Category Archives: Similar

Here Comes the Judge

Following on my earlier posts about how Lima, Peru, is a magnet for bands – and especially those groups from the 1980s – comes this latest news that the following acts will be performing in the City of Kings…

New Order (April 5);
The Cure (April 17); and
The Killers (April 4) (okay, not a band from the 1980s but still worthy of a mention)

One faction that you might not think of that would make the pilgrimage to this Andean country are justices of the United States Supreme Court. Yet, one of the nine robed members of the American judiciary is making the trek to Peru.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia – on March 5 and 6 – is heading a conference entitled “Fronteras de la Justicia“. One of the panel discussions that will be held during this conference is called “International Law and National Sovereignty”. This is a topic in the Peruvian newspapers due to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) looking into a maritime border dispute between Peru and Chile (some – but not all – details can be found here).

By the way, this week will not be the first time Justice Scalia has come to Peru. He first made the trip in 2007.

No word if he went – or will go – to Machu Picchu so he can be added to this list of famous visitors.

Lost in (Cinematic) Translation

Day 493 – November 26, 2012

These pages have seen my adventures in trying to navigate the world around me when I do not fully understand the language.

There has been my lack of clarity over why Toyota selling white cars now is big news.

There has been my disappointment over not been able to catch all the jokes of new episodes of Phineas and Ferb.

There has been our misunderstanding over “cancelling” our order with Pardo’s Chicken.

With all of those (and more) linguistic landmines, I am pleased and comforted to see that the art of mis-translation is a two-way street.

In today’s edition of Lima’s free daily newspaper, Publimetro, there was an article highlighting the 70th anniversary of the movie Casablanca. A sidebar of this article mentions that this film contains six quotes that are on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Movies Quotes list.

In Spanish, the sidebar notes that “Esto va por ti, muneca” (Here’s looking at you, kid) is number five, “Louis, creo que este es el inicio de una amistad hermosa” (Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship) is at number twenty, and “Siempre nos quedara Paris” (We’ll always have Paris) checks in at number forty-three.

Of note is the Spanish version of the line (number 32 on AFI’s list) uttered by Louis Renault (played by Claude Rains), “Round up the usual suspects.” Publimetro writes the line as “Arresten a los sospechosos de siempre” which comes out to “Arrest the usual suspects.” It’s not a huge gaffe, but it does alter the meaning a tiny bit.

What really caught my eye was where the Publimetro article wrote that the quote that was number 28 on AFI’s list was “Tocala otra vez, Sam”. This translates to “Play it again, Sam.” There are a pair of mistakes with Publimetro’s words. For starters, the actual quote that resides in the twenty-eight spot (just below “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!” from Midnight Cowboy and just above “You can’t handle the truth” from A Few Good Men.) is “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'” which is uttered by Ilsa Lund (played by Ingrid Berman) to the piano player, Sam (Dooley Wilson).

The second mistake is the fact that the line, “Play it again, Sam” is never uttered in the movie. While “Play it Again, Sam” is a fine film by Woody Allen, it is a line not in the film and often misattributed to the character of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart).

Part of me is heartened to see that I am not alone in my penchant for not translating something correctly. However, the other part of me also realizes that the linguistic problems of an American in Peru no equivalen a una colina de frijoles en este mundo loco.


Day 511 – December 14, 2012

I know Peru is a majority Roman Catholic country. This is not a surprise to me.

Given that The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2012 says that eighty-one percent of population follows that faith (page 823) and twenty-two percent of people in the United States are Roman Catholic (as of 2010 / page 607 and 699); and

Given that in Peru workers receive the day off and students miss school due to holidays such as Santa Rosa de Lima Day (August 30), All Saints Day (November 1), and Immaculate Conception (December 8) and workers and students do not receive those days off in the United States; and

Given that many parks in the area have statues devoted to saints and even for a Pope and (as far as I could ascertain) few parks in the United States have similar shrines; and

Given that in December in Peru many public spaces contain Nativity scenes (such as this one in Parque Kennedy)

Nativity scene in Lima's Parque Kennedy

Nativity scene

…and messages of “Merry Christmas” (or “Feliz Navidad” considering the local language) without raising an eyebrow…

Christmas display in Peru

Christmas wish with a kiss

…while in the United States such displays are parties to judicial decisions or rallies;

With all those givens, I was fully acclimated to the fact that Peru was a Roman Catholic country.

