Monday, February 6, 2017

Exploring Down South

By Gardenia Zuniga-Haro

Have you ever wondered what it is like to explore Peru? 

The famous land of the "polladas" (dance parties), endless  seafood ceviche, and non stop "piropos" (compliments) that make you blush.  I got to live all of  the above  for 3 days and it was quite the experience.

First of all, Lima is beautiful.  Just driving up the coastline was breathtaking with the ocean view and the green landscapes of the city line. I stayed in Miraflores district, which is the Beverly hills of Lima.  The locals were nice but the men where even nicer, if you know what I meant with "piropos".

I was blessed to travel to Peru by Grabr who sent me on another wonderful trip. I had 40 people to deliver their gifts who all greeted me with a smile and most of the men with multiple kisses on both cheeks. Everyone received their Grabs by the second day and some of them  even recommended me to hit a few spots in town which I did. Thanks to Grabr I made new friends and I can't wait to go back and deliver more of their Grabs in a few months.

After giving most of my shoppers their Grabs I decided to take a stroll around the district I was residing, Miraflores. Walking the streets of Lima was exciting. Just seeing how fast the city runs with people chasing the bus,  older women gossiping on the bench, and catching a few couples making out on the grass of the central park not caring who saw them in action.

I gotta say, Lima was very opened about their romance. I saw older couples holding hands while kissing each other at the bus stop yet I saw a few younger couples making out against the wall outside the bars before sun rise. I guess I can say I saw people doing "EVERYTHING", without giving too many details.

For my first day in Lima I explored the Miraflores district. I enjoyed ceviche with a Pisco cocktail and the few rays of sun I captured while I walked down the area. I did hear a few "Hola Princesa" piropos  as I crossed the streets and did a little bit of shopping therapy.

Night time came and I decided to check out the night scene. Yes, I went clubbing all by MYSELF!

I strolled down the street with all the bars and decided to check out Son De Cuba Salsoteca. Like they say in Peru, "Me fui de pollada" (I went partying).  I had a few mojitos, ... well  I lost track after 5. Since I was sitting at the bar like a typical tourist observing everyone, I was quite surprised to get  asked to dance by 3 older men a few times. After my third drink, I decided to hit the dance floor to some merengue music. I was wearing a long maxi dress,  hair in a bun with a few loose curls,  and still got hit on by the locals.

The night ended after bar hopping till 4 am and I made it to my hotel room safe and sound.

I woke up to the sun rays caressing my face and realized I needed coffee, and I need more than one cup.  I had breakfast with the astonishing view of the 21st floor over seeing the city and ocean. As I ate my delicious desayuno, I caught myself being fully focused reading the local newspaper and realized, Peru does not like Trump at all. I don't want to ruin this story by getting political but lets just say, Trump is not welcomed in Peru.

I got sun kissed by the Peruvian sun for a few hours by the pool before I decided to hit the Barranco district which a shopper from Grabr had recommended for me to visit. 

I wanted to be more adventurous so I hopped on the bus that said Barranco, hoping I wont get lost.They bus ride was hot and quick. Everyone was sweating but hey its Peru, and it was 100 degrees which felt more like 80 to me since I am not used to the heat anymore. I enjoyed the heat.

I arrived Barranco which is the historic district were the old monuments, vintage restaurants, and murals of revolution lived across the neighborhood. I noticed that Starbucks is a luxury and people enjoy taking naps on the park benches.

It was lunch time and I decided to try the famous Lomo Saltado. The food was amazing but the server was a different story. If you think men in America are annoying when they hit on you, wait till you experience men in Peru. They are aggressive and persistent. My bill came and "Amigo" left his number on my receipt. I ignored because I wasnt there to go on a date, I was there to relax yet during my lunch he kept talking about us hitting the beach together and going dancing that night. No Gracias!

I left the restaurant looking for my next adventure when I hear "Amigo" behind me telling me to take his number as he hands me the receipt with his digits. I kindly rejected his offer and continued to walk down the alley that led to the beach.

I heard from the locals that the private beaches are the best but when I walked down the alley and saw the multitude of people laughing and playing in the public beach; I was amazed. I couldn't believe how many people where in the beach, better yet how happy everyone sounded under the summer heat. Been there made me appreciate the simple things such as children laughing for being splashed by their friends or the DJ who danced with his beer bottle while  the locals joined him to some cumbia music.

As I took a dip of the warm Peruvian ocean, I realized how happy people where with the less they had. I saw children playing with sticks on the sand and adults relaxing while eating their fruit cocktails. No body had their phones out nor ignored each other over a phone call. EVERYONE was engaging within their surroundings which is something I haven't seen back home. Everyone is trying to post the latest Snapchat (I am guilty of that), or strike the hottest selfie without enjoying the simple things in life. 

Exploring down south made me appreciate not having to depend on technology to be entertained nor having to spend too much money to have a relaxing day. I enjoyed eating an ice cream cone that was less than a $1 and walking down the streets of Lima for hours.

 After meeting people who came to Peru as refuge's from other countries such as Venezuela looking for a better life I realize that I need to appreciate the life I have in America more than I do. I returned to America more humbled and even though I do not agree with our government, I am thankful that I still have my freedom and no one takes the food out of my plate or tells me how to dress. I appreciate the simple things in life more and I cant wait to come back and learn more of the people who live in Peru. Exploring down south made me more appreciative of my life in America and I am thankful for that opportunity Grabr gave me.
Public Beach in Lima, Peru.

Native girls taking a picture at Kennedy Park.

Lima's coastline in Miraflores district.

Catching some Peruvian sun rays.

Locals relaxing at Kennedy Park in Miraflores.

Peruvian dancer performing in Barranco's Puente de los Suspiros.

A Peruvian Native selling bread in Barranco.

Enjoying Lomo Saltado with Grabr.

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