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Day 007 Randomocity

Day 007 – July 29, 2011

Random Observations

Wiping the Plants

As mentioned earlier, our family makes the trip to our local Starbucks to use their wi-fi signal so we can keep in touch electronically with friends and family back in the States. Today, while browsing through our e-mail, I saw a gentleman who was dressed in worker-type clothing approach one of the plants that grace the outside of this coffee-serving establishment. This man, let’s call him Ishmael, was standing next to the plant when he brought out a squirt bottle from his belt and began to spray down the flora. After the initial spritz was done, Ishmael took out a rag and began to wipe clean the leaves of the plant. At first, I thought that these plants were fake and decorative, but when I went to examine the greenery later, I confirmed that the plants were indeed real.

Ishmael’s job was to clean the plants.

Where we live is quite dusty. The main reason for this is that our area is surrounded by mini-mountains (not quite mountains, but larger than hills) that are nothing but dirt. No trees, no grass, no other vegetation reside on these features. It’s as if all the dirt from Lima’s construction dating from 1675 has been dumped in the four or five mini-mountains that dominate our horizon. The ocean breezes play across these features and pick up the dust which then gets deposited everywhere.

Since the Web is a visual medium, here’s an example of what I mean.

Here is a picture of my thumb and a local plant…

My thumb and a plant

The "Before" picture

…and here is that same thumb after rubbing it on the leaf.

Thumb after rubbing on plant

The "After" picture

Photographic evidence that I truly have a black thumb.

Tanned, Rested, and Connected

Here it is, the final, stirring, and monumental ending to the Cell Phone Saga that started here and continued here.

Today’s final installment showed us how to put money on my cell phone with the SIM card. This process was eons easier than I would have thought considering my earlier thoughts about this country’s culture of inefficiency. All we needed to do was to go to our local grocery store, stroll through the cashier line, and simply provide the helpful attendant with our phone number and the amount we wanted placed on the phone. We didn’t have to actually provide the SIM card or even the physical telecommunications device itself. Just provide the number and that’s it.

Oh, we did have to pay. Can’t forget that step.

A One-Sided Cola War

In the States, it’s Coca-Cola vs Pepsi as those two companies account for 71% of the soda market there in 2010.

Here in Peru, to my untrained only-been-here-a-week eyes, it appears that there are also two main players in the soda market and they are Coca-Cola and Inca Kola. However, since the company from Atlanta with the distinctive ribbon logo owns part of the company that makes Inca Kola, it’s almost as if there is only one player in the carbonated beverage world.

Pepsi appears almost nowhere. When I have seen their product on grocery store shelves, it occupies a fraction of the space that Coke and Inca have. In addition, Pepsi is cheaper as if they are trying (and failing) to give the stuff away.

There are a few other players in the Peruvian soda market, but I can’t recall any of their names.

Two other items of note concerning soda and they both revolve around Coca-Cola. Diet Coke is also almost nowhere to be found here. Coke Zero appears to occupy the no-calorie space that Diet Coke would normally take. Also, it is noted that caffeine-free soda appears to be a no-show of a product here also.

Happy Belated Birthday

Before I go, I was remiss in my last Randomocity posting so let me make up for it to wish a lovely and rousing Happy Birthday to my paternal grandmother, who turned 95 yesterday. Born when Woodrow Wilson was president, she lives in an era to have seen the rise of the horseless carriage, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, and the rise and fall and rise again of Richard Nixon.

She has also seen the birth of a technology that allows her to read her grandson’s ramblings from Peru.

And with that, Day 007 (and Week 001) was finished.