So for my last and final Peru post I am just going to go off little notes I made on my phone throughout the time I was there about things I knew I would want to share with you guys but probably wouldn't remember unless I wrote it down. Little bits of information, things that I saw and things that are different from home.. things I thought you might like to know! So lets dive in, shall we?
This is kind of morbid in a way but funerals are a very big deal in Peru! The processions are absolutely amazing, the cars are decorated beautifully and living very close to a church it was abundantly clear that someone passing away deserved respect. Every time there was a funeral people would line up for miles to pay their respects, they would enter the church one at a time and honor the person that had left this world, and it was beautiful. Funerals at home have changed, its not necessary to only wear black, more people attend a wake then a funeral because of work schedules and timing, I am not saying its disrespectful by any means but it isn't the same. When someone in Peru passed away they honor their life, they make the time, they stand outside for hours, it was really touching.
Siesta. Let me tell you... timing for things in Peru are a little different, most people don't start work until 10:00am or after because they generally don't eat dinner until 9:00pm or after. They start work later and then generally take Siesta aka nap time from 12:00pm until maybe 2:00pm! Its hilarious, you will leave to go somewhere and they will be sleeping in their cars, in the park, everywhere! Its a lot of people too, most people really.. or the working people! At first I was like.. what the hell is going on? Was there something going on last night that I missed out on, but its a daily ritual! Can you imagine how much more easy going people here would be if a good afternoon nap was permitted.
Kissing on the cheek. In Peru when you greet someone or depart their presence it is customary and respectful to kiss cheeks. I suppose it would depend on your personality how you would feel about this, but to them it is the norm. I am an affectionate person and like to hug and what not so at first I wasn't really bothered by it, where as Jason felt it was inappropriate. By the end of my trip I actually really liked it! Its a really nice way to greet someone and leave them, if you don't know them it is a really nice way to break the ice. When you meet someone here you don't know you awkwardly shake hands, make small talk, it most likely takes awhile to get to know someone or feel comfortable.. but its just not the case there. The night of Dave's going away party we went to this beautiful restaurant called Danica, there were people from the guys job site there that I didn't know and as they came in and you stood and kissed cheeks and introduced yourself it already felt friendly and open, don't get me wrong I'm not telling you to go around kissing people when you meet them but I think its nice. There are not many customs there that thrilled me but let me tell you this was one of them.
Limones. In Peru they don't have lemons or limes.... they have limones! They look like itty bitty limes and they taste INCREDIBLE! They are used in a lot of traditional Peruvian dishes such as Ceviche! They are the cutest things.
There was a little sandwich places we frequented and the sandwich I got had onions that had been soaked in limone juice.. TO DIE FOR! I think you can get them Florida too, I may need to take a trip.
You know those little bikes that people ride around selling ice creams out of? They have a cooler attached and they generally ride around parks selling ice cream bars? Does it ring a bell? If not this should...
The ones in Peru were yellow and they were EVERYWHERE! Honestly I can't believe I didn't take a pictre of one because I couldn't believe how popular they were. FOUND ONE.. I didn't take this but I decided to look it up on Google and this is exactly what they are and a little Peruvian guy to go with it!
That picture makes me smile, I wish now that I would have bought an ice cream.. but not knowing exactly what I was buying discouraged me just a little. Too funny though!
Waxed sidewalks. I don't really understand this waxed sidewalk things but they are all waxed and they can be slippery as hell. Tanya warned me before I got there as she had fallen a few times, although I did not fall I often flailed like a moron and hollered just a little, enough to cause more unwanted attention. When it was foggy they were worse, it was treacherous really. They definitely looked beautiful, everything there was just so clean but if someone was watering or it was foggy out.. hope you aren't wearing Uggs and hold on for dear life.
Maria. I don't know how much I have talked about Maria the maid on the blog since I have been home but boy did I love her. Actually she was also Tanya's made which was hilarious because we only figured it out the day before I left! Maria is such a lovely lady, she worked so hard around the apartment and would never let me help her. I felt really weird about the maid thing, uncomfortable really. I didn't like her cleaning up after me as I was sitting there, I felt lazy.. I often wondered what she thought of me which was probably all in my head. I thought about our age different, cultural differences and felt really bad that she was doing something I was perfectly capable of doing myself. It was harder because I had a really hard time communicating with her even though I tried.. boy did I try! We made it work and she was absolutely wonderful to me. After Dave left he said she could have everything in the apartment that he had purchased and couldn't take home, and there are so words to describe how grateful she was. I learned that Maria lived with 16 people and had 3 children of her own, she loved her job and was paid extremely well. Although I felt bad this is what she did, its probably what her mother and sisters did and what her daughter will do, there isn't a lot of options there. I was very sad to leave Maria, I would have loved to bring her home... I really enjoyed the time we shared!
I will just touch on quickly that I noticed in Peru most people in the area we were in also had nanny's/maids. Sad but true I took notice on account that most nanny's were basically the children's mothers, the children often preferred the nanny over the mother, the nanny's were the ones at the parks all day with the children and pushing them around in strollers, expats or wealthier Peruvians most often (and I'm not stereotyping, I saw it) didn't actually take care of their own children. I understand having help, but never taking your child out or dropping them off at the birthday party.. I guess I don't really understand that.
