Crying over a latte in Lima

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“I think I’m going to cry”

And then I did, just a bit.

The single tear was shed while sipping a vanilla latte and having the first satisfying breakfast in 3 weeks, sitting at the outdoor patio at Starbucks in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru.

Only 30 minutes ago, at about 8 am, we were walking around in search of different accommodations for the next couple of nights after a dodgy first night in Lima. As we walked in search of a decent looking hostel, my trained eyes spotted the familiar green Starbucks logo from a few hundred meters away.

“There’s a Starbucks!” I exclaimed excitedly, while pointing in the general direction.

Marina looked at me, and I could tell she completely shared in my excitement in finding something familiar after not seeing anything of the sort for 3 weeks in Ecuador.

Like 2 children that just found out they are going to Disneyland, in the middle of the sidewalk, in front of some of the bypassing locals, we high fived and hugged each other.

A bypassing Peruvian man who witnessed our ridiculousness made a face that was only too clear to read:

“Damn these idiot Gringos and their obsessive brand loyalty…”

While it is almost embarrassing to admit it, it is true: we are absolute slaves to a familiar North American brand.

Immediately upon entering that familiar espresso-scented space, whatever home-sickness I was experiencing yesterday in Quito, completely vanished.

To make matters even better, this Starbucks had free WiFi.

I was in heaven.

Marina had to pry me away from the comfortable and familiar outdoor patio so that I saw Lima beyond the doors of Starbucks.

Apparently, as much as I had wished I would be capable of living an isolated existence in a hut on some beach, I am not.

While I hate to admit it, I’ve grown accustomed to some of the comforts and regularities of North American life.

Having said that, Lima is the first place we have stayed thus far in which I could see myself living.

It is absolutely beautiful here.

Essentially, the Miraflores district of Lima feels just like southern California (specifically La Jolla) – an area of the US Marina and I adore.

Both have a colony of surfers riding the ocean waves.

Both have a fantastic selection of restaurants (in fact, Lima appears to be superior in that respect).

Both have a wonderful waterfront, which is frequented by families, couples, and exercisers.

Both have great shopping (this is more of an issue for Marina).

Both have a Gold’s Gym (at least the original Gold’s gym exists on Venice Beach, California)

The major difference – the cost of living.

In Lima, a brand new waterfront condo, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a block away from the super-posh sea side mall, goes for approximately $90,000 USD.

In La Jolla, I would guess a similar property would be about $1.5 million, if not more.

The lifestyle we desperately want for less than 1/15th the cost.

Hmmm…

Peter


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