone back in the states: I wish you were here. Although I do miss home, I am having such a rewarding experience abroad. It just makes me so happy that I will always carry these wonderful memories with me and I am even more glad that I can share them with all of you via my writing here on this handy dandy, little blog. I will report back sooner next time, but until then I must say chau and buenas noches.

—MLM

Keeping It Picante in Peru

Pi·can·te [pi-kahn-tey; Spanish pee-kahn-te]: Prepared so as to be very hot and spicy, especially with a hot and spicy sauce.

Keeping it picante is the name of the game here in Peru! As you have probably already figured out, I am still well and alive in llama land. Despite being nearly hit by two different taxis, banging my head countless times upon entering and exiting the claustrophobic micros, and eating enough alfajores to last a lifetime, I have survived not only another week in Peru, but my first week of classes at the university! (Miraculous, I know.) Much has happened in the past several days, but due to being busy as a bee (i.e. spending close to 13 hours on-campus a few days ago to give you an idea) writing on here hasn't been the easiest. But, alas! I have returned and oh do I have much to tell all of you (i.e. mom).

Last Friday evening, the motley crew (or rather, the picante crew— yes, I just dubbed us as that) took on the district of Barranco for the first time! Barranco is the neighbor district to Miraflores and is known for its lively nightlife and bohemian vibe. We found ourselves swaying to the sounds of Laguna Pai, a well-known Peruvian reggae band, that happened to have a concert at a popular discoteca called El Dragon. After the band's jams stopped, the night gave way to both American and Latin American hits that resulted in us happily dancing on the dance floor until 3 am (note: "Peruvian time"). All in all it was a successful night of dancing, music, and not getting lost in the middle of nowhere!

The following day, the picante crew took on Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia Del Perú. Try saying that fast ten times! Going here opened my eyes to the diverse and fascinating history of Peru. I had never seen so many ceramics in my life, but I was thrilled to learn more about my current home. I'll just let the photos speak for themselves here.

The picante crew posing in a traditional Lima balcony

The group at the museum on a traditional balcony

The happiest of pots

A very happy pot

Some fancy Peruvian art

Ceramics on ceramics

Amazonian artifacts

Plaza Bolivar directly outside of the museum

Plaza Bolivar


The "red bull" of Parque Kennedy in Miraflores

After our museum visit, the crew went to a pizzeria. Yes, that's right, I did eat Italian food in Peru. That must be some sort of sacrilege, but please understand that I have 5 months here! One little slice of (delicious, mind you) pizza isn't going to make my experience unauthentic. Later on, the crew once again found ourselves in Miraflores doing what we do best in Peru: staying up until an ungodly hour and having a grand time! As you can imagine, this past Sunday for me included sleep, more sleep, food, and sleep. There seems to be some sort of theme or trend going on here.

Then, came Monday. Oh, Monday. This wasn't any ordinary Monday for me, though. It was my first day of school at PUCP! I felt like a five year-old again. Partially because I was thrilled to start classes but mostly due in part that I felt like I had the intellectual capability of a toddler given I had no idea what I was doing. All went well, though! As of now, I am taking a Spanish writing course, a Latin American film class, a Peruvian history class, and linguistics course. My schedule isn't set in stone just yet, but I'm looking forward to the semester ahead! Listening to my professors dole out lectures in all-Spanish is mentally exhausting, but it's quite the thrill to be able to understand what they are saying (for the most part). The next step is writing papers and giving oral presentations in castellano. Other exciting news! I found street called San Ramon in Lima over the weekend. For all of those who have no idea of the significance of this, San Ramon is the name of my hometown. Here's photographic proof of this momentous event.

Shout-out to all of my San Ramonians!

 More exciting news! I had my first llama/alpaca/picuna sighting last Saturday. Okay, so maybe it wasn't a legitimate sighting, but it was still pretty nice to find these little guys in the museum. 

We are one with the camelids

The first week of school has come to a close!  As you know, I'm fed quite well here which is why I thought it would be in my best interest to get a gym membership. Who says I have to sacrifice eating all this wonderful food in order to not have to buy a whole new wardrobe? Anyways, I'm sure I'll have many new stories to share on here once this weekend comes to an official close. So, until then, ¡chau!

—MLM

What a Colorful World

¡Hola a todos! My name is Morgan Michna and I'm currently a student in the CIEE - Lima, Peru Fall 2013 group. I was born and raised in and around San Francisco, California and I currently attend school at the University of Oregon (call me a Duck) where I'm studying Journalism - Public Relations and Spanish. My co-blogger, Kailey, and I will be sharing all of our Peruvian adventures and experiences here throughout our semester abroad. If you would like to check out my personal blog, The College Student's New Groove, you can find it here (https://studentsnewgroove.wordpress.com/). Enjoy!