Guinea Pig. I think we have talked about this before.. in fact I am almost sure we have. They eat them. They grow them big and fat and serve them to people when they come over. They are a delicacy and you must eat them or its disrespectful. Enough said.
Being Late. SO ANNOYING. Peruvians are late for anything and they honestly could care less, its just how they roll. I personally hate nothing more then someone being late, I feel as though its disrespectful and they thing their time is more important than yours. Not to mention Peruvians aren't 5 or 10 minutes late, I am talking like an hour. Or you'll be at a restaurant waiting for them and they call 15 minutes after they are suppose to be there to let you know they changed their mind and aren't coming. HATE.THAT!
Begging for Money. I can't say I saw TONS of homeless people on the street begging for money, there is so much police and security guards around that I think it helps prevent it.. however there are women and children who try their hardest to pull at your heart strings, and by you I mean the Caucasian person walking alone. I was always a target when I was by myself and they always had a small child with them, they would say things like "pretty lady, please I need to feed my baby" as their ass pocket of their jeans were blinged out! I was warned about these women, often while they are trying to convince them to give you money their child is trying to pick pocket you. I always continued to walk, never stopped and nice said "No gracious", sometimes they accepted that and sometimes they said mean things in Spanish.. sorry!!
Beautiful children. If I could have brought home a Peruvian child I would have. Let me say they are the most gorgeous children I have ever seen! They have the most beautiful big brown eyes.. I kid you not this is what all the children looked like...
There were paintings of them everywhere and rightfully so! Those gorgeous chubby cheeks, beautiful brown eyes.. enchanting smiles! Peru has the fourth largest orphanage in the world I believe, if you are thinking of adopting abroad I encourage you to explore Peru.. these children are gorgeous and loving them would be easy I just know it.
Deformities. Sadly there are also a lot of children and elderly with physical deformities, I believe this is in part to drinking dirty water and I am sure because of parasites as well. The water there contains a lot of heavy metals and because poverty is so extreme there pregnant women and children often don't have a choice but to drink those waters as a means of staying alive. Sadly some are strongly affected and it shows. It also became apparent to me that adults do not age as well as those in North America... I don't mean looks really but physical deformities. Often it looks as though the elderly suffer from severe arthritis or something of that sort and I believe it has something to do with the heavy metals and such as well. Its really sad, they just don't have a choice. I believe being elderly in Peru is hard, the abilities diminish at an early age, I would not be surprised if their life expectancy was shorter than that of an American.
Earthquakes. I know I mentioned about Peru sitting on the Ring of Fire Fault Line and as you can imagine that means they experience quite a few earthquakes.. but what I never gave much thought too is that fact that they have no tall buildings there... not one skyscraper!! The tallest building in Lima is called the Westin and it is only 30 stories high.. have a gander.. its pretty!
I hate earthquakes.. we dealt with them all the time in Alaska and I will just never get use to the ground shaking beneath my feet and buildings swaying like a tree in the breeze. Never.
Pronunciation. Pronunciation in Peru is VERY important.. you may saying the world correctly but not annuciating the right part of the word or something Peruvians will act as though they have no idea what you are talking about. I didn't quite care for this.
Milk. Jason's company sent out travel emails before we left giving information about traveling abroad and specifically to Peru. In that email is recommended you stay away from dairy products, especially unpasteurized milk.. what they didn't tell you is that they don't always refrigerate their milk. For example you can walk into the store and buy milk of the shelf.. I kid you not.. and I was prepared to prove it.
Right on the shelf. Weird right? They don't refrigerate eggs either!!
Language barrier. We have discussed the fact that I obviously didn't know Spanish going over there but was extremely surprised with how quickly I picked it up! Spanish is very similar to French and having a French background made it really easy to understand a lot more then I could speak. Being in a foreign country and not being able to speak the language gave me a whole new respect for someone who is deaf, trying to communicate with people who don't know sign language.. so frustrating!
Thankfully I could understand more than I could speak too because there was not much for English at the airport and when I arrived my flight had not been assigned to a gate yet! The airport there was crazy, it was like trying to escape Fort Knox.. I'm not exactly sure what they thought you would be trying to take. Not to mention getting on the plane was an absolute cluster screw! No rhyme or reason to anything!
Having said all that I have never flown over night before and I was so lucky to have 3 seats to myself so that I could try and get some shut eye! I didn't sleep a lot and honestly I am glad because flying at night and watching the stars was like nothing I had ever seen.. they seemed so close, like I could reach out and touch them.. I wish I could have taken pictures.. it was the most amazing thing!
Well I think we have covered Peru! I may come up with another thing of two that I think I forget to tell you but I say we covered a lot of ground.. feel like you went with me yet? I hope so!
I plan to post tomorrow about our trip last week to Myrtle Beach and then we are going to be getting ready for our next adventure! We leave Monday for New Jersey.. I don't think I am ready but its happening. I am going to try and keep you all informed as we go like always and as we get settled! Tomorrow we are heading to the shooting range as well, you know I will have pictures of that!
Before I go.. I am not sure I shared this so I will do so now because even if I have it is worth sharing twice! This guy took corners like a champ and lord help those who got in his way!
Lovin' life... just how it should be!