Saturday, April 30, 2011
In other news, I learned how to make tequeños. Which are basically fried cheese wontons, served with guacamole. Delicious.
Hasta la proxima
Friday, April 29, 2011
The numbers are the number of minutes passed since a micro of the same route has gone by, so for example 3! 8! 4! would mean 3 minutes had passed since the last one had gone by, 8 before that and 4 before that. A bigger number means more time which means more chance of potential passengers waiting.
Bonus solved mystery:
Sitting at my computer working on an outline for my parcial essay, every few minutes I hear a faint beeping, which sounds like a phone but my phone is in my pocket. Then I also hear vibrating which I heard this morning as well and thought it was construction outside. Turns out it's my US phone, which I use as an alarm. The alarm which I got up before and didn't turn off this morning. Poor little phone has been going off every five minutes for ten and a half hours. It was beeping because it was dying. Woops.
Hasta la proxima
Thursday, April 28, 2011
So, little glimpses of today:
- My micro hit another micro. Always a nice way to start the day. A combination of large busses, impatience, people stopping in the middle of the road and potholes I think. From what I could see, there didn't appear to be damage to either bus though.
- As I sat on a bench to read a little before class, I heard what I think was movie audio coming from a window. But it was in English. A conversation between an adult and a child in which the child said "I only like you when you give me cookies!"
- Also seen from the bench: a guy carrying a large, carved wooden chair wrapped in bubble wrap
- Security guards at la Cato sometimes ride Segways. Which is amusing in itself. But today, I noticed that they wear elbow pads. I haven't seen elbow pads since learning to ride a bike.
- Walked out of my class building to discover that the fotocopiadora had moved. And by moved I mean the whole trailer-sized building with the multiple copy machines inside was about 30 yards away from where it had always been before. Why?!
- I picked a spot on the grass to read, intentionally away from any sprinklers. (They turn on randomly and I have no desire to be wet. Side note - la Cato is obsessed with watering the grass) A worker proceeds to move a sprinkler and ask me to move. Irony strikes again.
- Some guy was standing around holding a giant globe balloon with stickers all over it. And by giant I mean probably 4 ft diameter.
- There was loud discoteca music playing on campus today. I'm not sure exactly where it was actually coming from but I could hear it from one end of campus to the other.
- My chocolate melted in the sun so I ate it with a fork. Can't let it go to waste, right?
- There were two people in full costume walking down the middle of the street on stilts on my way home today.
- The man next to me on the micro was falling asleep and had the head-bob as well as the shoulder-slide going.
- Car alarm count for the day: 7. Airplane/helicopter-so-loud-I-can't-hear-the-professor-and-I'm-in-the-second-row count: 3
So there's tidbits of life in Lima for you.
Hasta la proxima
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Mango is not only a fruit, it also means handle.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Lima Easter has been different than others I have experienced. Overall I would say it is a more low-key holiday than in the US. Despite being a fairly Catholic country, for many Peruvians Semana Santa seems to be more about days off than about religion. Many Limenos travel outside of Lima. But many places were still closed some combination of days, almost everything was on Friday.
This morning I went to a non-denominational service with a friend and really enjoyed it, even without the usual trappings I associate with Easter festivity. There were no lilies or brass group or everyone dressed up extra special. Although I did miss those things, I enjoyed Lima Easter. I do appreciate the lack of commercialism of Easter here. Plastic eggs, easter bunnies, Hallmark cards and Peeps are nowhere to be found. It's not that those things are bad, I just don't miss them. (My host mom did get me some chocolate eggs, which is exciting)
I'm not as eloquent or reflective about these things as I'd like to be so I will just close with some words from a new song I learned this morning:
Me libraste--------------------You freed me
Me salvaste-------------------You saved me
Esta escrito, has vencido-----It is written, you have won
Cristo, tu eres Senor-----------Jesus, you are Lord
Hasta la proxima
(PS: In other news, car alarm total for yesterday: 7, today: 4)
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Today I went with some friends to Centro de Lima to see the Iglesia San Francisco which has catacombs underneath. Did you know Lima didn't have a regular cementary until 1808? And when it first started people didn't want to be buried in it, they still wanted to use the catacombs. I didn't bring my camera so photo credits go to Melissa (outside) and google (insides) since photos were not allowed inside the church or the catacombs.The church of San Francisco
The library inside, those big books were used for the choir to read the chants
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Why my most confusing reading so far is the one in English.
