Monthly Archives: June 2012

On Sabbatical – Back in Late July

Day 339 – June 25, 2012

First and foremost – to all those who have followed my blog and have scanned my ramblings – thank you muchly for taking time out of your busy days to read my take on what life is like in Peru for a guy from the United States.

This is simply a quick entry to let you all know that I will be taking a sabbatical from writing in this space. I will return in late July.

Hope to see you all then.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

Day 213 – February 13, 2012

Create” be the theme this week from WordPress and I will turn the electronic floor over to my middle child with today’s offering.

I have written before about our children’s ability to showcase their creativity (see here and here), but here is more photographic proof of that capacity.

There is no real backstory to this creation of my middle child as it was not done for a school assignment or any other external factor. He simply wanted to build…

Hand made stagecoach

Cusco or Bust

…a stagecoach.

If this were an art gallery, I would say this installation piece is composed of paper, cardboard, glue, and two toy cars.

Why did he use cars to pull the stagecoach?

They have more horsepower.

Photo Friday: Words

Day 142 – December 11, 2011

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another photo theme to be unveiled by Photo Friday.

Once again, they do not disappoint in the department of creativity and variety. I have been enjoying these photo challenges more than mere words can express, which is appropriate as the theme for this week is “words“.

My offering shows the straightforward advice offered by the authorities of Parque de las Leyendas, the combination zoo, botanical garden, and archeological site that sits in the downtown of Peru’s capital city.

Outside one of the animal enclosures is this sign…

Warning sign outside jaguar site

Plain and simple…the way all warnings should be

As best I (and Google Translate) can figure out, the translation reads as follows:

If you step across the barrier, you can get hurt. Do not do it.

The reason for the warning can be found in the upper right of the picture.

That’s a jaguar.

I don’t know if the sign actually says it and I mis-translated, but I believe the wording should be changed from “you can get hurt” to “you will get hurt”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Day 324 – June 10, 2012

I am nowhen close to being on time with this week’s photo challenge from WordPress, which is simply a quasi-clever way of segueing into the fact that the theme this (last?) week from those folks who host this blog (and many many others) is indeed “close“.

My offering is a collection of dings and dents in the asphalt that are close to each other.

Cuts and ruts in road asphalt

Cuts and ruts and dings and dents

This section of damaged road is on the same street that closes every Sunday so that pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy a leisurely stroll without having to worry about dodging cars and trucks.

All of these ruts and cuts appeared within a week, so how did this happen?

The answer falls under the category of unintended consequences (or, alternately, under the heading of “When the Heck Did That Show Up?!?”)

A few weeks ago, the district of La Molina opened up a health clinic on this section of the road to help treat people for all manner of minor medical issues, mental health matters, and there is even an adult playground full of exercise equipment.

Health clinic in La Molina

Sunny day

This clinic also includes a stoplight display to alert people to how much ultraviolet (UV) radiation is hitting their skin courtesy of the sun’s rays.

Oh…back to the ruts.

Along with the UV stoplight, another gesture of safety from the builders of the clinic was the installation of a large combination speed bump-crosswalk that allows people to cross the street safely to arrive at the clinic.

Speed bump in La Molina

In Peruvian Spanish, this artifact is called a “superompemuelle”

This speed bump is so large that when cars approached it at full speed, the auto made its downward arc in such a way that the front of the bumper dug into the asphalt creating the ruts. In addition, because the speed bump was built so quickly (in a shade over a week) and because no warning signs were installed, drivers did not initially know the artifact was there until their car was semi-airborne and leaving its mark in the asphalt.

What was good for the health of the citizens turned out to be not so beneficial to the health of the street.

Playground Before and After

Day 316 – June 2, 2012

We spent a fantastic Saturday with the family enjoying the grand re-opening of our neighborhood park. This is a park specifically designed for children. Some parks in Lima, Peru, are beautiful green spaces with benches and trees and are suitable places for contemplation. While these locales may be fantastic for daydreaming and people-watching, they are the epitome of boredom for tykes.

Our local park has stuff for the little ones. There is a slide, a mini-golf course, and even – for a nuevo sol or two – a ride or two (see below).

Playground attraction

Vehicles and trampoline

The reason our neighborhood park was having a grand re-opening was because our city of La Molina spent some time upgrading and refurbishing the place.

Before the grand re-opening, the park had a wooden apparatus that had climbing poles, slides, and swings (no photo available). In March, the city razed that structure leaving this blank sandy space.

Empty sandlot in playground

Slides – Before

A few months later, this is what appeared.

Playground slides

Slides – After

This slide on the far right – to my eye – appears to have a portion of it that goes straight down. My daughter, after having gone down said slide, confirmed for me that this slide is indeed quite fast.

