Friday, December 12, 2014

Read More About Peru at TEFL Tips

In addition to blogging here at the Ultimate Peru List, I have a couple of other blogs. On TEFL Tips, I have written quite a number of posts about living and work in Peru. You can read all of those posts about Peru by clicking here.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 Peru Inspired Gift Guide

If you're looking for Peru inspired gifts, you've come to the right place! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Food and Drinks
Paneton and hot chocolate is a staple during the Christmas season. While some might snub their nose at fruitcake (paneton), Peruvians love it. Drinking hot chocolate during summer might seem odd, but hey, it's Christmas, so why not? While Colombia might be famous for coffee, any coffee connoisseur will know to check out Peruvian coffee. Check out Peruvian coffee beans and unroasted beans as well. Don't forget a Peruvian mug.

For the cook in your life, Peruvian cookbooks are the way to go. They'll find great recipes like ceviche, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, papa rellena, and much more.

Wool socks are a game changer. Once you try them out you won't go back to cotton socks. They can last for years, are much better for your feet than cotton since they're anti-fungal, and many of them can be tossed in the dryer. Alpaca is superior to wool since it is softer, warmer, and has no lanolin which means it's hypoallergenic. Alpaca socks are amazing. Considering how much use you'll get out of them, they are a relatively inexpensive gift, so buy a pair or two for yourself as well.

Alpaca sweaters are warm and have gorgeous designs. They're super soft and people love wearing them. Traditional Peruvian hats, such as the chullo, will keep your loved ones warm through the cold winter months. Don't forget a warm shawl or even a poncho that they can wrap around themselves to protect them from windy days.

Alpaca can be used for more than clothing. It also makes great blankets and throws. It's nice for cozying up on the couch and drinking hot cocoa, from a Peruvian mug, of course.

Machu Picchu is absolutely breath taking. There's some gorgeous wall art featuring this famous landmark that will be sure to get everyone's attention. If you know someone who wants to add some unique Peruvian decor to their home, consider a map of Peru. Ranging from old fashioned maps to watercolors, there's something for everyone.

Peruvian jewelry ranges from fine jewelry to woven handicrafts. Bracelets featuring the Nazca Lines and a Tumi pendant make pretty, unique gifts.

More Gifts
If you're looking for more ideas, here are other Peru inspired gift guides I've written.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tips for Taking Taxis in Peru

A Peruvian moto (
Like combis, taxis, or ticos as they're somethings called, in Peru are often gutted and look like they're on their last legs. Metal's often missing and most of the components from the dashboard will probably have been taken out. Nontheless many people use them to get around and they can be a faster option than combis. If you're looking for an even cheaper option, consider motos. If you're going to take taxis there are a couple of things you should consider.

1. Call ahead of time. If you're worried about safety then call for a taxi. There are a handful of taxi companies out there, or find a taxi driver that you trust and can call when you need them.

2. Agree on the fare. Many taxis don't have meters. And if they do, they probably won't use it. Be sure to agree on the fare before you even get into the taxi. I actually prefer not using the meter as it's less likely that the driver will take you on the scenic route.
3. Text someone the license plate. You just never know, it's better to be safe than sorry. 

4. Speak Spanish. If you don't want to get the foreigner price you're going to have to speak Spanish. Learning a bit of the local language will help you out so much no matter where you go. It'll help you assimilate to the culture and you'll be able to communicate easier.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peruvian Parenting Styles

Parenting styles
PBS recently wrote an article about different parenting styles around the world and Peru was one of them. They looked at 52 countries total. To find out if your parenting style is similar to Peruvians', you'll need to order 11 parenting values.

You can also compare 2 different countries to see how they are the same or different. Here's the complete article.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Don't Tape Your Box Shut at Peruvian Post Offices

Just a quick tip, if you're going to Serpost (the Peruvian post office) do not tape or seal your packages before going to the counter. They'll have to check inside the package to make sure you're not sending anything illegal or drugs. Trust is still an issue in Peru. Even with x-rays and such they still require the post office workers to double check all packages.

Keep in mind that learning Spanish will greatly help you out when you're trying to figure out what they're saying at the post office. Knowing Spanish will help you assimilate to the culture and you'll be able to communicate easier.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Reader Request: Getting Married in Peru if You Don't Live There aka Destination Wedding

Peru is becoming a popular place to have a destination wedding. Many people are emailing me and asking me how they can get married in Peru when they don't live there.

