Monthly Archives: May 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Day 191 – January 29, 2012

The Sign Says…” is this week’s photographic theme from WordPress and I am most happy to play along.

On the day that this photo was taken, the family and I were at the main zoo of Lima, Peru. There’s more about our trip to Parque de las Leyendas at this posting.

On that January day, not only did I learn about jaguars, coatis, and 3-litre bottles, but I also learned two other intriguing facts about Lima and its zoo…

1) Lima has a community of superheroes and according to this sign…

If he can fly, shouldn't the arrow be pointing up?

If he can fly, shouldn’t the arrow be pointing up?

2) …they have their own exit at the zoo.

Either that, or this sign is telling caped crusaders where they can change into their costumes.

Chips and Fish in Peru

May 30, 2013 – Day 678

I don’t know what the image looks like where you are, but here in Peru the homepage of Google is as below…

Doodle Tubers

Doodle Tubers

The reason for this Google Doodle is that today in Peru is the National Day of the Potato (Dia Nacional de la Papa).

Potato domestication was invented in Peru so the citizens are naturally proud of their tuber heritage. Depending on who you ask, there are 3,000 (according to our tour guide in Puno) or 3,500 (according to a local free newspaper, Publimetro) or 4,000 (according to our guide at our culinary tour of Lima) varieties of potatoes grown in Peruvian soil.

My last thought concerning potatoes revolves around me and langauge. I would assert that one of the last (and most difficult) aspects of grasping a new tongue is the concept of humor. There is such nuance in puns and wordplay that a student of a new langauge can be forgiven if they never fully grasp the wit of their studied language.

I am in no way making the assertion that I have mastered humor in Spanish, but I was humored to see that I was able to make a pun back in March that I saw repeated today in Publimetro.

When Pope Francis I was named th new Pontiff a few months ago, I tweeted this…

Thank you, Jack Dorsey

Thank you, Jack Dorsey

I am playing off the Latin “Habemus Papam”, which is the Latin announcement, “We have a Pope.” As I wrote about earlier, “Papa” is Spanish for Pope, but it is also the Spanish word for “potato”. I thought it was clever pun.

Well, so did the folks over at the free newspaper, Publimetro, because this was their headline on today’s front page…

Solanum tuberosum gets the front page treatment

Solanum tuberosum gets the front page treatment

I don’t, however, see any white smoke coming from that bowl.

Moving on and now that I’ve mentioned the “chips” part, you may be asking why is there “fish” in the title of today’s post?

That’s because on this Thursday AM I once again had the thrill of experiencing that “fishy smell” that I first encountered back in January of 2012.

I do so enjoy this place.

Getting High in Peru

May 25, 2013 – Day 673

What a difference one thousand feet can make.

When our family made our trip to Cusco back in December of 2011, I and no one else in our group suffered any ill effects of altitude sickness even though we were enjoying a Christmas in this Peruvian city that checks in at a height of 11,200 feet.

Fast forward to this month and our family’s outing to the city of Puno to sightsee around Lake Titicaca.

Upon arriving at the airport in Juliaca, Peru (the closest airport to Puno), we were greeting with this sign informing us of our latest altitude.

Andean Mountain High

Andean Mountain High

For those who care not to do the calculations in their head, 3,825 meters is the equivalent of 12,549 feet, which is more than twice the elevation of Denver, Colorado (aka The Mile High City).

In case you were curious, the “M.S.N.M.” next to the elevation figure stands for “Metres Sobre Nivel Mar” (Spanish for “meters above sea level”). There – you have officially learned something new today. Unless, of course, you already knew that. In that case, then you should know that 95% of the funds dispersed under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) have been recovered by the United States government as of May 2013.

There – now you have definitely learned something new today and you can check that off your “To Do” list.

Back to our main story and the entire reason I have brought up the elevation of Juliaca is that I succumbed to altitude sickness in Puno. This malady, which results in dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath, knocked me to the floor like the sub-prime housing market did to the economy.

While my family enjoyed a wonderful day visiting the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and kayaking in those same waters, I enjoyed the view of my hotel room.

For your enjoyment (and for mine also, since I’m seeing these photos for the first time), here are some of the views my family experienced.


Out on the lake, people live on floating islands. The islands are created by lashing totora reeds together and then covering the whole kit-and-kaboodle with dried reeds. Homes and other structures are then placed on the islands.


From what I was told, walking on the islands felt like stepping onto a waterbed.

Even some of the boats that ferry people between the islands are composed of reeds.

