Jorge and I arrived in Lima on July 15th, 2014. The idea was to ‘give it a whirl’ — find a trendy neighborhood (Barranco), establish ourselves in a new home (the Temporary Shoebox), Jorge finds a job at a salon (or five), and Shannon finishes a novel (done).
Four months later, we’re still in Lima. We’ve given it the general consensus whirl (which, in backpacker world, is roughly 3 months of living in a place) and the verdict is in: TIME TO MOVE ON.
Don’t get me wrong: Lima is a really cool city. Barranco is one of my favorite big city neighborhoods in perhaps all of Latin America. There are trendy boutiques, there are jaw-droppingly gorgeous gardens, there is NATURE, there is a sparkling coastline, there are varied and exciting restaurant options. Who wouldn’t want to live here??
Well, we don’t. Lima is just too damn big. Jorge has it worse than I do — he has to commute almost two hours each day to reach his job that is just in the next neighborhood over (Miraflores). Let me repeat that — almost two hours each day to reach a “really close job”. Jorge has some particular horror stories of having to go to any other part of Lima for work courses or other tasks, and it taking up to two hours one way sometimes to get to a place.
Forget about getting anywhere quickly. Forget ‘just wandering over to a friend’s house’ in Lima — if they live anywhere other than your same neighborhood, you’re looking at a minimum 45 minute taxi ride.
Maybe for some people this is normal, or just an expected part of the landscape. But for us, it’s taxing. It’s time-consuming. It’s draining.
Lima, we’ve had some good times here, and we’ve enjoyed our time in the tiny shoebox. But overall, Jorge and I are very ready to move on. We’re ready for more community-based living, like we had in Valparaiso. We’re ready for a house that isn’t pure white walls, cement floors and sputtering hose sinks; I’m particularly ready for an oven again. There are a number of CASSEROLES I’d like to make. I’m ready for some soil, a view, less traffic-clogged and chaotic street experiences.
The perfect city is more than just having access to things you like. I thought Barranco would be perfect because it seemed the ideal blend of big city and unique neighborhood. But just as important for me, I’ve learned, is the ease of moving about, accessibility of community, and whether or not it takes a Bachelor’s degree to understand the goddamn bus system.
So here’s the news: We’re moving to Cuzco in a week!! I’m very excited for this next chapter of Life in Peru, and I think the Sacred Valley will have plenty of surprises and experiences for us when we arrive in November.