My First Week in Peru

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Woah. This week I've barely had a chance to think about the fact that I've just moved to the jungle.  My goal is to post every Friday with a reflection of my advancements in the city and with the research project. But, the internet situation will likely interfere and though I should find more places to connect, the quality and speed won't be any better. 

After arriving in Lima on Monday morning shortly after midnight, I taxi-ed right across the street to a hostel for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep before venturing out into the city.  I ubered to Miraflores, checked out some coffee shops and walked around a bit, before ubering again to Barranca- the hipster neighborhood.  Because I was only in Lima for the day, I decided it wasn't worth the risk, time, worry, etc. of trying to use public transportation or walking in areas I was unfamiliar, hence about 5 uber rides that day.  While in the city I learned of the Huaca Pucllana ruins in Miraflores.  With a few hours to spare, I headed back to that area of town to check out the ruins (you have to take an hour tour) before grabbing some delicious juice down the street at El Enano (courtesy of Karen's recommendation) and ubering back to the airport for my flight to Iquitos! 

I arrived in Iquitos after an uneventful flight (thank god 'cause I was uneasy about flying Taca) again after midnight. A taxi driver scooped myself and an Australian tourist up and took us to our hotel. I went straight to bed as I was exhausted and knew I had an 8 am meeting schedule for the morning. 

My first day in the city we hit the ground running; I met most of my new colleagues and visited the handful of communities in which I'll be working. We were lucky enough to see a bunch of amazonian animals on my first day! The first at our partnering NGO's office, a sloth!! She was so sweet and slow moving I couldn't stop watching. Secondly, in the community a young girl had a tiny pet monkey that hung around her shoulder!

  Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 11.24.51 PM 
 [for reference, uploading this image of sloth took 8 tries on 2 separate days] 

Wednesday turned out to be a national holiday in Peru, so we couldn't go into the communities or any offices. Instead we worked from the hotel, took a long lunch break to enjoy fresh fish in honor of the fishermen's holiday (oversimplification of a religious holiday), then worked some more from a gringo coffee shop full of hippies. 

Thursday and Friday were full of community visits for sample collection, meetings in-person and on skype, designing our protocols, and getting some labwork done. We worked late into the night this week in an attempt to finish preparations before my teammates leave the city. 

Noteworthy adventurous eating: I tried some alligator yesterday, and I had my first ceviche today! As most people know, I'm kind of a picky eater via vegetarianism and such, but based on the conditions here I'm trying to expand my palate and the types of animals I'm willing to eat ;) Luckily for me, there are a disproportionate amount of Pizza restaurants in this unique jungle town! I'm excited for this weekend as we have big plans, I'll update you next week :)

K

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