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July 25, 2011 13:41:40

A formula for learning Spanish in Peru

By Larry J. Pitman

To be happy living as an expatriate over an extended time requires many skills and personal qualities, but, to me, the most important of all has to be language. If you have read my column in the past, you will know that I am a strong believer in learning Spanish as a necessary part of living happily in Peru. Of course, the same advice would apply regarding English to Peruvians living in the United States.

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July 14, 2011 18:32:05

PHOTOS: France celebrates Bastille Day in Peru

Estelle Covez was among the invited to the Ambassador's residence in Lima.
Cécile Mouton-Brady leaves her position as French Ambassador to Peru this year.
Photos by Carlos del Águila Calle

The French Ambassador to Peru opened the doors to her residence in Lima, Peru to celebrate Bastille Day. Politicians, diplomats and artists were among the invited. The event also served as a farewell to Ambassador Cécile Mouton-Brady, who has served since 2008.

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July 11, 2011 14:34:18

La Garua, Lima's fog

By Larry J. Pitman

It is more than a fog, less than a rain. It is the heavy mist that sometimes appears in the winter in Lima. The locals call it la garua, a sea mist caused by warm winds interacting with the cool water of the ocean. It is a condition found usually from June through November along the Peruvian Coast.

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July 4, 2011 14:40:26

Peru celebrates Canada Day

Canada Day in Peru. (All photos by Carlos del Águila Calle)

Last Friday the Canadian ambassador to Peru, Richard Lecoq, invited guests to his residence in Surco for a celebration of Canada Day. Guests included diplomats, artists and politicians.

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July 4, 2011 12:28:52

Family support in Peru

By Larry J. Pitman

Rosa is eighty-eight years old. Bastian is one; and there are a bunch of us in between. We have a multi-generational home. Actually, four generations were, until recently, under our roof. Now, Rosa is in the hospital.

This living arrangement is something new for me, and it requires a big adjustment on my part, one I don’t always do successfully. I’m used to something different; the small family model where everybody pretty much takes care of themselves. I have to remind myself that this is Peru, not the United States. I have learned that there is a major difference in our cultural values: independence versus the welfare of the group.

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June 29, 2011 17:28:35

Peru video of the week: Reverse on the off-ramp

Morning traffic in Lima, Peru
Morning traffic in Lima, Peru. (Screen shot: Canal N via El Comercio)

Morning traffic on Lima's expressway can be rough. Some cars, upon realizing off-ramp traffic is going nowhere fast, throw it in reverse and get back on the highway.

You don't need to know Spanish to understand the content of this Canal N news bit, as the host counts off the traffic offenders, live. "We haven't edited these images," he says. "Aha, a Taxi Metropolitano, let's see if we can get that license plate."

(The white Tico at 0:51, is a priceless image of Lima traffic problems.)


June 28, 2011 13:00:52

Foreigners Living in Peru: Australian cafe owner in Cusco

Jane Berthelsen opened Jack's in 2003 in Cusco, Peru.

On her way to Argentina from Australia, Jane Berthelsen came to Cusco and fell in love with the city. Read more about Jane and Jack's, the cool and down to earth cafe in Cusco you'll have to visit next time your in town!

1. Where are you from and what brought you to Peru?

I am Australian and arrived here in 2000 by chance. I had a friend who was working for the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, he and his partner encouraged me to visit. The travel agent I booked my ticket through was Peruvian and told me that I could not visit South America without seeing Peru so I booked a side trip to Lima and Cusco. I had no prior interest in Peru but once here I fell for the generosity of the people and the prettiness of the town. I decided to return a year later and explore the continent.

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June 27, 2011 14:23:20

Living in Peru: Neighborhood scenes from Barranco

By Larry J. Pitman

It is not the richest neighborhood in Lima nor is it the poorest. I think that puts us right in the middle, a solid middle class environment. Ok, maybe it is even a little higher than the average because it is Barranco.

For me, it is home, where things begin and end. It is the center of my existence, and all that I do springs from here.

One short block, that is all. Someone visiting us might believe that it is just a quiet tree-lined lane. To them, it could appear boring. Yet it has so much going on. For me, it is a stage. And on that stage are some fascinating players.

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June 23, 2011 17:22:14

Translating Peru: Lessons on Personal Space - Part 1

Translating Peru
Photo: Francisco Centurión

By Kelly Phenicie

For Americans, personal space is no joking matter.  Raised on strict instructions to keep our hands to ourselves and slogans like “no means no,” the 1.5 foot perimeter surrounding each person’s body is nothing short of sacred.

Obviously there are exceptions: border patrol is usually waived during the pinch of rush hour traffic, the shoulder-rubbing pandemonium of concerts and night clubs and for friends, family or others with whom we figuratively (and in this case literally) “let our guard down.” All the same, any an invasion of this protective aura is contingent on our explicit say-so – an unbending rule that pervades our culture’s definition of acceptable social interactions.

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June 20, 2011 13:28:12

The benefits of owning a dog in Lima, Peru

By Larry J. Pitman

Ariel is one my dogs. She is an Old English Sheepdog and when I walk with her and her brother, Falcor, around the neighborhood, everyone remarks on the beautiful, friendly dogs. They are. But, only to humans. If you are another dog, watch out!

Ariel looks so sweet and innocent. As is often the case, appearances are deceptive. Little do people realize that my Ariel is the top dog in the neighborhood, feared by all others. She will take on any dog, big or small, that invades her territory or comes too close to her brother. So when I walk with my dogs, I have to keep a look-out for the enemy. For me, it is unsettling to have her suddenly lurch after a nearby dog, ripping the leash out of my hands.

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