Lattes, Lindsay Lohan and Other Luxuries

City Travel, Leaving & Coming Home, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, Peru — By on August 20, 2006 at 12:14 am

As seasoned travelers, we’ve each developed an unofficial code of conduct to live by whenever we go global. Some collective Lost Girls’ road rules, include: Always attempt to speak the language; avoid typically American faux pas (e.g. acting like your country’s rules apply abroad); and whenever possible, opt for more “real” experiences by choosing the road less touristed. So when we stumbled upon a Starbucks in Lima during our first few days of the trip, we all vehemently agreed on one thing: curing our caffeine fix here would mean majorly selling out! Instead, we found a cute local café overlooking the sea where we happily sipped steaming cups of coffee for a mere 2 soles a piece (approximately 75 cents). It was such a proud moment; we were off to an amazingly authentic start to our trip. Little did we know how easily we could be swayed back to the “dark side”!

Fast forward about six weeks: After braving sub-arctic temperatures at high elevations, hostels with little or no hot water, bathrooms that would frighten health inspectors – all while wearing the same 2 or 3 outfits – our resolve to stay true to our traveling mantras was quickly fading. Don’t get me wrong, we were having an absolute blast on the trip and had no desire to leave; but we desperately needed a little R&R, especially after such a whirlwind tour of Peru – we’d traversed over half the country, hitting six different cities and even dashing into Bolivia for a few days. We were utterly exhausted!

Enter Starbucks, Act 2: In order to catch a flight to the Amazon Basin (and secure visas to Brazil prior to departure), we headed up the southern coast back to Lima – and back to the original scene of the near-coffee crime. But this time, it went a little something like this:
Amanda: “Oh my God! I just remembered there’s a Starbucks right around the corner at Larco Mar (an ocean side mall in Miraflores).”
Holly: “That would be awesome, guys. We could grab a hot latte before we go for a jog by the water.”
Jen: (No words) I break into a sprint, pushing past tourists and hurdling over benches to the entrance of my new favorite hang out spot.

It was quite a sight. You’d have thought we found the secret to eternal life in that world famous foam, as much as we oohed and aahed over our delicious (yet sugar free) drinks. We took over an entire section of the store, sinking deep into the comfy couches and relaxing to the international jazz tunes that twinkled from the overhead speakers. Hey, at least we could stay connected to our worldly values through music. We soaked in every familiar nuance Starbucks had to offer from racks of glossy magazines to the free flowing WiFi. Even the cost of our lattes was a treat, as the local price was around $3.25 compared to the whopping $5 we spend back home in Manhattan. It’s funny; a place we didn’t dare step foot into at the beginning of our trip became an unexpected sanctuary, magically curing our sense of homelessness.

Since we’d already given in to temptation, we decided to take it one step further. Well ten steps to be exact, right downstairs from Starbucks to the local movie theatre. After much, “I don’t care what we see, you decide. I don’t care, whatever you want” that us girls tend to do from time to time, we each thought it would be best for our tired brains to see something that required no thinking at all…

Enter Lindsay Lohan’s latest release: We’re not going to lie, when we saw the little hottie man on the poster for Just My Luck, we were sold. Three tickets, two boxes of popcorn and multiple Diet Cokes in hand, we settled into the plush theatre for what turned out to be one of the best afternoons we spent in Lima.

Granted, after our little trip down American lane, we got right back into the Peruvian groove (think Pisco sours and steamy disco techs), but we never forget the important lessons we learned that day about traveling abroad. Seek comfort in the little things, never be embarrassed about who you are or where you come from and always remember: there’s no place like a self-made home away from home – especially when it comes with sugar-free vanilla lattes!

Starbucks Photo Credit:

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  • Dirty Butter says:

    I’ve been reading and enjoying your posts, but not posting a comment. Thought it was time I broke the silence. I’m thoroughly enjoying your adventures vicariously. I don’t think your afternoon of American treats was at all cheating, considering how long you resisted the temptation. It was just a well deserved break from the constant culture shock.

    Congratulations on the magazine write up and good luck on the rest of your adventure. I’ll pop in from time to time with a comment, but I lurk and read and vote for you on BLOG VILLAGE almost every day.

  • jennifer weisz says:

    when i was living in shanghai i was surrounded by starbucks. there’s even one inside the Forbidden City in beijing. i only went when i really needed coffee, because it was hard to find coffee where i was living. once in a while is OK, but just not too often. i must say, however, that i often went to mcdonald’s, but not for a big mac–for their taro pie instead.

  • Political.Asylum says:

    I remember once, back in the old days, when my mother actually bought cheddar cheese from retail outlets. It was much tastier than the cheese we now have to stand in line for at the state-run distribution centers. Regardless, tasteless goverment cheese is better than no cheese at all, and gets me by until Cuba is rightfully ruled by Sir Gary Glitter. I shall swim there when his benevolent reign begins. I can only hope than someday, we realize that imported Bolivian comedy created in foul-smelling sweatshops will be the undoing of society as we know it.

  • The Foo says:

    Aahh Starbuck, the one I love to hate (because it burns a whole in my pocket) but I just can’t do without. I never thought off ever paying for $5 for “just” coffee but here I am doing it almost everyday. So that roughly works out to be about $150/month (and $1800/year) of literally drinking my money away. They should sell starbucks “patches” for the extremely addicted. By the way, letting me rent your site site this week! You have a GREAT site… it is on my daily reading list.