Sunday, May 9, 2010

My fave 10 things in Lima

"Ode to change" ie, happy endings

With just about 10 days to go in Lima, I am finally enjoying the place, people I am meeting, and feeling, gasp, nostalgic for what I will miss after my move to Cusco.

My list of 10 favorite things in Lima

10.passion fruit pisco cocktails that Liz's brother-in-law bartender makes downstairs
9. Walking along malecon (cliff at the coast) and watching paragliders and the sea and sunsets
8. women cajon players rocking the house!
7. a kiss on the cheek upon arrival and departure
6. Guru kebab Indian restaurant in Surco
5. my apartment with blue walls and ayahuasca tapestries from women shamans from the jungle
4. young queer activists rallying for their rights
3. Punto Azul, a Peruvian restaurant that serves delish cebiche, pescado sudado, causa, seafood
2. wonderful new friends
1. Liz (but she's coming with me to Cusco!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cusco Photos April 2010

Here are 3 lovely photos from Cusco--I found a 2 bedroom apartment with Liz, and we will be moving there in mid-May. Gorgeous panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains, 15 min walk from the central plaza, terrace-rooftop.
Come visit me!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I am sorry to report that I have become a not-so-nice person in Lima. I do not kick street dogs with mange, do not punch bus drivers, yet.

I chalk it up to grey skies, incessant shrieking horns, shrill whistles, plastic coke bottles and plastic bags that litter the side of the road, and sitting in traffic for hours breathing diesel fumes. I feel poisoned from MSG meals in restaurants. My senses feel assaulted at every turn.

Poverty and the relentless drive to modernize leave the Lima landscape blighted. I find myself hating a Fujimori government that imported cheap vehicles that failed emission tests in other countries, a government that abandoned its metro system years ago. I visit poor neighborhoods to give sexual health education workshops, and see piles of plastic products dumped next to their houses, no running water, and a thirst for coke.

I have the resources to flee from gritty conditions that incite rage and helplessness. The poor are not so lucky. I wonder if they too feel not-so-nice.


We crawl through bleak, dusty streets
in the belly of belching vehicles
spew our acid rage
grey skies we greet

I choke on foreign syllable fumes
la con-ta-mi-na-ci-on es ho-rri-ble
metal monsters snarl and lunge,
blare their horns and swallow my words

Saturday, March 27, 2010

First MUSAS Peru Workshop on Gender and Sexuality

MUSAS Peru held our first workshop on gender and sexuality on the 25th of March. I was blown away by the fact that the majority of the 16 participants from this Catholic university were queer. They were a feisty group--not afraid to share their stories of pain and triumph. They were also on top of the latest theories of gender and sexual identity. I was impressed!!

We used tonglen meditation, theater games, drawing, and other creative techniques. We created a safe space where students were able to play hard, go deep, and express themselves. I was thrilled to meet so many courageous, young Peruvian queers. I left the workshop feeling high about the healing, transformational, revolutionary work we are doing through MUSAS Peru, in educating and empowering women and the queer community on issues of gender, sexuality, and sexual

Monday, March 22, 2010

Photo slideshow of Caral

The Oldest City in the Americas

Yesterday I went to Caral with some of Liz's family. Caral is the oldest city/civilization in the Americas (5000+ years), and the 3rd oldest in the world (#1 Mesopotamia, #2 Egypt). Caral was discovered in 1994 and is still in the process of excavation. The archaeologists have found many pyramids, residential areas, an amphitheater (with instruments like pan pipes), and other buildings. Apparently, the civilization was peaceful and subsisted on agriculture and some fishing. Caral is 2 hours north of Lima, near the coast, in a beautiful valley with a little river running through it in the middle of the desert. It reminds me a lot of Ladakh, India, except it's 10,000 feet lower in altitude.

I barely enjoyed the visit as I suffered from bad cramps, dehydration, and other digestive issues from the previous evening's meal and from cramming 6 people in a taxi. Diarrhea and people sitting on each other's laps during transit (hopefully not at the same time) are two things I associate with travel outside the Western world. I opted out of the bumpy horse ride to visit the pyramids, and instead shuffled along the dusty path, held in my bowels, and envisioned mirages in the distance. I spent more time in the bathroom than at the pyramids, but luckily, the restroom is one of the best I've encountered anywhere in the world--clean, spacious, made of beautiful bamboo, and ecologically sensitive.