April 29, 2010

PCH Sudamerica Style (a substandard photo essay)

This photographic journey travels the length of Lima Bay - from the southern tip (Barranco) to Callao (Lima's northern neighbor with the airport and main seaport ...and that's why it's still Callao the city, not Callao a neighborhood in Lima). All but the first two pictures were taken from the backseat of a taxi.

The anatomy of Lima's coast (west-east) is this: ocean, beach, road, cliffs - and on top of the cliffs is the city.

Heading north from Barranco you hit the nice areas - nice homes, nice/huge ocean view condos, nice beaches, good surf spots.

You also hit traffic.

As you head north past Magdelena, the landscape changes. The cliffs are no longer green - they're sand - they've been indunated. And the "beaches" are not really for sunbathing. (I have been quite taken with the word indunated since I first heard The Archaeologist say it back in 2004. Not only is it fun to say, but it evokes awesome imagery.)

But, Peru boasts an amazing rarity - an economy that actually improved between 2009 and 2010. They have a rapidly growing middle class (now I'm not an economist, nor do I really speak Spanish, but from what I think I've gleaned, I might postulate that Peru has got it's own credit bubble thing going and right now it's the Clinton years. I'm not saying that within a decade their housing market will plummet, there will be high unemployment, and the sol will have been awfully devalued - we're so beyond my purview here - I assume there are many x factors like the global economy, culture, who gets elected next, etc. - I'm just saying that from what I think I've heard and from what I think I've seen, credit is rampant in a way that it was not 8 or so years ago). So the indunated oceanfront is getting a makeover - a big reclamation/development makeover. They're planting grasses along the cliffs to help stop erosion. They're smoothing out the beach area to make it accessible, and putting in bike/jogging paths, soccer (futbol) courts, ramada thingies, plus more grass to combat the ...indunation.

So that's what we saw from Barranco to Callao, in the order that we saw it. Here's the final shot:

Oh - and here's a picture of Half-O and The Archaeologist at the beach.

Half-O gets very serious near large bodies of water. I don't know if it prompts pondering the imponderables, or if she's wary of our intentions.

April 23, 2010

yeah, we get it universe - try being a little less cliche

It was but three days after I posted that none of us had been sick that Half-O awoke (both herself and myself) at 2ish am coughing/gagging/vomiting in her bed. I quickly picked her up and headed for the toilet (why didn't I grab a bowl rather than have a toddler try to vomit into a toilet? It was 2 am - plus Half-O had never been sick like that before). The poor girl was seriously shaken by this new experience. Luckily there's that adrenaline rush afterwards, so I was able to strip her down, wipe her off and give her a book to read while I stripped down her bed (Foo Foo had been graciously spared), wiped it down, put on new sheets, cleaned the vomit off me, and put all the soiled linen in soapy water. It was triage. I was truly thinking/hoping the offending food was out of her system now, and I could just put her in new PJ's, read her a book or two, give her a couple sips of water, and we could all go back to bed within the hour. Real clean-up could be done in the morning.

But as I filled the basin with soapy water, I heard her gag again (One Fish, Two Fish was also graciously spared). I ran and grabbed her again - and again returned to the toilet. This time she was less shaken and more ticked. This time I was less asleep and more aware that she was sick and we weren't making that 3 am bedtime. This time the adrenaline period was spent gently wiping her down and comforting ...and getting a bowl.

For the next 3 hours she vomited every 10-20 minutes. It was all bile and dry heaving from #3 on. Around #5 The Archaeologist woke up. I was grateful. He hadn't been asleep long and had a full day ahead, so I didn't want to wake him ...but of course, wanted him to be awake and with us. By this time she was screaming in pain/frustration with each go. Finally she was so exhausted, she fell asleep in our arms for 20 minute intervals waking to throw-up and cry and then fall back asleep.

Since it wasn't subsiding, we left for a 24 hr clinic/hospital right before dawn. It was an awkward introduction to Peru's health system. The insurance doesn't kick in for two months, so the first thing said to us was their base price for a consultation - for walking in the door (it was steep). Then they checked her vitals. Then she threw-up. Then they gave her an anti-nausea suppository (so many new experiences). Then she threw-up again. They brought in some electrolyte solution and gave her what seemed like a lot for someone unable to keep the bile in her stomach and said to repeat that dose every ten minutes. The Dr. stopped by, saw that she had thrown-up again, and said to do half as much every 5 minutes. About 15 minutes later, it all came up and the Archaeologist called to cancel his morning appointment.

So now the Dr. suggests admitting her to the hospital for an 8 hour IV drip and 2 day stay. I thought 2 days sounded extreme. I thought the amount of liquid they had expected to stay down so soon after the anti-nausea suppository was extreme. I realized she had expelled a lot of liquid - but also realized she wasn't dehydrated yet. So, I suggested that we try smaller/tiny doses every ten or fifteen minutes and wait a half-hour or so to see if they stayed down. The Archaeologist agreed with me and translated the idea back to the Doctor. Lost in translation was that the Dr. hadn't actually been suggesting the hospitalization but prescribing it. The Archaeologist explained this to me after he left - apparently I missed the face of a man unaccustomed to being questioned.

