I´ve had two great days in Lima. I left Los Organos on Wednesday by bus with our friends Lucia and Ferruco. Lucia needed to go to the fabric district in Lima to buy more fabric and supplies for her business. She makes bathing suits and lingerie. All of her suits are unique as she only buys material sufficient to make one suit…no two are alike. I wanted to see this fabric district and see what fabrics I might find for quilting. I was also wanting to buy fabric and padding to cover my new sewing table so I could iron across the top of it.
We also visited ¨China town¨, but we were so early most of the store-stalls were not open yet. We decided we did not want to wait for the stores to open….we didn´t have any specific things we wanted to buy….so we went on to the fabric district.
For the most part, I didn´t find fabric appropriate for quilting…virtually all of the cotton fabric with small designs consisted of flowered or poka dots…nothing more interesting. However, I did find a heavy canvas fabric and a blanket which will serve me well on my sewing table. I will put the felted blanket under the canvas material, cover the entire table and will then have a large area to iron fabrics.
All along the circumference of the district were women selling large plastic woven bags typical in Perú. These bags vary in size, but the one Lucia bought was approximately 36¨X 30¨X 14¨. She paid S/.5 (about $2) which she proceeded to fill with her purchases. The same bag in Los Organos cost S/.11. She proceeded to fill it with fabric, thread, clasps and decorative items. By the time she was done, this bag was very heavy. Once down in the street, she hired a porter with a cart to carry her bag to a point where we could hire a taxi to take us back to their apartment in San Borja. All along the way there were numerous carts carrying multiple bolts of fabric here and there. The stalls were small….probably less than ten square meters each, but each cost the owner upwards of $120,000 dollars per square meter. Incredible.
Sorry there are no pictures of either ChinaTown or Gamara,the fabric district. I was under strict orders not to carry a purse or camera. I was to appear not to be carrying anything….including a cell phone. I followed directions, as always, and never had any problems. Just no pictures.
Today I met up with my friend Maricruz and her daughters for lunch. Maricruz is the wife of the police comandante in all of Piura….in english he is the police chief of the district of Piura´s highway patrol. These were the people who stayed in our bungalow during the national holidays and became instant friends. She fed us a great lunch of stuffed potatoes and rice. Her mother-in-law joined us and we had a great conversation about the different parts of Perú.
After this we visited Kennedy Park in Miraflores where a lot of artisans gather to sell their wares. There is everything from jewelry to leather work; from woodwork to friendship bracelets; paintings to wood carvings. This is a beautiful park in the center of Miraflores, a part of Lima, with immaculate landscaping and expanses of grass with benches for sitting. It is, however, overrun with cats. All kinds of cats.
I then met another friend at a restaurant in Miraflores. Mapi is an independent teacher of English to foreigners. She seems to have clients mostly from the orient. She takes on clients that are committed to at least two years of lessons. One of her clients from Korea was here a couple of years ago which is when we really got to know Mapi. We had a great dinner at a wonderful restaurant. But even better, we had a great conversation and visit, totally in Spanish!!!!!
One of my goals for visiting Lima at this time was to immerse myself in Spanish. I have been feeling quite frustrated with my advanced classes in Mancora….feeling like I was overwhelmed and not able to apply any of my learning to the real world. I know my Spanish isn´t fluent and totally accurate grammatically, but I now know I can communicate well with the Spanish I have. The verb tenses may not be exactly right, but I can be understood.
What a process! I am totally convinced that kids need to learn more than one language in elementary school. They are so receptive to another language and can pick it up so easily. Those of us that wait until our mid 50´s definitely have to work harder at it.