Blog Archives

Travel Theme: Distance

May 27, 2013 – Day 675

Distance is the theme this week from the folks over at the blog Where’s My Backpack? and I aim to fit that theme.

During the same culinary tour where I indulged in multiple shots of pisco, our gracious guide also took us sight-seeing.

From Barranco, the artsy district of Lima, we were able to look out across the art galleries, roads, and a section of the Pacific Ocean to see the following landmark in the distance.


The location you are looking at is Morro Solar.

The cross you are looking at in the distance is made of metal, but that metal has some significance. According to our guide, when Pope John Paul II (who is still popular in Peru) came to visit in the 1980s, there were a series of risers built so that people could sit in the streets and watch the Pope drive by. Some of the metal from those risers was recycled and constructed into the cross that now adorns Morro Solar.

Oh, and it also lights up at night.

Wrapping Up: All The Be?t

June 15, 2013 – Day 694

? = s

I have written about the music scene here in Lima (see here and here for samples) and how acts ranging from the 1980s to today fill the seats with their performances.

Another aspect to the music scene (and one I have not written about before) in Peru’s capital city is the thriving world of cover bands. Also known as tribute bands, one can buy tickets for these performances honoring the musical styles of Bob Marley to Madonna to U2 to Radiohead.

Tonight, on this Saturday evening, is an act that appears to combine the two. In honor of the 71st birthday of singer / songwriter (and left-handed person) Paul McCartney, there is a musical act coming to the City of Kings to embrace the music of the Beatles. In one sense, this performance is a tribute band honoring the Fab Four.

Nothing new there as there have been tribute bands to the lads from Liverpool before.

What was different was who was leading this night’s performance.

His name is Pete Best and he was the drummer for the Beatles before Ringo Starr.

To me, Best’s band appears to be the intersection of a tribute band and a musical act.

This place never ceases to me amaze me.

? = r

Over the course of this blog, I have had a quartet of goals during my stay in Peru. The first three (originally written about here) were…

a) Come home in one piece
b) Have fun
c) Avoid sparking an international incident

As for “a”, knock on wood, I am a few days away from achieving that accomplishment.
As for “b”, I have satisfied that goal in buckets as I have travelled to Machu Picchu, an amusement park, a park, and rode a sandboard…just to name a few.
As for “c”, a thorough query of any Internet search engine produces no hits on my name and the phrase “international incident”, so I call that a success.

My fourth goal deals with Bert. That’s the name I gave to the cactus I wrote about during my fifth day in Lima. Back then, I wrote that my task was to ensure that Bert stays alive during my stay.

Nearly 700 days later, I am pleased to announce that…

It's alive !

It’s alive !

…Bert has survived my black thumb.

(If there is any botanist in my audience who can disprove my assertion based on the visual evidence provided above, please let me know.)

Wrapping Up: Photograph

December 19, 2011 – Day 150

In our final days here in Peru, the majority of our belongings are in cardboard boxes and wending its way to our next location. One of those items is our main computer. In addition to being our gateway to the Internet, our desktop PC is also the repository of our digital photographs since 2008. Because our PC is in the hands of movers, I am unable to access the trove of pictures I have accumulated since arriving in Lima.

However, I do have one photograph about life in Lima that I am so proud of that I actually use it as the wallpaper for the laptop that I am currently using. I searched through this website and discovered that – as far as I can tell – I have not offered it up for your enjoyment.

Now I have talked about paragliding before (see here and here and here) and how the Miraflores section of Lima has an area specifically reserved for those daring aerial acrobats to take tourists up in the Peruvian sky.

What I have not shared before is this photo…

Up in the air, junior birdman...

Up in the air, junior birdman…

What I like about this snapshot is the fact that only can you see a pair of paragliders and a slight sliver of the Pacific Ocean, but I also managed to capture the black-and-white lighthouse that towers over the coast of Miraflores.

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: Future Tense

January 20, 2013 – Day 548

Future Tense” is this week’s photographic challenge from WordPress. I have to admit that I did not follow the theme exactly as advertised. The creators for this month’s challenges has been calling March “phoneography month” and asking people to take pictures with their camera-phones. As I do not have such a device, I must rely on Siglo XX technology and my response comes to you courtesy of my plain ol’ digital camera.

One of the suggestions for this week’s theme was to capture the experience of waiting. This is the option for me.

On this Sunday in January, the family and I went to a local Lima amusement park called La Granja Villa. This location was a delightful way to spend a Peruvian weekend and I’ll try and remember to post more pictures about our stay.

