Thursday, December 10, 2009

What the hell am I doing in Peru!?

I’m sure every expatriate has asked themselves that question. I’ve had those moments….for me usually triggered by the language issue. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever achieve conversational Spanish. For instance, this morning we were talking about the parade we watched yesterday commemorating Armed Forces Day in Peru, when Maribel mentioned another upcoming parade to celebrate (what I thought she said) ‘El dia de la lavenderia’, which in English is ‘The day of the Laundromat.’ I immediately had visions of legions of goose-stepping laundromat workers proudly marching with laundry bags slung over their left shoulders while brandishing fully loaded irons in their right hands. I imagined military trucks displaying the latest models of washers and dryers. What she actually said was ‘El dia de la Bandera’ - Flag Day. Einstein was wrong. There is one thing faster than the speed of light…the Spanish language spoken by a native speaker.

There are other, more serious times when I’ve asked myself if I’ve made a mistake by coming here. When those occasions happen I take a moment to remind myself that the States aren’t frustration free or perfect, and that this city – Chiclayo, really is beautiful and offers a lot more positives than negatives. Yesterday for example we watched the military parade. All branches of the military were represented including…….

Combat units…….a very formidable looking bunch of guys

Veteran’s organizations…….this one representing veterans from the 1981 war with Ecuador known as the ‘War of the Condor.’

Military schools…….look how young these boys are. I hope they never have to march as part of a veteran’s organization.

Medical combat units. This unit of nurses is from the city of Lambayeque

After the parade we walked to Las Musas Park. Chiclayo has many parks. This is one of my favorites. The canal is dry most months, usually containing water only during the ‘rainy season’ from December through February. The water comes from the highland region to the east. Chiclayo averages less than ¼ cup of rain per year. The canal water will be tapped for irrigation purposes many times before reaching the Pacific some 14 miles distant.

An average street. The moto driver is taking time out to clean his vehicle. The buildings on the left are either apartments or condos. On the right is a small neighborhood park. There’s nothing in this photo that says “Wow!”, but for me I see beauty.

Just before arriving home we saw this girl and her dog leaving a market. The dog was carrying the groceries. They were moving at a brisk pace and I had to run to catch up. I think the dog wasn’t too impressed with the photo idea.

So why the hell am I in Peru? All I have to do is take a walk with my wife or visit a friend or family member to answer that question.



  1. One of the things I enjoyed (and sometimes miss) was watching the soldiers in Chorrillos do their daily training runs down my street. Chorrillos is such a wonderful military town.

  2. I love your blog, can't wait to visit Peru. We're planning a trip to Peru and plan on using Karikuy,, for our next trip.
    They seem to handle socially conscious tourism in a very responsible way.