Because of that acclimation, I was completely taken by surprise by a satirical drawing I saw in the editorial cartoon section, known as El Otorongo, of the Peruvian newspaper Peru 21. I had thought that as a Roman Catholic country, all aspects of that faith would be treated with respect.

I was wrong.

Editorial cartoon from Peruvian newspaper


Pope Benedict XVI:
Yes, Pepito [a common name for a young boy], Jesus walked on water.
Yes, Pepito, Jesus multiplied the loaves.
Yes, Pepito, Jesus resurrected the dead.

Pepito (via computer):
And is it true that the world will end on December 21?

Not so, Pepito. How can you believe such nonsense?

As dissimilar as our two countries may be concerning the display of the Nativity in public spaces, it was interesting to see that our two nations share a tradition of poking people in power.

We Apologize For the Noise

Day 432 – September 26, 2012

We have a new member of the family at our house.

No, much to our children’s eternal dismay, it is not a dog, cat, hamster, rabbit, or any of the other dozens of types pet they want to grace our household.

No, the latest addition to our home comes courtesy of our middle child’s sudden (and, truth be told, completely unexpected) interest in band.

Damas y caballeros, I present to you…Rusty!


Now my child can really toot his own horn

Rusty comes courtesy of our School’s band class. Our middle child could have picked the saxophone, clarinet, or cymbals, but he was drawn to this marvel of metallic engineering.

Just note how the light barely and imperceptibly glistens off the oxidizing brass.

Son with trumpet

Now he needs a cool nickname, like “Satchmo”

I can only suppose that this is some form of karmic justice. When I was a lad, at an age even younger than our middle child is now, I too took up the trumpet in my school’s band. As I tortured the ears of my poor parents with my honking and bleating, now I (and our neighbors) must withstand the blares and noise coming from this rusted instrument.

Then again, maybe this is how Herb Alpert started out.

Snappy Talk

Day 413 – September 7, 2012

And now, the latter half of the story that started with this blog post, A Cure for the Doctor.

As we left our wandering shutterbug hero, he was being confronted by the construction foreman after talking a few photos of the McDonald’s being built nearby.

While other folk have blogged about the etiquette of taking photographs in Peru, I could not find any helpful hints about shooting snaps of a building in the process of being built so I was unsure if I had broken some taboo.

The gentleman asked me why I was taking a picture – which, when I thought about it afterwards, seems like a perfectly reasonable question. Why would someone take a snap of a half-way building?

Now, I have a bad enough time explaining in English that there is a website, imugr, where people upload pictures. One of those images was of the actor David Tennant with the quote attributed to him stating that he had never seen a McDonald’s or Burger King being built…they just show up. Since I had seen this McDonald’s near Lima being built, I wanted to take a picture of it and share that image on this website to show Mr. Tennant that indeed a building belonging to the franchise Ray Kroc created could be captured in the process of being built.

Now try saying that in Spanish without the use of Google Translate.

So I did the next thing and improvised.

In my best (and halting) Spanish, I explained to the scowling foreman that my friends back in the United States and I had a joke about  never seeing a McDonalds’s being built. Therefore, I wanted to take a picture of his construction site to show my friends so we could have a big laugh.

It could have been the fact that I was a goofy American (or German…I get mistaken for that nationality a good deal), but I like to think that it was my increasing command of the Spanish langauge that softened the countenance of the foreman’s face. Satisfied by my answer (or possible confused by it), he half-smiled and walked away.

And I ambulated away with my prized photographs.

My lesson for the day is this: When I first arrived in Peru, I often said I knew enough Spanish to get me into trouble. Now I can say that I know enough Spanish to get me out of trouble.