In addition to installing new playground equipment, the city also brightened up other aspects of the park. One of my favorite objects in this location is this item below that is one of those comedic doo-hickeys where people stick their heads through a picture so they look like characters. While there are these objects that make a couple look like a weightlifter and trapeze artist, or two clowns, or Mickey and Minnie Mouse, I believe that this item below is the one and only object on the globe that contains the following two characters.

Lazy Town photo device

Before

Putting aside the degraded nature of this object, please note that these two characters are from the children’s television show LazyTown. While the show may be known in the United States, this program is wildly popular here in Lima. These characters, Stephanie (in pink) and Sportacus (not in pink), appear on all sorts of school supplies and clothing. In addition, a live version of the show came to Lima and played for three days.

This is what the item looks like now after its makeover.

Lazy Town photo device

After

If you can find on this Earth another photo doo-hickey with these two characters, please let me know.

Photo Friday: Clothing

Day 213 – February 20, 2012

Clothing” is the photographic theme this week from Photo Friday.

Since I have no sense of fashion, I offer up for this challenge the sartorial styling of the Yagua people of the Peruvian portion of the Amazon jungle.

Yagua tribesmen with blow darts

Yagua tribesmen with blow darts

If anyone feels the urge to make a snarky comment about a man in a skirt, you should know these folks are dead-shots with their blow gun darts…and those little darts hurt.

Two Shades of Advertising

Day 324 – June 10, 2012

This post was originally going to be about the mime.

This post was originally going to be about why the mime is in this billboard for a brand of beer.

Peruvian poster for Cristal beer

The Home Team

This post was originally going to be an explanation from my Spanish teacher as to why the mime is in this advertisement. This billboard for Cristal beer has the tagline – to the effect of – that when the national futbol team of Peru plays, all Peruvians play. In that vein, the quarter of figures to the side of the futbol player all represent various aspects of the Peruvian character.

This post was originally going to be about how the construction worker, the baker, and the woman with the cactus all represent the hard-working nature of Peruvian society.

This post was originally going to be about how the mime – as explained by my Spanish teacher – represents the artistic side of Peruvians. With all the art studios, theaters, and music that reside in Lima (and especially the artist enclave of Barranco) it should come as no shock that creativity resides in the Peruvian soul. While a paint-splattered artist or guitar-wielding musician could have been used to represent the artistic side, my Spanish teacher told me that the mime is known throughout Peru and so makes an appropriate symbol for the arts.

This post was originally going to end with the astute observation that while all the baker is holding a round loaf of bread, and the gardener is holding a round plant – all things to emulate the soccer ball the player is holding – the mime is actually pantomiming a ball.

But then, things changed. (And from this point on, I invoke Disclaimer No.1.)

I saw this advertisement on a Sunday while on our walk down the street that our city closes so that pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy some exercise with having to dodge cars.

I saw this advertisement and though I have been in Lima now for nearly a year, something about this quintet of persons seemed new and unique to my eyes.

I saw this advertisement and realized that this was one of the extremely few times – in nearly a year – that I had seen non-white faces on a commercial billboard.

I saw this advertisement and realized that when companies want to show hard-working folk, they have people with a darker skin tone be front and center. When businesses want to highlight wealth, prosperity, and beauty (which I have written about before), the skin tone of the people is a wee bit lighter.

As my cases in point, here are the advertisements I saw during the rest of my walk on this one day on one street…

Ad for Citi in Peru

I can go on vacation

An ad for luggage in Peru

I can travel to Paris

Ad for department store in Peru

I look fashionable

Advertisement for college in Peru

I can obtain a degree

An advertisement for cologne in Peru

I can afford a dog, paddleboard, and to travel to wherever the Dickens I am

Go back to the Cristal beer advertisement and compare the shading of the four hard-working folk (skip the mime…I’m pretty sure that’s theatrical make-up he has on) with the shading of the fashionable, smiling, prosperous, and successful folk in the quintet of billboards above.

I had a witty ending to this post, but that was when this post was originally going to be about the mime.

Know Your Currency: The 2012 Edition

Day 315 – June 1, 2012

In the past, I have written pieces about the currency used here in Peru.

I’ve talked about the one-centimo piece.

I’ve rambled on about the 20-nuevo soles note and the 100-nuevo soles bill.

I’ve even written about who is honored on the 50-nuevo soles bill and the 10-nuevo soles piece of paper.

Last year, I wrote a post about how the Peruvian equivalent of the United States Mint was channeling the same spirit that inspired the U.S. Mint to create the Fifty States Quarters project because nuevo soles coins were appearing with different designs. Last year, I saw one-nuevo sol coin featuring a tumi and a representation of Machu Picchu.