If you want to get married in Peru and live there, then you're going to have to jump through more hoops. Read the following articles:
If you simply want to have a wedding in Peru and not live there, then it's pretty easy to do. Here's the thing, getting married in Peru requires getting documents notarised and translated and then register your Peruvian marriage back home. All of this adds time, money, and stress to an already stressful event. So here's what you should do.
  1. Get married back home. Have a simple, legal ceremony. Create a wedding registry!
  2. Have the wedding in Peru. You won't have to worry about legalisations or translations or any of that stuff. If you want to get married in a church in Peru, you will probably have to show a copy of your marriage license, but that's just for the church. You won't have to deal with any Peruvian government offices. 
So there you go, a short and sweet way to have a destination wedding in Peru.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Sorry Peruvians, You're Not Americans

I first had this argument over 10 years ago and I was flabbergasted. I wasn't trying to be mean or rude or look down on Peruvians, I just simply couldn't understand what they were getting at. Let's do a quick exercise.
  • Britons are from. . . . Britain
  • Chinese are from . . . . China
  • Danes are from . . . . Denmark
  • Latvians are from . . . . Latvia
  • Russians are from . . . Russia
What would you say if I told you:
  • Peruvians are from . . . America
If this were on a test, I'd mark it as wrong. Peruvians aren't from America. Peruvians are from Peru.
The issue that some Peruvians have with this is that they say that there are only five continents: the Americas, Antarctica, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. Due to this anyone from the Americas is American. Now depending on who you talk to you'll find out that there are 4-7 continents in the world.

Most Peruvians are proud to call themselves Peruvians, but some of them may claim to be Americans. Blame it on their culture. The issue I have with this is that people don't refer to the continent they're from. For example, a Kenyan isn't going to say, "I'm African". They're going to say, "I'm Kenyan". Or they might take it a step further and refer to the city they're from, stating that they're from London or New York.

Peruvians also have another issue with this and that's due to Spanish, Americans are called "norteamericanos/as" if you want to translate it directly it would be North American. However, there are three countries in North America: Canada, the USA, and Mexico. In Spanish, Canadians are called "canadienses" and Mexicans are called "mexicanos/as".Peruvians are called "peruanos". If you don't speak Spanish, you should start learning. It'll help you assimilate to the culture and you'll be able to communicate easier.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, but to the Peruvians who insist that they're "American" I tell them to go to the USA with no visa or no green card and to tell the immigration officer to let them in, because after all, "they're American".


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Custody vs. Parental Rights and International Child Abduction

Updated 17 October 2017

I've gotten two emails in the last month about this topic so I thought I'd write a blog post about it. I am not a lawyer and this is not meant to be construed as legal advice. Always remember to get everything in writing whether dealing with your lawyer or the other parent.

International Parental Child Abduction
This is a form of kidnapping is becoming more common and getting your child back, especially across international borders, can take a long time and cost a lot of money. See Expat Stuck Parent for stories about parents who are locked from taking their children back to their home countries. You can also read what the Hague Convention says about International Child Abduction.

Parental Child Abduction Information for Americans
If you're American, the State Department can help and they have a website where you can file your case. They have a program called the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program which will alert the parent(s) for children under 18 if someone tries to apply for a passport for that child. The FBI and the Department of Justice also have information.You can also call 1-888-407-4747from the US or Canada or 1-202-502-4444 if you're overseas.

Travelling With Your Child
If only one parent travels with their child, they will need proof of permission from the other parent if they have shared custody. If they have sole custody, they will need copies of the divorce decree. If the other parent has passed away, they will need a death certificate. If only one parent is on the birth certificate, bring the birth certificate. If you fear that your ex may try to take your child without your permission, here are somethings you can do.

Getting an American Passport without the Other Parent's Permission
If you share legal custody, then in the case of schooling, travel, medical decisions, etc, both parents usually must sign off. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, to get an American passport, you need both parents' signatures if they share legal custody. If you can't get the other parent's signature you can fill out form DS 5525. Explain the situation in as much detail as possible and get documentation, such as phone records, emails sent, Skype, certified mail, etc.

