Date: 24 December 2010
Location: Jorge Chavez Airport, Lima
Early in the morning we left Cusco where the main square was prepared for Christmas celebrations. Hundreds of Peruvian villagers had come to city queuing to get the food and gifts which were distributed to the poor on Christmas Eve.
The main square was full with villagers selling herbs and other different products.
Actually, the scene was far from joyful, it was sad. It was clear how poor, hungry and cold the villagers were from the way they were queuing for a cup of hot chocolate on this important day and children with runny noises, dirty eyes, dusty faces and feet, which have turned stony, torn skirts and shoes.
When we reached Lima Airport, we wanted to spend the small amount of Sola (Peruvian money) we had left at the cafeteria but soon we understood that the money was fake. F. became very angry. Thankfully, a kind and helpful man offered to take our false money and give us the real one. He told us he could change the fake money at the bank. This way, we had a nice memory from an unfortunate situation. Now we are waiting inside the plane to fly to Buenos Aires.
The air hostesses of the Argentina leg of LAN Airlines stood out immediately with their beauty. However, the two minute terrible turbulence we went through in the Argentine airspace made me go through a similar but smaller version of the panic attack I had experienced in Kenya. During the attacks, I cut poor F.’s finger with my nails without realising. I also shed tears but thankfully it didn’t last too long. The fact that there were children on board reassured me that we would not crash. I don’t think that the Creator would cause this. The first that came to my mind was my mum and dad and what they would think. I would never want to do this to them.
The weather is incredibly lovely in Buenos Aires. It is sunny, warm and the sky is blue. After the fickle, cold and rainy weather in Peru, this is very nice. The topography is also very different. It is green but not as green as Brazil and not as mountainous as Peru. It is flatter. Even though it also has shantytown areas, they are not as large as the ones in Rio. The road from the airport to the city is full with villas, which remind me of German villages and apartment buildings, which remind me of Barcelona and Madrid. The city centre is a mixture of Paris and New York.
The avenues are wide. Even though there are modern concrete buildings, the Parisian buildings have the majority. The city and its people are elegant, beautiful and polite. It is my kind of city. I thought that I wish New York were a city like Buenos Aires. Then it would have been a habitable and nice place.
We settled in Las Americas Hotel, room 605, near the opera house and the famous Recoletta neighborhood. Because it is Christmas Eve, it is impossible to find an open shop or restaurant. Everyone is spending the night with their families having Christmas dinner and attending mass in church. We could find only one place to eat. We didn’t have a choice.
It appears than they speak less English in Argentina than in Peru and Brazil. However, their Spanish is almost like a mixture of Italian and Portuguese. For you’re welcome, they may say prego and for thank you, they may say obrigado. But just like everywhere else we have been in South America, they do everything they can to help and are very friendly. It was interesting that the waiter kissed me as we were leaving the restaurant…
- For the first time ever outside of Turkey, only in Peru and Brazil my name was pronounced correctly without my guidance!