Yes, it's official....
I'm not a tourist anymore! I'm not just here to visit Machu Picchu, snap some pics and buy souvenirs. I'm not here for a couple weeks even on a short term mission trip. I'm here to stay and now I have a card that proves that I'm not leaving the country in less than three months. It feels a little strange to actually realize that but I'm glad. I'm glad to be here in Peru and glad that I'm not leaving soon.
My roommate and I took a whirlwind trip to Chile and Lima in order to get my card (which they call "carné extranjera"). Today we spent the morning in Lima in Immigrations getting my card. We got there about 9:00am and I got my fingerprints and photo taken at 9:30. We waited for about an hour and a half before I got my card and discovered that they had put someone else's signature on it!! Whoops... We waited another half-hour for the right card. It was a little stressful because our flight left for Cusco at 1:50 but we were able to go back to our hostal, get our stuff and make it to the airport with an overly friendly but inexpensive taxi driver. He was a little flirtatious too and after asking our ages wanted us to describe the ideal guy. THANKFULLY, I missed that question in Spanish and he was quiet after finding out that I didn't have a boyfriend. Sometimes my lack of Spanish leaves helpful gaps in conversations or things people say. hee hee... At least this driver was better than the driver we had going from the airport to the hostal.
Here's the crazy story about that driver! It was about 9:30 and we came out of the airport looking for a taxi. Everyone was so expensive inside the airport building and we went outside and found a guy who would take us for less. We started following him (quickly) through the airport parking lot, through the gate and outside where another guy pulled up with the taxi. I was a little annoyed that we had to walk so far and then the guard at the gate thought it was fishy and came up to talk to our driver who had very quickly put our bags in his trunk. I think you have to pay something to come inside the airport gates and this guy was doing something fishy. Well, the adventure continued when we told him the name of the nice-looking hostal that we had found online. He tried his hardest to deter us from going there, saying it was not safe and that it was a place for "parejas" (couples) and was near a discoteca and etc. He said he had a better place and since we didn't know in non-internet reality how our hostal was, we agreed to let him show us. He pulled up to a hole in the wall place right across from a casino with bright blue lights and blasted music!! Dawn went inside to check it out but it was smelly and small (besides the non-agreeable surroundings!). Ugh... Again we tried to get him to go to our original hostal but he stopped and showed us ANOTHER place which we didn't like. Finally, he took us to our hostal but first he went in, checked the price and tried to tell us it cost too much. Dawn checked and the price was fine. So, we finally got rid of the overly "helpful & concerned" driver and because he drove us all over the place we ended up paying him way more than we wanted.
Aren't taxi drivers just supposed to take you where you want to go?
By the way, our hostal was wonderful and we stayed there three days. They gave us free breakfast and it was located on a quiet street in downtown Lima with a park down the road. The internet can be pretty helpful most times. oh... and no strange "parejas" (couples)!
Phew.... I'm glad I'm home again and back to combi drivers and rides which although they may have their own adventures don't have their own agendas for their passengers.