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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Word of the Day 1/1/10

The word of the day that will probably apply to many poor souls today is

resaca - hangover as in "I have a hangover"  "tengo una resaca"

Safety Tips While Hotfooting it Around Peru

Peru is one the most exciting travel destinations in South America blending incredible historical and archeological sites with out of this world cuisine, verdant jungle, exotic flora and fauna, deserted beaches and an energetic cultural element.

Some people have an image of Peru as being a dangerous place and may avoid traveling there or to other South American destinations for fear of falling victim to crime. Peru has become much safer in recent years and is now a leading Latin American travel destination. Peruvians are usually very friendly and helpful towards visitors and you will often be asked lots of questions about your home country because they are genuinely interested in you. However, whenever you travel overseas there is always the chance that things can go wrong and put you in danger so here are some tips on staying safe and secure while traveling through Peru.

Peru is filled with little yellow death traps known as Ticos. They are little cars that are used as taxis quite often. If you value your life never step inside one. They collapse like a house of cards upon impact with another vehicle or object. Always stick to larger taxis when traveling about.

When you are traveling with your luggage make sure you get into a registered taxi booked through your hotel. In Peru just about anybody with a car can decide to become a tax driver. Most of the taxi drivers are just hard working average Joes, but there is the odd one who is out on the prowl to menace people and rob them.

Keep your jewelry and flashy objects to a minimum. It is not a super smart move to make yourself stick out as a gringo with money as you are likely to make yourself a target for possible robberies or even kidnapping.

Lima is surrounded by a number of shanty towns and slums, which should be avoided. Apart from a morbid curiosity about how the very poor live their lives, there is no reason to visit them.

If you are going to withdraw money from a bank you should do it during the day. It is also best to choose ATMs inside a bank where there are security guards. As soon as you have taken your money place it inside a money belt and do not let others see how much cash you have.

Avoid walking in unknown or dark places at night. And even if you don't know where you are going always try to look confident as this makes you look less vulnerable to possible thieves and thugs.

On buses traveling between cities make sure that you keep your valuables on your person. Definitely not under the bus and not even on the floor or above you. Keep important items right with you all the time. Occasionally buses are held up while en route. This normally happens on buses that stop in different and remote spots to pick up passengers. A good way to minimize the chance of highway hijacking is to travel on direct buses.

Never ever have anything to do with drugs in Peru. There are too many foreigners in jail in Peru who have been caught with drugs either in the country or trying to smuggle them out. If you are offered them in a bar or club politely and firmly decline the offer.

Finally use your common sense and gut instincts while traveling. If you have a bad feeling about something act upon it, as it is generally correct. Having said that thousands of people travel through Peru each year without incident, so do not become paranoid to the point of not experiencing some of the wonderful things that Peru has to offer the visitor.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Word of the Day 12/31/09

This is an ppropriate word for around Christmas time when we have all stuffed ourselves to breaking point -

Barriga - Belly

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Word of the Day 12/29/09

In an attempt to share my wonderful Spanish skills (?) with the rest of you, I will be dropping in a word, phrase, idiom etc of the day.

First off the bat is da da da da - drumrooooollllll.........

Jerga - which means "slang". Pronounced "herga" with a soft r sound.

Stay tuned for more.

Cows On Parade - Lima

If you see some large fiberglass bovines taking over the public spaces of Lima, then do not be too startled. These highly decorative moo cows are part of the Cow Parade 2009 and are part of one of the world's largest public art displays.

Since beginning in Switzerland in 1998, there have been more than 2500 cows paraded as part of the fundraising campaign worldwide.

You will find cows scattered around Larcomar, Plaza de Armas, Parque de Amor, Parque Kennedy, Barranco and Jockey Plaza with around 80 cows in total comprising the parade. Cows are decorated by locals artists in all manner of weird and wonderful ways. Many of the cows represent Peruvian elements in ingenious ways.

Following the parade the cows will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to Peruvian NGOs Ann Sullivan Center of Peru, Socios en Salud and the Lima Foundation.  Let's hope they all go to good home, I'd be udderly disappointed if they were mistreated (sorry, I couldn't resist). The fancy cows will be on display around town until February 2010.

I have included a photo of the one in Larcomar that is my absolute favorite.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Little Peruvian Slang

Peruvian Spanish is some of the clearest that you will hear in Latin America. For this reason many travelers choose Peru as the location to learn Spanish. Having said that, there are also bazillions of slang words that are used by locals. Here is a list of some of the slang that you might hear bandied about on the street.

Lucas - A slang word for soles. For example: "Necesito 20 lucas para mi entrada" "I need 20 soles for my ticket."

Cocos - Slang word for dollars. Use as above.

Mostro -Awesome

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Stuff Yourself Silly in Peru

Peru is truly a culinary paradise. From the gigantic lemon meringue pies, to the vast array of exotic and tropical fruits and the national dish of Ceviche, there is much to tempt your taste buds.

Peruvians are very passionate about their cuisine and rightly so: it is considered one of the most diverse cuisines in the world.

Top 10 Things to Do While In Peru in No Particular Order

Peru is a truly amazing country bursting with cultural sites and experiences. Everybody knows about Machu Picchu, but there is much more to this country than just MP. From amazing food, music and dance to archaeological remains: Peru has it all.

Quieres Hablar Castellano? - Spanish Language Schools Lima

There must be thousands of places that teach Spanish to tourists in Lima and Cuzco. Before choosing a language school, think carefully about what it is that you hope to gain from the experience. If you are visiting for a week and are mostly interested in picking up basic greetings and how to order a Ceviche, a school that also offers cultural experiences may be the one to go for. If you are keen on sharpening your grammar ability before taking the DELE Spanish proficiency test, you will not be content with a few “holas” and learning how to whip up a good Lomo Saltado. Know what you want and what you are being promised by the school before parting with any cash, there are enough schools floating around the city that you will be able to find one to meet your individual language needs.

Lima: Early Days

It all officially started when Lima was founded on January 18, 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. In the valley close to the River Rimac began one of the America’s most important cities and the seat of the Spanish viceroyalty.
In 1532 Pizarro had defeated the Inca ruler Atahualpa. Since good old King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had granted him permission to become the governor of any of the lands he conquered, he was understandably searching for the perfect location to begin ruling Peru all powerfully.

Plaza de Armas and Palacio de Gobierno

The Plaza de Armas is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lima’s city center. Many historical sites are on the plaza and it is a wonderful place to wander around and soak up the historic atmosphere of the city.
The plaza is the site where the conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the City of Kings in 1535. Around the plaza are the Palacio de Gobierno, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipalidad and the Club Union. In the center of the plaza is a fountain dating from 1650.

Lima Overview

Almost every traveler to Peru finds themselves in Lima at some point on their journey. Lima is the epicenter of Peru and there are many different points of interest based in the city of kings for travelers.