I arrived in Lima 3 weeks ago and life has been good since then! I settled in in Lima, visited Punta Hermosa and made a fantastic trip to the Sur Chico.
Life in Lima
After I spent two amazing weeks in Bolivia, I arrived in Lima after a long trip from La Paz. I arrived safely in my new apartment in the middle of Miraflores. We live together with 17 other students, divided over 3 houses in a big apartment building.
The house are really nice and comfortable. They are new, clean, safe (a guard downstairs – all people that are not living there have to leave the ID) so thats all fine! As said, its in the middle of Miraflores, the major tourist district in Lima. The apartment is close to supermarkets, shops, the beach, Larcomar shopping center, cinema, everything!
Public transport to the university is a 5 minute walk and then about 25 minutes in the bus (in rush hour 40 minutes). I prefer taking public transport over taxis because it is much safer with more people around.
At the moment, Im writing from the University premises in a break of my 14 hour day at uni. Yes: 14 hours!! My first class starts at 07h30 and finishes at 21h30 at night. But at least I only have classes 2 days a week so there is plenty of time to travel 🙂 .
The first two weeks I was so happy to have an own bed and a clean bathroom that I mostly hung around the house and discovered Miraflores. Finally, a kitchen and a couch again, so nice!! I met so many new people before the semester started already! A really great community. As I was a bit tired of travelling, I thought it was a good time to party a lot! Dancing all night, drinking pisco sours and then sleep a lot! What a life 😉 Got to know about 6 nice clubs in 2 weeks!
I also joined the Limeno Carnaval. This was pretty awesome! It is basically an outdoor carnaval party, including a lot of paint!!
There are loads of French people here, then a bit less Germans and so far I met one more Dutch girl. I also tried surfing again, but its quite a walk from my house. To be honest I was a bit too lazy to go to the beach 😛 but good to know that its there if I feel like it.
Trip to Punta Hermosa
In week 2 I was getting nervous again. It seems I cannot sit still for too long. I went to Punta Hermosa, a surfer place 1 hour from Lima. It was such a nice break from the city. We went surfing and visited a concert of one of Perus famous bands: La Mente.
We had a lot of fun and we discovered a new great drink: vodka con inka kola. Inka Kola is a yellow kind of coca cola and much, much sweeter 🙂 The city is so full of fog and traffic, its nice to get out once in a while. That was just for the weekend, but it was an easy ride!
Trip to el Sur Chico, Lima
All my friends still had language courses or already started university so I decided to go for a trip down south of Lima. There is a beautiful area there called the “Sur Chico”. Sick of long distance buses I decided to stay within a 5 hour radius and enjoy myself over this area. Getting out my Lonely Planet, I was all prepared!
My first stop in the Sur Chico was San Vincente de Canete. I did some couchsurfing there with a very nice girl. Canete was a great time and got really relaxed hanging out at the beach! I had a lot of Pisco Sour – the most famous Peruvian drink made of lemon juice, brandy and egg white. It’s awesome, you get it in many flavours and it’s also very cheap when you get out of the major tourist area.
Canete itself is a small town but has a lovely beach with a pier that gets really busy towards the sunset!
From Canete, I took a minibus to Lunahuana. I went to Lunahuana for the rafting opportunities. There were only 2 other tourists in the village and I went on a rafting trip with them! Due to the time of year there was a lot of water and it was a super exciting rafting trip!!
I met up with a guy from Couchsurfing as well. He couldn’t host me but was so nice to show me around a little and share some Pisco Sours with me 🙂
Lunahuana was also the place where I experienced my first earthquake! I woke up in the middle of the night and everything was shaking. Everyone ran out of the hotel to stay safe and the earthquake was over really quickly!
With the rafting people, we also visited the wineries in and around Lunahuaha. It was really such a chilled village, I can really recommend it!
Paracas & Islas Ballestas
From Lunahuana I took a minivan back to Canete and got on the bus to Paracas. Because after 5 days of travelling by myself, some friends from Lima joined me! We met up in Paracas where I had arranged a nice hostel where I could couchsurf as well and that got a cheap deal for my friends! We did a tour to the Islas Ballestas and the Reserva Nacional de Paracas. The Islas Ballestas are also dubbed the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” but it was a good trip! We saw some incredible landscapes, dolphins, sealions and pinguins and had a lot of fun.
After 3 days of awesome seafood in Paracas we took off to Huacachina – another highlight of the Sur Chico. This was the place where the legendary exchange student party was waiting!! With 80 students and some Peruvians we crashed this little lagoon in the middle of nowhere! The lagoon is surrounded by sanddunes. We had a blast, did a dune buggy tour over the sanddunes and had a great party!! Then it was time to return to Lima again – and do a loooot of laundry!!
And some study stuff..
Good news! I got accepted into some master programs I applied for and I chose to go study in Rotterdam!!! So finally a bit closer to home again. Its an amazing program, very competitive and its one of the best masters in whole Europe!!! Part of the CEMS alliance, Erasmus University provides a Master of International Management to only 70 students a year. (out of a couple of 100 applications). During my travels I had to do some assessments and interviews over Skype, and during the introduction day at the uni in Lima I got the reply that I got accepted!!! Its a program of 1,5 year with a half year exchange again – I will be home for 1 week in August and then move on to Bergen, Norway. A bit closer, and after that from January 2011 on will continue in Rotterdam.
So Im settling in fairly well, my Spanish is improving every day. I can follow the other students in groupwork and understand most of the teachers. The parties are good, I feel good and planning nice trips all the time is not so much of a punishment :).
At the moment there are some trips in Peru planned, and after the midterms in May Im gonna head for Panama for one week to visit the beautiful place Bocas del Toro.
Hasta la Proxima!