To clairfy - we were not underestimating dehydration nor weighing our daughter's health and well-being against the $3000 bill for hospitalization. It was just that I've previously talked with nurses regarding hydration when The Archaeologist had been sick, and they said a tablespoon of rehydration solution every 20 minutes was equivalent to an IV drip (provided he could keep that down - but generally that small amount stays down). This method seemed way better suited to a toddler's temperament - even a weakened one - I mean Half-O hooked up to an IV for 8 hours??? So hoping the anti-nausea medicine had finally kicked in, I gave her about 15 ml every 10-15 minutes. We started at 7:45am and by 9:30 we got to go home (with instructions that if she threw-up again we had to bring her back and likely hospitalize her).

Fortunately, she did alright with her "special water," graduating to broth and jello in the evening and is now back to solids. Her cheeks are rosy, and she is bouncing around just slightly less boisterously than usual.

April 19, 2010

It's been 1 month: Slainte

We left Chicago on March 17th, and somewhere between Chicago and Houston I realized that I wasn't wearing any green. Immediately following that realization was gratitude that no one had tried to pinch me. Yes, I know I'm a 30-something mother and was en route to South America, not a small child en route to recess. Please recall that I had yet to sleep after days of sorting/packing/tossing/cleaning out our apartment. I was hanging on by a very thin, and hopefully green, thread.

In our own teetotaling way, I've made sure we celebrated St. Patty's Day each year. I don't have these freckles for nothing. In fact, we are all of Irish decent in our little family (though we also claim Scottish - I believe I'm both, but let's just say we're of the Gaels - throughout history people were moving all over those isles anyway). Half-O's name is Irish (Gaelic), plus she's got green eyes, a red tint to her hair, and thanks to the Lima sun, she's sporting a couple new freckles herself. But we didn't get a chance to do anything this year - not even wear green.

Then a week or so later I found this in our backyard:

Awesome, huh?! It's an honest to goodness 4-leaf clover (I promise it is not the kind I manufactured as a child by pulling apart one of the 3 leaves of a standard clover).

I was actually pretty nonchalant about my find. Half-O was the only one around, and she just discovered clovers in general, so is stoked on any leaf quantity. I assumed the good luck was meant for The Archaeologist's project and set it on a shelf in his office. Later that evening, though, I showed him and his Irish eyes were amazed. I guess I didn't realize how rare they are. I just looked down and saw it. I wonder if that's what it's like to be born into wealth - it's hard to appreciate the rarity - or perhaps it's an object lesson for grace vs. works. Anyway, thanks to Wikipedia, I now appreciate my 1 in 10,000 find.

I'm not familiar with the luck rules for 4-leaf clovers (Is it only good for one venture? Is there a time limit? Does it need to be on my person to bestow the luck? Can it extend to The Archaeologist even though I found it? It seems like immediate family would be covered), but we've been here for a month now and we've got a great little house, we've yet to get any food/water-born illnesses, I've yet to get seriously lost or be too seriously encumbered by my Spanish deficiencies, the weather has been great, there was a special when we got high-speed internet so the router was free, there's a radio station that plays 80s music all day long (from the U.S./U.K. - but a disproportionate number of songs from The Police/Sting), Half-O is happy, The Archaeologist is getting accolades left and right, and I have yet to burn myself even though I've lit an entire box of matches for the stove. So we truly appreciate the luck of the Irish and hope it continues.

Also, an update: I found ginger. It's called jengibre, and it was in the aisle with the baking stuff (e.g. cake mixes, yeast, vanilla extract). Additionally, I may have to devote an entire post to me and electricity - it's been like a non-montage version of discovering/developing a super power.

April 14, 2010

Barranco, or On the Road with The Archaeologist and Half-O

Apparently I am drawn to ambiguous plagerisms for my post titles.

Barranco is Lima's bohemian neighborbood. It's where the artists and musicians live ...and surfers (...and people who are ostensibly artists, musicians, and/or surfers, but really they just smoke lots of marijuana).

The Architecture

The architecture is very different from other Lima neighborhoods I've seen. You can see the residual gentrification of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries when it became a seaside resort for the wealthy. There are colonial and republican style facades all over, lots of parks, and a left-over street car track.

The bridge is called Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs. As the story goes, the daughter of one of the rich aristocrats that lived up by the bridge fell in love with a street sweeper she saw down below. Her father forbade the marriage, so she lived out her life looking out her window hoping to see her beloved. People crossing over the bridge could hear her sad sighs, and thus the name.

We thought this was a cool shot juxtaposing the post-renovation and currently-being-renovated parts of the cathedral. And thanks to The Archaeologist, I can tell you that the roof in back is wattle and daub. He also informed me that the banner in the foreground is announcing a Carrot Plan at 3am.

The Ocean

It was awesome to see the ocean again - salted air is refreshing.

Barranco has some good surf spots, but we didn't see anyone out. Later, though, we saw this guy heading down.


