I was wondering how long it would take me to play my flute in a public area in Peru, although I didn’t think it would be this soon. It certainly wasn’t planned last night, but I had met Stav from Israel who was lightly strumming his ukulele as he sat on a blue beanbag chair in the sitting area of the party hostel I am staying at. Yes, that’s right, a party hostel. I had decided to move from The Red Psycho Llama for a change of scene and to stay somewhere less expensive.
My stay at the Llama was good. Five of us played a lively game of cards called President and Asshole and the previous night I had met Becky from Sheffield, England on the rooftop patio. She invited me out for dinner with her and her friend, Clare, a young Irish woman. We sat at a small table on a street side patio beside a guy in a wheelchair and found out he was gold medal Paralympian, Rich Colman from Australia. We danced and downed quite a few pisco sours that night…too many for me, but when you’re hanging out in a bar with an Irish, English and an Aussie, God help the Canadian to stay sober!
So, you’re probably wondering what would possess a woman in her mid-40’s to stay in a party hostel, right? Well, firstly, this hostel was recommended to me as a great place to meet people, secondly I didn’t expect it to be a party hostel until I walked in the door and saw the chalkboard sign displaying ‘Beer Pong Tonight’ and thirdly, I thought to myself, ‘Why not?’ It’ll be an experience and if I really hate it I can leave tomorrow.’
I didn’t drink at all actually. I had plunked myself down in a purple beanbag chair beside Stav and his ukulele. We had some good conversation about music, among other things, and when I told him that I packed my flute with me he lit up and encouraged me to play it. Finally, after a bit of coaxing, I said to him, “OK, but let’s go outside.”
It was 8:30 p.m. as Stav and I sat cross-legged under a street lamp in a tiny park on top of the dirt cliffs Lima is built on. It amazes me that the city doesn’t just tumble into the ocean especially with all the seismic activity in this part of the world. The ocean was nearly lost in the vast darkness, but you could hear the surf and see the white phosphorescence as the waves broke near the shore. I plugged my iPod into my little portable speaker that changes colours and laid my music book open on the sidewalk. We played along with backtracks such as My Immortal, Stairway to Heaven, Smooth by Santana, Green Day and Lifehouse among others. The park activity was quiet at first, but then a Peruvian couple stopped to practice handstands on the grass while we played. The man was quite good and could even walk on his hands. Well, that inspired me enough to put my flute down for a while and join in. Stav followed suit. Although I’m not very good at doing handstands, I shared some of my other strengths including cartwheels, round offs and my forte, the worm.
It was a fun night aside from a seemingly sketchy plan made by someone organizing a nightclub excursion. He said there was free admission for hostel patrons if we went with him, so I agreed. Plus if there was tango or salsa I wanted to see it. Turns out Stav and I were the only ones that agreed to go. The guy was supposedly providing the shuttle ride, but he led us up a dark side street, across the main street and flagged a taxi, not a green taxi. I wasn’t feeling good about it at all. He said to get in and that it would cost us three sols which isn’t much, but my gut was screaming at me. The guy got short with us because we weren’t following his orders. That just made me more skeptical…the tourist abduction story kept running through my mind. We didn’t get in.
As much as I had a really good time last night playing my flute accompanied by Stav with his ukulele and meeting some other great people, the party hostel is not really my scene. Thank God for that. There were quite a few tequila shots going around last night and some friendly play fighting among some of the guys which involved a guy being launched off a step in a rolling chair and three wrestling on a long, wooden table. It’s all good. Everyone was having a good time, but you never know when things will go sideways, especially when tequila is involved. This morning a few young people are lying around in pretty rough shape and moaning every now and again. My plan was to move on today, but I can’t get the bus towards Cusco until tomorrow morning now. It will take 22 hours to get there. The first night I will stop in Paracas, a small fishing village, and then sleep on the bus the second night. It’s going to be a long couple of days!