Category Archives: Random

Countdown Day

March 21, 2013 – Day 608

Since the creation of this blogspace – and with a few omissions such as the entries that have I done from February until now – I have started every post with a date and the number of days that I have been in Peru. Today’s example shows that I have been living in the City of Kings for six hundred and eight days. Since July of 2011, I have been counting up.

Today, I can now also start counting down.

I have given a few hints here and there, but now – today – I can finally announce the news.

Why today? Because today is March 21. Written another way, the date is 3/21. Or, 3…2…1.

Get it? Countdown Day.

Come the end of June / start of July (actual dates are in still in flux), myself and the rest of the family unit are picking up from our locale twelve degrees south of the Equator and moving halfway around the world to be twelve degrees north of the Equator.

We’re off to Thailand – the Land of Smiles.

I am now accepting submissions for what to rename this blog because once we move to Thailand, I will once again be able to view the Pole Star.

Update From Last Week

Today’s post – as the helpful title up top suggests – is all about updates from stuff I wrote about last week.

Tuning Up

As mentioned in this post (among others), Lima attracts many music acts from around the globe.

Last week saw the following performers and groups ink deals to come on down to the City of Kings:

…Foreigner (April 2);
…Black Sabbath (October); and
…Ringo Starr (November)

Under The Robes

That same post about musical acts also mentioned that Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Antonin Scalia flew to Lima to headline a seminar about justice. While I could find no news clippings about Justice Scalia travelling to Machu Picchu or any other Peruvian tourist site, I did catch this photograph of him in El Comercio that accompanied an interview held with him.

This justice is not color blind

This justice is not color blind

While I will not categorize Justice Scalia as a fashion model, I must admit that he certainly can rock the casual “I’m-on-vacation” look better than Justice Ginsberg but probably not as well as Chief Justice Roberts.

Dry Elections

St. Patrick’s Day, as mentioned in an earlier post, saw a city-wide election in which the citizens of Lima were decided whether or not to recall the city’s mayor, Susan Villaran.

Starting on Friday, the concept of “ley seco” (dry law) took effect. The ley seco prohibited the sale and public consumption of alcohol for a few days before an election. At our local grocery store, the beer and wine section were covered with white plastic with a note to the customers explaining why spirits were not being sold. I’m not quite sure what the purpose of the “dry law” is, but the alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day was not the oddest aspect of this Sunday.

Yes, the recall vote was held on a Sunday. For those in the reading audience who might be wondering how this civic function affected church services and attendance in this Catholic country, fret not.

The city of Lima simply cancelled morning and afternoon church services.


What is Spanish for “Irony”?

The votes have been counted and Mayor Villaran survived…barely. Just over fifty-one percent voted to keep her in office. However, there were casualties. Twenty of the thirty-nine regidores (akin to City Council members I believe) were voted out.

Ironically enough, the son of the man who was a main backer of the drive to remove Villaran was one of the twenty regidores shown the door by voters.

I bet that’s going to make for an awkward Easter family dinner.

Puzzle Post

During our cruise around the eastern coast of South America, I took pictures of many things.

However, this post is about a particular septet of photographs. Here, have a look. There will be a quiz later.

Outside a beach in Rio de Janeiro

Outside a beach in Rio de Janeiro

Street statue in Buenos Aires

Street statue in Buenos Aires

Souveneir items in Buenos Aires

Souvenir items in Buenos Aires

Another statue in Buenos Aires

Another statue in Buenos Aires

Couple and friend in Punta del Este, Uruguay

Couple and friend in Punta del Este, Uruguay

Cruise ship mascot all dressed up

Cruise ship mascot all dressed up

Outlet and warning in cruise cabin room

Outlet and warning in cruise cabin room

The seven photos above all contain objects that share a common theme. The first part of your challenge is to discover what those objects are and what they have in common. Once you discover that commonality, your next step is to figure out what are some other objects I could have included that fit the common theme.


Whoever is responsible for this logo is a creative genius.

The country of Peru has created its own marketing logo. Seen on clothing and even the national currency, it goes by the name “Marca Peru” and it looks a little something like this…

The logo of Peru

The logo of Peru

What I like about the logo is that it is clean (read: simple, not complex) and it imparts the information the creators want to convey (read: PERU!).

I have been here over a year and a half and have seen this logo countless times however it was not until recently that I discovered that Marca Peru is also used to convey two concepts about Peru.

