EssayEl Mercado Central

<em>Este cerdito fue al mercado</em>...

Hoy fuimos al Mercado Central y el Barrio Chino en el centro de Lima. We've been to a number of markets in our travels together - Mexico City, on the side of the road in Swaziland, Osaka, Nishiki in Kyoto, Tokyo, Durban (South Africa), Lake Malawi, Bombay, Rajasthan, Madurai (Tamil Nadu, India) - but this one had the cleanest and most extensive meat market either of us have ever seen. 

It made you want to buy un cabrito (a kid) and take it home to roast it on a spit. The market is in a huge warehouse. If you're ever been outside of the US you've probably seen a warehouse with all these tiny tiendas organized in perfect little rows by type. They sell anything from bleach to pigs feet and everything in between. On nearby streets there were all sorts of electronics, but the main area of ... View Essay »


In idle moments, como cuando estamos caminando, we practice our pronunciation. The tongue-twisting words we've become enamored of are those we happen upon while walking, like piedras, o federales or those we simply want to say but when we do it just sounds like marbles rolling around: probablemente.

I find it amusing that in my head there is a perfect Spanish speaker - in Matt's I think it's un hombrecito Mejicano - but when I say certain words it feels like I'm speaking through a whoopee cushion.

The other day we were heading towards the ocean and came across piedras, meaning rocks. So we spent the next 10 blocks trying to pronounce piedras. Matt mused upon what a native was experiencing as we passed: two gringos in strange shoes (our 5 Fingers) walking down the street yelling ... View Post »

Roasted chicken did me in last night! We had a day of studying Spanish and Matt finishing up on work. We also spent about an hour trying to find a place that sells whiskey because Matt keeps getting a pretty debilitating toothache which is only abated by swishing with some hard liquor.

Last night we decided to go to a place called Norky's - say it with me in your best Spanish, Noorrkees, what a name - that's famous for their pollo al la brasa. After reading the 10 page menu, we landed upon the pollo and ordered from the pushy Peruano. What arrived I wasn't prepared for - a succulent leg and breast that had been brined and stuffed with herbs and onions and some kind of acid - and then turned for a long time on a rotisserie. What I had ordered was, well, crack. We ate every last morsel, ... View Post »

Vivimos en Lima

We placed a down payment on our apartment yesterday. It's not ours yet - we don't move in until Saturday - but we're hopeful the search is over! It's in a central part of Miraflores near a beautiful park and many small restaurants just waiting to be discovered down all these little side streets. It's about a 10 minute walk to where the air starts to smell salty and you can see the Pacific.

Our landlord is a Southern - we expect ex-military - gent named Ian (EYE-I-N, not EEE-I-N) who has been living in Lima for three years. Our apartment is part of a building of apart hotels - ours is one of the only actual apartments. It's a cute, sizable place whose decor is reminiscent of the 70s. And we have - count them - four, real gas burners. Gasp.

Most apartments here are geared towards ... View Post »

To go, to stay, to plan, to play

We're almost ready to go. And by ready, I mean we acknowledge the inevitability of that 6:15am flight - it hasn't been cancelled yet - and we are moving towards it. We're whittling down our checklist, task by task; labeling and stowing boxes under beds and in closets, fruit rollup-ing all our shirts and pants and laboring over the use of each book. My thoughts are at war: the sea of tasks still left and the sadness of leaving home are wrestling with the adventure to come. 

All the copying and faxing and scanning and storing, moving intangible bits of data from this pink plastic box to that blue one seems never-ending. And yet it's a cathartic process. If we could just be in Peru - BANG! - we would probably pass out from the disorientation. Some of life's big changes need little steps ... View Post »

Fuel tanks and bag weights

Our flight was cancelled due to an fuel tank explosion at the Miami Airport, but we'll be heading out tomorrow morning instead. Which just gives us the opportunity to pack and unpack our bags three or four times to try and extract every last ounce of unnecessary weight. Cotton dress, you're just too fat; Game Boy, your mindless amusement will have to be missed; soap and toothpaste and shampoo, why do I still think you only exist in the US?; A Peru Reader, will I read you? Once we're all suited up, we'll board a plane at 6am, touch down in sunny Miami and then head off to Lima. Wish us luck!

"Well, there's 5 gigs of Philip Glass, but everything else is under either A or B."

— When looking through music
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StoryExit and entry

In this age of travel as tourists visiting South America we need to look "sharp" departing the US, rich when we arrive at our destination and dirty and poor as all hell once we've finally checked into our hotel and find ourselves (gasp) walking around on the street

We need to look like we have a purpose checking in so the ticket agent in Hartford won't ask us for proof of "onward travel"; we need to look like we have a wallet full of $100 bills so the immigration officials in Lima won't ask us for proof of "sufficient funds." Then by the time we've collected our luggage it better be dirty and stained and fraying at the edges so we won't get robbed for being fancy foreigners - but not before we exit through customs!

When you travel as a tourist with a one-way ticket to South ... View Story »

Dear Pandora, my ears are bleeding. Please don't play Bob Marley ever, ever again. Thank you. P.S. What possesses you to think that Otis Redding and Bob Marley have anything in common?

We are immune to hep A. Huzzah. We're also each one shot down and $240 away from being immune to hep B. Turns out there's an accelerated program for the hep B shots. Instead of getting the three shots at 0 mo, 1 mo and 6 mo, you can get them at 0 days, 7 days and 14 days. Incredible! Of course we discussed getting shot up on the cheap in Lima or some more remote place, but the idea of potentially contracting hep B in the process of attempting to gain immunity to it is my current numero uno trip nightmare. A little bit paranoid? Hells yes.