Peru Observations

This is just a fun list of observations that we as outsiders noticed while visiting Peru from October 23, 2016 – December 10, 2016.

1 | They are obsessed with cleaning in San Isidro. You see crews of people out constantly sweeping, pressure washing, picking up trash, and trimming plants.

2 | They have polished concrete sidewalks in many areas of Lima. Our guess is that it makes them easier to mop (which you see people doing regularly).

3 | There are an infinite number of police, security guards, and military personnel on the ground. I have never seen such a show of force before in my life and I lived on a military base for a while and we even had a former U.S. President visit the base one time.

4 | Weather is like in the movie Pleasantville, same everyday. Partly cloudy, high of 70. They measure their rainfall in millimeters per year.

5 | OSHA isn’t really a thing here. We have watched many of work crews with hardhats laying on the ground near them and when they finally pack up to leave they put the hard hat on so they don’t have to carry it. You don’t really need it before then.

6 | While you aren’t wearing your hardhat you should “walk” the ladder around the job site. It would take too much time to get down and move the ladder each time. These guys have crazy skills.

7 | At certain high traffic times of day traffic cops override lights and stand in traffic to direct cars when to go or stop. It is bizarre to watch a cop motion someone through a red light. The best part of the whole process is that as soon as the light turns green the cars start honking even though this is a daily occurrence.

8| When you are walking on the sidewalk and someone is oncoming they won’t move out of your way. Sometimes they will go so far as to run you off the sidewalk. One time a guy was oncoming and long before we would pass each other I started moving over toward Steve and the guy kept coming closer to me as I moved closer to Steve. It is so crazy and I would love to know the logic behind it.

9 | Taxis sure do know how to make a girl feel good about herself. You just barely walk out the door and taxis start honking at you. It is there way of letting you know they are available to give you a ride.

10| Taxis drive constantly with their hazards and/or brights on. These both mean several things: I will pull over to the side of the road at any moment, I currently don’t have a fair, don’t step out in front of me, your not driving fast enough in front of me, and the list goes on and on.

11 | Drivers communicate more with their horns than signals. A horn honk could mean: don’t step out in front of me, I am about to pass through this intersection, I am about to change lanes, you aren’t moving fast enough, you just stopped randomly in front of me blocking the lane, you ran that light, you didn’t run that light, the light changed go…

12 | You aren’t grocery shopping properly if you finish shopping before you get in line at the register. Once the cashier starts ringing your groceries up you should go get several more items for them to ring up. Seriously people would look at me like something was wrong because I didn’t leave the register to go pick up a few more items.

13 | To flush or not to flush (TP)? That is the question. Steve asked one of the guys at the office and he said never to flush TP. Then we read this article from a gal who lives in Peru and she says the opposite. This is a major debate and honestly I never did get a really clear answer so we played it safe and put it in the can. YUCK!

14 | Almost all public restrooms do not have toilet seats on the toilets. Why? Again YUCK! This means you know what is all over the place all around the toilet.

15 | On a happier note they have chicha morada. A juice made from blue corn. I found a recipe and I can’t wait to try making it when we get back home.

16 | I thought traffic circles in Oregon were bad/crazy. The multiple lane (4 to 6 lanes) traffic circle are insanity. Especially because no one is in the lane they actually need to be in and they haphazardly cut across lanes to get where they want to be at the last moment.

17 | Inka Kola – Tastes like bubble gum! What? I am pretty sure it is the national drink. You see people of all ages drinking it like it is going out of style.

18 | They pay people to stand and water lawns with a garden hose. I mean for 6 to 8 hours a day. I guess they don’t have sprinklers in Peru.

19 | They are a socialist country but they don’t seem to do a lot of handouts. They do seem to make up jobs so that everyone can have a job and be a contributing member of society. This means when you go to parks there are massive work crews (30-40 people), half of which are standing around.

20 | You see very few beggars. You do see people selling candy right outside grocery stores. Or you can buy all manner of things while stopped at a traffic light: beverages, snacks (including ice cream), CDs, sun screens for your car and books. You also occasionally see people performing in the streets at traffic lights (dancing, juggling, etc.). I have to give Peruvians credit they know how to hustle to make a buck.

21| They have double decker parking with lifts to maximize parking lots.

22| Originally I thought we might have been transported to the 1990s. Remember when car alarms used to go off like crazy and no one payed any attention. Yep, that is Peru. The best was when we saw a lady standing on the sidewalk changing a baby in the front seat while the alarm was going off. 

22| Everyone litters. I have never seen so much trash stuffed in seat backs, in and under seats on a plane as getting off the plane in Peru. I am horrified at the amount of trash you see dropped out car windows and on sidewalks. The only logic I can think of is that they are creating a job for someone else.

23 | I am surprised by the mix of Spanish, Italian, and English that people speak on a regular basis. People regularly answer the phone hello but then continue their conversation in Spanish. And their farewell is ciao. We even asked one of our Airbnb hosts about the Italian influence and they agreed and explained that there had been a number of Italian immigrants through the years.

24 | Based on the number of times per day I hear the word Claro (meaning clear) I think it must be their favorite word. You will over hear conversations and people will say claro, claro, claro (at least 3 times in a row) or they use claro in the place of uh-huh and just repeat it over and over again like a broken record.

25 | Another word you hear often is Perfect. They say it without an accent just as we would in the US. 

26 | Peruvians are an impressively proud people. They have pride in their country, history, work, etc. It comes across in the way they talk and in their actions for the most part.

27 | One day we were walking up by the Museum of Art of Lima (MALI) and we walked through is combination underground bus station/mall. 

28 | They have trash cans on just about every street that look kind of like green eggs. Steve & I affectionately referred to them as eggs. We saw them in Lima, Cusco, Arequipa and Nasca.

29 | Stores of the same type group together so you get things like hardware alley or eye glasses lane where you will have a street that is one store right after another carry the same or very similar things. One stop shopping is a foreign concept here.

30 | Gas prices are listed by the gallon here not the liter.

31 | Eggs are always found on the shelf here not in the refrigerated cases. Plus on occasion you get some bonus butt fuzz on your egg. 

32 | Quail eggs are very common in grocery stores here.

33 | You can go paragliding off the cliff near Larcomar. Check out Steve’s flight.

34 | They have armed riot police stationed at all 4 corners of the Plaza de Armas at all times. It sure looks like they see a lot of action.

35 | They have crazy trees that look like a cross between a palm tree and an evergreen.

36 | They have garage door openers hung in the open air and they put a small covering over them to protect them from the elements.


    • Steven Martindale

      Of all of the items on the list, I thought you would have commented on the ladder work. It seems like it is right up your alley.

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