There was one ride – and one passenger – that I simply had to capture on film bits and bytes. He is waiting so I belive he fits the theme, but he is not someone I would expected to be on this ride.

Will he yell, "Whee!" ?

Will he yell, “Whee!” ?

This gentleman is certainly waiting for the ride (and dare-I-say, “excitement”) to start. I also like this photo for the theme because I believe that this image shows a man who can look to his past and see the fun he once had at parks like this; but he also continues to look to the future to see what other fun he can still have.

I also like this guy because he is on the bouncy mechanism by himself. He did not strap himself in to be with his son or granddaughter. NO! He took his place on the far left-hand side because he wanted to ride that ride.

He stares off into the distance – waiting, hoping, dreaming – for the fun that is about to commence.

Total Recall – Perhaps

This Sunday, March 17 (which is St. Patrick’s Day, but this seventeenth day of the third month is also the feast days for St. Jan Sarkander, St. Ambrose of Alexandria, and St. Gertrude of Nivelles…just thought you might be interested), the citizens of Lima will go to the polls to decide whether to recall the current mayor, Susan Villaran, and thirty-nine of the city’s regidores (which I think is something akin to members of a City Council).

The ballot that voters will be presented with looks like this…

Forty options to have - forty marks to make

Forty options to have – forty marks to make

In case you can’t quite see everything on the ballot, there are forty rows with the name of the mayor (in the #1 spot) and the thirty-nine regidores. Each row has two boxes marked “SI” and “NO”. If a person wants the person recalled (i.e., booted from office), they mark “SI”. If the voter wants the person to stay in office, they mark “NO”. The instructions for the ballot are quite specific. Only an “X” or an “+” mark in the box will be considered a valid selection. No checkmarks, please.

Also of note on the instructions is the warning that there is a S/. 74 fine for those eligible voters who do not vote. At the current exchange rate, that comes out to be about $29. I wonder how a system like that would fly in the United States.

Here’s another fun fact about the election. If the mayor is indeed recalled, there will be an election to choose the next leader of the city. However, in the interim, who will be the head honcho? The answer is the highest regidore who is not recalled.  So if the mayor and the top three regidores are all kicked out, then regidore #4 becomes the interim mayor until the next election.

Not quite sure what happens if all forty folk are recalled.

As with any election, there have been some moments of forehead-slapping eye-blinking surrealism.

To start, the spokesperson for the “SI” coalition, Marco Tulio Gutierrez said this last week about the voting populace that was of the female persuasion

Las damas siempre dicen que no y terminan diciendo que sí, ese es el encanto de las damas.

Roughly translated, his words come out to…

The ladies always say no and end up saying yes, that’s the charm of ladies.

Needless to say, this tone-deaf appeal to women did not go over well. In addition to criticism from women’s groups in Peru, a local cartoonist lampooned Tulio’s comment by drawing him in front of a prison saying his words. In the background, were convicted rapists saying “Without a doubt!”, “That’s right!”, and “It’s so!”

Yesterday (March 10), a televised debate was held between the “SI” and the “NO” groups. Well, actually, only the “NO” people showed up. For some reason, two of the three “SI” folk failed to appear and the only one who did left after giving her opening statement. You can read an article about it here.

Too bad Clint Eastwood wasn’t around. Then he really could have had a honest debate with an empty chair.

With a week to go, I can only imagine it will become stranger.

Mixed Messages

Day 502 – December 5, 2012

This story is why I think it’s important for a major metropolitan area to have more than a single newspaper serving its citizenry.

Today’s front page of Peru21 had a tease about a story with this lead, “Peru es el pais mas inseguro de las Americas” (Peru is most unsafe country in the Americas). The article, on page 7, references a study from Barometro de las Americas detailing how Peru, when measuring for violence and corruption, comes in twenty-sixth out of the twenty-six countries that comprise South America and Central America and also includes the United States and Canada.


Today’s front page of Publimetro has a picture of a beautiful panaroma of the Malecon area of Lima. The photograph has the caption, “…nuestra capital ocupa puesto 12 en America Latina entre las mejores ciudades para vivir.” (…our capital occupies the 12th spot for the best cities to live in in Latin America) and directs the reader to page 6. Once there, the article mentions the 2012 Quality of Living survey from Mercer. Peru’s capital city is ranked globally at number 121 out of 460 measured cities.

Feeling good or feeling bad about your city of residence (or any other matter) may sometimes depend on what paper you picked up.

