Posts in Lima

Word(s) of the day

sin fines de lucro (non-profit organization) - We spent the better part of the afternoon poring over the mountain of volunteer opportunities and volunteer trip reports at the SAE (South American Explorers) Lima clubhouse in Miraflores. They have a great collection of offers by local non-profits and private organizations that need help with wildlife, tourism or social causes. They include everything from being a cook at an eco-tourism company, to guiding visitors through the Peruvian rainforests, to helping orphans and abused women and children, to providing medical treatment, and yes, to teaching English. More on this topic later!

desarrollo (development) - Most volunteer opportunities involve some kind of social, economic or tourism development.

medio ambiente (environment) - ... View Post »

Set aside some time and go here. Then go here and here and here and here and here. You can thank me later.

Word(s) of the Day

Acero (steel) - We searched high and low for a sartén de acero (a stainless steel frying pan). The majority of people here use aluminum, but it's both a poor conductor of heat and tends to break down and get into your food, so we were trying to avoid it. We were looking at s/ 80-100 for a 10" wok or pan until we finally found a 10" sartén with a lid for s/ 50. Score. 

Some other words we used in the last few days:

rueda (wheel)  - Useful when ordering cheese.

cocodrilo (crocodile) - Heard every 2 or 3 seconds on an episode of Swamp People on the History Channel that focused on croc hunting families in the Louisiana bayou. We're glad to see Americans so well-represented abroad. The show, which was dubbed with amusing Spanish voices, periodically included English subtitles ... View Post »

Machu Picchu: Yes or no?

From a cursory look it seems we won't be hiking the Inca Trail or riding to Machu Picchu. It looks like it would cost about $150pp to go by train and bus (from Cusco alone) and around $500 to hike the trail with guides, porters, cooks, etc. Since 2001 you can't hike the trail alone and even just the assistance of a guide is around $50 per day. 

To be honest, so far we don't really feel lured in. We absolutely want to hike in the Andes and the surrounding hills and will do so with the assistance of a trained expert, but hiking to Machu Picchu seems such the tourist option. If we hiked the trail we would only really be able to afford that one experience for a few months. Would it be worth it?

Has anyone gone? What did you think about the experience?

Irene: Pants and shirts are in the second. Jus...just throw them all into cardboard boxes. Forget the suitcases. (To Mouth) Clarke, can you translate that?

Mouth: Why certainly, Mrs. Walsh.

Irene: (Whispering to herself, smiling and proud of Clarke) Oh, that's wonderful, simply wonderful.

Mouth: (To Rosalita) La mota vienen en el primer cajon. La coca y la rapidez vienen en el segundo. La heroina en el debajo. Siempre hay que separa las drogas.

— Goonies
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Sounds of Peru, Vol. 1 - Lima, like many cities, is a cacophony of sounds. After living in NYC for over eight years we thought we would be permanently immune to the din of ambulances, trucks and buses, construction and the like. It turns out we are not. Perhaps it is because we spent the last four months in the serenity and quietude of Connecticut, but we can't seem block out this particular phenomenon of the urban landscape, which appears in every street, around every corner, every day, at all times of day, everywhere we go. It is unbelievable. It has even happened twice while writing this post. We are past the phase of being annoyed and have entered the phase of being amazed at both how absolutely useless it is, and how this exact recording could be so consistent ... View Post »

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 »