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14 dec201714

Unexpected gaLIMAtias!

Lima, PeruLima, Peru
Why Lima? As some of you know I was travelling to Medellín, Colombia to talk to Moving Worlds, a company that helps skilled volunteers (experteers) to find great opportunities for really meaningful work with non-profits. I actually found my Honduran and Peruvian opportunities through that site. Few weeks ago it turned out they were looking for kind of a mix of Salesforce Admin/Developer with Data Analysis skills and some Web Development. Yup - that fits me perfectly.

I sent them a message and started advising them remotely straight away, mostly in things related to Salesforce integrations and how to design the database and keep the data. I'll be honest the paid remote contractors only focused on writing code without even thinking who is going to use the data and how. I'm sure it sounds familiar to some of you (Eulogio :)). 

The flight from Cusco to Lima went smoothly but then things went sideways. After waiting for an hour (10am) to see my flight on the big board so that I can check in, I tried one of the automatic machines but it didn't want to give me the ticket. "Okay, let's go straight to baggage drop off" I mumbled. But the lady directed me to a completely different line with few people in it. After half an hour we've been told the flight was cancelled. Another hour passed and few people in front of me got onto the 5pm flight to Bogotá but then I had to wait another hour for anybody to even acknowledge that I was still waiting to be served. You know me - don't like to make a fuss, so I sat down on the floor, relaxed and told myself that after all it's not their fault the plane is cancelled and other people were giving them enough grief. Once I approached higher-level employee and told him the situation he started looking at my case. Unfortunately all the flights were full and I had to wait untill 11am next day. I really needed to be in Medellín in the morning for the team meeting but I guess it was not to be. 

Thankfully the airline took care of everything. Got my taxi vouchers, hotel, meals, and new ticket. I thought they would put me in either the hotel 100m from the airport or something close and cheap. Nope they chose Novotel ****, which goes for £70-£100 with reservation and from £300 (!) if you just turn up. Not to mention it took a bloody hour to get there. Anyway I'm walking into the hotel, just me, normal chap with two backpacks, broken sunglasses, ResultFitness hoodie, jeans,  and everybody else in the hotel in suits - I actually laughed out loud thinking "oh yes I'm going to fit right in".

It was around 2015 when I changed my way of life using minimalistic approach. Same year I became vegetarian but mostly facny and expensive things stopped being of interest to me, hence this hotel, personally, feels just like another way for people with money to spend it. At least I'm going to get some quality shampoo and soap haha! The only thing I like about it is the bath - it's been showers only in the last 6 months and even though the bath here is for short people (:D) I still enjoyed it.
I could even alternate between beds and sleep half a night on one and another half on the other ;)
The only good thing about being stranded in a new place is exactly that - it's NEW! That meant I had few hours to explore. It's been a while since I've done that, especially after my brief spell in the hospital my body still hasn't been in the best shape, so I decided to test it. 

I decided to go to the shore and see the ocean - despite not being able to swim (well a bit thanks to Sam The Jellyfish) I miss water a lot. It was the best feeling being able to listen to the sea while living in Honduras. On my way to the ocean I walked through Bosque El Olivar - Olive Grove Park that became a national monument in 1959 {}.  The story of El Olivar dates back to 1560 when Antonio de Rivera brouth the first oliv plants from Spain.  Only three plants survived the journey across Atlantic, but after very careful planting they trived. By the time Peru became an independent state in 1821, there were close to 3000 olive trees in El Olivar. I absolutely adore green spaces with history like that in the middle of big cities. You can see how much care is being put into making this place live up to its heritage and still make it a great place for people to enjoy.
San Isidro turned out to be on the posh side of Lima, one of the upscale districts and you can see it by the type of cars parked and of course housing. One distinction that I always notice is whether the sides of a building are in the same state (painted and finished) as the front. With 21 bank headquarters San Isidro became financial centre of Lima. To me it's still interesting to see such parts of the city even though fancy shopping malls and expensive boutiques do not make me even twitch : )

Thanks to a quick recommendation from Meghan T. I chose a route that would take me to John F. Kennedy park, which has many resident cats. All my cat-lover friends (Paulina, Michał, Mei, April, Ania H.) would surely appreciate ability to just hang out with many cats (all of them very lazy and friendly) in a beautiful park like that.
This one should teach the art of relaxation and not giving a fl***
Located in Miraflores, the Kennedy park is sometimes referred as unofficial main square of Peru {}. Nobody actually knows why and how it became such a heaven for cats and what's even more amazing is that cat-lovers of Lima founded an association to take care of them and regulate an adoption process in case somebody would like to adopt one of them. 
Not far from the "cat land" is the shore where one can look at the immensity of the Pacific Ocean.. One place has caught my eyes the most - Parque del Amor, which has thousands of messages of love and friendships.
After many steps it's only the ocean and you, and a lot of traffic unfortunately but with the right music in my headphones I was easily able to switch the noise and remove the picture of thousands of cars passing through. Surprisingly there were a lot of people surfing and along the shoreline you can find many "shops" where you can rent surfboard. I've been asked couple of times but of course I declined politely without going into the detail that I can't swim :D What I liked about those people is also their cards. I mean look at this beauty..
I would get into that business just to be able to drive a cool-looking van like this!

After enjoying a bit of sunshine I started to head back since my body was telling me "don't overdo it, don't push me bitch", and I kind of promised myself to listen to it more. On my way through the busy streets of Lima I enjoyed this the most - baby palm! Last time I saw one of these was while walking through the streets of Valencia with Natalia, trying to guess the age of the palm or at least whether it was a baby palm or teenager palm :)
Baby Palm!
After over 3 hours and 10.5km of walking I returned to my hotel, enjoy chicha morada for free (using my food voucher) and not much of anything else. Considering the hotel can fit almost 1400 people there is a big chance you can get some big shots who are vegan, but they are definitely not ready to cater to that group. Rice with vegetables it was then. Keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow everything is going to go smoother! I definitely don't need anothe gaLIMAtias!
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