Ladies and gentlemen, my time in Lima is drawing to a close.
And I'm here to tell you what I think.
It's taken me a long time to form a coherent opinion about living in this city - at first, I didn't know what to make of it. And upon arriving I made no secret of the fact that I had my doubts about Lima.
But after nearly 6 months in Peru's capital, I think I've finally figured the place out.
What follows will be a loosely-organized collection of my thoughts on what it's like to live in Lima. By the end of the article you should have a very clear idea whether or not this is a place you'd like to check out.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having a crew to hangout with, hit the bars with and bounce shit off of, but I am also very comfortable with being alone.
I've always been that way.
Working from my computer and living in countries where people don't speak my native tongue has only amplified this kind of independence - it's undoubtedly harder to meet people now than it was when I was working an office job and living in Canada (though this blog has helped).
As a result, I often have to go out to bars and clubs solo. And after much trial and error, I think I've finally figured out how to do it without looking like a rapist or serial killer.
My journey to Spanish competency has been long and tumultuous. It started with Spanish classes in Mexico (which I promptly quit after just a week), then moved on to audio courses (most of which I slept through) and finally to Latin music and telenovelas, with which I finally began making some progress.
Initially, my goal was simple: learn Spanish to meet women. But it took me months of stumbling through learning methods before I was finally able to hold down a basic conversation on a discotec dance floor (discotec is Spanish for "nightclub," by the way).
If only I had discovered a course tailored to my *ahem* ultra specific needs at the time, I would have saved myself a lot of fruitless effort, valuable time and money.
"I want to have a short-term relationship. I'm tired of banging girls I'm not interested in."
It was my last few weeks in Mexico City and I was talking with my roommate and good friend. We were reminiscing about our sexual experiences in the Aztec capital, and I was reflecting on how empty mine had been.
"Well, you said you were thinking of going to Peru next, yeah? Why not give it a shot there?
"You know what, I will." I said.
And that's exactly what I did.
I wasn't even a month in to my stay in Lima when I found myself in a relationship with a girl I'd met online..
"Things are going really well for me," he said, sipping his coffee. "I'm making around $2000 a month!"
John was from Texas. He had moved down to a small, touristy town in Central Mexico about 10 years back, and was now working as a tour organizer/driver, transporting Americans and Canadians around to various historical and cultural sites in the region. He was about 50 years old.
Wow, I thought. You could live like a king in Mexico on $2000 a month.
Through John, I was able to meet a number of foreigners living in this Mexican city.