Monday, November 16, 2015

Peru 2014: Day 2 June 24th- Differences from the North

Peru 2014 Index

While we were still comatose, Abuelita went out early to pick up her pension slip.  She also introduced us to one of many benefits of living near an equatorial rain forest by purchasing vast quantities of enormous yet inexpensive (by our standards) fruit.

This meant she could make me her home made jelly which I became addicted to when she stayed with us using authentic Peruvian ingredients.  YUM!!!!. 

We moved a cabinet from our room to the hall and assembled some plastic shelves. This was a crucial step as we needed to create locations for us to unpack our suitcases into- before actually unpacking.

We also worked out the particular tricks of recharging.  Similar to the shower plumbing, the electricity looked to have been added to the home after initial construction. With the exception of ceiling light fixtures, all of the wiring was outside of the walls, running mostly along the baseboards, but rising where it needed to. This appearance continued outside as the power line distribution from the poles looked like it was done by the guys in my dorm who got overly excited when the lounge got cable. The plugs were a mix of round and US standard receptacles.  Our electronic devices could adjust to voltage differences on their own. This turned out to be fortunate, as the adaptor/converter we brought worked just fine as the former, but caused odd blinking and surging as the latter.

Though this was a trip to “Mami’s homeland,” it ended up containing vast quantities of Daddy-Daughter time.   This was due to there being several locations, such as the local market or the bank, where my excessive “sticky outyness” would have been a detriment.  Instead of spending the entire time in any of these locations watching over her husband and daughter with hawk like, tension headache creating vigilance, Rosa left us home for any of those trips.

While they went to deposit the pension slip and stock up on food, Anabelle and I explored the world of Mad Libs, and entered into the first of many Star Trek Uno marathons.

We also embarked on the continuation of our sharing one of my main geekly habits.  She was getting bored with one of the slow parts in Harry Potter a few months before, leading me to read her the exceptionally funny Dan Slott written Spidey/ Human Torch comic I’m with Stupid.  Since we wanted to avoid packing any large hardcovers, we talked about what other comics she’d like to hear. She chose to start with a crash course in the Marvel Universe as it existed in my youth.  The reading of the first issue of the original Secret Wars marked the true initiation of officially passing the torch of my obsession to the next generation.

Up the Lake experience once again provided valuable life experience, enabling me to shave without hot water before our first Peruvian excursion.

What I was less prepared for was pocket issues. I am excessively pocket oriented.  Again due to my inherent “sticky outyness” most of my usual equipment (wallet, SmartPhone, Flip Phone, card folder) were left behind in the apartment, or in many cases- New Jersey.  I must have had them guessing if I was:
American - based on almost everything

Or German - based on the constant hip slapping dance I appeared to be doing while checking my pockets for items that were not there.

We walked to the corner for our first hailed cab ride.  Initially I believed the walking was only to increase the ease of finding an available taxi on a busier roadway.  It turned out the street the apartment was on was designated pedestrian only, excluding the nearby fire house. The sidewalk and road both being the same level and made of the same bricks was a hint into this designation.  However, since every cab we took back home drove us right to the door, and multiple cars passed by all the time, this was not inherently obvious.

The purpose of our first driving video game like ride was to bring us to Rosa’s favorite place for authentic Peruvian pollo ala brasa, a rotisserie chicken with a staggeringly delightful pile of local spices.

I was considerably let down when we exited at Pardo’s Chicken, a chain restaurant located in the local mall.  How could this be her absolute favorite for an authentic Peruvian dish?

Yes, I had forgotten we were in Peru. Cut me some slack, it was a long flight.

We each had a mess of tasty chicken. Fortunately, since my fear of taking in any local water extended to its use in washing vegetables, they also had a cooked veggie salad that went well with the Peruvian aji pepper spice.

The mall looked familiar, but there was evidence all around that we were in a culture that was both more and less permissive.  There were Catholic shrines inside the mall…
and one on the median of the highway now that I think about it.

However, there were also “giant cell phone” advertising boards that showed stop-start images of a woman changing into and out of various outfits to highlight a clothing store.  The less said about the “Sexo” titles among the children’s books in the toy aisle the better.

Seeing women walking while simultaneously breast feeding was equal parts surprising and impressive considering none of the little tykes went bouncing down the escalator.

The Lego store stop was made extremely brief by the import costs raising the prices well above and beyond the already high prices of those precision made building toys.

