Monthly Archives: August 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

Day 157 – December 26, 2011

Time once again to leap on over to WordPress and discover that the theme for their weekly photo challenge is free spirit.

I nominate my middle child to be my representation of a free spirit.

When the family and I, along with my sister-in-law (sister of my lovely wife), travelled to the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in December, our middle child let his creativity and enthusiasm run wild. Please see below…

Son at Machu Picchu

Letting himself feel the moment

Along with the pose above, our middle child would yell out the phrase, “Feel the kingdom!” He did this pose and yell at various stops along the tour much to our delight (I can’t speak as to whether the other folks walking around Machu Picchu were delighted…but they should have been).

To my middle child…may he always allow his free spirit to be heard.

A Sunday Afternoon in the Infantil Parque

Day 401 – August 26, 2012

For a day – and thankfully on a weekend – the winter sky of Lima threw off its usual grey cloak of clouds and decided to let the sun make an appearance.

Well, to be honest, I have no idea if the seaside portion of the city or if the historic downtown section of Lima received sun. All I know is that our district of the City of Kings saw Sol and that’s good enough for me.

To celebrate this wonderous occasion of seeing our solar system’s star in the sky, I took our daughter to our neighborhood park – the one that was recently renovated.

We started off our park stay by enjoying a quick snack of fried dough. Now, a vendor of churros and yuquitas doesn’t want to put any old image on their kiosk to attract attention. No, this is Peru and as I have written before, The Simpsons are big in Peru so this cart selling fried dough was no surprise.

Cart selling churros and yuquitas in Peru


Our park contains a variety of play equipment for the little ones including those devices that kids can sit on and bounce back-and-forth (oh, I’m sure they have a real scientific name), slides, hopscotch courses, and a mini-golf course.

Scene in park in Lima, Peru

Fun in the winter sun

On weekends, the park also contains stands for other things for kids to do. There is a face-painting kiosk (a bit hit with our daughter), a table for children to do origami, and (below) a place to make some crafts.

Craft table in park in Lima, Peru

Mickey and Minnie say “hi”.

Our daughter took this opportunity to flex her creativity. At the arts table, she painted a piggy bank for herself where she can house the few nuevo soles that she has.

Piggy bank

And this little piggy came home

All in all, a wonderful way to spend a winter day in August.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Day 161 – December 30, 2011

What could be thought of as the polar opposite of Photo Friday’s theme of “quiet” (my response here), WordPress has offered up theme of “urban” for their weekly photo challenge.

The streets of Lima and its surrounding districts are chock full of tiny kiosks that sell all manner of snacks and drinks. For a few nuevo soles, a pedestrian can pick up an Inca Kola and a Sublime chocolate bar. However, the vendors of Lima are quite thoughtful and carbonated beverages and sweets are not the only items sold on the avenues.

For those business folk and other residents who find themselves walking down the street and realize that they need a pen, pencil, or a pad of paper, this person can help you out.

Office supply vendor on the streets of Lima, Peru

Just for those moments in the big city when you have to have a pen

A street-side office supply store. This is a great town.

Graph notebooks are available for sale also.

Photo Friday: Quiet

Day 158 – December 27, 2011

Quiet” is the theme from Photo Friday.

This week’s challenge had a higher degree of difficulty as Peru’s capital city, Lima, is rarely quiet.

So I delved into the archives from our December 2011 to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu for some peace and quiet.

On the last day of our wonderful trip, we visited the ruins of Suqsaywaman.

In one area of the site, visitors can climb up a small hill and look ut over the scenery. Because it is such an open space, all voices from the grassy floor below are carried away by the wind leaving you above the people in near silence.



Unluckiest of Days

Day 389 – August 14, 2012

I take Spanish lessons.

I do this because I live in a Spanish-speaking country and charades only get me so far when I need to communicate with all manner of Peruvians.

In almost over a year of taking classes on how to conjugate, how to understand the difference between ser and estar, and how to speak with the impersonal se, I now have two objectives when in class. The first is to learn how to speak better.

The second is to attempt to derail the class. I do this by asking the teacher questions about life and culture in Peru. Usually, when I make my move to move the conversation away from our exercise book and into all things Peruvian, I have to come up with a clever segue to change the direction from conjugating in the past tense to the vacation habits of folks from Lima.

Today, however, was a slam dunk as one of our exercises contained a bit of dialog where one of the actors said that (and I’m translating here) “Tuesday the 13th was a day of bad luck”.

This prompted me to ask if it was true that Martes trece was a day of poor fortune and, if so, why was this.

She could not explain why, but not only did my teacher confirm that Tuesday the 13th was indeed an unlucky day in Peru, but that it pales in comparison to the doom and gloom that comes with Sunday the 7th.

So bring out your good luck charms and mal de ojos to ward off the nasty spirits as this coming October sees a Sunday the 7th and November contains a Tuesday the 13th.

By the by, if you want to see some other results of how I have railroaded our class into divergent discussion, click on over to here

Parentally Approved Torture

Day 394 – August 19, 2012

Today – August 19 – was celebrated in Peru as Dia del Nino (Children’s Day).

Now, I’ll put aside the thought that every parent has at this moment that every day (except for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) is children’s day and get on with the story at hand.

In our household, we decided to honor this holiday by torturing two-thirds of our children.

We did this by taking our kids to the ballet.

The Ballet Municipal de Lima was offering up performances of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s work The Sleeping Beauty.

The one member of our progeny who enjoyed the show was our grade-school daughter who has done her time in a tutu at a ballet school and has even participated in a dance recital. She was excited about going to the show, but I did have to squash some of her expectations. She knew the story of Princess Aurora through the Disney movie, so I had to inform her that there would not be a Maleficent or a dragon-battling scene at the end. With that story clarification dispensed with, she settled in to enjoy the dancers leap, turn, and stand in all the five different traditional positions.

