Bienvenidos a Piura, our new home

Early Tuesday morning at 5 am, the 5th of August, we arrived in Piura on a night bus from Trujillo. And if Trujillo was not relaxing, this bus-cama (bus bed) made up for it! With fully reclining seats, blankets, pillows, dessert and breakfast provided, we entered into Piura feeling as though we were in heaven.

It was too early to do anything though, too early to hangout outside, too early to go to an internet cafe, or contact the people from the university who were helping us find housing, so we decided to suck it up, stay in a supercheap hostal for a couple hours until we could begin our day, hopefully moving into our apartment that afternoon. I had been working with the housing department of the university for months, so I was sure we had housing.

Oh, but haven´t you learned yet? Don´t expect anything. Yes, the university had found places for us. The first place was only for girls, the second place included food and cost S/.600 a person per month (over three times what we expected to pay), the third place was a residence hall where we could only have access to the kitchen one day a week, the fourth place was the apartment of the uncle of the student helping us(Ronald) who works for the Housing Department, a dirty smelly place that seemed like our only option. Granted it was cheap (S/.400 for the both of us a month) and had a central location only a couple blocks from the Plaza de Armas, but did we really want to live in a place where the bathroom and kitchen were always dirty, and our room smelled like smoke and smelly uncle? Not particularly.

So, we spent the next three days traversing the city in search, a great way to situate ourselves, but a terrible way to get the rest that we so needed. We went to every hostal and hotel that we came across, asking if there were any way to get a discount for an extended stay (nowhere did, surprisingly). We visited the neighborhood that one receptionist recommended to us as a place where many families rent rooms to university students, right near the university itself (but it was a dirty looking poor neighborhood located in the sketchier half of the city right near the noisy open air market). We even visited the house of one of the receptionists of a fancy hotel who said she rented out rooms to students occassionally, but that house was comparably as dirty as Ronald´s uncle´s and located far from the center, not to mention she seemed a bit odd.

Finally, getting tired of spending money staying in a nice hostal (because the first hostal we stayed at was worth its cheap price, the sheets were obviously dirty [mummy sleeping bags are wonderful!] and so was the bathroom), and discouraged with our lack of options, we decided to stay in the Residence Hall, located a five minute walk from the university, but not within walkable distance of the center (we would have to take a bus, taxi or motokar). A place where we would have our own bedroom and bathroom, and access to a kitchen table, living room with tv and access to a kitch on Sundays when the cooks weren´t working. We met the landlord, moved all our stuff from our hostal and unpacked, only later to find out that the hall was actually an all-boys dorm, with 15 male residents. We were being allowed to lived there only because it was a special circumstance and we were foreign.

UGH! I don´t want to live with 15 guys. I mean I´ll do it, but I was expecting a mix of girls and boys, all students and we could all become friends and hang out together and how great…

We met again with Ronald, who we´ve being seeing quite a lot of, and Oh what luck .. a new apartment just opened up today! Located in the neighborhood of Miraflores, one of the most upscale of Piura, we can walk to the university and the center, both in about 25 minutes. Let´s go! We want to see it! It sounds perfect! Finally!!!!

And here we are, City of Piura, Urbanización Miraflores, Calle Ficus 290 (although that might not be our exact address).

Not exactly what we expected, but we´ll take it. Happily!

One Response to “Bienvenidos a Piura, our new home”
  1. Matt Pisane says:

    Natalie. Hola.It’s cousin Matt. I’ve been meaning to check out your blog since Uncle Vince mentioned it to me a couple weeks ago. I’m glad I did and look forward to catching up. Congrats on finding a decent place there in Piura. Did it work out or are you sleeping in smellsville somewhelse? I hope not.Even though things can get challenging when traveling, I always thought the uncertainty makes it so exciting too. I’m sure you feel the same. Have a great week and keep up the good work-especially with the pictures. ttyl

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