I’m in Lima, Peru! I left Seattle at 8:30 a.m yesterday (admired the beautiful dusting of snow in Seattle on my way to SeaTac Airport) and I arrived in Lima much later the same day at 11:30 pm. It took about an hour to get through immigration, baggage pick up, and customs. A very kind and gentle driver, Jose, waited patiently for me among a throng of people. Once I got into the main hall before leaving the airport, I thought to myself, “I’ll NEVER find the driver!” But, yes, there to my left, just as Ericka described, was a man holding a sign saying FRAN YOGA. I have never been so happy to see my own name!! Jose is an employee at the Peru Star where I am staying these first few nights. Jose turned out to be a very careful and cautious driver. The ride back to the hotel was nothing like pray-as-hard-as-you-can while your stoned Indian taxi driver dodges cows, dogs, and people. On the ride back to the hotel I did NOT have to make promises to God in exchange for saving my life as gorgeous Dario drives us as fast as he can up and down curvy roads along sea hugging cliffs on the volcanic island of Pantelleria. No, the ride back with Jose was wonderfully uneventful and calm. The drive with Jose was Spanish immersion and I was kicking myself for not bringing a pocket sized English-Spanish dictionary. (Sometimes the filler Italian words just don’t work!) As we drove along, Jose pointed out the many gaudy double-bling casinos along the A. Benavides: Las Vegas Casino, The Texican Casino, Atlantic City Casino, and the most glitzy of them all New York Casino! I was just too tired to get pictures of the casinos!
Got to bed at 2 am this morning and woke up at 10 am. I missed the complimentary breakfast at the hotel which ends at 10 am. I went down anyways, to order a coffee and there was my new friend, Jose! Once again, I felt wonderfully taken care of. He said to me in Spanish, “Don’t worry. Sleep is good. I’ll see what I can get for you.” He brought me coffee and a bread roll. After breakfast, he said, “Come see the pool! It’s very pretty.” I can understand about 75 % of what is being said to me, but still I could tell that Jose was enunciating very clearly for me, talking to me with easy words, as a mother would speak to her child. And you know, I didn’t mind at all! Later, I went for a swim and then spent the afternoon and evening with Ericka going over every little detail of the tour/retreat and checking out the Lima restaurants where we will be dining as a group. It is so very enjoyable working with her!
So far I am most struck by the kindness and gentle spirit of the Peruvians I have met (If you know her, think of Ericka. She embodies the cheerfulness, kindness, and generosity of what I feel here!). I am also struck by the pride people take in their culture here! I so look forward to the group arriving in a few days so we can all share this together.
Back in Houston yesterday, as I was waiting to board the flight to Lima, I met a lively one-of-a-kind Bohemian hippy-ish Japanese landscape painter and fine ceramic potter. Yukiko may be of any age, ageless actually, with the spirit of a teenager. She was traveling alone and spoke to me in a mixture of Japanese, English, Spanish, and French! This world traveler has picked up a bits and pieces of languages along the way. Somehow we made a nice connection. Rick and I (she has never met Rick!) now have an invitation to stay with my new friend Yukiko in her home and atelier on the foothills of Mt. Fuji! I was definitely infected by her excitement for life! “Moi, I love viajar, honto ni!!” (I really love to travel!) Together, like kids, we ducked under the “cattle ropes” at the immigration lines to join the others in line. “Moi, je get lose my ototo, mari, ni-ju-go anos before! Now, tres mucho tanoshi!” (Basically it took a fine mixture of four languages for her to say, “I got rid of my husband 25 years ago and I am very very happy now!”) I adored her free spirit, her creative language skills, and the bright red bandanna she wore, hippy-style, on her head!
You never know who you might meet while traveling! Sweet Yukiko, I think our paths will cross again! For sure, c’est sure, claro que si, honto ni!