I returned from my trip to Chiclayo the day before yesterday. The bus ride (6 hours each way) was very comfortable going and very uncomfortable coming back. On the trip back, the interior of the bus must have been close to 100 degrees and the air conditioning didn’t seem to be working. To make it even worse, I was in the front row of seats on the second level, so had the sun shining through the window directly on me. I had four babies within 10 feet; three reasonable behaved but the one in the lap of the mother sitting next to me was in constant motion and jabbering away continuously. That, in itself, wouldn’t have been so bad, but Mom chose to sleep most of the way. She peeled a tangerine and gave it to her daughter, who proceeded to suck on it and spread it around over the next 45 minutes. Ah, well…
The stay in Chiclayo was very successful. I went to buy toys for the local kids for Christmas. Rocio, Koky’s wife, took me to a huge market that consisted of stalls of toys…all sorts, all kinds. Most, like 99.9%, were made in China and Chinese knockoffs of popular toys. I chose to buy board games; games that would require kids to play with others and to think. I was able to buy Chess, Checkers, Twister, Clue, Scrabble, Rumicube, and Jenga. All were knockoffs. I bought 5 of each for a total of 30 games for $80. These we will donate to the various organizations that have solicited our donations.
This market was incredible. It was huge!!! I would guess it would cover at least one city block, and all the stalls were selling toys. In the time we were at one booth making our deal, the stall owner took in over S/.2000. This translates to about $650, not counting our order within about 20 minutes. Prices were given for buying in bulk.
As we negotiated the maze of the market, we went by a stall selling blankets and bed clothes. I bought four heavy wool blankets for $80. For the most part, we don’t need heavy blankets here, but sometimes the evenings here are quite cool. We didn’t pack any blankets when we moved. We now have pillows, sheets, blankets, and towels for each of the bungalows. We also need to supply the servants’ quarters.
Sanchez came to talk with us the last night. He wanted to know exactly what we would expect of him if he were to come into our employ. We told him we wanted him to help maintain the pool and the garden; and to provide security specifically for our property. He negociated a salary equivalent to $275 a month. We gladly agreed! He planned on talking with Georg when he came for the Christmas vacation mid-December. We have no idea what Georg’s reaction will be. We have tried to be careful to leave the decision up to Sanchez.
Our good friends Jim and Danielle came to our house for a visit. They have just returned from the Yukon, where they work during the summer in the northern hemisphere. They planned on coming out and spending the night. They ended up spending three nights here!!
We had a great visit. Good friends, good times.
Workers finished their work here on Sunday and we took them into Mancora to catch a bus. Sanchez and Juana wanted a ride into Los Organos so they could visit family, so the workers sat in the back of the pick-up, a very common sight. As we drove into Los Organos, the police had set up a road block. We were stopped and showed our documents. The policeman said our documents were in order, but the problem was we were carrying people in the back of the pick-up. We said o.k., we understood and I proceeded to call for a moto-taxi to come and take some of the workers. The policeman asked me what I was doing; I explained and he shook his head like that wasn’t necessary. Before I knew it, one of the workers was out of the back of the pick-up and had walked across the highway to the policd car parked there. I didn’t realize until later, that he was probably offerring a bribe. As it turned out, he was. All he had was S/.5, (less than $2). The story, as later told to me by Koky, is that the policeman balked at the pittance, but the worker explained it was all he had! The worker wouldn’t admit to us that he had paid a bribe. Such innocents we are!