If there is a step-parent involved and they can prove that they're in loco parentis, then they can sign. So if you have physical custody and have re-married, your spouse may be able to sign by showing they have supported your child. This can be proven through rent or mortgages, school records, insurance records, etc. I know people in the military have showed their step-child was their dependent in DEERS and were able to successfully get a passport that way.

If you're in this situation where you can't get the other parent's signature, prepare as many documents as you can. Do BOTH form DS 5525 and see if your spouse can sign. The more documentation you have the better the chance you have of getting a passport. I've found that people issuing American passports are very sympathetic. If you can show that you've made effort to contact the other parent then you can usually sign the passport application without the other parent's permission. Likewise, if you can show your spouse is in loco parentis, they'll be able to co-sign with you.

Allowing Both Parents to Raise Their Kids 
It's usually in the child's best interest to have access to both parents. This is done through:
  • Physical custody
  • Legal custody
  • Visitation rights
  • Parental rights
Child custody battles are common. Here are some tips to help you get through it. What every woman should know about custody is very informative. Remember to record everything and/or get it in writing. Ecamm, for example will allow you to record Skype conversations since sound recordings are submittable as evidence in court proceedings. Make sure you honor the custody agreement. Interference with the parental rights of the non-custodial parent, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a serious crime and may cause you to lose custody and/or parental rights.

Divorce is common nowadays and with it comes child custody issues. There's two types of custody: legal and physical. Physical custody is whose home the child lives in and legal custody is who makes decisions about the child's well-being. Is your ex a  horrible person? Joint custody with a jerk has some good tips. Some type of joint or shared custody is often preferred in the USA instead of sole custody, except for cases where it would endanger the child. A mother may get sole (or primary) physical custody over her child, but both parents would share legal custody.

In the case of schooling, travel, medical decisions, etc, both parents usually must sign off. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, when the other parent can't be located or when there is someone acting as in loco parentis. Let's say you re-marry and your spouse has been caring for your child. They'd be in loco parentis. This can be proven through rent or mortgages, school records, insurance records, etc. If they're in the military and have registered their step-child in DEERS, it's even easier to prove in loco parentis.

Here is some recommended reading about custody:

Visitation Rights
Just because one parent has sole physical custody does not mean that they other parent doesn't get visitation rights. There are three types of visitation rights: no visitation, supervised visitation, and visitation.

Narcissistic or Borderline Personality Disorder
If you're dealing with someone with these issues, remember to remain calm. Losing control is what they want you to do. Get everything in writing or record it. These types of people are good at manipulation (they can turn anyone against you, even your own lawyer) and projecting (seeing others as they are seen). For example, if they cheated, they believe that you'll cheat on them or even worse, they'll accuse you of narcissism. Here is some information about narcissism.
My advice to you would be to educate yourself and distance yourself both physically (if possible) and emotionally from this person.

Parental Rights: General Information
Once a mother's and father's name is written on the child's birth cert, they get parental rights. Once parental rights are taken away from someone, a new birth certificate will be issued without that parent's name on it.

Terminating parental rights is a major affair and can take years. It is not something to be taken lightly and is considered to be a last resort. There has to be a solid reason for terminating parental rights. Below you can find some reasons for terminating parental rights. There are two ways to terminate parental rights: voluntarily or involuntarily. While some parents may willingly give up parental rights temporarily or permanently, many parents refuse to do so and courts have to get involved. If a parent is not involved, but refuses to give up parental rights, some parents will agree to sign over rights if you waive back child support, back medical expenses, future counseling costs, cost of supervised visitation, and letters from medical professionals saying that not terminating parental rights would cause permanent emotion and mental damage to the child. This is not a complete list. Please contact the court that has jurisdiction over your area.

One (or both) of the parents . . .
  • is in prison due to committing a serious crime
  • is a sex offender
  • is mentally unstable
  • has abandoned the child
  • has not had contact for a minimum amount of time (usually 6-24 months)
  • is a drug abuser or alcoholic
  • is a threat to the child's well-being
  • hasn't paid child support
  • has signed over their rights
Parental Rights in Peru
Here's information about parental rights (patria potestad) for Peru. That link has since been taken down, but here's a new one for patria potestad. It is not legal to sign over your rights in Peru. They can only be taken away during exceptional circumstances, such as being convicted of a crime. FYI: not paying child support is considered a crime in Peru. Parental rights can be temporarily taken away until the parent pays. Their salary or wages can also be garnished if they refuse to pay. Parental rights are taken away once the child becomes 18 or the parent dies. Contact a lawyer for more information.