The first idea is the deep history that this country contains. The lines that comprise “Peru” are similar to the famous Nazca lines. Specifically, the concentric circles of the “P” reflect the “Monkey” figure from Nazca. Take a look…


The designers of this logo have also managed to convey the future that is Peru. The concentric circles of the “P” are meant to represent the “@” that comprises all email addresses. This use of the “at sign” is designed to show that Peru embraces technology.

(Fun Language Trivia Fact: The “@” symbol, which is called the “at sign” in English, is called “arroba” in Spanish.)

So, Peru is therefore not only all about its rich roots (i.e., the cultures of Moche, Inca, Nazca, etc.) but is also a forward-looking technology-embracing land.

All of that from a logo.

Proof that the citizens of Peru know a little something about technology, I hereby offer this minor sample where the locals put their own spin on an on-line craze.

Ladies and gentlemen, a version of the Harlem Shake as done in the Lima suburb of La Molina as created by Publimetro, a free daily newspaper.

Other versions can be found here (you can tell they are in Peru because of the Inca Kola bottle on the table) and here and here (the box that the boy is thumping in the middle is a Peruvian percussion instrument called a cajon) also.

Nowhere near Kansas

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the family and I went on a nine-day cruise off the eastern shoreline of South America. We started in Brazil and in fact the majority of the passengers and a large portion of the crew were from that large country.

That last sentence was just the set-up for this query…

How can you tell you are on a Brazilian ship?

Because when the Super Bowl was being held on February 3 while we were at sea, the cruise line did not broadcast the game between the Ravens and the 49ers. No TV anywhere on the floating vessel – not in the cabins, not in the sports bar, not on the giant video screen by the pool – showed the teams coached by the Brothers Harbaugh battling it out.

However, a few days later, when Brazil played England in a friendly soccer game…that contest was shown on every available screen. Even the giant video display by the pool.

By the way, England won 2-1 much to the dismay of 98% of the passengers.

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.

Day 028 Randomocity

Day 028 – August 19, 2011

Random Observations…from our local grocery store.

The Opening Bell

Part of my daily routine is to take a walk to our local grocery store and buy supplies. I like to arrive when the store opens – which is around eight in the morning. Yes, grocery stores here in our section of Lima are not open twenty-four hours, which is a revelation I posted about earlier.

I like to arrive when the store opens because this is the time when the all the fruits and vegetables in the produce section are in neat and tidy. The staff has definitely been and I like to admire their handiwork. When I have arrived later in the afternoon, bananas are mixed in with the watermelon, apples and pears are partying together, and it’s a helter-skelter hodgepodge.

The opening time is also, it appears in my limited sample size, when the store pipes in the music from 1980s, which I like.

Read For Meaning

During my shopping today, I was excited to see that there was 2-for-1 deal being offered for ice cream. The sign said the price was S/. 5.45 – which is a great deal for the frozen treat.

So I was surprised when my pair of ice cream containers went through the price scanners at the checkout and I was charged S/. 10.49.


Later, I went back and read the sign and it told all who could read for meaning (and the fine print) that this deal was like getting each quart of ice cream for S/. 5.45.

It’s bad enough having to read signs in a completely different language without having to decipher the tiny text after the asterisk.

Condiment Redux

Because I can, here is another picture of the four-kilogram buckets of ketchup and mustard. This product flabbergasts and amuses me.

Buckets of ketchup and mustard

The right side of the picture is in honor of Chick Hearn

Fantastic…a-ha is now playing over the store speaker system.

License to Nashville

Day 279 – April 26, 2012

This post is for the person from Tennessee‘s Davidson County who used to have the automotive license plate bearing the symbols TPR 771.

Tennessee license plate sample

Plate from the Volunteer State

If you were curious whatever happened to your TPR 771 plate, it now resides on a brown Toyota Corolla Saloon (model year unknown)  earning its keep as a taxi driving fares around the environs of Lima, Peru.

Just thought you should know.

Day 025 Randomocity

Day 025 – August 16, 2011

Random Observations

Call Me Chicken, But…
Yet another moment of newness for me as I wandered down the aisles of one of our local grocery stories. I was going to cook the evening meal so I needed my required ingredients. First up on the menu were chicken breasts.