These are the steps we took down to the restaurant and the view from the restaurant.

One of the downsides of Barranco is that it's a tourist stop, so there are more gringos around, and tours, and people catering to tourists. So, we got treated like tourists - but perhaps part of that was the totally tourista lunch I ordered. I decided to get some ceviche - a Peruvian specialty - and try chicha morada per Damaris' suggestion. So yeah, it was all "Peruvian Experience" but really, I like seafood but never make it at home, and I was going to try chicha morada sooner or later, so why not sooner. Anyway, the cevivhe was very good, as were their fries - I'm loving aji on my fries. Chicha morada was ok. There was an unidentified undercurrent to it that I couldn't place - beets? blood? It was off-puttingly just beyond my grasp. Later that night we had soy sauce (or as Half-O calls it, salty sauce) with dinner and I sensed the undercurrent again. Aha - fermentation. Now that I know, perhaps I'll give it another try.

We didn't have time to see the contemporary or colonial art museums, or stay for any music, so we'll be back.

April 12, 2010

Pre-nap Storytime

April 11, 2010

Our post-nap picnic

I brought the sandwiches and drinks. Half-O brought these:

April 6, 2010

Emerging Patterns

Half-O and I have fallen into a bit of a routine. Each morning, after we've awakened, had some milk, and read a book or two ...or the same book a few times, we put on our shoes and head down the street for these:

and these:

and these:

We get 2-3 avocados, 12 or so rolls, and a bunch of bananas. All of this:

cost less than $2. The rolls are delicious - they're crusty like good baguettes. The avocados are like butter - no smooshing required; you can just spread them right onto the rolls. The bananas are good as well ...I don't know that there's a wide spectrum for bananas.

Then Half-O matches me sandwich for sandwich.

Afterwards, we sweep - partly because crumbs are everywhere, but also because Half-O has discovered a love for sweeping (let's hope it endures).

Next I start a load of laundry and do the dishes from the night before while Half-O places her lego animals on the window sill (sorry - I forgot to get a picture of this) and watches the action on the street - or foregoes that to make a general mess of the place.

Turns out that hanging the laundry on clotheslines in the sun makes the chore surprisingly more enjoyable for me - some sort of Peruvian pastoral. Initially Half-O will help by handing me pieces to hang, but is soon distracted by lines of ants on the brick wall or clovers in the grass or putting a bucket on her head (sorry, I should have a picture of that too, but was too concerned about her running into a wall or falling on the cement to run and grab the camera).

We eat more sandwiches. Half-O takes a nap. We have a post-nap banana in the backyard shade.

That's as far as the pattern goes. Late afternoons and evenings are less predictable.

But today was different. Today I got to cash in on my postponed birthday. So after milk, I deposited Half-O in The Archaeologist's care and went back to bed for a couple hours. It was wonderful. I am a morning sleeper, but since being pregnant - plus the years of working prior to that - I haven't been able to sleep in much. It was very depressing to realize that I would rarely be able to sleep in again - to realize that adults are rarely able to sleep in - to realize that I'm an adult. But when you've got an awesome Archaeologist, there's respite.

Speaking of The Archaeologist - and speaking of patterns - I've noticed that being around The Archaeologist is especially fun and joyous just after he's completed a paper (yeah - I don't think I'll win any awards for that observation). On our way to Miraflores this evening (where we'd be eating my birthday dinner at Calle de Pizzas because he knows how much I like pizza), he was cracking me up. He commented on how tan I've gotten since we've been here, and I mentioned that he actually looked pretty tan as well (I have olive skin and tan easily; he does not). He scoffed at that, and replied that he looked like a Scotsman who's been slapped around.

April 5, 2010

Foo Foo

Half-O's night-time buddy - actually, all-around good buddy seems more accurate - is a little white bunny rabbit that she dubbed Foo Foo (as in Little Bunny Foo Foo). Here is a picture that she took of it:

As an extension of her love for Foo Foo, Half-O digs any and all bunnies (though perhaps not these). I think she would've gone gaga had we been in the States surrounded by Easter Bunny paraphernalia. Of course, I'm always happy to delay the commercialization and consumerism of the holidays (sorry economic stimulus ...but you should just count us out entirely this year ...we were never going to help much anyway).

I am ashamed to say that we didn't attend any Semana Santa events here in Lima. Of course, Lima isn't known for grand processions like other South American cities, but still - there were events, and we didn't make it for one reason or another - and next year Easter is at the end of April, so we'll likely be gone. I know - we blew it. I'm sorry.

We did have a very sunny and peaceful Easter just the same. Here are pics from Sunday morning:

April 4, 2010

Treinta Y Dos

On April 2nd I turned 32. The Archaeologist had a paper due, so not many festivities took place (don't worry, they are just postponed - not neglected). I did have cake (as evidenced above - I don't remember what the non-chocolate cake one is called, but it was good) and Half-O sang me her version of Happy Birthday over and over (and is still doing it - much to my delight).

Here's Half-O singing (sorry it is sideways - still getting the hang of this techmology):