Day 031 Randomocity
Day 031 – August 22, 2011
Random Observations (upon celebrating one month in Peru…)
Walkus Non Interruptus
On this Monday, after the children were on their bus and on their way to school, I took a stroll down to our local grocery store. During this particular walk, I was able to accomplish something for the first time.
I approached the bust of the man, Raul Ferrero, who gave his name to the street I was about to cross. I was about to stop on the curb and look both ways before crossing the usually busy avenue when I noticed that there were absolutely no cars coming in either direction. Without breaking stride, I bounded across the west-bound lanes, skipped across the traffic island containing the homage to Senor Ferrero, and ambulated leisurely across the street that would have had east-bound cars.
For the first time since arriving in Peru, I was able to cross this normally car-clogged street in a single bound without stopping.
It truly is the little things that give me pleasure.
Paper Size Does Matter
Once at the local grocery store, I made a purchase but didn’t realize my mistake until I arrived home. I had bought printer paper and it didn’t even dawn on me that I needed to look at the labels. I had been burned before when buying napkins, so I really should have known better.
Back in the States, when I went to my local office supply store, the only choice that I had to make regarding printer paper was whether the paper was for an inkjet, laser printer, scanner, or combo (Pedantic Aside: I am an avid follower of the Oxford comma. I think it clarifies things, feelings, and sentiments.). I would simply grab my 8.5 x 11 ream of paper and be on my way. Which is what I did here in Peru, except the size of the paper used here is quite different.
Who knew there was a paper format called “A4”? Well, according to this Wikipedia article, the entire world (save the United States and Canada) uses this format as their standard. Thankfully, my printer is smarter than I am and is able to use this format, but I have to keep selecting the “A4” option from my “Print” menu.
The start of the week also means the start of a new newspaper for me to read and digest. For more on that, you can jump over here.
Wrong Number, Please
Along with the format of the printer paper used here in Peru, I also need to learn the proper format of providing a phone number.
In the United States, I (and I’m guessing you also) give out my phone number one digit at a time. For example, with a phone number of 202-456-1414, I would say (omitting the area code) “four-five-six-one-four-one-four”.
As you may have already surmised, the tradition in Peru is quite different. Given a seven-digit number, the way a phone number is orally provided is by giving out the first number and then saying the rest of the numbers in pairs. The example given above would be said as “four-fifty-six-fourteen-fourteen”.
Since I am struggling with my ability to say and understand numbers in Spanish, I still revert to my method of saying phone numbers one digit at a time. Thankfully, all the Peruvians I have had to give my number to have been extremely patient with me.
Right Number, Thank You
Poco a poco, the saying goes, which means “little by little”. This is how I am learning to be comfortable with speaking Spanish.
Today’s experiment was to pick up the phone and call our local bottled water dealer. In my third-grade Spanish, I ask the woman on the other end of the line that I need bottled water. She asks for my direccion and I start to tell her how to arrive at house until I catch myself and remember that direccion means “address” in Spanish. I tell her our street name and number (Digression: In Peru, addresses are said by stating the street first and then the number. So one here says “Javier Prado 804”. Go fig.). She asks me how many bottles I need and how many empty bottles I have. I provide those numbers and she says the truck will be by in the afternoon (la tarde).
Now, la tarde can be anywhere from noon to 6pm, so I was expecting a bit of a wait since I made my call at 9am.
The water truck arrived at 12:30pm.
I love this place.