November 3, 2009

Travelblog Number 11.2.2K9.1

Filed under: Lisa´s recon mission codename ¨Finding Presli¨, PDC News — Administrator @ 9:18 am

Today´s tasks are  to find an allen wrench for Merardo´s bike, change hostels and get some groceries and cash.

The first order of business was to change hostels.  I remembered seeing one online that fronts the Parque Tupac Amaru, but nobody, including the police guard at the bank, could tell me where one was.  I walked all the way around the wrong way, to find it at the corner where the taxi had dropped me off.  For 20 soles ($7.10) per day, I will have a more well-apportioned room, complete with a full-length mirrow, a hanging rack, a dresser, a little desk and an actual HOT shower in a small bathroom with a reasonalble amount of openness.  No kitchen priveleges, so I´ll have to eat out or get some non-perishables for the room.  No problem.

I rushed back to the Casa de la Abuela to get out of my 50 sol ($17.73) per night cold room so that I could get back on task.  I paid the full nine nights ahead at the new place, ¨Hospedaje San Cristobal¨, and got on the road to find a hex key.  I walked for about 2 hours up and down the crowded, filthy, poor marketplace, looking for a tool stand or hardware store.  One man stopped me when he saw me take a picture and asked if I was a ¨periodista¨ (newsperson).  I told him that I am  not with a newspaper, but that I am documenting my travels in Peru.  He told me that he needed help to find his 14 year old daughter.  She had gone to Lima to live with family friends, but he has not had contact with them for over 4 months.  I told him that I have no way to help him and that I was myself in Peru to find two people.  I wished him luck and told him that I cannot imagine the pain of looking for one´s own child.  I had to walk away from him.  His face was breaking my heart.

I have a problem here because everyone has a sad story to tell and they are real and true.  I wish that I had some kind of power to help find all the missing children, or to help bury those who have died (like the 9 year old killed by a car in La Oroya the same day and time my bus passed through there), or to take all the Presli´s of the world and give them a warm bed, clean clothes, medical care, education, etc.  There are just not enough PDC´s on this planet to help all the Presli´s and Merardo´s.  It is just too sad, but this is also only one country.  There are countries all over the world whose names I don´t even know where the life is even harder than here.

Anyway, the food costs here are embarassing.  For example, today I had a nice ham sandwich and fresh papaya juice for less than $1.50, two beef sticks with potatos on the ends for a sol (35 cents), a bag of giant roasted corn for another sol and dinner was a quarter of a chicken, a salad and a half a plate of large-cut fries and a huge cup of hot anise tea for 5.50 soles ($1.77).  I´ll be back to this restraunt for sure!  Total food costs for today: $2.30.  Shameful!

I had an ATM ¨incident¨.  I mistakenly asked for dollars the first time, so now I have $100 of US dollars, but what I needed was soles.  So, two transactions at $7.50 of fees per time to get 200 soles in my pocket.  I´ll be able to change the dollars, but now I have to make sure that my checking account does not go negative, especially with the added $!5 in fees.  Stupid ATM!

After being sent all over the place, I finally found the hex key.  A woman sitting against the wall had a blanket-display full of tools: scissors, vice grips, hammers, awls, and two sets of hex keys.  I got the most appropriate set and could finally concetrate on my main task for they day – to buy groceries. 

I went to the brand new shiny Real Plaza on Giraldez and got some bread, cheese, ham, ketchup, mayo, olives, etc. as well as a packet of diapers and booties for the new baby Condor.  After depositing my groceries at the hostel, I headed back out to the internet where I eventually met up with Jonee and Dani about how to approach Presli´s paperwork.  They both gave me some good ideas.  I have an appointment with Hilda tomorrow, since it´s her only day off, to take her and Presli to get his passport arranged.    Apparently it only takes two to three days to have it in hand, so that´s my next move .

After a day of walking around for 10 hours (the altitude still gets to me a bit), I am exhausted.  I did not get a lot of actual PDC business done today, but I now have house food, Nilton will be able to fix Merardo´s bike and I have a good plan for what to do tomorrow with Hilda and Presli.  Jonee and Dani gave me directions on where to go for what, so I should be all set to go.

Hot shower me, yo!

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