Parental Rights in the USA
Unlike Peru, in the USA you can sign over your rights or they can be involuntarily terminated. The courts also might step in and adjudicate the termination of parental rights and assert jurisdiction over custody cases. Each state has different requirements so be sure to read the information thoroughly. Here's the information for termination of parental rights in Texas and adoption in Texas, for example.

Usually the courts will not involuntarily terminate a law-abiding parent's rights unless someone else agrees to adopt the child (if they're under 18), such as a step-parent (here are step-parent adoption forms for each state). You usually have to notify the other parent if you want to terminate their rights. You can do this by having someone from the court or police serve them the petition, publish an ad in the paper, or send the summons via certified mail. However, there are many exceptions so you may want to contact a lawyer.

It can be very expense, but many employers, such as the US military, UPS, ServiceMaster, ARAG, Hyatt Legal, and MetLife will offer adoption assistance. The IRS also has information about qualified adoption expenses and the top 10 facts about adoption tax benefits.

If the person wanting to be adopted is over 18 then it's simply a matter of signing papers at the court house. For example, if a child wishes to take away their father's parental rights and the child is 18, then the father doesn't even have to be contacted.

In conclusion
When getting a divorce or separating the court will make a decision based on what's best for the child. Being spiteful and getting revenge can only do harm and not good. If you're living in Peru and have registered your marriage in Peru, you should also register your divorce there or get divorced again. You may have to notarise, legalise, or apostillise documents. Contacting lawyers in Peru can help.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22 Fantastic Peruvian Fruits

Updated 27 October 2017

Peru has a variety of exotic fruits, some are super foods boasting many vitamins and nutrients, others have been said to cure diseases and ailments, like cancer. While you may not have heard of many of them, you've got to try them when you're in Peru. The 3 distinct climates: costa (the coast), selva (the rain forest), sierra (the mountains) and the weather make for affordable, mouth-watering fresh fruit.

Many of the fruits below are said to help prevent cancer since they often contain vitamins and are high in antioxidants. While this may be true, remember that the same can be said about other fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no magic cure-all. Consult your caregiver if necessary.
Aceitunas peruvian olives

Originally from Spain, they were first planted in Parque El Olivar in San Isidro. Olives are often used to decorate Peruvian dishes like Causa, or added to meat in Papa Rellena. You can buy olives practically anywhere, from big grocery stores to little mom and pop places. Some olives are stuffed with peppers while others are simply plain.

Known as the curvy fruit since it's supposed to help women get an hourglass figure, this fig-sized fruit grows on the Moriche Palm tree. The aguaje has many health benefits, such as being a rich source of Vitamin A (5 times as much as carrots!), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and having phytoestrogens, and being high in antioxidants and electrolytes. However, it doesn't have a strong flavor; some people say it tastes a bit like a carrot. Some people sprinkle a bit of salt on it when they eat it.

Aguaymanto / Physalis 
It's known by a variety of names such as Inca berry, Peruvian groundcherry, Pichuberry, and Peruvian cherry. It's similar to a tomatillo and is a small, round yellowish fruit. It's about the size of a cherry and has small seeds. It tastes a bit tarty and is good in pies. 
It's high in vitamins and low in calories. It's been said to help with lung cancer and other diseases.

Camu Camu
Camu Camu
Known as nature's Vitamin C, this fruit grows on bushes in the Amazon. Some of the phytochemicals it has are amino acids, valine, leucine. It's also famous for being the plant with the highest source of Vitamin C in the world. It's about the size of a grape and they're also called camu camu berries because of their size. It's famous in Japan, but hardly known in the USA. It's got a bit of a zing to it and tastes a bit tarty.

From Frutales Tropicales
Also known as capulin cherries, these fruits are said to help alleviate respiratory problems. They're similar to the common cherries, but usually have darker skin and are very sweet. They grow in subtropical climates, such as Peru. They're also known as black cherries.