(Each student in my Amazonian Ethnography class has to read two ethnographies assigned from a long list. Some were in English, some in Spanish, assigned without regard to the student's first language. A lot of anthropology work is done in English so upper level students are expected to read it.) This one just happens to be extremely technical:
"The unilateral cross-cousin categories complete a set based on the common Exogamous Group membership of ego's and alter's parents. If alter's mother is ego's father's Exogamous Group 'brother', then in choosing a unilateral term, the patrilateral link takes precedence just as it does in the case of bilateral parallel cousins."
(Perhaps the problem boils down to the fact that I don't understand how mother's children are considered not siblings or how a cousin can be called unrelated)
Mysteries of Peru:
- Taxi drivers who put the parking brake on at every traffic light (but ignore stop signs in favor of honking before going through every intersection)
- Matching people. On campus, all the security guards match and all other non-faculty staff match. All the cashiers at the grocery match down to their earrings and hair scrunchies. Sometimes there are randomly groups of people on the sidewalk all in identical attire.
- The numbers the guys on the street call out to the micro cobradors. 334! 656! Are they counting the micros? I don’t know
- Women who can put on mascara on a moving micro without stabbing themselves in the eye
- Why micro 26 got new tickets with no quotes immediately after I wrote about them
- How things appear and disappear on campus within days. Book fair, tents, signs, d’onafria ice cream booth, sidewalk stickers, a tent with 20 chess sets set up.
- Why some micros have ‘se vende’ signs in the back. Who wants to buy a 20 year old micro? Is there a secret market for dirty old buses I’m unaware of?
- Car alarms. I still don't understand how they can possibly manage to go off so often. (Count in the last hour: 4)
- The same TV show that is always playing in the bank with the exact same Candid Camera-style pranks.
Hasta la proxima
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Hasta la proxima!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
- Studying racial categorization and definition in Peru and how that had affected the history and current state of the country. Did you know that up until about the 40s and the aftermath of WWII it was generally acceptable to suggest things like killing off the indigenous population to get rid of the 'problem' and replacing them with white Europeans who were inteligent and hard workers?
- Learning vocabulary words like consuetudinaro (customary/unwritten law), gremio (guild, not gremlin which would've been more fun), trigo (wheat), cebada (barley), robafocos (joking nickname for tall person, literally lightbulb-robber)
- Discovering that if you ask a question in the Ashaninca language you must suggest a response or the question is considered absurd. For example, "Who did it?" wouldn't work, it would have to be "Who did it? Your grandmother?" This is especially interesting to me because we were talking about bilingual education and how this language feature affects it. Imagine writing test questions in the Ashaninca language. Or being a primarily-Ashaninca-speaking student trying to take a test in Spanish.
- Learning the 3 different types of columns of Greek architecture in history of art, which leads to a new micro past-time...identifying columns on buildings we pass. (They're mostly jonico if you want to know. Which means they have little spirals called volutas on top. The Arequipa plaza cathedral columns were jonico too)
- Writing a paper on the reasons for the indigenous rebellion in 1742 led by Juan Santos Atahualpa against the Spanish. (It was mostly because of the horrible behavior of the Spanish toward the natives. Juan Santos was the perfect leader because he had both Ashaninca and Inca blood)
- Seeing the andenes that were mentioned in 3 of my 4 classes. Andenes are terraces used for agriculture on the sides of mountains (or canyons). Many from the Inca period and before still exist but are no longer in use. I saw a LOT on the way to Colca Canyon and even walked on some that were being used for corn.
And now I'm off to study for my control de lectura tomorrow. Wish me luck.
Hasta la proxima
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Bothy Hostel - They told us they just moved to a new location. I really liked it and they were very helpful and accomodating. (Please note, this is a hostel, not a hotel. Good for college students, perhaps not everyone.)
Pablo Tours - We found them in the LonelyPlanet travel guide and they were awesome. We even met Pablo himself and he led us down the canyon and through the crazy rain and darkness. Both the Oasis and the Valle de Fuego hostal had good food. If you want a planned tour of the Arequipa/Colca Canyon area, they can do it.
Inkawasi - A little restaurant in the Arequipa Plaza de Armas with delicious sandwiches and huge, delicious beverages. (Including lemonade that tastes like actual lemon, not lime)
Ice Palace - A little ice cream/dessert place around the corner from the plaza, across from the Iglesia de la Compania. Peruvian Airlines - They don't charge foreigners more than Peruvians. And they feed you tasty sandwiches on a 1 hour flight.
