Investigating the Inner-Introvert in Ica
How, exactly, did I manage to miss the “Beam me up, Scottie” instructions?
Another side glance out the window of the bus headed south for Ica, confirmed that we were, in fact, on Mars, or at least it looked very convincing.
Even thought I don’t “do” scenery, I was most impressed with the sand mountains. I have never seen anything like them anywhere, even though I’ve crossed the Gobi and spent time in the Sahara and the Kalahari.
Alas, the arts visa for Colombia didn’t come through, so I had to leave the country by September 28th.
Yes, yes I know that having three passports means I have options. Unfortunately, I do not want to live in Canada, New Zealand or Australia. So that leaves me dealing with South American bureaucracy.
In most countries. you can get a 90-day visa, leave the country and re-enter for another three months. When I lived in Morocco, for example, I once spent less than 10 minutes in the Spanish territory before I headed back to Casablanca.
South American countries, however, have a 180 days per-calendar year policy. Being a student again wasn’t option as I didn’t want to pay ridiculous prices for terrible Spanish classes at a private university.
In Lima— a city teeming with 17 million people — I stayed at Hostal Porta, which was lovely, even though it was a touch pricy for my budget.
And it was in Miraflores, an expensive could-be-anywhere suburb that has the personality of a marshmallow.
Had the Spaniards keep going for another 100 km back in 1535, they could have established their capital in an agreeable location in terms of weather. As it turns out, Lima only gets decent sunshine for about four months of the year – November to February. We are now going into summer in the southern hemisphere and it is warming up.
After five grey and overcast days, I decided to head for the sun. Sergio – a guy who works in the little confectionary near the hotel and speaks English – suggested Ica (pronounced ee-ka).
So I did the research. The consensus was that Ica was a big small town that was boring without much to do. And their assessments were correct.
Being a public extrovert and a private introvert is a juggling act. So I decided to indulge my inner-introvert for a while and Ica was a perfect place to do it while waiting for the sun to come out in Lima.
For me, sunshine is like air and I need it to function. It might have something to do with being raised in Saskatchewan.
On arrival I checked into the Hotel Ollanta.
I had sent out all sorts of inquiries on the Internet to people offering furnished rooms in Ica. Nobody replied, so I ended up just staying at the hotel.
The room had a lot of natural light, an attache
d bathroom and a view that overlooked a confectionary/bar that only serves beer.
From the window of my room I could be a voyeur and listen in on the conversations.
Now that my Spanish has improved a bit it is unsettling to hear the dull and downright boring things most people talk about most of the time.
The convince store/bar is run by the fat family. The old father sits at a table all day staring at the wall or his hands and doesn’t move much. When he does waddle to the door that opens into their apartment, his roll almost reaches his knees.
Then there is the daughter who would be about 35 to 40, but looks 60 given that she is almost as wide as she is tall. The third generation is a kid about 10 who is an all-over porker and rarely seen without a packet of chips in his hand.
My friend Nir frequently told me that I only had two speeds: fast-forward and dead stop. Ica brought out the latter in me and I really didn’t do much of anything.
Eat, sleep, study Spanish, watch the Pablo Escobar series that The Nurse loaded for me, check the Internet for work. I’d pulled muscles in my back while acting macha and heaving around a big suitcase and broke a small bone in my foot.
So there I was, popping anti-inflammatories and doing the exercises suggested by Dr. Google – aka the Mayo Clinic and Web MD. Am I getting any sympathy yet? Didn’t think so, but thought I would check anyway.
A couple of blocks from the hotel there is a string of about seven restaurants that all serve about the same dishes. The food here is generally better than Colombia. A two-course lunch of a salad or soup and a main is about $3.50 CAD.
Then we had a quiet little earthquake –4.5 on the Richter scale — on Monday, October 17. Ever since I lived in Chile, I developed ‘earthquake feet” and can feel them start. Dangerous? Perhaps, but better than a blizzard.
This little oasis about five km from Ica is capital T Tourist.
Even though I don’t “do” scenery, the sand mountains and the lush green of the oasis were worth a visit.
I spent a day there soaking it up. The adrenaline junkies go there to roar around in dune buggies and go sand boarding. Needless to say, I was happy to watch them from a distance while sipping a pisco sour.
After 23 introvert days, I decided it was time to head back to Lima as the sun is starting to peek through.
I’ve booked a two week stay with a woman who owns an apartment in Barranco – the barrio where I want to live.
It is noted for being the bohemian area of the city so I figure that my public extrovert side will emerge again. The inner invert sojourn was rejuvenating, but it is time to revert to a better balance.
Basically, I don’t have any.
My options are to go back to Medellin as I have a ticket booked for January 24, my birthday; stay in Peru until my visa expires on March 24th; then do a visa run and extend it for an additional 93 days in 2017, which would keep me going until June 20th 2017.
Then again, perhaps I should just move to Paraguay for a while. Nobody, but nobody goes there to live.
So there you have the latest news from my introverted little world. What are you doing for fun and adventure these days?