All aboard

All aboard

After a visit on the floating islands, the non-ill family members then strolled around Lake Titicaca in kayaks.


At the end of a long day, as my family waited for the boat to bring them back to Puno, the kids took some spare totora reeds lying around the docks and built their own boat.

Just Add Water

Just Add Water

Finally, and for no other reason than because I can, here is a picture of…well, see for yourself.

But does it sing?

But does it sing?

I guess a big-mouthed fish made of reeds is just the type of thing one sees when high in Peru.

Another One Buys the Bus

May 12, 2013 – Day 660

Every Sunday, the School that our children attend sends out an email with all of their weekly news. Along with notices about the latest happening in Mr. X’s class or how darling the performance was by Mrs. Y’s oboe students, an item in today’s electronic communications caught my eye.

The School was announcing that it was auctioning off five of its school buses. Granted, only four of them are actually working but the School did provide a list of all the parts needed to get Bus#5 back up and running.

I read this announcement with chagrin because I couldn’t figure out who would buy a Ford F-70 bus, but then I remembered I currently live in Peru.

Here in Lima, the public transportation system consists of a single bus line (The Metropolitano) and a single-line electric train (Metro).

For a city of nearly nine million people, there are only two lines to ferry people to and fro courtesy of the government.

The leftover demand for road transportation (and there is a great deal of leftover demand) is taken up by private individuals. Private ownership of cars is growing by leaps and bounds in Peru, but I would contend that the bulk of people are transported from Point A to Point B courtesy of taxis and combis.

Combis, for those who need a refresher course, are basically privately owned buses of various sizes. Ranging in mass from small vans to mini vans to larger, combis travel along a set route and pick up/drop off passengers along the way. They – to my eyes – are always packed tighter than a Japanese subway. I have never partaken of a ride in a combi and I do believe it is one of the experiences I will skip out on as our time in Lima winds down.

Since a combi is privately owned, this means that a person has to shell out the money to purchase whatever vehicle they will be using. That could be one of the reasons our School is advertising the upcoming auction of buses. It’s not an auction so much as an opportunity for someone to become an entrepreneur.

Likewise, an owner can also sell their combi, which explains the “Se Vende” (For Sale) sign on this vehicle…

Great Deal - Only driven on days ending in "s" or "o"

Great Deal – Only driven on days ending in “s” or “o”

Final note – Just in case you’re wondering (and I highly doubt you were) about the circle with the “70” in the left-hand side of the picture, this means that the bus can only reach a top speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43 mph).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

March 31, 2013 – Day 618

The photographic theme this week is…
The photographic theme this week is…
The photographic theme this week is…
The photographic theme this week is…
The photographic theme this week is…
The photographic theme this week is…


WordPress wants to see a picture that represents a pattern and so I will repeat myself and show you another picture of the central checkerboard floor that forms the center open-air space of the Museo de Arte in Lima (MALI).


Oh, look, there’s my daughter as she breaks up the pattern.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

March 31, 2013 – Day 618

From Above” is this week’s theme from WordPress.

Today’s response comes from the outing the family took to soak up some culture as we visited Museo de Arte in Lima, also known as MALI.

The building is a rectangle and in the center is a spacious center that looks like it would do a good job of hosting all manner of outside events. On this particular Sunday, this space was empty save its checkerboard-style black and white tiles and the four of us.

For no reason whatsoever except that I liked the effect, I decided to take a snapshot of one of the shiny black tiles while standing right over it.

A photo with a reflective quality

A photo with a reflective quality

In one of those series of photos that I took, which I have submitted above as my response, my daughter photobombed me.

Workers of the World, Take a Break

May 1, 2013 – Day 649

This day in Peru is a holiday known as Dia del Trabajo. Schools are out and most – but not all – business gave their workers the day off. Empleadas (domestic help) also receive the day off on this holiday.

Actually, this day is a holiday in most corners of the globe. The first of May, May Day, is known as International Workers’ Day and is meant to commemorate all those who labor (or “labour” if you live in England). First set up to honor the demonstrators killed during the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago, Illinois, May Day became a day for workers to march and celebrate their contributions.

Because the celebration of May Day has its roots in the Socialism movement of the late 19th Century, I am not overly shocked that May Day is not celebrated in the United States. The Stars and Stripes celebrates its labor force on the first Monday in September.

However, the first of May is an actual holiday in the United States. Workers living in the fifty states and the District of Columbia won’t have the day off and students won’t be out of school, but you can now win a bar bet by letting others know that today is Loyalty Day.

No, seriously, this is a real holiday. It even says so right here in the United States Civil Code.