Sunday, March 21, 2010

Expatriates in Chiclayo

If there is an English speaking expatriate community in Chiclayo, or any expatriate community for that matter, I’m not aware of it. At first that surprised me. I know there are a number of us here. I thought there would be an automatic bond between same language and same country expats, but in hindsight realized it takes more than that to draw people together. Just like in the States, there’s got to be that chemistry that allows people to enjoy each other’s company. Also just like in the States, the expats I’ve met are a diverse group of personalities ranging from what I would call the ‘average Joe’ to some really bizarre characters. I have expat friends in Chiclayo and Lima who I enjoy spending time with. I’ve met other expats I don’t classify as friends but will tolerate. I know that sounds snooty but can’t think of another way to phrase it. I’ve met others whom I honestly hope I never cross paths with again, though I’ve discovered in Chiclayo the places where expats tend to frequent are too few for that not to happen.

I think another reason to explain the lack of community is the basic nature of people who would choose to live in a third-world country. The vast majority I’ve met seem to have an independent, self-contained temperament that normally doesn’t lend itself to joining or herding. Probably that individuality is the reason they’re here to begin with. In fact I’d go so far as to say these types of personalities might even shun the company, or at least frequent company of other expats…sort of a jealous guarding of one’s new existence and territory. I’ll admit I’ve experienced that feeling.

Perhaps that’s why, whenever I see a bus from the airport disgorge a group of tourists in front of a hotel my thoughts are that I sincerely hope they discover, enjoy and appreciate Chiclayo as I do. And I hope they have return tickets home. Is that being selfish? It feels like it is, though I’m having a tough time trying to explain and understand for myself what it is I’m being selfish about. I think maybe men like Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket, who moved on because “the towns are gittin’ too darn big” would understand.

Anyway, Mister and Misses tourist, when you’ve returned home and are having a quiet get-together with friends and the subject of your vacation in Chiclayo comes up, as they gasp in wonder over all those spectacular photos you took please tell your guests you loved it and suggest they come here. But also please say to them that, "while Chiclayo is a great place to visit, I'd rather live in Lima.” : )



  1. Nooooo!!! Anything but that! LOL!

    I always feel a little weird when I pass a 'gringo' in the market or whatever. I feel like I 'ought' to say hi, or something... but on the other hand, I wouldn't speak to them if we were just passing at the flea market back home, so why should it be different here? My experience though, is that if you DO say hi (because my mom ALWAYS does), they're usually thrilled to have a chance to speak English with someone.

    Meh.... I'd rather move myself up to Chiclayo. ;)

  2. As my husband says, "This guy, Chiclayo Gringo seems to be right on the ball, he got things right."
    Tom, you just described us. We have moved around, NY, NJ, now a also a house in VA and maybe in the future some partial move to Lima...and we happily keep to ourselves. Yes, we are sociable people, but not 'fanatics.' ;-) . Sort of, "nice seeing you! I like you very much! Now, time to go back to our cave! :-)

    BTW, we had dinner with lovely and elegant Sonia (Mrs. P) and her husband, and they mentioned they had dinner with you too in Lima.
    Stop avoiding us! :-)

  3. "BTW, we had dinner with lovely and elegant Sonia (Mrs. P) and her husband, and they mentioned they had dinner with you too in Lima.
    Stop avoiding us! :-)"

    ‘Avoidance before meeting’ is my latest tactic. It eliminates that awkward moment when I have to tell you I don’t like you and never want to see you again.

    Seriously, let me know next time you plan on visiting Peru. We’d love to get together with you.