Monday, October 13, 2008

Culture Shock, General Info, and Maps of Peru

Updated 1 July 2017

In theory, you should carry your passport with you wherever you go. I would recommend caring photocopies or legalised copies instead. It’s unlikely that you will get stopped, but ID checks may happen on buses between cities. If you do get stopped and don’t have ID, you have a few choices:
  • Speak to them in English. This will usually make them leave you alone.
  • Pretend you didn’t know that you needed ID.
  • Lie and say that your school, embassy, etc has it.
However, you should know that by law the police can take you to the police station and keep you there until they figure out who you are. People who obviously look like foreigners may be stopped. I know of foreigners who have been stopped without ID and they’ve never needed to bribe the police. They simply explained the situation and the police move on to the next person.

Some people choose to register with their consulate or embassy and by doing this receive updates on situations, such as strikes or holidays. It's usually not required and is up to you whether you decide to register or not.

General Information

There is no Daylight Savings Time. Electricity is 220v and 50/60 cycles. Sockets are fitted to accept both flat and round plugs. The metric system is used except for gasoline, which is measured in gallons.

Every neighbourhood has a local park, but be aware of traipsing through the grass and it is usually just for looking at, rather than playing on.

Laundry can either be done by hand (most building have a place to wash clothes on the roof), at home with a washing machine, or sent out to be done. Local laundries are all over the place. There are coin laundries and those where you leave your clothes and they put them through the machines for you. The second usually charges by the kilo. Driers are also at laundries, but most homes do not have them, instead, they put their clothes outside to dry.

All furnishings that you need can be bought here. There is a cheap furnishing market in Villa El Salvador, but it’s quite far from away. You could also try going to Plaza Hogar in Angamos in Surquillo. Both places have hand made furniture at good prices. You could always buy furniture at department stores such as Ripley’s or Saga.

Peruvian Holidays
  • January 1- New Year’s
  • February 2-Candlemas
  • February- Carnival
  • March/April- Holy Week
  • May 1- Labour Day
  • June- Corpus Christi
  • June- St. John the Baptist Day
  • June 29- St. Peter and St. Paul Day
  • July 16-Virgen of Carmen
  • July 28/29- Independence Days
  • August 30- St. Rosa of Lima
  • October 8- Battle of Angamos
  • October 18- Lord of Miracles / Mes Morado
  • November 1- All Saint’s Day
  • November 2- All Soul’s Day
  • November 5- Puno Day
  • December 8- Immaculate Concepcion
  • December 25- Christmas
Here is a website that explains more about Peruvian holidays.

The library of the University of Austin Texas has a great online map collection. The Peruvian Instituto Geografico Nacional also has a variety of maps, including maps for driving. More info can be found in Latin American Links. The American and Canadian Association in Peru also has information regarding Peru.

Good street maps for Lima, can be found in Planos de Lima and Guia Calles. As well as at Telefonica (go to planos). Lima 2000 also has some for various cities in Peru.

Culture Shock
Moving to another country can be difficult, but there are some things that can help you make the adjustment. There are many books on how to deal with culture shock. Even if you speak Spanish, you’ll find yourself going through culture shock. It starts with fascination with everything and seeing things through rose coloured glass and then goes to not being able to accept anything. Though people usually grow to accept things over time, even with years in Peru, small things might still frustrate you, but with time and effort, you can get over culture shock. Learning the language is probably one of the most important steps you can take. 

Culture shock can be difficult to deal with. The best thing to do is to be aware of culture shock and how to deal with it. Having pictures from home, talking to people in your native language, talking a walk in the park, or even sleeping can all help with culture shock. Remember, that although you may be experiencing culture shock, you still need to be a respectful traveller. Read, Respectful Travel: Look Mommy, A Gringo! for more info. The following websites can give you more insight on culture shock and how to deal with it.
Latin America is known for its laid back lifestyle, but this could be too much of a good thing. This lackadaisical attitude meaning that planning is thrown out the window and things are done in a slipshod manner. This goes for roads, bridges, buildings as well as the future, such as planning for retirement. However, you have to take things into stride and try to understand more about Peruvian culture.

In addition, it means that laws are shades of grey rather than black and white. Some people like this because it means they can overstay their visa easily and just pay $1.25 a day fine. Some who have overstayed their visa for weeks, months, or even years have even bargained down the fine. In the long run, this hurts people who want to stay here legally since fewer employers want to get their employees visas since they know that working on a tourist visa isn't that bad. This in turn causes laughable wages, zero benefits, and no chance for things to get better in the future.



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