Friday, July 24, 2009

The Ladrons and the Gringo-Swindling

* The word "ladrons" translates approximately to "thieves" but it also somehow reminds me of "toilets" for some reason which is appropriate enough.

** Also note that all the facts of my accounting of the events of yesterday are highly suspect... this includes the names of the people I interacted with, to my accounting of anything I think I might have said since I don't speak spanish...  I just got tired of writing "supposedly" to qualify every sentence and so you can mentally add those in if you like.

OK... a full accounting of the events of yesterday would take a long time, but suffice it to say that yesterday while wandering the streets of Lima I ended up bumping into a man named Jose, who was playing in a band in Barranco later that evening.  We talked as well as people can when one person doesn't speak better than pre-K English and the other doesn't speak better than pre-K Spanish, but we were having a good enough time and soon I agreed to buy him a drink at a bar.

We get to a dark bar -- I think that we were the only people there at the time, and soon another friend of his shows up.  I agree to get pisco sours (the drink I'm holding here) for the three of us, and we order a plate of alpaca meat with other goodies.  Both were tasty enough.  And we had most of the conversation in Spanish... so I was having a pleasant time with good food and drink practicing my Espanol.

There is much more to this story really (including their attempts to get me to buy an expensive bottle of "ayawaska" from a shaman -- this is a sort of hallucinogenic elixir which appeared to me to look like blended toilet water), but in any case, I ended up walking out of there $150 poorer from the three drinks and alpaca meat I had bought... which might not sound like the most money in the world to Americans, but things are cheaper here and my friend Fabi assures me this is about the price you would pay for a good meal at the most expensive restaurants in town.

In any case, I probably would have been out a lot more except for the convenient fact that I didn't have any credit cards on me and hadn't brought enough money to pay the bill I had already racked up anyway, and so the party had to end sooner than my compadres had originally intended... I imagine I could have been blindsided by a much larger bill later if they hadn't learned sooner how little I was carrying on me.  

The owners of the bar wanted me to leave some sort of collateral behind while I picked up the rest of the money. I was only carrying my passport and camera, and I didn't want these people to know where I was staying, so this seemed to me to be a horrible option, but I luckily had a cell phone on me from Fabi's mom, which was supposed to help me get out of any emergencies.  I thought this qualified, and so I called and luckily Fabi came to the rescue.

It took Fabi about a half hour to arrive at which point Jose and his friend (the one in the picture... I don't remember his name) were gone.  As I sat and waited I actually had a very pleasant time trying to talk with some of the staff of this bar in Spanish, who for the most part spoke no English whatsoever.  But I started our conversation by noting to one that "that was an expensive Spanish lesson..."


jarymane said...


Pamphilia said...

Echoing jarymane here. DW, you might just be too nice sometimes.

ccb said...

Nice hair (or lack of)! I barely recognized you! Sounds like it's high time to get out of Lima and into Cusco.

ccb said...

Also, those look more like pitchers of pisco sours than glasses. Still though, $150 was way too much.

Lucy said...

Aren't pysch peeps supposed to be really good at reading people even without a shared language?

Sorry your generous and festive spirit was taken advantage of.

sarahsouth said...

i will make you a big plate of WELCOME HOME for free when you come back!