Ok, so you may be wondering exactly what this title refers to... did I watch the Wizard of Oz or go hunting in the oh so abundant forests of my city of 8 million? And the answer is NEITHER! Ha, what a surprise. I actually went on an adventure with a rotary friend to explore the zoo. Park of Legends to be precise. We left from school early at 1 so as to have sufficient time and that was just the first part of a GREAT day. :) Don't get me wrong, I really do like school and I hardly ever skip but on this particular ocasion it worked out perfectly. What happened is that the next day was a half day in honor of the principals birthday. When I was planning to go to the zoo my mom messed up and told me we had a half day so I arranged to leave at 1:00 and she was sooooooooooo generous as to let me leave anyway. Yayyyyy! So, Parque de las Leyendas... It is one of the coolest zoos ever because not only does it have all the regular animals (yes thats where the lions and tigers and bears come in) but it has the three ecological regions of Peru as well. We walked through the entire park (its ginormous!) and got to see monkeys from the jungle, vicuna and condors from the mountains and sealions and penguins from the coast. Each region is landscaped with the plants native to the area and I even carved my name into a bamboo in the jungle part. Obviously its not as good as the actual region but it is pretty darn realistic. Also, mining is a really important aspect of the economy in Peru, so we got to go through a whole simulation mine with info about the silver and gold and minerals etc. Very interesting and full of awesome photo ops too. :) After the zoo we went to a place where they sell tons and tons of cultural peruvian stuff and I got to act like an awesome tourist again. I bought some of the classic striped pants and a bag and a few yummy Peruvian deserts. The excess of delicious typical foods over here is incredible... I think I will be able to try new sweets every single day this year without repeating!
So the zoo WAS fabulous but it's really just a pretext to start this blog post. An example of all the fun adventures I've been having over here. I guess I should probably try to blog a little more often and keep you guys up to date but thats easier said than done. I'll give you a couple highlights to share a taste of Lima and you will just have to imagine the rest because I can't possible recount everything. Basically its finally spring and I can feel it! The sun shines a whole lot more often and I wore my jumper and blouse without the red sweater for the first time a few days ago. It's amazing how strong the sun is when you are close to the equator. When it shines is REALLY shines! I can already feel the sunburns coming and I'm preparing to be one of those people who's perfume is Banana Boat. haha
Anyway, I have started running almost everyday outside after school. The air may not be perfectly fresh but it feels great to get out. I get to explore the streets of Lima and exercise at the same time. It's not the same relaxing experience running in the city because I have to be a whole lot more alert but its really fun. I do lots of dodoging of people and dogs and street vendors and there is always something exciting to look at. Plus the fact that I have to pay attention to where I'm going and what the traffic is doing. Lima traffic is rather insane and the drivers definitely have the right of way... not pedestrians. Anyway, I have about 5 or 6 different routes that I like to take and I am learning more and more. One of my favorites follows the metropolitano and then drops down to the beach to run along the Costa Verde. I get to smell the ocean, watch all the people and be in the company of other runners. Its a very popular site for recreational type people. People play soccer on the beach or walk or run or use the cool mini gyms with bars for pull ups, sit ups and dips.
I am learning to love the freedom of public transportation... I am starting to mobilize myself and getting really well oriented in Lima. Yeah thats right, Chelan actually knows her way around. haha The other day I left the house all by myself to go out with friends and it was a success. I used the metropolitano and micros and didn't get lost once. Yayyyyyy!
I learn new things everyday but usually they are about culture or the spanish language. A few days ago I learned something about English. I learned that in British english you can say "got". You know how teachers HATE it when we use got in the wrong place and its a huge gramatical error? Well the reason is that when we came from England we changed a few things to be different... and that was one of the changes!
Other exciting news and random comments that I don't have time to explain in lots of detail...
1) I am going to take dance classes with a friend! Its a 10 week session and we learn two native Peruvian dances and then perform them at the end with extravagant costums and everything. Super Super excited about that!
2) Today is election day! Its obligatory to vote in Peru so its a huge deal... Technically you aren't really even supposed to go out so that the traffic isn't as bad. Everyone votes in a specific school assigned to them by the government and the streets are full of people going to vote. If you don't vote you get fined. I got to accompany my sisters to their school and took lots of picture to record how the Peruvian election system works. It's been pretty fun following the elections in a different country and trying to understand the political drama. Anyway, we don't have school tomorrow because they will be cleaning the huge mess from today.
3) Im going to the SELVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! My mom and I are going to go for a week and stay with my cousin and then my sister is going to join us for a few days at the end. It's going to be fabulous!!!
4) I got my first care package from HOME!!! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!
5) Peruvian breakfasts are amazing. Usually we go to the market on saturdays and buy fresh cheese and fruit and tamales and random little sweets and then sit down together to gorge. Last weekend I got to help cook this stirfry thing with tomatoes and steak and onion and peppers and lots of spices and it was incredible. But today I made WAFFLES! I new experience for my family... :)