Okay, room mate story time. They are weird (just the German couple, not the Austrian girl). I am really glad to be leaving, because they are nothing like I hoped they would be. I thought I'd get some cool room mates who I could have dinner parties with, go out with on the weekends and at night, etc. And well, people I could actually talk to. They could barely hold a conversation with me in the first place. I'd ask them questions and they would only answer with short answers and not ask me anything else or comment further. I kept trying for a while to talk to them, but still nothing. One I came home at 6pm to make dinner and I knocked on the door. The German guy opened the door, stared at me, and then sat back down at the table where he, his girlfriend, the Austrian girl, and another German girl were all sitting and he continued to talk to them without so much as saying hello or asking me how my day was. So I didn't say anything to them. I took a shower and then went into the kitchen to make dinner. The German guy was in there washing dishes and his girlfriend was making hot chocolate. Suddenly he turns to me and accuses me in rapid fire German of eating his cookies and chocolate. It took me a minute to realize what he was saying since he always has answered me in English before and he was speaking so fast. He was really angry. I repeated what he said in English to make sure I heard correctly, and he answered back in angry German again. I had no idea what he was talking about and said I was sorry, but I didn't even know he had cookies or chocolate. He said well, nobody else ate them! and left the room. Then I was left with the German girl. She poured the hot chocolate into 4 glasses and then left the kitchen without saying anything to me or asking me if I wanted to join them at the table. I made my dinner and had to sit at the couch because there was no room at the table/they didn't ask me to sit with them. I ate my dinner by myself while they all ate cookies and hot chocolate and talked to each other in German for the rest of the night without even glancing back at me. Later I was watching a show on TV about rock music and the German guy was there on the couch as well. I tried again to make conversation and asked him if he liked that kind of music. He turned to me, said yes, then turned back to the TV. Then a commercial came on and I thought I'd give it ooooone last try, so I asked him how his Spanish lessons were going and what he was learning. He said ¨good¨. I asked again what he was learning, if he had learned the past or what. He said ¨Yeah, we learned the past last week.¨ and that's about it. Booooooo.
Yeah, so... that's my roomie situation. A bunch of weirdos. My apartment is also not so great... it's big and has everything I need for the most part, but at the same time the shower is usually luke warm (or scalding hot drips of water), the nights are FREEZING here (literally in the 30s) and we don't have heated rooms... and so combined with being sick with a cold, that's not really helping me get better! Plus my room is right on the pedestrian walkway (not a street) and so I always hear the 20 stray dogs barking all night (my Spanish teacher told me they see spirits, haha), and then in the morning at 7am the construction workers start yelling loudly right in front of my window, playing traditional Andean music, and banging away next door (they're building a second story or something, and they have no respect for others need to sleep!). Morning time is a nightmare, even through my earplugs. Bleh. So that's all part of the reason why I've decided to go to Bolivia with Mike and Ivan (the Canadian guys).
Last week on Friday, things somehow got worse. Much worse. It all started when I had to do my laundry. I am cheap, therefore I didn't drop my laundry off at the first place I found. They wanted 4 soles per kilo. No way! I went to a tienda (little shop that sells junk food) and saw they had a laundry sign and thought that theirs must be cheaper. Well, it was 4 soles, too. I was late for class so I just decided to drop my stuff off there and pick it up in the afternoon. I talked the man down to 3.50 per kilo, but then when he weighed my laundry he rounded up the kilos so I paid a bit more anyway. I asked him to lower the price to the correct amount and he said that because I wanted my laundry at 5pm instead of 6pm I had to pay a bit more. I told him I REALLY needed my laundry done by then because it was going to get freezing at around 5pm and I needed pants to wear at night (I was wearing a dress). He said okay. I thought, okay whatever, and left for class. I show up later at 5pm, and guess what? No laundry. There is a different guy there who has no idea what I'm talking about when I mention that my laundry was supposed to be done by 5pm. It's always at 6pm, he stressed. I kept arguing, but that didn't make my laundry show up. I asked for a discount and he refused. I begged for a discount and tried to pull the poor me little voice that all the Ecuadorian and Peruvian women are so good at (it's really annoying sounding, by the way). He still refused. He said to come back at 6pm and it would be there. I stormed off and used the internet for an hour. I show back up at 6pm and NO LAUNDRY. I beg again for a discount and he finally gives in and asks for my 10 sole bill and says he'll give me some money back. He only gave me 50 cents. At that point he had my money and I couldn't get a bigger discount, so that was a bad move on my part... especially since I then had to wait for another HOUR until my laundry actually arrived!!! It was absolutely ridiculous. It was 2 hours late, I told him that he'd ruined my plans to meet my friends for a salsa lesson, and I was about to scream I was so upset with him and his calm attitude. And all I got was a 50 cent discount. My teacher told me later I should have either not paid, or just given him 50% and walked off. That made me even more mad, because well... I clearly didn't do that. Plus, they spilled some sort of glue on the back of my fleece. Where did glue come from in a lavanderia? Okay, done with this story now, onto the next terrible one.
