I woke up early today. Monica and Linda came by the apartment early to take me to el Centro, downtown Lima. We spent the whole morning and much of the early afternoon looking for beads and seeds and such to make jewelry for their WyldLife kids to make and sell to pay their way to camp.
Our journey started by walking through San Martin de Porres, our neighborhood, to La Avenida Peru, where we boarded a bus. On our way we were stopped by the police. Don't worry. It's nothing like Federale checkpoints in Mexico. Just a routine checkpoint to make sure it is a legitimate bus, that the driver has a license, that there is safety equipment on board. It may even be more regulated than the cab service back home. An adventure nonetheless.
When we arrived downtown, we made our way over to a building full of shops selling beads. At the first shop, Linda and Monica asked me to wait outside. They said that when the owners see Americans, they charge more. So, I made the most of it, and wandered around the first floor, where most of the tourist shops were. Lots of llamas and blankets, earflap beanies and the like. It was interesting. Mostly, I enjoyed watching people, trying to guess who was a tourist and who was a local.
After about an hour, Linda and Monica came out of the first store. I was beginning to think this was going to be a long way to spend the day. But, they realized I felt that way and let me go with them into the next store, which was much bigger than the first. We found several items there, but what we really needed were large stone pendants, and they didn't have them. So, Monica decided we should split up. She took off running to search the second and third floors while Linda and I looked on the bottom floor. We were both grateful, because neither of of us could keep up with Monica. And since I had already seen much of the first floor, we didn't have to look too hard. Eventually, we took the opportunity to sit and rest, and swap Young Life stories.
Soon, which in this case, is just an expression--it was more like thirty or forty five minutes--Monica came back downstairs and said she'd found something. So we followed her upstairs and picked out several pendants. I was beginning to realize that this was going to be very nice jewelry. Christen showed me some of the jewelry Monica had made for the bridesmaids in her wedding. Very impressive.
After we had all the pendants for the necklaces we needed to find seeds that matched to make earrings. This was much easier, though it took us a while to find a store that had the right colors in a large enough size. But at this stage I was able to be much more helpful, since all we had to do was find seeds that were the same colors as the pendants, and then find ones that were the same shape. Then we matched a couple of beads to the seeds, and were about ready to go.
By this point, I was exhausted, and I could see that Linda was too. But Monica has enough energy for about ten people. So, I went outside, found a place to buy a Coke, and sat down to watch people. When Monica and Linda came out, they told me I looked like a poor beggar!
Anyway, we caught a cab back to San Martin, and I headed back to the apartment. It was about 2:30, and I was ready for lunch. I ate, and took a long nap.
It's a slow night tonight. Christen is answering Young Life emails after spending the day in a meeting. Cristian and his friend Lucho are working on translating a book from English to Spanish for the Young Life staff here. Desa, the dog, is finally worn out after playing fetch all evening. Finally, life is becoming a little more normal.