As for our two boys, this attempt at culture was summed up by the sole descriptive word of “boring”.

That’s too bad, because the ballet company will be performing Carmen in October and we will be going.

Photo Friday: Summer Colors

Day 150 – December 19, 2011

From Photo Friday, the theme this week for their weekly photo submission event is “summer colors“.

Normally, living as I once did in the United States, summer means the months of June, July, and August. However, residing here in the Southern Hemisphere now means that summer (or verano for those of you with a handle of the Spanish language) encompasses the months of December, January, and February.

This also means that Christmas falls during the summer, which means that for this theme from Photo Friday, I can offer up this colorful Nativity Scene seen in the Inka Market.

Nativity Scene in Lima, Peru

Nativity Scene with local color

Close up of Nativity Scene in Lima, Peru

Mary and Joseph sporting local Peruvian fashion

Just in case you’re wondering, like I was, where the baby is in this scene, I was told by locals who know these things that owners of Nativity scenes do not place the baby Jesus in its cradle until the 24th of December.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Day 332 – June 18, 2012

WordPress has announced the theme for this week and it is “merge“. One of the tips given by the creator of this theme is to “…try placing an object where it does not belong.”

Now I cannot take credit for placing this object where it should not belong. That dubious honor goes to my middle child. While kicking around a bouncy ball in our backyard on this Monday afternoon, he became a tad too rambunctious and booted it high into the air. Our yard is surrounded by high brick walls and every so often an object of play (ball, Frisbee, shuttlecock, etc.) would find its way over the wall and into one of our neighbor’s yard. Most of the time, those lost items wound its way back into our yard (we have pleasant neighbors even if we haven’t met them all), but there was always a lag in time between loss and recovery.

As I watched the mustard-colored orb arc towards the wall, I closed my eyes not wanting to watch another object be lost for a while.

However, that is not what happened as the ball landed here instead…

Ball in electric fence

Thumbs Up, I’m Okay

Yep, that’s an electric fence.

This ball is most definitely NOT where it belongs.

The epilogue to this story is that I was able to extricate the ball from its high voltage ledge and return it to my eager and active kids. (Thankfully, no bloggers were harmed in that operation.)

Educate Like It’s 2009…or 2003

Day 385 – August 10, 2012

In a previous life, I worked as a software tester. My basic job description was to find errors and discrepancies in software applications that other people had worked on. My employment raison d’etre was that I (and others like me) would find the bugs before the actual users of the system would. With that as my background, I am always tickled when discrepancies make it through a company’s quality assurance process and wind up in front of the users.

This predisposition of mine predates my employment in the information technology world as – way back when in 1983 – I wrote a letter to NBC News explaining to them that their globe in the opening credits of the nightly news program was spinning the wrong way. I received a lovely response (sadly, not from Tom Brokaw himself) from the folks at 30 Rockefeller Center saying they knew what they were doing and that their globe rotation was a version of artistic license.

Their response was bogus as they did change the graphic in 1984.

Back to this century and I could not help but laugh when I saw the student planners both of my boys came home with after their first days of school. These planners, provided by the School, are books and they are wonderful tools to help the kids organize their homework. However, there was a slight issue with the dates in the planner.

Crop of School planner - August 2012

Monday, August 17, 2012?

Crop of School Planner - October

Thursday, October 22, 2012?

If you take a moment at look at your calendar for 2012, you will notice that the second Monday in August is the 13th, not the 17th. August 17, 2012, lands on a Friday. Likewise, October 22, 2012, falls on a Monday, not on a Thursday.

It appears that the School accidentally took the format from a 2009 calendar and pasted 2012 where the year would go.


It becomes even stranger because for the month of September, one page looks like this…

Crop of School Planner - September

September 8, 2012?

The eighth of the ninth month in 2012 is on Saturday, not Monday. The last time 9/8 was on a Monday was in 2003.

So it now appears that the School took two different calendar year formats and mashed them into a 2012 calendar.

Someone over at the publishing company’s quality assurance department was asleep at the switch, which perhaps is a perfect opportunity for me to seek employment there.

The end to this story is that the School requested that the kids return their planners so they can be fixed. I’m curious to see what the remedy will be and will it be easier or harder than making the globe turn the other way.

The Leftist Point of View

Day 389 – August 13, 2012

You may not know this (I certainly didn’t) but August 13 is Left Handers Day, a day to celebrate all things left-handed.

The editors of Publimetro, a free Peruvian newspaper handed out on the street, knew of this day because they put out a special left-handed edition of their periodical. How do I know it was a left-handed edition? Look for yourself…

August 13 edition of Publimetro

In honor of Left Handed Day

What you see above is the front page of Publimetro with the headline Poder zurdo. “Zurdo”, to the best of my knowledge, is the Spanish slang term for a left-handed person and it makes a modicum of sense. In English, a leftie is known as a southpaw. This comes from the fact that in most pre-1990 baseball stadiums, a left-handed pitcher would have his throwing arm facing south (The Straight Dope does a better job of untangling the origins of this term). In Spanish, “south” is sur, which, with a tiny change to the pronunciation, comes out as zur.

Isn’t linguistics fun?

As you will no doubt notice, to read the next page of the paper, you had to turn the left-hand side of the page. This is how the whole paper is laid out and it was quite the ingenious tip of the left-handed hat to ten percent of the global population.

Inside, the paper had articles about famous lefties (soccer player Messi, President Barack Obama, singer/songwriter Paul McCartney) and products designed specifically for lefties (scissors, notebooks, keyboards, etc.).

There was no mention of the left-handed Whopper.