Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Choclo and chincha morada en Lima

The flight from Miami was an hour late getting into Lima on Sunday night. It's an hour behind EDT in Miami here but when it was nearly 1am when I finally got into my hotel room, it still felt like 2am.

My fatigue and the late hour almost made me wonder if this was the right hotel for me. I knew it would be a simple 3 star hotel for $50.00 a night. Still, the room was a bit small, the Internet access is free but only in some lounge areas in the building rather than sleeping rooms, and the ventilation in the room only seemed to be supplied by the shower window and leaving the balcony door open. I unpacked very little thinking I might ask Virginia García at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos to recommend something else. The place Paula Covington had recommended didn't have the right room that I wanted and I doubted it would have anything open for the week at this point.

The next morning I started sorting through my mind why I shouldn't give this place a chance. I discovered there are louvers above the balcony sliding door that provide plenty of fresh air so I didn't have to worry about cat burglars joining me in the night. I also found out that my room overlooks the garden courtyard and I'm in only 1 0f 2 rooms on the 2nd floor with a balcony. Now I'm starting to feel special!

Internet access is fine in the lounge area on the 2nd floor though the seating is regular living room furniture. Staring down at a laptop on a coffee table hurts my neck! I discovered the ground floor has a lovely big waiting area next to the dining room. There are good tables here, tile covered walls, paintings of colonial Lima so now I come down the stairs (no elevators), laptop in hand to catch up on mail and check the FIU online catalog and Worldcat against my printouts for my bookbuying this week.

Yesterday was a long but fruitful day at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. Vicky and I visited in the IEP Library and then she walked me into the bookstore. Manager Elizabeth there gave me free rein to stack books and go through what I needed. The Vergaray family kindly invited me to dinner with them. We had good chicken, fries, choclo, chincha morada, and yes, a Pisco sour. If I can't get a caipirinha, I'll gladly make do with a Pisco sour. After dinner, we drove downtown to see all of the beautiful colonial buildings. Roberto and Alicia's daughter Romina is an architecture student. She pointed out various distinct features in the buildings, particularly the balconies and churches. From there we drove by the coast into Chorrillos, and then back to Hotel San Antonio Abad for me. Yes, I'm staying put. The staff is kind, and I'm beginning to get the hang of things.

More purchases today at the Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos. A smaller collection but I still found plenty to get. One thing I realized I have to straighten out with my printouts is that IEP, IFEA, and the PUCP (next stop tomorrow?) tend to co-publish titles with one another in all sorts of editorial variations. This meant purging out IEP purchases from the printout of IFEA titles. After lunch I returned to the hotel to go online and reconcile my lists so I can avoid duplicate titles.

Dinner was a cab ride over to Larcomar Mall. It's not visible at street level since the stores and restaurants overlook the beach and you go down a flight of stairs to get to them. It was an enchanting place to spend the evening. I took a few photos but it'd be nice to go back in the daytime for beach shots. They also have some nice stores for gifts. What I'm realizing is that I may not find a Peruvian armadillo figurine here. So far I'm seeing llamas and the other camelids, cuys, and even marine mammals. Any advice from the SALALM Peruvianists?

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