Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 19: McPeru

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away from Lima, there lived a girl named Shirley who was addicted to YouTube. She subscribed to many channels, one in particular of a girl by the name of LaurenCampos. She was a quirky girl with a quirky channel, and Shirley found the channel and its editting fascinating. One video in particular that stood out was when Lauren used finger puppets, and she had one of a llama.

Being Peruvian, Shirley immediately wanted a llama finger puppet. She sent a private message to Lauren asking her where she bought the finger puppets. Sadly, Lauren did not know as they were gifts from a relative.

Time passed and Shirley forgot about the finger puppets. She was scheduled to go to Peru for vacation. During her vacation, she went to the Inka Market, a market place where they sold souvenirs from Peru. She was looking for tchochkies (sic), or as her husband called them ¨cachibaches¨, that she could bring back with her for friends and family.

Wandering through the halls of the marketplace, she was suddenly consumed with pure delight. There they were... staring right at her. The finger puppets! She suddenly noticed them everywhere. Had she never noticed them on her previous trips to Peru? She immediately asked how much a finger puppet cost, and was further delighted to find that they only cost 1 sol! Sold! No one would understand her joy at finding her precious finger puppets, but she was over the moon.

She also bought a necklace made of the huayruro seed (or maybe its a bean: pronounced ¨why-roo-ro¨). She was very happy at this too. It only cost her 10 soles. The exchange rate at the time was 3.13 soles: 1 dollar, so this wonderful huayruro necklace only cost $3.20!!! Better than Forever 21 even!

Her husband told her that she is tan, but she still thinks her face is pale... He says it´s the flash. What do you think? I think she should sun bathe more.


Yes folks, I went to the marketplace and bought a bunch of fun stuff. I can´t show you everything because then certain blog readers will know what I got them.

Javier surprised me today with a little Mickie D´s. Oh how I have missed my Mickie D´s. I´ve been gone too long. I´m in the home stretch of my vacation, and I feel like I´ve been gone for months. A little burger and fries in my tummy went a long way, the flavor is quite close to the good ol´US of A. Although the ¨Ketchoo¨ (aka Ketchup) states ¨Hecho en Chile¨ (made in Chile), and it surprisingly contains nutrition facts on the back.

According to the photo and the exchange rate, a Big Mac meal (my fave) costs $3.99. In the US, I usually get it for $4.50-4.99, depending on the McDonald´s restaurant that I´m at.

I also took a photo of gas prices. We usually fill up with 90. Therefore gas here is $3.32/gal. Last I remember, in the US, gas prices were hovering around $2.99-3.20/gal. Another thing I noted at the gas stations in Peru is that there is no such thing as a self-serve gas station. They still do it like in the 50´s with a guy filling up the tank for you. I wonder why self serve didn´t stick...

This photo was taken while Javier was filling up the tank... Yes peoples, Javier has ever-increasingly gotten comfortable driving in Peru, as opposed to me, who has become increasingly tense. Javier honks for any reason and it´s pretty funny. Instead of one big long honk like the norm, he honks in a series of short cutsie honks. No one will take him seriously if he honks like that!

I was talking with Mac the other day about Mac laptops. He hasn´t heard of them, but he´s heard of Apple. Then he asked me if they had iPears. I asked him what that was, and he said it was like an apple but longer. ¨Oh! Yes, we have pears,¨ I replied.

¨For real?¨he asked. ¨I thought they might be fake.¨
Then it dawned on me what he was talking about. On the Disney channel, there is a show called iCarly. She uses a fake Mac laptop on the show. Instead of an apple on the front, it is a pear, so that they don´t have to deal with legal issues. He wasn´t sure if it was a real brand or a fake brand. This must happen a lot in Peru. Poor Peruvians don´t know real from fake or which way is up... I found this interesting.

One funny note before I leave you. In Peru, the cheapest form of transportation is via Combi (Combee). They are like vans or shuttles that hold about 15-18 people like sardines and stop on almost every block. As I walked through the Inka Market, I saw many funny T-shirts. The one that made laugh the most was a fake Ambercrombie and Fitch T-shirt. From far away, it looks real. Then when you get close you notice that the ¨Ambercrombie¨actually says ¨AndoEnCombi¨ or in other words ¨I ride the Combi¨. Too funny!

Ciao for now!