Oh, what a weekend it was! After a long week of intensive Spanish class, my entire group made our way over to the Parque de la Reserva - Circuito Mágico del Agua. Magical would be an understatement to describe the collection of 13 fountains that are found around the grounds of a large park in Downtown Lima. We were able to walk under and through a water tunnel, view a spectacular fountain show, and take in the many dazzling, aquatic sights of this wonderful attraction. There was even a labyrinth of fountains that left a few of my group members soaked.  In a nutshell, the night at the parque was incredible!

Most of the group in front of one of the many fountains

The group at the park

Fountains on fountains

Amazing pyramid of water

The water labyrinth

The fountain labryinth 

Parque Kennedy of the Miraflores District at night

Also, feel free to check out this little video I made of the night at the fountain park.

 

 Running on Peruvian time meant that the night was just beginning at 10:30pm. So, naturally, we made our way out to Miraflores to experience some of the nightlife that Lima has to offer! Our first stop was at the La Emolienteria, a quirky bar located in the heart of this hip district. Here, I tried the emoliente sour which was this place's spin on the traditional pisco sour of the country. Emoliente is a sort of tea that can be sipped alone or mixed with libations (such as pisco) for a twist. I had the sensation that I was sipping liquified key lime pie with meringue (no complaints here). We then found overselves exploring the area around Calle Berlin followed by other calles of Miraflores for a fun-filled night. After hopping from place to place, eating, gabbing, and desperately trying to find a discoteca to dance in, we retired around 3 am. I still am not accustomed to the "Peruvian time" here. Nothing nightlife related truly starts until 11pm and things usually run until 5am. I suppose I'll have to get with the times and adapt to 10 pm being the new 7 pm!  

Enchanting nighttime sights in Miraflores
The next evening was another amazing and eventful night! Our CIEE group found ourselves at Brisas Del Titicaca. This event is a popular Peruvian dance show paired with food, drink, live music, plus a little dancing of our own. I saw dances from the Aymara origins, Andean traditions and more. It amazed me just how rich and diverse the history of this country appears by being conveyed via the art of dance. The performer's outfits were incredibly ornate, with colors that fell upon the entire color spectrum, and the dancing (obviously) superb! I would say that the costumes and styles of dance were just as diverse and amazing as the cultural history of Peru! We even got to take to the floor to bust out some of our own moves. My Gangnam Style didn't quite match up to the suave tucks, dips, and spins of the performers, but that didn't take away from any of the fun! My favorite performance of the night would have to have been the duo dance of two incredibly talented bailarines whose style resembled some sort of Latin tango-ballroom-waltz infusion. Around 5 am, the night came to a close which sent my circadian rhythms in a tizzy. A little sleep deprivation was well worth the amazing cultural experience, though! All in all, I was so happy to get a taste of Peruvian culture through a different form of art. I just wish I could move in the way those dancers did. I guess I could start somewhere... Salsa 101, anybody?

The CIEE group after a long night of Peruvian entertainment

The Group at Brisas

Favorite performance of the night

Dancing la marinera (my favorite performance)

Another festival dance

Performance with mucho Peruvian pride
Alpaca hat swag

Alpaca hat fun

Yesterday afternoon, I went shopping in Miraflores with some amigas of mine. We visited many of the artisan markets that sold all things Peruvian! I felt like a kid in a candy shop. They even sold alpaca hats that, when worn, made me resemble an animated Q-tip! Que divertido. I sadly didn't purchase one, but did buy a lovely warm sweater that I am currently wearing. We capped off our shopping spree with a little dinner at Haiti Cafe right by the popular Parque Kennedy of the district. I ordered some tea and alfajor, a yummy dessert that is made out of sweet biscuits and dulce de leche. All in all, I would call it a successful trip. Alfajor and tea: a wonderful combo

Interesting architecture in Miraflores

After a long but amazing weekend full of so much laughter, fun, and food, it is nice to just relax back in my host family's home. Life in Lima has been grand and I don't see any reason why this trend will not continue! To everyone else back at home: wish you were here! My Peruvian adventure is all I could have hoped for and more so far. I can't wait to share more stories with all of you about my new life down here. Until then, ¡chaufa!

—MLM

09/15/2013

Cusco!