A common ice cream flavor in Peru, this fruit is sweet and and you smell it from far away. It's similar to a custard apple. You eat it like you would a passion fruit; peel off the skin. With lots of essential vitamins (such as B-complex), nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals, chirimoya makes for a healthy snack.

Similar to the naranjilla, this fruit grows on a shrub with white hairy twigs. It smells a bit like a tomato, but tastes a bit lemony. There are small seeds inside, but you can eat them. Peru has 4 different types of cocona: small purple-red, medium yellow, round yellow, and pear-shaped. The medium one is the most popular. It makes a very delicious juice.

From Wikipedia Commons
Also known as passion fruit, granadillas are similar to maracuyas, but a lot sweeter. It's orange on the outside and the inside has lots of black seeds covered in a light green pulp. You can eat the seeds. To open it you usually run your nail all around the hard shell and break it in two. They're usually about the size of an egg, but can be bigger.


Also known as soursop, it's commonly used in ice cream, smoothies, and drinks. Some people have said that it can be used to cure cancer as the fruit attacks cancer cells. It's been used for a couple decades, though there have been no proven studies. It's a large green fruit with thorns on the skin. The white inside is rich, creamy, sweet. Some people say that it tastes like a mix of pineapple, strawberries, coconut, and banana.

Guaba / Pacay / Guamo / Inga
Also knows as the ice cream bean, this cotton candy fruit is similar to mangosteens and guanabanas. Technically a legume, guabas are often sold by little cholitos on the roadside as buses pass by. Some cross-country buses will stop and the kids will lift the guavas up to the bus windows in an old soda bottle.

They're often sold together in bunches for S/.1. The outside is long green or brown pod, kind of like a green bean, but much longer and thicker. Inside is the fruit all lined up. It's is white and fluffy like a cloud and inside that is a large seed. It tastes like vanilla ice cream and feels like cotton candy. Pop the fruit in your mouth and spit out the seed. Be careful though. I've opened up my share of wormy guabas, so be sure to check for larva before eating.

Guava / Guayaba
Not to be confused with the guaba (although they sound the same), this fruit is round and pink on the inside. It's grainy and sweet. It's good for making jelly and juice. It's also good for making sweets, such as pastries.

Peruvian lime
Ah, the famous Peruvian limas. Known as limons in Peru, these mouth-pukering sour golf ball-sizes fruits are said to have a ton of uses. They're used to "cook" ceviche and also great as a refreshing drink on hot days. My favorite limeade uses agua con gas, which makes a fizzy drink like spritzer. If you're sick you can take a shot of juice and it will cure you. They're also part of Peru's national drink: Pisco Sour.

A favourite ice cream flavour in Peru, this fruit is known as the egg fruit. Green on the outside and bright orange on the inside with a big pit, this fruit tastes a bit like a sweet potato. It's used in many sweets in Peru. It's unique flavour and difficulty finding it elsewhere in the world (Other than Peru, it's only found naturally in parts of Bolivia and Costa Rica) make it a great fruit to try if you visit Peru.

Peruvian mangoes
I miss Peruvian mangoes. They're cheap, fresh, and can easily be bought on the streets. There are many different varieties of mangoes, but the most common ones with reddish skin and ones with orange skin. I always had trouble cutting mangoes. The easiest thing to do is to cut it in half. Twist the seed out. Then cut into the fruit, to make small squares; be careful not to cut the skin. Then turn it inside out.

Similar to granadilla, this fruit is also known as passion fruit. Maracuyas are much more sour than granadillas and I've never eaten them plain. When I first got to Peru I heard people rave about how delicious they were so I went out and bought a bagful. At home I patiently tried to peel them. After a while I called a friend who couldn't stop laughing at me. She told me to cut them in half and scoop the inside out to make juice. Just add sugar and water. Be sure to strain the seeds off before drinking. Maracuya juice is very delicious, if you get the chance to try some, please do!

Noni fruit
Green and bumpy on the outside and white with seeds on the inside, this fruit can be eaten cooked or raw. It's really good cooked with coconut milk. If you eat it raw, some people enjoy sprinkling salt on it. Others like to juice it.

A few years ago noni fruit was all the rage. You could find it in the health food stores back home in pill, teas, or liquid form. Like many Peruvian fruits it's a super food. It's claimed to help a variety of ailments, there is no reliable evidence to prove this. In Peru you could often find it sold in health stores as a juice and is said to aid in weight loss.