The main reason for the mall wandering was to provide a means of communication for us without risking our targetable phones.  Rosa charged up the mini pay-as-you-go cell she picked up on her last trip.  Then she gave it to me and kept the slightly more advanced model that was supposed to be mine. As an experienced husband, this was neither surprising, nor problematic.

We detoured through the food court on the way to Tottus, the big department store/supermarket.  The McDonald’s had multiple proud signs proclaiming their “Peru Exclusive” menu items.  Almost no Peruvians were sampling these, because the McDonald’s was directly next to a mall Ceviche stand.  I kinda wondered why they bothered.

Entering the appliance section, the fact that the World Cup thing going on might have had a bit more impact elsewhere than it did in the States started to hit home.  The ovens all had a soccer ball sitting on them, each with colors and flags of competing nations.  (And Peru, which wasn’t even in the tournament that year.)

We stocked up on a large volume of packaged water, for those of us with North American tummies, and some other food and supplies.  I also grabbed a bottle of local wine, because…it was there.

Injury was averted carrying the Gunga Din amounts of water by learning we could bring the cart out of the store and mall with our groceries. By the exit we passed “Happyland.”

Since the sign was in English, I can only assume there was a translation error.  It was a small room with some dingy, old quarter rides and video games. It, and the Tottus employee tasked with monitoring it, in no way looked “happy.”  Anabelle and I took to threatening each other with being delivered to Happyland when the other would get out of line.

Outside the mall were little kiosks of McDonald’s, Burger King and others.  They didn’t sell food though, only desserts.  Those places aren’t known for variety or quality of dessert, and this puzzled me.  At least until we went to the main Peruvian fast food chain a couple days later.  The Big two must have to rely on extra sales as there’s no way their burgers could compete with Bembos.

We learned a valuable lesson about Peruvian Cab Protocol on the trip home.

Anabelle worried she couldn’t find the seatbelt, I started to look for it before getting in, and the cab took off while I still had one foot on the curb. I threw myself in and used my arms to lock her down after buckling myself. 

Following that trip, any time we rode we followed these steps, once Rosa picked a cab deemed as safe and properly priced and got in the front seat:

1) Abuelita slid all the way across.
2) Anabelle sat in the middle and dug into the seat for Abuelita’s belt.
3) I jumped in and locked myself down.
4) I dug into the seat for - found - and locked Anabelle’s belt while holding her in place.
5) Usually between 3 and 4, Anabelle locked in Abuelita.

Adopting the local custom of big lunches and small to no dinners, I had a peanut butter sandwich, while Anabelle had a Dippin' Yellow. (a.k.a. a fried egg)

Peru has no Pam, and my attempt to cook for my daughter with oil fused most of the egg white permanently onto Abuelita’s pan.  Rosa would by a Tefloned “little pan” to prevent me further damaging her Mom’s supplies.

Rosa had a snack of a lumpy fruit we don’t have up here.  It had a taste far too sweet for me, but the bigger problem was its appearance. While the outside appeared solid, the inside was a green, seed filled jelly.  I have no idea what it was really called, because Anabelle and I decided it was “Booger Fruit.”

Anabelle asked me to play with her using the mini Disney dress up dolls.  Princess Leia (purchased at Tatooine Traders) was among them.  She was about ready to kill me for constantly insisting, to the point of being committed to the mini doll insane asylum that Aladdin was Han Solo.  Hey, I had to have fun too.

Rosa did some stuff around the house while Anabelle and I continued her 1940’s-1950’s Historical Education by watching Looney Tunes.

Click To Continue.

Peru 2014 Index


longbow said...

My 20 seconds of Googling reveals Booger fruit is a Granadilla or Golden Passion Fruit,&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CBwQsARqFQoTCNLckvTnmMkCFdVaiAod-XcCYA&biw=1366&bih=643#tbm=isch&q=Golden+Passion+Fruit

Jeff McGinley said...

You are correct, sir.

But Anabelle and I had too much fun calling it "booger fruit."

thanx for sharing

Dina Roberts said...

I love reading these.

I have only a few trips left. So hopefully this pandemic will end soon, and you guys can go back to traveling...for my sake.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thank you so much. I think we all need to get back to whatever was normal, for all our sakes. Here's hoping the pro mask and pro vaccine groups carry the day.