Now, back in the States, when I shopped for poultry, I am used to buying my preferred fowl wrapped in protective plastic. I’m not sure if this is a federal, state, or local regulation, but I am glad that the chicken that on display in Safeway, Ralph’s, or Wegmans has been covered for my protection.

Thus, I was taken aback when I approached the butcher section and saw parts and pieces of chicken all out on display sans packaging. When I requested a pair of chicken breasts, the person with the blood-stained apron and big knife took out a large two-tined fork and speared the specified flesh. She hoisted the meat, placed it in a plastic bag, weighed it, affixed a price sticker to it, and handed it to me.

When in Rome…

The dinner itself was fairly decent, if I say so myself. I marinated the chicken in a combination of mustard and teriyaki sauce. The recipe called for Bacon Bits, but since that product is ridiculously expensive here, I bought shelled peanuts and crushed them up to serve as the sprinkling on the chicken. Top with Parmesan cheese, throw in the oven for some temperature for some length of time, and there you go.

(Aside: Not sure when this blog turned into a foodie web offering. Let me get back on track.)

A Factorable Difference
In reading the newspapers here in Peru, I have to remember a crucial difference when the story deals with numbers.

Spanish uses the word millones to refer to the English equivalent of a million (1,000,000). However, just to make things interesting, the concept of thousands (1,000) is expressed in Spanish using the word mil.

Milmillones…sort of similar.

Keeping these two number quantities is important when trying to understand the context of a news article. It does make a difference to know if there are 5,000 businesses in Lima working in the field of security or 5,000,000.

If that wasn’t enough, when referring to billions (1,000,000,000), Spanish uses the phrase mil millones. This does make a certain modicum of sense because what is a billion but a thousand million.

But wait…there’s more. The State-side number of a trillion (1,000,000,000,000) in Spanish is represented by the word billon.

Conversion Issues
Some household items that we had shipped to us, via a boat of moderate speed, arrived.

Now that my children have their home video gaming systems and are ready to enjoy Mario Kart, did anyone remember to pack the 110volt-to-220volt converter?


Clinging to Cling Wrap
As I unpack items for our kitchen, I am flummoxed by my emotional response as I take items out their hermetically sealed cardboard boxes. I realize I have only been in this country for a score and five days, but is there truly any reason why I should be so deliriously happy to see Saran Wrap, twist ties, Bisquick and have those items now in our house?

Moving Tip O’ The Day
When packing and shipping your kitchen pots and pans, clean them first before placing them in their cardboard cube receptacles.

I cannot accurately identify what food detritus is residing on our skillet, but it too has expressed how deliriously happy it is to see Bisquick again.

Bad Pun Alert

Warning: People with low groan tolerance, people who faint at the sight of puns, and those operating heavy machinery should seek medical advice before reading this post.

Day 206 – February 13, 2012

During the summer months down here in the Southern Hemisphere, we signed up our three children to attend activities so they would have something to do other than stare at screens all day. The agricultural university near where we live sponsored some of these activities. Once our kids were registered, to prove to their teachers that they were indeed enrolled in those classes, each of our children were given a piece of identification that had their picture on it along with the class they were attending. This piece of paper goes by the proper name of “carnet”, which is pronounced car-neigh.

Our oldest signed up for soccer futbol, where he likes being a goalie. He always gave his soccer carnet to his coach before practice started.

Our middle child signed up for aerobics. Sometimes the instructor would forget about the aerobics carnet but there were only six people in the class (and he was the only boy).

As for our youngest, she signed up for drawing and painting and sculpting.

I always refered to her piece of identification as “Ed Norton“.

Why? Because her piece of paper was an “Art Carnet”.

Trust me…when you pronounce it, it’s a riot.


Day 272 – April 18, 2012

I’m taking a Spanish class and while I am struggling with conjugating irregular verbs in the past tense, the difference between por and para, and understanding certain expressions, I still find the time for humor.

During this class, we were learning about the expressions used to convey events happening once or multiple times. To start off this exercise, our teacher quizzed the three of us in her class about what we already knew. She would give us a phrase in English and ask us if we knew the Spanish equivalent. Our teacher turned to the first student in the class and asked, “How do you say ‘Once’?”

My classmate replied, “Una vez.”

Turning to my other classmate, she asked, “Twice?”

He replied, “Dos veces.”

Facing me, she asked, “Three times?”

Cracking a small smile, I said, “A lady.”

(Thank you. Thank you. You’re too kind. I’m there twice a week.)