Sunday, October 12, 2008

Peruvian People and History

Updated 1 July 2012 

Peru is very diverse, here you can find many people of Chinese and European descent. Contrary to facts, some Peruvians, especially those from the mountains, are blonde-haired and blue-eyed. In bigger cities, many people will have studied English, so they might be able to help you. Reading up on the Peruvian history and culture is interesting and will help you a lot.

However, you should still try to learn some Spanish so that you can get by. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to Peru, and it'll be easier to talk to the immigration officers.

Please 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.

Many Peruvians are short compared to North American and European standards, however, they are much thinner than a typical American. Be aware that if you’re tall you will probably stand out.

Peruvians are very open people who enjoy socializing. Family plays an important part in their lives. Some people still work 10 hours a day and may work half a day on Saturday, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t have time to relax. Personal space is much closer here, so don’t move back if people stand close to you. When meeting, men will hug or shake hands with other men. Women will give an air kiss on the right cheek when meeting men or women. Time here is flexible. For example, if you meet a friend, they will show up 15-30 minutes late. And when going to parties, people will show up about 2 hours late. If you go out with friends that they saw “te invito”, it means that they will pay for you. Don’t try to split the bill, simply pay for them the next time you go out.

In general, Peruvians are more formal and will more often than not say “buenos días” if they enter a shop or a room with people. This means that shorts and halter tops aren’t common here. You may see Peruvians wearing these types of clothes, but they will get looks, whistles and catcalls.

People here tend to get married young, and unfortunately some get pregnant first and then get married. So this means that many married couples have a few children after being married for a short time. If you’re in your mid-twenties or above and single, you’ll probably be asked when you plan on getting married. If you’re married with no children, you’ll be asked when you plan on having children.

Peruvians Abroad

Most people know that the Incas lived in Peru and left behind many cultural artifacts (such as Machu Picchu) and then the Spanish came and conquered them. Peruvians finally won independence because of San José de San Martín. Alan Garcia caused the economy to plummet in the 1980s and has just won re-election. Alberto Fujimori held control of the country for 10 years in the 1980s-1990s, making Peru a dictatorship. Recently they’ve had border problems with Chile and Ecuador. There are a number of good books about Peruvian history, such as the New York Times Best Seller: Turn Right at Machu Picchu and The Last Day of the Incas.  Some sites that have history are:



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