I’m learning the value in pretending that I understand when people are spitting out machine gun syllabic Spanish at me–there is a lot to be understood simply by letting people talk. You just nod your head and smile and then you usually can figure out what they mean by the signifying gestures of their body and hands and eyes. It helps if they are animated speakers. If you can figure out when to express laughter, or when to look mysterious and profound, you can fare quite well on a drunken night with only Spanish speakers.
I’ve met some extremely hospìtable and generous Peruanos, and I met a few of the other kind last night, the kind who expect you to pay for their beers because you are a tourist. I guess that’s what they are thinking, I don’t really get it. At the end of the night I was kind of pissed about it, but then I realized that the whole night I´d spent what in the equilavent in US dollars is around 15 dollars for the whole night, which translated into several rounds of Cusquéñas. I’m so used to thinking in terms of neuvos soles now that when I spend 50 soles in a night I think its muy caro. The one big meal I have each day is generally around 6 or 7 soles, which is like 2 bucks. Yeah, guess I can’t really complain, huh?
I thought of another quirk of Lima to add to my list:
9: No stores or restaurants other than tourist based or higher end carry mucho dinero, so if you’ve got bills larger than 20 soles, you’re gonna have trouble buying stuff. You’ve got to break down your 50 or 100 sole bills at banks or when you make a large purchase (even banks seem to have trouble breaking down 100 sole bills sometimes!) so that you can carry around the 1, 2, or 5 sole coins which will get you all of your daily needs.
I’m a bit hung-over today, I think ahora tomo una siesta. Chao!