Well, the fun continues in 2012 as I came across a one-nuevo sol coin with a new design.

Quick asideand new slang term…for you to know if you ever find yourself in Peru and want to blend in.

The slang term for a one-nuevo sol coin is a luca (pronounced lou-ka).
A fifty-centimo piece is also known as a china (pronouced chee-na).
Therefore, something that costs S/. 1.50 is said to cost luca-china.

Back to the new design…drum roll, please…

Reverse of 2012 Peru 1-sol coin

My apologies for the coin being off-kilter

The image on the back of this coin is a representation of Piedra de Saywite. This artifact is a rock monolith with more than two hundred geometric and zoomorphic figures carved into it. This item is located in the Abancay province in the Apurímac region of the country, which is southeast of Lima and west of Cusco.

Finally, the text underneath “DE SAYWITE” reads “S. XV d.C.”. What this translates to is “fifteen century A.D.”. The “S” stands for siglo, the Spanish word for “century”. “XV” is the Roman numeral for 15. “d.C.” stands for desde Cristo, which is Spanish for “after Christ”. I am taking the guess that this date is when the Saywite was discovered by the Spanish and not when the site was built.

This place looks interetsing enough that I guess I should add this location to our list of places to see.

Does Their Parent Know About This?

Day 325 – June 11, 2012

In our area of Peru, we had two options for television service. The first was the satellite option courtesy of DirectTV with its signal coming out of Puerto Rico. We opted for the cable path and signed up with Movistar.

The fun with Movistar’s program offering – other than the five channels solely devoted to soccer futbol – is that several of the channels are the Latin American version of networks found in the United States. These channels are dubbed in Spanish and have commercials for products that can only be found in Chile, Mexico, or Argentina.

With The History Channel or The Science Channel, the programs themselves are dubbed in Spanish so this gives me an opportunity to practice hearing this language. It also makes for fascinating viewing as I watch Adam Savage and Jaime Hyneman, of Mythbusters fame, speak in vastly different pitches and timbres that what I am used to (a phenomenon similar to what I wrote about earlier with Phineas and Ferb).

Other channels leave the programs in English, but all the commercials and network promos are in Spanish. One of those networks that does this is the Latin American version of Syfy – the broadcast entity formerly known as The Sci-Fi Channel.

On Syfy, I like to watch Face Off. I enjoy this program because it is in that genre of reality-competition show (e.g., America’s Next Top Model, The Voice) but it showcases a profession – movie make-up – that fascinates me.

All the above is superfluous to what I wanted to mention with this posting.

In various moments while watching Syfy, I have seen a network promo advertising the original movies that Syfy airs. These movies are like cheddar, gouda, and mozzarella because they are so down-right cheesy. With titles like 2-Headed Shark Attack, Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, and Pirahnaconda (yes, it’s part fish and part snake) you have the idea that these flicks are not going to be Fahrenheit 451 or even Waterworld.

So, when I watch this Syfy promo touting their movies, I am surprised to hear the announcer say “incredible special effects” as a poorly-made CGI gigantic snake swallows a train. Now I have a limited command of Spanish so I thought my translation may be wrong, but my lovely wife confirmed that “incredible special effects” is indeed what the announcer says.

Then, my lovely wife translated for me the entire script of what the announcer says, which goes a little something like this…

“Great acting (as the commercial shows a man in a tunic hamming it up)”
“Incredible special effects (as the aforementioned computerized reptile swallows a train)”
“Memorable lines (as actors say things like “Look at the size of that thing”)”
(Pause)
“None of which will be found in these movies!”

I had to laugh when my lovely wife provided me with this full translation. However, I now have to wonder if the parent company knows what thier Latin American child is doing with this tongue-in-cheek commercial.

Then again, if you’re a network that is going to air a movie starring Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams about the hunt for Bigfoot, then I’m guessing you have a fully-developed sense of humor.

Second Act Acts

Day 324 – June 10, 2012

I have written before that the City of Kings is a music lover’s paradise as several popular acts come to this city 12 degrees south of the Equator.

In addition to singers and bands of today (e.g., Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato), Lima, Peru, is a destination for those performing folk who have been around for quite some time.

These folks may not fill the stadiums back in the United States, but they are still popular enough globally to pack the performing venues here.

These acts date from the 1980s…

Poster for New Kids on the Block concert

Can they still be considered “new” or “kids”?

…the 1970s…

Poster for Roger Hodgson concert

Roger Hodgson in concert

…and even the 1920s.

Poster for Peruvian horror circus

Nighttime performances only

I’m so happy to see Nosferatu is still getting gigs ninety years after his big premiere.

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