Raving About Dishes

Day 001 – July 23, 2011

I wish I could tell you that our first night in Lima was a restful one, but that would be a lie. If you’ve read the About section in this yonder blog, you already know that I will only lie about two things: my name and the fact that the monkey does not make across the gap.

The glorious reason why the wife and I did not sleep well on our inaugural noche is because one of our neighbors (I was never sure which one because sound waves echo and bounce around like pachinko balls with all the brick and concrete that make up the houses around here) was holding a dance party / rave / sound system demonstration that lasted until (I kid thee not) 6:00am.

Let me now read to you from page 16 of the Housing Handbook given to us by my wife’s employer…

Lima is a noisy place…Noise abatement laws vary slightly depending on the part of the city, but all are extremely weak. At night, there are established quiet hours after which there is supposed to be no noise, but fines are reportedly so light that organizers are happy to pay them in order to continue the party.

If this is what every weekend (or Heaven forbid…every night) holds for us, this is going to be a long (and tiring) ### years.

Now perhaps you are wondering, like I was at about 3:36am, why couldn’t I simply shut the windows and drown out some if not all of the trilling melodies assaulting our eardrums. The simple reason was that I couldn’t because in our new dwelling, the windows cannot close. Through an amazing architectural and design decision made by someone, all of the windows are either…

…simple vertical slats that do not, when placed in the closed position, form a complete seal, or;
…hinged planes of glass that also, when “closed”, do not form a complete seal.

Here…look for yourself (and marvel at my ability to post an image into a blog…tremble, darn it!).

The windows of our house

Windows that do not close

These panes of glass are, to me, malfunctioning windows [insert your own Bill Gates / Microsoft joke here]. These “holes in the wall covered by glass” would never work in the climes of Northern Virginia (from whence the family and I came) because it gets cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and these types of ventanas would let all the good temperature out and the wrong climate in. However, here in Peru, where the mercury rarely dips below 60 or travels north of 80, the concept of insulation is not known to the Peruvian home-builder (and here I invoke Disclaimer No. 1).


When the music finally stopped and we are able to grab a few hours of sleep, we awoke on Saturday and tackled our first decision of the day…what to have for breakfast. Now, if this was some foodie-and-travel blog, I would tell you what we had, how to prepare it, and even post some FAB photos of it complete with creative lighting and maybe even a well-placed fork.

This is not that type of blog so I am moving on to the post-meal activity and my first shocking discovery about the life that awaits me in Peru. After the meal, I begin my task of clearing the table and carting the dirty dishes and silverware to the sink to begin the process of lightly dusting them water and placing them in the dishwasher.

I said…”placing them in the dishwasher”…but THERE IS NO DISHWASHER!

Yes, the dishes would have to be done the old-fashioned way. It has been a long time since I have washed dishes by hand. In fact, the time frame I’m speaking of is “never”. I have always had a dishwasher in the kitchen, even in the run-down building posing as an apartment I rented when I was a senior in college, so I had no idea how to do this.

This is where television saves the day. I thought back to all the times I saw Barbara Billingsley, Ann B. Davis, Marla Gibbs, or some housewife in a commercial wash dishes. I imagined how they filled up one side of the sink with hot soapy water and the other with cold. A dish would go into the hot suds and have all of the foodstuffs sponged off followed by a dunking in the cold H2O to rinse off all the soap. Once the rhythm is established, it becomes sort of a Zen-like state…

…which quickly is broken when it dawns on me, as the flotsam and jetsam of our breakfast piles up in the sink, that THERE IS NO GARBAGE DISPOSAL (my second shocking discovery)! What the Sam-Dickens am I going to do with the pile of garbage that is slowly accumulating in the sink? It seems quite inefficient to haul the garbage can over to the sink every time I do the dishes but I stand perplexed and paralyzed by my dilemma until my wife steps in with a solution from her past. Her family had a maid when she was growing up and she saw that the maid would place a small plastic bag by the faucet and she would drop all the detritus from the meal into that bag, like so…

Mini-Garbage for the sink

Still Life With Plastic Bag, Sink, and Pineapple

Learn something new every day, I do.

With that situation resolved, it was time to go from washing the dishes to washing ourselves with a refreshing shower, but that’s a story I can dish out later.

About sinpolaris

sinpolaris is the psuedonym of a guy who likes to write.

Posted on August 19, 2011, in Difference, Peru and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Garbage disposals are cheap and easy to install. The question is, are you allowed to put it in.

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