Peruvian paltas
Otherwise known as avocados, paltas are absolutely fantastic in Peru. In other Spanish speaking countries, no one will know what you're talking about if you say palta, since they're known as aguacates.

Vendors often sell them on the roadside in carts. You can usually get one for a sol. They're bigger and less round than what you'd find back home. They also have big round ones that cost a bit more. I recommend buying them straight from the vendors.  If you tell the vendor when you'd like to eat them, they'll help pick them out for you. I'd often buy two to eat that day and two for the next day. I rarely had any bad avocados.

Palta rellana is a popular side dish in Peru that uses avocadoes. It's is cut and a filling made with onions, carrots, chili peppers, chicken, shrimp, or tomatoes. Mayonnaise is usually added to that and the filling is put where the pit used to be.

melon pear
Pepino Dulce
Pepino dulce, not to be confused with pepino, which is a cucumber, is also known as sweet cucumber or melon pear. It's beige on the outside and a bit darker on the inside. There are seeds on the inside that you can scoop out. You can cut it horizontally or vertically in order to get the seeds out. It's light and refreshing and tastes a bit like cantaloupe.

Pitahaya Dragon Fruit
Also known as dragon fruit, it's just as fantastic to look at it as it is to eat it. Bright pink with green on the tips of the layers and white with black edible seeds on the inside, it's certainly a sight to behold. This exotic cactus fruit tastes a bit like watermelon and kiwi. To eat simply chill in the fridge for a bit, cut open, and scoop the inside out.

tumbo banana passionfruit
Also known as banana passion fruit, tumbos are yellow on the outside and dark orange on the inside.You can find tumbos growing all over Cusco. They're great for quenching thirst. The inside looks similar to maracuya and granadillas. Like the latter, the seeds of the tumbo can be eaten.

You can use it to make jams, marmalade, and juice. Tumbo sour, an alcoholic drink, can also be made with this fruit.

Tuna fruit prickly pear
Also known as prickly pear, tuna is similar to tumbo as they're both cactus fruits. Baloo from the jungle book eat some while singing, "The Bear Necessities". It's bright pink or green with prickles on the outside and bright pink with black edible seeds on the inside. The inside is like the tumbo. You can buy it from January to March and you'll usually get three tunas for 1 sol. It tastes like watermelon, raspberries, and kiwi all rolled into one.

While probably a vegetable, yacons are sweet and often used in fruit recipes, such as salpicon. It tastes a little bit like a cross between celery and Granny Smith apples. They're usually a dark yellowish brown or red on the outside. It looks like a long sweet potato. The inside can be yellow, orange, red, pink, or purple. The texture is like yucca or cassava. Some people peel it and eat it raw. Others fry, bake, roast, or even juice it. You can also use it to make chips.

More Info
Here are some more posts that might interest you.
If you're interested in finding out more about Peruvian gastronomy, check out The Fire of Peru and Gaston Acurio's cookbook. There are also lots of Peruvian remedies that use traditional Peruvian foods.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

3 Reasons Why Peruvians Prefer Not to Get Married

Many people ask me about whether they should marry their Peruvian boyfriend or girlfriend and what documents are required to get married in Peru. Marriage seems to be getting less popular these days. Not only in Peru, but worldwide. Here are three reasons why I believe Peruvians would rather have parejas (partners) than get married. There are a lot of hoops you'll have to jump through if you want to get a divorce in Peru.

Peruvians aren't as Catholic as they think they are
Despite the fact that most Peruvians perceive themselves as being Catholic, I just don't see this as being true. I, personally, would refer to them as lapsed Catholics, meaning that they'd probably only attend church for weddings, funerals, Easter, and Christmas. While I don't think that you have to go to church to be religious, I also don't see them practice what they're preaching.

Catholicism does not allow living together before marriage (ie living in sin) or having children out of wedlock (ie illegitimate children) and many Peruvians do both of these things.

Despite the number of times I see it I'll always find it a bit disturbing to see people shouting or arguing on the bus, pass a church, and frantically cross themselves many times over, and then go back to shouting or arguing. It's almost a superstition rather than a religion in my opinion.

