I had been interested in Lima from a number of positive reports I had heard about the city. The food was supposed to be awesome, the city was supposed to have a great nightlife, and the girls were supposed to be friendly to foreigners. In addition, Peru is slowly emerging an economic strong point of South America, with Lima as its epicenter.
But as I lugged my 45-lb suitcase up the stairs to my hostel, I wondered to myself why I am doing this all over again.
After all, I really don’t like the act of travel (more specifically– bus rides, hostels, and short-term relationships). I must prefer living in a place for months at a time, learning the language, making friends that I will keep in touch with.
But the previous 6 weeks I had been traveling nonstop– hostel to bus, bus to hostel… rinse and repeat– through literally thousands of miles of South American landscape.
I was tired, but was wanting to finish the mission I had started: to decide whether I would like to live in Peru.
As is my custom when I am exploring “candidate” cities, I planned on staying in Lima a minimum of a week. I would give the city some solid boots-on-the-ground time to see if I’m “hooked”, or something really strikes me as desirable.
And if the week went well, I actually had in mind to stay a couple months… Lima was that high on the list.
I spent the first couple of days exploring Miraflores, the upscale neighborhood of Lima that hugs the Pacific coast. I walked down to the ocean and along the malecon, into the Larcomar shopping center, and stopped to look out at the ocean.
I also walked up and down the neighborhood blocks, noticing the attractive, modern feel of the area, while noticing how much Lima loves to put KFC’s every 4 blocks.
I met a girl while walking around and we went to a huge buffet the next day in another area of town. The food was 100% Peruvian, though, and was really delicious. In the days to come, my stomach wasn’t always agreeable to the Peruvian cuisine, but the fact is that Peru knows how to cook.
As fate would have it, some friends I had met in Colombia had come into town for the holiday. One weekend night, we all met up and made authentic Peruvian pisco sour. We went out that night and had a good time.
About the 5th or 6th day in, though, something began to happen to me.
It first started as a thought I couldn’t get rid of.
Then it evolved into a minor obsession.
I mean, nothing was really wrong with Lima… Something was wrong with me.
You see, I had been in Colombia right before this trip, and it had reignited my desire to live there, rather than anywhere else.
And now it was seriously affecting me.
I was starting to have a relapse of the Medellin Effect.
As a result, I began wondering whether I should stay another week in Lima to give it more time, or whether I already knew that Lima (and Peru) wasn’t for me… Should I stay another week just in case? Just to make sure I’m not missing anything?
But then I thought, what could possibly make me change my mind and make me stay in Lima? Would staying another week really do anything?
The next morning I posted this:
Two days before Christmas I told myself it would do no good to keep entertaining thoughts, leaning one way for a a moment, then the other way the next. I needed to decide on my next action.
And, this was either / or decision. All or nothing. There was no middle ground.
Either I would stay in Lima and keep Peru alive a little longer, stay through the new year, or I would leave, and Peru would be over for me. (The north of Peru, I already knew, was not for me.)
I came across a tiny fact– that if I acted fast, I could get to Colombia in time for Feria de Cali, which just so happened to be between Christmas and New Years and just so happened to be in Cali, a city I was eager to check out.
And of course, I was rearing to return to Colombia.
So, long story short, I made the decision and pulled the trigger…
I made it back to my beloved Colombia. Couldn’t stay away.
I got to Cali in time for Feria and was right back where I wanted to be.
It was such a funny thing… that thing that happened to me in Lima.