I’m thinking it is about time I updated my blog..again. I am getting so caught up in everyday life that it is becoming harder and harder for me to blog everyday. But I promise to all of you reading this that I will try my best to start blogging at least twice a week. That way you can all stay up to date with my life here down in Lima!

Stick with me through this one, it is going to be fairly long, but fairly entertaining I promise! 

First things first, we had our first group trip to CUSCO a week or so ago! And boy was it an amazing trip! Cusco is FILLEDwith so much rich Incan history that it made just being there feel amazing. The city was beautiful and we got to experience almost ever aspect of it.

Day 1
The first day was mostly a travel and get acquainted with the altitude kind of day. Out flight was very interesting however because from our gate we took a bus to the tarmac to our plane. We then boarded through a staircase outside. It was very interesting, and the first time I have done anything like that. The plane was not a very large one. It had three seats on each side and twenty rows of seats. Luckily it was a very quick flight, only lasting about 55 minutes. We got to the hotel and the first thing I did was take a nice long nap. I was exhausted before the trip even began because of being sick the week before!! When I woke up I went out to some of the markets around Cusco and I, of course, bought a new fuzzy sweater! Later in the evening I went to a delicious italian type food place, and after eating myself into a food coma, went to the hotel to sleep.

Day 2
The second day was set for us to see various Incan ruins between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The first we went to was calledSaqsaywaman and was about 20 minutes away from our hotel. We learned that it was a temple in the past for the Incans. It was so interesting to learn about how it was constructed and all of the history along with it. I wont bore you with a history lesson, BUT if you ever want to know about it PLEASE ask! 

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The group atop Saqsaywaman

After Saqsaywaman we got to go to a llama farm! It was so awesome! We got to learn the history behind why it is called a llama. It is too funny not to share. Basically when the Spanish came in they saw the animal and would ask the Incans “¿Cómo se llama?” meaning what is the name. The Incans didn’t speak any Castellano and would not respond. After awhile the Spanish became very upset and would start yelling “¿Cómo se llama?” and the Incans, now scared and intimidated, would just repeat a word the Spanish would say, llama. At the farm we got to feed the llamas and alpacas! It was a fun experience!

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While at the llama farm I made friends with the most adorable little girl who was enthralled with my camera. She kept asking me to take pictures of everything so I finally got a picture with her! She was so cute and shy but kept asking me questions about me, my family, and where I am from. Here is the picture!

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After the llama farm we headed to the town of Pisaq to go on our hiking trail! I didn’t expect this hiking trail to be super tricky but for me it was especially tricky. It was on the side of the mountain, almost at the top. It really challenged my fear of heights. There were a few times I just had to sit down and take a break because my heart was pounding so hard because of anxiety. In the end I faced my fears and was able to hike the whole two hours!

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After grabbing lunch in Pisaq, we headed to our last stop of the day. It was called Ollyantaytambo, which meant common resting, which makes sense. It was the last place between Cusco and Machu Picchu. We learned a lot more of Incan history in this location, which once again ask me because it was really interesting. 

After leaving here we headed to the train station. We took a two hour train ride to the village of Machu Picchu. We stayed in an awesome hotel! I slept knowing the next day I was going to get to see one of the new seven wonders of the world! ¡Qué emoción!

Day 3
Well this was the day! We got to see Machu Picchu, one of the new seven wonders of the world. Oh how beautiful it was! Literally words can not describe how marvelous and breath taking this place was. It is so historically rich. The one thing I will tell you is that during the Spanish inquisition Machu Picchu was never discovered because the Incans had learned about them and abandoned their city. There is no evidence of Spanish destruction anywhere there. Here are some pictures to help you understand the beauty.

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After leaving Machu Picchu, we hopped on a train and rode 4 hours back to Cusco. That night most of the group opted to spend a night out in Cusco. We all took about an hour to get ready then headed out to get some food and drinks. We ended the night off by going to a discoteca. It was a great last night in Cusco!

The whole trip was such an amazing experience and I am HOPING I can work it out to return there when my family comes down to visit me. If anyone has the chance to go to Cusco and Machu Picchu I would STRONGLY encourage it. It will be worth every penny to see such a beautiful place!

Besides my trip not much has happened to me lately. Just been doing homework and spending time in the city. I am becoming so accustomed to the city and lifestyle down here but there are more and more things everyday that I miss from home. I will return home to good ol’ MN exactly 3 months today and I am sure those 3 months will just fly by. I am going to do everything I can to make this the most wonderful experience of my life!

One last thing before I leave you again….