So Saturday I am at home alone after class, attempting to make lunch. My room mates all can light cigarette lighters, and so that's all we have to light the stove with. Previously, I had them light the stove for me, but this time nobody else was home. A few days earlier we'd had a full box of 40 matches, but the box mysteriously disappeared. Hmm.... I am convinced they hid it from me to make my cooking life more difficult. So I cut up all my veggies, beat the eggs (it was going to be an omelet lunch), and then spent the next 15 minutes attempting to light the lighter. I failed miserably and ended up with a bruised finger. I finally went outside and waited on the walkway for someone to show up. I asked a teenage guy to help me light my lighter. He showed me how to do it, with a weird look on his face, probably wonder why a grown girl couldn't light a lighter. The flame went out and I exclaimed that no, I needed him to hold it down so that I could then take his fingers´place with my own. He gave me an even weirder look but performed the trick. I grabbed the lit lighter and ran back to the kitchen, tried to light the stove, and burned my finger in the fire... all the while managing NOT to light to stove. I finally gave up and decided I'd just have to go buy matches from a nearby store. I ran up the steps to the street, bought some ¨fósforos¨and ran back to the apartment. I put my keys in the door, turned them to the right, and... nothing. The door wouldn't open. It took me a good 10 minutes of locking and unlocking the door, and even shaking the door really, really hard, to come to the realization that I was for some incredibly stupid, unfair reason locked out of my house. And my food was inside, waiting patiently to be cooked and eaten by me. And my stomach was growling. A construction guy from next door heard the door banging and came over to investigate. He tried his hand at opening it, but no luck either. I asked him who might be able to help me, like where I could find a locksmith perhaps. He shrugged his shoulders and left me. I couldn't believe it. He had to know someone who could help, I'm sure other doors in Peru behave like mine at some point. I didn't have anyone´s cell phone number from the school, and my school was closed at this point anyway, so I wasn't sure who to turn to for help. I'd never seen a locksmith much less a key store around town. I wandered around San Blas neighborhood, waiting for something to inspire me. I saw a girl in the plaza handing out Hemp Cafe flyers. She looked like she spoke English and maybe lived in the area, so I explained my situation and hoped she could help. She was nice, but didn't know anything. I decided to go to a travel agency and ask. Surely they had to know something. Turns out they didn't really, and just looked at me with blank stares. After I mustered up a very upset and sad look, they finally got out a map and told me to go to Calle Nueva street where I'd somehow ¨find¨a locksmith. It was all very vague, but they assured me it would work. So I flagged down a taxi, went to Calle Nueva, and yes! It was an entire street of just key shops. Imagine that. I picked the first one, told the guy my problem, and he said he'd try to help. I brought him back to my place where he then proceeded to try to unlock my door with what looked like a part of a hangar. Nothing was blocking the door, so then he used a hand powered drill to try to get inside the lock itself. Still nothing. At this point the Austrian girl and her Cusqueñan boyfriend had come to watch the door opening spectacle, as they wanted to get inside to get some of her cigarettes. Her boyfriend is loud, dreadlocked, and kept saying hilarious things (well, at least he thought so) and cracking up at his own jokes. I didn't quite understand. Then he started making out with Andrea. I just sat there, cold and annoyed that we were locked out and my food was still inside. The locksmith finally told us that he couldn't fix it from the outside and would either have to saw part of the door off to get to it, or break into the apartment. He chose to break in because it was ¨easier¨. He worked on the window