The 104 Bus

Once again, the maintenance ladies in our building prove to be the nicest people on earth.  About a week ago, my husband passed Sra. G in the hallway, and asked if she knew a good place to look for a “cuna”.  According to the dictionary, everything I could possibly be looking for in the baby bed category translates into “cuna”. Cradle, moses basket, crib, bassinet… they’re all cunas.  If you want to be more specific, you can add “Moises” to the mix to get a moses basket, but I haven’t learned the subtle vocabulary to differentiate the others. Sra. G said she’d get us an address.

A couple of days later, we were starting to wonder if she’d forgotten, when Sr. J knocked on our door. Sra. G hovered behind him, and he explained that if I was free Monday afternoon, she’d take me shopping for a cuna. So we made a date. Today, as promised, she stopped by the apartment, and then she, her sister Sra. M, and I all walked down to the corner, hopped on the 104 bus and rode a long, long way– out of Magdalena, through Jesus Maria… we ended up somewhere in La Victoria, along Avenida Grau, where there was a rather large mercado specializing in baby stuff– strollers, toys, tiny bicycles, high chairs, and cunas of (almost) every description. We dipped in and out of several shops and wound through a couple of mazes crammed with strollers– at the very back of one, there was even a workshop that specialized in repairing stroller wheels– and looked at a bunch of variations on Moses baskets, cribs, playpens, pack-n-plays…

In my head, I thought we could get one of those Moses baskets like we were seeing in Cusco– one that was an actual basket. They seemed lovely and practical. But all I could find here were the modern commercial iteration, made of plastic, with padded sides and a harsh chemical smell. Pretty shoddy construction too. So I gave up on that idea. From what I’ve read, the padded versions are not safe, for the same reason that crib bumpers are not safe– they’re a suffocation hazard.  There were, however, some pack-and-play type options that looked like they might work, so I kept an eye out for those instead. Our apartment has some serious space limitations, so most of them were too big to work. But I finally found one almost narrow enough, and some inquiries produced a still narrower model from a box in the same shop. The proprieter pulled it all out of the box, assembled it, demonstrated how it worked, and Sra. M tried to get 20 soles knocked off the price. In the end, we did get it for 10 soles less than the asking price, but I think she was disappointed not to get that last 10 discount.

Sra. M insisted on carrying the box the couple of blocks back to the bus route. We ended up in a taxi anyway, to get home. And now the last major item is checked off my list! All I need are sheets for this thing…

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