Monasterio Santa Catalina - It's worth the entrance fee. The inside is really neat and pretty. I don't know about the tour because we decided to wander around ourselves.
Plaza de Armas and nearby churches in the morning - I enjoyed walking around at 7 in the morning more than at 9. Less things open meant less people around.
Hopefully some day you do get to go to Arequipa. It's worth it!
Monday, April 11, 2011
On Friday we were up early for a simple breakfast of some delicious Arequipa-style bread. (Fun fact: we probably all ate more carbs this weekend than the last week. It was pan and more pan, which was fine with me) We took a 9 am bus to Cabanaconde at the other end of the canyon. Along the way we went way up in the sierra (to snow-covered ground) and had some beautiful views into the canyon.
We arrived around 3. After buying our bus tickets back and fixing a little hostal mix-up, we started down around 4, led by Pablo, the owner of the Oasis hostal at the bottom. (Fun fact: 4 is very late to start down. We ended our hike in the rain and pitch black. Not recommended) Once we got to the hostal we attempted to dry out a little and had a delicious dinner of soup and spaghetti then bedtime in our little bungalows.
Hasta la proxima!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Thursday: We flew from Lima to Arequipa Thursday night and stayed in a hostal that night. (My first!)
Friday: Got up early and took a 6 hour bus ride to Cabanaconde with gorgeous views of the countryside, mountains and canyons on the way. We arrived in the afternoon and hiked down to the bottom of Colca Canyon. (Which, by the way, is the second deepest canyon in the world. The deepest is nearby in Peru as well. I'm told Colca is about twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.) We actually finished our hike in the dark which, although crazy and not something I ever need to do again, was actually an amazing example of how my programmates are awesome.
Saturday: Up early again to hike back up. Again, amazing views and great company but a very difficult hike. High altitude just makes everything harder. We hung around in Cabanaconde for a bit then took a bus back to Arequipa.
Sunday: Up at 4 when the rest of the group got in. (They took a 9pm bus. Yikes.) Walked around Arequipa and saw the Plaza de Armas and the Santa Catalina convent. Arequipa is a beautiful city. Had a delicious lunch then flew back to Lima. Hasta la proxima
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
This Sunday is presidential election day in Peru. The whole time I’ve been here the news have been full of coverage of the candidates and the streets are full of posters, billboards, murals and stickers advertising them. (I tried counting them on my way to school today. I stopped after I got to 50 in less than 2 blocks) The campaign is somewhat different from that of the U.S., starting with the number of candidates. More than 10 took part in the debate I watched with my host mom, of which 5 are considered to have a good shot. In Peru, voting is obligatory and the two candidates with the highest percentages will go on the the segunda vuelta, second round, of voting in a run-off. Political parties are not as entrenched here but are more based around personalities, a particular candidate. In fact, many candidates use their initials in their party’s symbol.
Presidential term is 5 years.
Presidents cannot immediately run for reelection but they can 5 years later. The current president, Garcia, is in his second term.
Inauguration day is also independence day: July 28
Corruption is a big issue. Many of the candidates are supposedly corrupt and many have a slogan of some sort that says they aren’t.
Personally, I think it’s good to have various options. However, I think the sheer amount of advertising is overwhelming and unnecessary. I’m looking forward to seeing Lima without billboards every 10 feet. Unfortunately, there is just as much mudslinging and attempting to undermine other candidates here as there is in the States. Which means, as you will see below, I know more about the arguments against each candidate than for them. It just seems to me that choosing the president (of any country) should not come down to the lesser evil but rather their actual plans and merits.
But enough of that, little bios of the 5 top candidates as gathered by me through various conversations and news listening (at risk of wrong information from misunderstanding):
Keiko Fujimori: The daughter of the previous president Fujimori. She is a fairly popular congresswomen I believe. The main argument against her is that her father is in jail for human rights violations during his presidency.
Alejandro Toledo: A previous president who is currently first in the polls. The main argument against him is that while he’s not awful, he didn’t do much the first time.
Pedro Pablo Kucynski aka PPK: The son of a US medical missionary. Popular with the middle class, business people. The main argument against him is that he is too American and not going to be good for Peru’s development.
Ollanta Humala: Popular with lower classes and in the country. The arguments against him are that he’s in the league of Hugo Chavez and would nationalize many industries and arrange to stay in office just as Chavez has done.
Luis Castaneda: a former mayor of Lima who is accused of corruption while mayor
We’ll have to wait to see who goes to the second round.
Hasta la proxima
PS: I’m gone again this weekend. Off to Arequipa!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011