A Cure for the Doctor

Day 413 – September 7, 2012

In this post, I am able to cover a trio of things that please me greatly.

a) Science fiction television;
b) The Internet; and
c) Fast food

Back in the 1970s, I was a fan of the British television series Doctor Who which I could see on my local PBS station. As a boy not yet into his double digits of age, the poor production qualities of this show did not bother me at all. All I knew was that I was frightened by the Daleks and fascinated by this colorful, silly, and serious alien (the main character, The Doctor, hails from the planet Gallifrey). In my time watching this show, the only Doctor I knew was played by Tom Baker.

Fast forward to the mid-2000s and I was gobsmacked (since I’m talking about a British TV series, a slang term from that island seems appropriate) to see Doctor Who brought back to the telly (okay…I’ll stop with the Brit slang) by the BBC. Courtesy of SyFy, I was able to catch episodes of the first season with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. I loved the show with Baker as the travelling Time Lord and I was impressed with the show now with Eccleston driving the TARDIS. This respect for Eccleston’s acting chops only came after watching three episodes (“Dalek”, “The Empty Child”, “The Doctor Dances”).

Thanks to the technological marvel that is the Internet and iTunes, I have managed to see all the episodes of that first season and my respect for Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor – as well as for the beautiful acting of Billie Piper and for the amazing writers of the show – has only grown.

One of the unique features of this show is the fact that the producers of Doctor Who can change actors without changing the character. Part of the story of the Time Lords (the group that the Doctor belongs to) is that when they are near death, they can regenerate their bodies. When Eccleston finished his run as the Doctor, he was replaced by David Tennant.

Allow me to backtrack for a moment and I will bring it back to Mr. Tennant.

When I am not posting blogs about life in Peru or composing my next amazing literary work, I surf the Internet (and have a ball doing it, thanks for asking). A pair of my go-to websites are the image sharing site, imgur, and reddit (which you may have heard about recently because the President of the United States made an appearance).

One of the images I found while surfing was this one, which is purported to be a quote from David Tennant where he opines…

“I’ve never seen a McDonald’s or Burger King under construction. They just show up.”

Well, Mr. Tennant, as I have been walking around my district of Lima, Peru, I came across this tableau that I would like to share with you (and everyone else) now.

McDonald's coming soon in Lima, Peru

Muy Pronto = Soon

McDonald's coming soon in Lima, Peru

ETA = Two months

This story does not end here with me taking pictures and walking away. I’m not sure if it is a cultural idiosyncrasy of Peru or if I simply happened to run up against a touchy construction foreman, but…

…I think I’ll save that story for another day. Allons-y.

Saints Preserve Us

Day 405 – August 30, 2012

Today in Peru, August 30, is Santa Rosa de Lima Day. This day celebrates the only female Peruvian saint of the Catholic Church and, according to New Advent, she was the first person from the Americas canonized. Wikipedia describes her as the patron saint of…

…native Indian people of the Americas; of gardeners; of florists; of the City of Lima; of Peru; of the New World; of Sittard, the Netherlands; of India; of people misunderstood for their piety and of the resolution of family quarrels.

In Lima, schools and many businesses take the day off to honor their patron saint. One tradition on this day is for children to go to the Church of Santa Rosa and drop prayer messages into a well.

Well at Church of Santa Rosa de Lima

Photo courtesy of Publimetro

The big news for this year, courtesy from the newspaper Publimetro, is that this is the first year people will be able to send their prayers via email (

I can only assume that the handle of “santarosa” was already taken at Gmail.

This is not the first time I have lived in a city with a patron saint. In my time in the United States, I have lived in…

…St. Paul, Minnesota (patron saint of missions and theologians);
…St. George, Utah (patron saint of archers and soldiers); and
…San Diego, California (patron saint of Franciscan laity)

However, this is the first time I have lived in an area that makes space for its religious iconography.

Please now allow me to share two examples found in parks around the area:

Religious statue in Lima, Peru

Statue in grotto in park


Religious statue in Lima, Peru

Statue overlooking a park in Peru

While I cannot speak to the majority of homes in Lima, I can describe the domicile that we are currently in. I will make the assumption (always a dangerous game to play) that the architectural feature I am about to mention is fairly common given that Peru is a predominately Christian country (the World Alamanac and Book of Facts 2012 describes Peru as 81% Roman Catholic and 13% Evangelical Christian). I am referring to a recess in the wall where a saint or other religious icon can be placed.

As for us, we have decided to take this unique feature and use it to showcase the creativity of our children. Some people tack up work of arts on the refrigerator, we have this…

Alcove in home

Perfect for presentations

It’s a llama made by our middle child. Gallery hours are 10am to 6pm but appointments are required. Hope to see you soon.

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.