Pucallpa, Peru is where we call home now. And it’s a good place to live. Slow pace, hospitable people and full of new adventures and stories waiting to be experienced and told. We live in the poorest section of Pucallpa, 3 blocks from the Ucayali River which feeds into the Amazon. The road in front of our 2nd floor apartment is concrete and a main thoroughfare for Moto-Kars ferrying people all over town and large trucks hauling timber, rock and who knows what else. It is the last main street on the “east-side,” just 2 blocks from the naval/military station. Every morning about 5:30 am we hear the soldiers running in the street to their cadence.
The other side of our apartment that has a bank of windows opening up to a dirt road that floods when it rains turning to a reddish-brown muddy mess. When it’s dry – well the dust carries up into the apartment. Even if the windows are closed you will find the powdery substance on virtually everything. We sweep and mop every other day. Have to! And … we have a river view from our living room… if you lean out the window… just a little!
As rents go it is very inexpensive – about $150 per month. Wait…before you think … what have we gotten ourselves into? … we were fortunate enough (we got the favor!) to find a new apartment with linoleum and tile floors. The kitchen has a new sink along with tile counters and backsplash sporting open areas under the large counter space. Nope – no shelves or cabinets but it serves its purpose and functions well for the time being. We bought a small refrigerator and oven so we can cook since there are NO fast food places here and the restaurants, well, not too much appetizing going on there. There are a few and we do frequent them but as long as we have cookies and Coke zero at home, we do just fine.
There is one bedroom which is longer than it is wide and fortunately has a double set of windows to help with creating a breeze to flow through the place. Two fans – worth their weight in gold at $25 each – follow us everywhere pumping out great air running 24/7!!! Hey our electricity is free. We each have a single bed that sits on a wooden frame and we just realized our beds have no springs and is the reason they already sag and why when we wake up we are barely able to move or walk because our backs are killing us! One of the kitchen chairs sits between the beds doubling as a nightstand. Okay – it works!
Our handmade wooden dresser was $60 and all of our Trinity’s Angels shirts fit in there quite nicely. It has a mirror but we are taller than the average Peruvian so if you want to use it you have to squat down a bit or you’ll just end up staring at your neck!
There is a space waiting for a washing machine. They are a luxury here and you definitely have to make sure it is automatic. If not – you get one that you pour water in manually, work at removing the soap that sits on top of the clothes because it doesn’t drain or spin as they do back in the States, refill with water, remove soap…it is a never-ending process.
Ask us, we bought one not knowing and after 3 hours we were tired of trying to wash 2 bath towels. Trust us we are in the process of trading it in for an automatic one! Outside of our front door is an open balcony area that is used for hand washing clothes. More than 90% of the people hand wash everything. Clotheslines are set up for drying. Even if you have a washing machine you still hang your clothes to dry – they don’t sell dryers!
The bathroom – is good size – with a new tile shower, toilet and the porcelain sink is a plus. The drawback is only cold water is available! As in all of Pucallpa. But it is unlimited and included in our rent. Hot water is only available if you buy a unit that mounts to the wall and heats the water to a nice “lukewarm.” And we will!!! Boiling water and mixing it in a pitcher of cold water just to be able to take a warm shower – well it’s okay for now.
Oh did we mention that above the shower is a 12” gap. No window – no screen. High enough that no one can see in. Big enough to let in the bugs. At night you have to leave the light off in the bathroom or you will end up taking a shower with this…
Cindy experienced that one night and it was unnerving to say the least as a 3” beetle came in the shower (sounding like a helicopter as it flew in) and landed on her ankle. Part of the living the dream! At least we have indoor plumbing and flushing toilets which most homes don’t. Okay and you can’t flush anything down the toilets, which is why there is a small trashcan next to it where the used paper goes! As is the case everywhere in Peru!
But hey…We love it. It is our home. And, there is no place like home.
At home in His Mighty Grip,
Stephanie and Cindy