Fiestas Peruanas

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This week, I put in a valient effort.  I really tried to get stuff done. But, it was pretty unsuccessful.  I now have a new plan for the coming week to get a bunch done, even though it's not the things I really wanted to be working on right now (this new mini project is not thesis worthy). 

Emily and I were discussing all the challenges of getting things done in these types of context.  When I first started working in resource-constrained settings (its been over 4 years now :) ), I was very frustrated over how slow-moving things would be, how relaxed local partners could be even when we had a lot to do, and the fact that tiny things could throw off an entire day or week (case and point: the micropipettes were locked away when no one else was here so I couldn't process my samples and got yelled at).  I'm way more relaxed now than I was in college, really in every sense, I was pretty type-A high anxiety back then. But, getting too comfortable with this slower pace is also detrimental.  I'm trying now to balance how much I'm pushing forwards and being more aggressive with what I ask of people, with the tranquillo go-with-the-flow lifestyle. Right now, the biggest problem for us both is actually coordinating and communicating with important players in the USA. Being so far and disconnected means I can only do so much to try to navigate that problem, so I'm trying to compensate for whats lacking by initiating this new mini-project, doing my literature review, and improving the observational study. 

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The Marañon

Independence day was Thursday, Friday was off as well for "celebrations" of independence day, and it turned out that Wednesday was only a half day in my office because headquarters threw a party for all of the company employees in Iquitos! 

Wednesday, I somehow ended up at this work party.. I had no idea about it until I was literally there.  My coworkers invited me to a "meeting" they were going to at noon.... we got back to the city after 7 pm and 144 beers (the big bottles).  It was a really awesome party. It was pretty weird for me at first, because in the US it would be quite inappriopriate to chug beers and twerk at a work event.... but once I knew everyone was partaking and my boss was loving my dance attempts, I accepted it :)  Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for everyone else, my boss has lots of video of my learning to dance Peruvian and attempting to keep up with the Hora Loca (crazy hour). 

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Fernando feeding 6 monkeys

Thursday was the holiday!  Emily and I were defeated earlier this week because we reeallyy wanted to go to Huaraz and hike this weekend, but the flight prices were way up, and the bus was sold out.  But, some of my co-workers from the main office in Lima are here for the week because of the event (and they speak english!) and wanted to go into the jungle for the day.  We chartered a little wooden boat for the 8 of us and went down the Itaya, into the Amazon, the Nanay, and the Marañon rivers.  We went to a small animal "rescue" which we weren't sure of, ate lunch floating on the river where the Nanay and Marañon meet, visited with an indigenous community (I felt very weird about this and would not recommend it. The Peruvians wanted to do it so I thought maybe they knew better). We got back to the city as the sun was going down and split ways before meeting up again for the drinking festivities as is a Peruvian holiday :) 

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The boat

There's a club that some of our Peruvian friends have been mentioning but I'm a bit club-adverse so I wasn't interested.  Well, finally I made it to Noa and damn was I impressed! It was reeeally nice! and huge! Still, I made the guys take me super early (11 pm) because I knew I wasn't going to survive clubbing from 1 am to 6 am, nor did I want to.

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After  a long struggle for me to get out of bed Friday morning and a hand-delivered cold water bottle from a friend (I had no water in my apartment and all the stores were closed, and I was super dehydrated), Emily and I went to Menú at this cute restaurant I hadn't been to yet. After lunch, we helped ourselves to the pool at the fanciest hotel in Iquitos. We both have been wanting to tan and took advantage of the holiday to relax and read.  We spent a few hours sitting by the pool, some in the sun and some in the rain, before we were hungry again and went to one of my favorite restaurants here. Antica is an Italian restaurant that is decorated all out of wood, with dim lighting, a brick oven, and fancy cheeses. 

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My Antica pizza from last week ;) unfortunately the crust tastes like crackers

Saturday was back to work! I had assumed that the office would still be closed on Saturday since from my perspective that's the most likely day I would take off and its pretty awkward to just work one half day in the middle of this holiday weekend. But, nope! Office it was for a few hours, but I'm actually grateful for the push to work on Saturday or else my whole weekend might have been a wash. I'm not allowed in the office after hours, so at noon I relocated to a cafe and kept working since I was in the groove. 
I finally booked my flights to go see Mitra in Arequipa next month! She's doing her practicum in Peru as well, but in the complete opposite place from me. Puno is a small city in the south of the country-- super high elevation and super cold. We're going to Arequipa for a couple days, then Puno.  If you have any suggestions let me know!! 
It's been five weeks now in Peru, I wish I would stop counting but for some reason I can't.    

Hasta pronto !

K

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