to my room. Then once he got it off, tried to climb up the security bars and somehow fit through them through the window. Didn't quite work. Had to then saw off the security bars with a hand saw and THEN he was able to fit. It was a really amusing sight to see him climb up the bars, twist and turn like a crazy circus performer, and somehow fit through the small opening and jump down into my room. The entire time we were just hoping he wasn't going to fall and break his neck or something. He got to the front door, and... still nothing! He was in there a good while trying to actually get out. After 3 and a half hours of waiting, he FINALLY got the door open. Turns out part of the lock had ROTTED and it wasn't even my fault that the door wouldn't open... it was just very, extremely bad timing. And at around 4pm I finally got to cook my lunch!! Locksmith man then said he had to come back later to saw off the lock, take it apart, put in a new piece, and sauder it all back onto the door. This happened much later in the evening.
Well, things didn't stay good for long, however. The cable woman came by and told us we hadn't paid our bill (we aren't even supposed to pay it, our school is), and she informed us she was shutting off our TV and stormed off in a huff. I almost cried. Then, after I ate and showered quickly and went to a concert with my friends (more on that later), I came home to discover that the locksmith had fixed the lock, put the safety bars back on, but for some reason didn't reinstall my window. So for the rest of my stay in my apartment I had a 30 degree room at night. And I was still sick. ARGHHH!!!!!
Back to the concert... the night the whole lock out fiasco happened, I was supposed to meet my friend Mark (from the cafe) and his Spanish school friends for a salsa class. Well that didn't happen, but luckily I caught them in time to go out to dinner and then plan to go to a concert the next day. The concert was called ¨Caosfest¨but wasn't quite chaotic in the musical sense. The tickets said the concert was starting at 4pm so we went at 5pm thinking we'd arrive just in time for the good bands to start. Once we got there, however, we discovered that 4pm really meant 6pm. So we waited around for an hour. We didn't actually get in until 6:30 or so. Finally! Not quite. We discovered that they were still setting up the stage and just starting to do soundchecks... which they continued to do for at least 30 minutes. It was a bunch of ¨Si, si, hola, hola, si si si si, dos, tres, chao, hola, chao, si!¨. We were about frozen at this point, even though we were bundled up to the max. We drank a lot of beer and ate muchos hot dogs. After the longest wait ever for a band to come on, the show finally started. It was mostly Peruvian and Argentinian bands. The first two were okay, and I'd actually heard one of the songs on the radio. Nothing special, though. Then Lucia de la Cruz came on, an Afro-Peruvian singer with a very powerful voice and a dirty mouth. She was really entertaining and the crowd loved her, I guess she's pretty popular even with people my age. Then the rock band Los Violadores from Argentina came on. At first their lead singer didn't come out because he was suffering the effects of altitude sickness. Bad idea to fly into Cusco the day of your concert, I guess! He came out after a while, though, and all was well. At this point, though, it was almost midnight and we'd been standing for about 6 hours! I was getting tired and cold, and so was everyone else, so we headed back to the main plaza and went out to the dance bars for the rest of the evening. When I got home later that night, I could still hear the last band playing somewhere off in the distance at the arena... Peruvians are really bad at keeping the sound level down in neighborhoods and cities, haha.
Anyway... as I write this, I can officially say I've left my room mates and my apartment. Wee! I'm now in a pretty cool hostal in a different part of town and it has billiards, movies, free internet, and breakfast AND a kitten are included. All for just a whopping $7. Bolivia trip is up next with my Canadian friends in a few days.