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

¡Hasta pronto!

 

 

 

 

09/13/2013

A Plethora of Updates

Sorry to all who have been keeping up with me via my blog. It has been almost two weeks since my last blog, and SO much has happened within those last two weeks! Bare with me, its going to be a long one.

First things first, my classes are all going well! I did find out I have to give 4 oral presentations for one of my classes which gave me a minor panic attack. However the manner in which the class selected the dates we wanted was OUTRAGEOUS. We all just raised our hands and it was basically first said, first served. Luckily I got good dates, meaning I am not one of the first ones to present. Phew! Other than that I am really enjoying my classes and all of the people in them, although I have yet to really converse with any of them. I have time (sort of)!

Next, I finally traveled outside of Lima! I went up to northern Perú to the beautiful small pueblo of Máncora. It was such an amazing and memorable experience. I traveled up with two peruvian girls, which means it was a weekend filled with spanish! They are my first two real peruvian friends, and they are the sweetest. They can’t wait to show me all of Perú and they will be visiting in Minnesota, hopefully soon after my return! Here is a picture of the three of us before we went out Friday night!

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We took a 17 hour bus ride from Lima to Máncora, which was an experience in itself. It was a two-tiered bus with a first class below and an economy class up top. Pia and I sat in the VERY front row against the glass on the top, with Mercedes sitting behind us. The bus had many forms of entertainment. We watched 4 different movies, and played bingo (see the picture below)! Even though none of us won, it was still a very fun bus ride.

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It was an overnight bus ride, so we arrive Friday morning around 10 o’clock. We weren’t able to check-in until 2:30 so we decided to change at the hostel, guard our bags, and head down to the beach. We laid out in the sun for a good 3 or 4 hours before we headed back to check-in. We stayed in an economy room in the hostel which had 10 beds! It was crazy big. There was never a time I didn’t feel safe there, however. We then headed down to the pool and played volleyball with our new Israeli friends. After an intense game, we headed into down in search for some food. We ended up at Los delfines which was a seafood place on the beach! We ordered ceviche to split between the three and then I ordered a shrimp meal. All of that cost me mayyyyybe $10. (Sidenote: There were a great deal of wild dogs running around, so we put all of our extra food in a box and gave it to one lucky dog) Below are some pictures from lunch.

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After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and played a giant game of jenga, in which we ultimately lost to our new Israeli friends. After this game we headed upstairs, got ready for the night, and partied at our hotel. It was a great first day in Máncora.

The next day we woke up and headed to Vichayitos, a smaller, more private beach about 20 minutes away in a cab. We ended up using a hotels mats and pool area, the only condition was that we had to buy something from the hotel, so of course we chose… FOOD! It was a nice relaxing day for all three of us! Below is a few pictures of us by the pool and beach!

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After we left this hotel, we went back to our hostel, ate some food and took a nap by the pool. When we woke up we got ready for the night. Our hotel was having a fiesta de piratas. We were all super tired by this point, but we pushed through, got ready, and had a crazy fun night!! We met all sorts of people, but mainly Australians, who were MORE than excited to realize I wasn’t from Australia and could speak english. We had an amazing night all the way up until the break of dawn.

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Sunday was our last day to spend in the sunshine, so we got up super early and laid by the pool the entire day, enjoying our last rays of sunshine before returning to the city of fog. We packed up, checked out and headed to the bus station around 4:30 and our bus left at 5. It’s safe to say that I think I slept the entire 17 hours on the way home!

It was an AMAZING trip and I cannot wait for my next excursion with these two beauties! Now on the the bad thing that happened to me. Yesterday I got sick, for the first time, abroad. It was not very pleasant. I had a wicked stomach ache, and could hardly get out of bed. I am sure I worried a lot of people back home, but don’t worry my host family took excellent care of me, and today I am feeling a lot better! I am still not at 100%, but soon enough I will return to healthy Kailey.

Tomorrow at the crack of dawn my group embarks on our first trip together…CUZCO! Words cannot explain how excited I am to be traveling here. I have heard it is an AMAZING place that you have to travel to at some point in your life. And Saturday I will be taking a guide through Machu Picchu, which is now one of the seven modern wonders of the world. I couldn’t feel more blessed at this moment in time. I will be SURE to take abundant amounts of picture while I am there, but I’m sure it will not do the beauty any justice. I will probably not be blogging until I get back, but I will have wifi so make sure you all keep in touch!

*Inhales deeply*

Wow, that was a long post. Thanks for baring with me through all of it!

-KEM