Divorce is painful
People get divorced for different reasons, some people fall out of love, others realise they are more different than they thought, others were taken advantage of by bricheros or bricheras.  Going to marry a Peruvian? Make an effort to learn about the culture and the language.

Despite being common, divorce isn't easy; few divorces are truly amicable. Divorce tends to bring out the worst in people even with spouses who get along, but just don't love each other anymore. People fight about money, children, material goods, retirement portfolios, and even friends. Skeletons come out of the closet and the people become very bitter as divorce drags on.

Peru's becoming more liberal
Along with many countries around the world, things that were once taboo, such as living together before marriage, having sex before marriage, having kids outside of marriage, gay rights, abortion, and so on, are not only accepted, but people who disagree with these topics are often perceived as being old-fashioned or backwards.

Look at the picture on the right. Well 38% of people surveyed think it's a bad thing to live together, 50% don't think it matters at all and 10% actually think it's good. The people who think it's bad are in the minority and that number's just going to decrease in the future as people become more forward minded.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Menial Jobs are Dragging Peru Down

When countries shift towards first world economies they move from being primarily manufacturing economies to being service economies. While manufacturing does help the economy it has a negative impact on the environment and people's lifestyles. Countries can change rapidly when changes are made. The USA has led the way in becoming a service sector and as a result people's lives have dramatically increased. If you think that a short while ago there were no child labor laws, slave wages, and sweat shops were commonplace.

Certain stereotypes exist about menial job workers in the US and one is language. Since many immigrants are from Mexico, some people look down on those who speak Spanish. Whether they like it or not, Spanish is becoming a very important language not only in the USA, but also in the world. Learning Spanish will help you assimilate to the culture and you'll be able to communicate easier.

While Peru isn't well known as a manufacturing company, no cars are made there, few electronic are, many items are imported from China. However, menial jobs are to Peru as manufacturing was to the USA.  Some of these menial jobs include:
  • fare takers (cobradores) on the buses
  • gas attendants
  • street vendors
  • people who sell things on buses
  • shoe shine kids
  • live-in nannies
  • the people who shout numbers out to the bus drivers to let them know about their competition
Peru has come a long way in recent years. Fujimori's gone. As is the Shining Path. But there are still many obstacles in the way keeping Peru from becoming a developed country.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Beware the Bait and Switch in Peru

Bait and switch can refer to a number of things, such as jobs and shopping, but it always refers to fraud. Recruiters may use bait and switch when they dangle a cushy job in front of someone only to change it at the last minute. It's also commonly used in Peru when shopping at the markets or buying something off someone on the street. I've known plenty of people who have fallen victim to this trick both in Peru and elsewhere. Here are some tips to help you avoid the bait and switch trap.

Take your time. Sellers who use bait and switch try to get time on their side and have you rush. When you rush you're not paying as much attention. Beware of people who want to make you rush.

Refuse a bag. Bags can hide a lot of sins. If there's no bag it's harder for the seller to hide anything.

Buy from reputable people. I love shopping at markets, but some people hate it. The noise, the sellers hawking their wares, etc. However, if you can build relationships with the people you buy from you'll find it can be a great experience. They might give you discounts or the latest and the greatest. Ask other people who they buy from and keep going back to people who give you good deals and good items.

Speak Spanish. Sick of getting the foreigner's price? Learn Spanish. Plain and simple. It's a pretty easy to learn a couple of words and phrases here and there. Knowing Spanish will help you assimilate to the culture and you'll be able to communicate easier.

Be careful about meeting people you find online. I find that living abroad is safer than living at home. I've met many of my friends online through Facebook, forums, and even Craigslist. Back home you wouldn't do that. However, not everyone is safe. Meeting people online can always be dangerous. Be sure to meet in a well-lit place, preferably during the day with other people around.

Trust your instinct. If something doesn't feel right it probably isn't. Move on and find somewhere else to go shopping.

More Shopping Tips
I wrote about markets in Lima as well as shopping in Peru and while markets are great, you have to be careful. Shopping in markets can be a fun experience. These 3 tips will help you make the most of your shopping experience.
  1. Get recommendations: ask friends which sellers are good and which ones should be avoided.
  2. Pricing: be wary of pricing, especially sellers who drop their prices drastically.
  3. Trust your instinct: it's usually right.


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