The most essential reason why I aimed to Perú was a friendship with Francesco, a Peruvian guy I had met in Helsinki. After a powerful, weird and joyful visit in Cusco and Machu Picchu, I returned to Lima to finally meet Francesco, at the end of January 2016.
I was blessed to stay in his family’s luxurious home located in San Isidro, neighborhood in Lima. They REALLY made me at home; I had my own room, Wi-Fi (that is addicting) but most of all, I could enjoy a fresh shower after my sweaty return to Lima. Their home was like a palace to me and confused my identity as a dirty traveler. I was happy to experience such big contrasts, but it wasn’t always easy… I am not the most hygienic person in the world and I’m not into using car with everything… but I do respect the conditions where I live — I realized that it was time for different stay this time.
I could crystallize my mentality that time by saying: ”Choose your battles, enjoy life!”
Since the first day, Francesco took me to Barranco, a boheme and artsy district of Lima. On the street you hear musicians playing jazz and having music jam parties. We also went to one, arranged by his friend. I like it when I can jam with others. Despite the condition where I don’t know other players, music connects us. I played mouth harmonica, cajon and guitar and had quite an intensive jam. It was also a safe space for me. I didn’t speak good Spanish, but as the cliché says… music is a universal language. I met a friend there, Nazareth, a musician and a dancer. With her I am still in contact! I have more a profound story of my musical trip over here (in Finnish though).
I also went to a venue to hear Salsa that is a popular music style along the coast. I felt lonely pretty often and didn’t feel comfortable to just start chatting with others, I read and listened quality live-music.
Francesco is a musician himself so I was privileged to see him playing along the street with his musician friends. I could say we have some similarities with our ways of life. Playing along the street truly resonated with me.
Music wasn’t all that made my experience, the other parts were beach and food.
Leisure time — Beach…
I can’t highlight how strange it was to spend such a leisure holiday time after some intensive emotional and mental trip at Machu Picchu. Swimming at the ocean, reading, looking around, laughing and spending time together was certainly a good recovery, like a gift from the universe.
… and food
I will take a more closer look to food experience as it is exotic for me. It was time for a proper Ceviché, national Peruvian dish. Francesco took me eating with his brother to a known place to have good Ceviché. It is possible to make many varieties of that dish, but now, it included the quality stuff!
The idea of Ceviché is a white-flesh fish cooked by just soaking it in a strong lime sauce, no additional cooking needed. This meal however, had also some octopus and mussels with it. One of my favourite snack was ganja, fried corn with oil and salt, must have been healthy!
Later on I noticed how much Peruvian people used sugar, salt and fat with many things they cooked. For me it was a slight shock sometimes, but also understandable; They are the basic substances our body has used to need from nutrition.
With all these delicacies, we drank chicha morada, that is sort of juice made of black corn, tastes a bit like grape juice (maybe also sugar added).
The experience, however, wasn’t only positive, mainly because of the consequences… You may already guess what I mean. The last days I spent in Lima I wasn’t in that good condition physically… My old, lovely friend had returned to my digestion.
Next destination, spirits of the rainforest
Despite my condition, I had the willpower to keep going on with my plans, to enter into a community in a rainforest close to Pucallpa. My intention was to connect with strong nature spirits of the rainforest, with mother Ayahuasca! I had a reliable contact from there through Couchsurfing. Therefore I bought the bus ticket there and made all the necessary preparations. I was positively surprised that no malaria medication was needed, meaning that not all the jungle has malaria!! I just needed to get along with my physical condition.
After 4 days in Lima, bus left to a next adventure, into the unknown!