Things I’m getting accustomed to:
- Throwing toilet paper in the trash can next to the toilet. Only things that have at one time been put into your mouth go into the toilet. It is okay if the entered item decides to come back out of you mouth after wreaking havoc in your stomach.
- Roosters: The roosters next door no longer wake me up at 4 or 5 in the morning.
- Animals on rooftops: Here, many people keep their pets on their roof – otherwise they wander around in the street and try to bite me when I jog by. Popular animals on roofs are of course, dogs, but also roosters, turkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, and a caged bird or ten. (for example, my neighbor and host cousin feeding dogs and roosters)
- Misunderstandings – cultural and language barriers. If a woman offers you food and you turn it down, you are not communicating that you are not hungry, instead you are implying that you do no like her. If a man offers you beer or some other alcohol and you turn it down, because it’s 10 a.m. or you are going to teach a class, it’s not that you want to wait to have a beer later that night, it’s that you don’t like him. (luckily I haven’t had to deal with the booze at 10am yet…only at parties or nighttime events)
o There should actually be about 20 or 30 devoted to misunderstandings…
- Dogs in the street – this is something I will never understand (two months or two years). People think its okay to let their pets wander around the streets as if they were all their own individual country house with 20 acres for their animals. Due to this, you see dogs, hear dogs, and smell dogs all the time. Watch your step!
o Some municipalities have resorted to putting poison in the street for the dogs…similar to how you might leave rat poison around the basement/attic.
- Kisses on the cheek. This we all know about (I think). This culture, when a man greets a woman, or a woman greets a woman, you kiss on the cheek. Except in the mountains, people are more reserved there and they look at you funny when you do that (yes, personal experience speaking). People don’t really hug that much – which I don’t like, since I like to hug-it-out. Hugs are good on holidays though. I use my fellow volunteers to meet my hug quota.
- Pirated entertainment: Finding the original cd or dvd is very difficult – but don’t worry, you can find a copy on most street corners. I spent 30 sols ($10) on 3 dvd’s and 7 cd’s the other day. Haven’t bought porn yet, but there is plenty out there.
- Open conversations about bowel movements – I don’t think we have it nearly as bad as a lot of Peace Corps Volunteers on the food front. Peru has amazing food and on the list of countries – we’re pretty high on the health aspect. That said, Peru is still considered a “third-world country” and everyone here has had some sorta explosion, so we all enjoy sharing our experiences.
- PDA… I’ve never really had a problem with PDA and don’t care much if I see people making out. However, there are a lot of people that do care and you don’t see much other than hand holding, snuggling, or a peck here or there on the streets in the USA. That’s because you have privacy and can touch all you want in your own room/house/apt. Here, everyone lives with their family until married and you’re not allowed to have the opposite sex in your room. Hence; make-out bandits everywhere.
- Privacy, or lack thereof – see above statement. My room has a window facing into the house where everyone can see into it if they wish.
- Picking nose in public. This isn’t a surprise either. If you’ve been to Europe, it’s no big deal. In the dusty environment of Lima and its surroundings, Peruvians keep their nails short except for that pinky finger. Take a guess at what that’s devoted to?
I could write plenty more, but that’s enough for now. Here are some pics:
This is cuy (cu-ee) - or in English, Guniea Pig. It's actually pretty damn good.
- 4th of July, we had games (like dodgeball) all day. That's the victory team right there.
There is the highest tropical mountain in the world.