Combis y más

On Wednesday, all the exchange students met for an orientation. The University in Lima is very safe–there are guards at all the entrances that only let students with ID’s in (carnet? en castellano). We discussed how foreign exchange students sign up for classes here. Basically, we can try out whichever classes we want until March 22. Then on March 22, we have to turn in a finalized list, but we can put extra classes on the list and then drop them before April 8 for free.

Also on Wednesday, I got to meet my “compañera de PUCP.” This is a student that will help me get acclimated to life in Lima and at the University. Her name is Karla, and she is super nice. I could not have asked for a better compañera. She took us to the Plaza San Miguel, a mall near campus, and she also helped us take our first combi from school to our house.

Combis are the buses which make up the public transportation system. They are CRAZY. “Cobradoras” (men at the doors of the combis) yell “sube sube sube sube” y the name of the place they are going. Sube means –get on. The drivers swerve in and out of traffic very quickly. The driving here in Lima is nuts. There are no traffic regulations and no such thing as a “right of way”. In a turn lane in between medians for example, in the US there is normally one car— here there can be five or six. When someone pulls in front of us in the US, we slow down–here they speed up! Combis are the safest and cheapest way to travel, but they are still very scary. There are no schedules for the combis. You just go to a “paradero” (stop) and wait. Then, get on a bus that says your location or ask the cobrador if the bus goes there. You have to make sure you get on the bus in the right direction that you want to go. The bus might say where you want to go, but is going in the opposite direction–then you need to cross the street and take the bus from there.. Seems simple–but a very easy mistake to make.

On Thursday, there were orientations for specific types of classes. For example, you could go to a meeting to learn more about the classes and teacher and difficulty level of the Political Science. Then we went to an obligatory meeting about Security. This meeting made me really scared. The director of the exchange program (programa de intercambios) talked about many scary things. Afterward, Calin and I didn’t ever want to leave our house here again. But the father of your host family assured us that is like every big city–there are parts that are more dangerous than others, especially at night. We do need to be aware of our surroundings and belongings and speak Spanish to each other–but we don’t need to worry all the time, he said. Our district is especially safe and for this I am thankful. However Karla warned us “Tengan cuidado” (be safe, or take care), and we will be sure to follow her advice.

Today, we went to Miraflores with Karla. She showed us the beach and the mall and Parque Kennedy (a very pretty park where lots of cats live) and La Calle de Pizzas (basically a sidewalk with about 10 or 15 different pizza restaurants). We were still scared and tired from the day before, and my stomach hurt from the change in food here. Stomachaches are common for foreigners when they travel to new places, but after awhile my body will adjust. I hope we didn’t seem rude today because were a bit tired, scared, and sick– we really appreciate her showing us around and being so nice to us.

–Here in Lima, there are different districts like Miraflores, Puebla Libre, Jesus Maria, San Borja, Surco, Salamanca, etc.
–Take combis but be aware of theifs
–If you take a taxi, make sure it’s one with a clear windshield that has certification stickers–the most safe are white or yellow in color and the university gives you a list of taxis that you can call
–something cool!!!!! Many of you may know that there are multitudes of squirrels on OU’s campus that allow you to get very close to them –well in the university here (Católica) there are DEER the same way!!!!! (see pictures). And according to Karla they don’t have special words for female, male, and baby deer like doe, buck, and fawn. They are all called “Venado” (deer), except the call the babies “Bambi” at times.
—“de repente” can mean “all of a sudden” or is a synonym for “tal vez, quizas, etc” or “maybe.” Here they frequently use it as maybe
–“Chau” y “nos vemos” are the common ways to say goodbye and they say “aló” for hello on telephones 🙂
—“Chevere” is their word for cool


One Response to “Combis y más”

  1. Fernando Sarmiento on March 17th, 2010 10:54 am

    Hey, my name is Fernando Sarmiento, and I am an OU alumn, I am from Peru, but live in Oklahoma, I was wondering, maybe you want me to put you in contact with OU alumni that are in Peru right now, they can be really helpful, and maybe show you around. If you have any questions or need help with anything feel free to contact me… facebook would be better, so go ahead and add me if you want… hope you are having fun and get to enjoy all we have to offer there in Peru!

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