A Toothy Similarity

Day 286 – May 3, 2012

I have spent the vast majority of this blogging year discussing the differences between living in Peru and the United States.

I’ve talked about office supply vendors on the street, the unluckiest of days, the proper disposal of toilet paper in public restrooms, and the whole langauge thing…just to name a few.

However, this e-space will be taken up with discussing a moment of similarity between life in the City of Kings and life in the Lower 48.

Our eldest child has braces which were placed on his teeth quite professionally by our orthodontist in Virginia. When our family landed in Peru, we began the hunt for a tooth-doctor who could continue our child’s metallic dental care. After a search of a few months, we found an orthodontist we are quite happy with. Also, much to my great relief, he does speak English.

Today, our eldest was having his monthly tune-up. As I was biding my time while he was in the chair, I realized that this Peruvian edition of a waiting room bore several similarities to a State-side…uh, what is a synonym for “waiting room”.

In no particular order, I felt perfectly at home in this Peruvian waiting room because…

…I wasn’t seen on time (despite having made my appointment last month);
…the magazines on the table were six months out of date (Holy guacamole, Demi and Ashton have split!); and
…adult contemporary music was being piped in (ah, the comforting sounds of Phil Collins).

Nice to know that my time in Peru has not been 100% foreign in nature.

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.

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.

Know Your Currency: The 2012 Edition

Day 315 – June 1, 2012

In the past, I have written pieces about the currency used here in Peru.

I’ve talked about the one-centimo piece.

I’ve rambled on about the 20-nuevo soles note and the 100-nuevo soles bill.

I’ve even written about who is honored on the 50-nuevo soles bill and the 10-nuevo soles piece of paper.

Last year, I wrote a post about how the Peruvian equivalent of the United States Mint was channeling the same spirit that inspired the U.S. Mint to create the Fifty States Quarters project because nuevo soles coins were appearing with different designs. Last year, I saw one-nuevo sol coin featuring a tumi and a representation of Machu Picchu.

Well, the fun continues in 2012 as I came across a one-nuevo sol coin with a new design.

Quick asideand new slang term…for you to know if you ever find yourself in Peru and want to blend in.

The slang term for a one-nuevo sol coin is a luca (pronounced lou-ka).
A fifty-centimo piece is also known as a china (pronouced chee-na).
Therefore, something that costs S/. 1.50 is said to cost luca-china.

Back to the new design…drum roll, please…

Reverse of 2012 Peru 1-sol coin

My apologies for the coin being off-kilter

The image on the back of this coin is a representation of Piedra de Saywite. This artifact is a rock monolith with more than two hundred geometric and zoomorphic figures carved into it. This item is located in the Abancay province in the Apurímac region of the country, which is southeast of Lima and west of Cusco.

Finally, the text underneath “DE SAYWITE” reads “S. XV d.C.”. What this translates to is “fifteen century A.D.”. The “S” stands for siglo, the Spanish word for “century”. “XV” is the Roman numeral for 15. “d.C.” stands for desde Cristo, which is Spanish for “after Christ”. I am taking the guess that this date is when the Saywite was discovered by the Spanish and not when the site was built.

This place looks interetsing enough that I guess I should add this location to our list of places to see.

Street Art Photo Gallery

For no reason other than “Because I can…”, I give you a collection of graffiti I have seen around Peru during my stay here.

Day 028 – August 19, 2011

Graffiti seen in Lima, Peru

Graffiti outside a bank

Day 077 – October 7, 2011

Graffiti seen in Lima, Peru

Kilroy was even here

Day 108 – November 7, 2011

Graffiti seen in Lima, Peru

The Before Picture

Day 196 – February 3, 2012

Graffiti seen in Peru

Directions to Cyberspace in Huacachina

Day 235 – March 13, 2012

Graffiti clean-up seen in Lima, Peru

The After Picture

Day 289 – May 6, 2012

Graffiti seen in Lima, Peru

Lima Street Art

Graffiti seen in Lima, Peru

Lima Street Art

In my next post, I’ll be back with words…maybe.