Solo Marco

I think that I feel a certain kind of shame in being a tourist–a shame that comes from things beyond my control, such as the differences in exchange rates, the millions of families living in poverty due in no small part to my own country´s overconsumption of the world´s resources, the undeniable privilige I have to be white, oblivious to this country´s language and heritage, that I am able to be here at all, snapping pictures and eating food. All of these things, and everything that accompanies them, gives me this feeling of nakedness, a sense of original sin, a shame for things that at some level I realize are not my fault. I try to atone for these things by attempting to learn the language and customs and not being a conspicuously asinine tourist. Really, it is kind of ridiculous to have these feelings, considering that I should be getting ridiculously drunk every night instead of being stressed out about being foreign. I think some of these feelings extend beyond simply Peru, I think some of it comes from ingrained inclinations to avoid relying on the kindness or similarity of others.
That said, I´ve settled into a semblance of daily life in Miraflores. I get up and go to mi escuela de español, which happens to be right next door to my hostal, then I walk around and find a nice cheap little Peruvian food joint to eat my lunch–they always have a kind of menú de el día, which consists of an entrada, un plato principál, refresco, y un postre. Despues tomo una siesta (I take a nap), and then the rest of la tarde y la noche is open for whatever, which lately hasn´t been too very much, I´ve done a few touristy things like gone to Centro de Lima and a giant marketplace and read some of Cien Años de Soledad and been studying my spanish, and then usualmente I am muy cansado a la 10 en la noche and I go to bed.
I went to a salsa class this afternoon and it´s weird how salsa always seems to be different each time, the salsa that the masses dance apparently is much more informal than what I learned in the US, the man and woman just kind of hold hands–instead of the ballroom type holding. It´s still kind of hard to perform for this gringo. I kind of like the meringue though, you can do pretty much anything.
I realized today that I shouldn´t have judged Peruano dancing ability by the one bar that I went to that played mainly western booty drivel and Latin pop mierda–there´s apparently an abundance of these places called Peñas where they dance only to Criollo (local) music and do the salsa y merengue all night. I´m a little scared to go by myself but hopefully I can dig up somebody to accompany me.
Nothing too exciting in my travels as of yet unfortunately, I´m kind of buckling down right now and trying to string some kind of castellano ability together. I don´t know how much one can really get from 2 weeks, but I do feel like every day I gain a little bit more knowledge of the language, which is of course at an extremely elementary level, like learning to say,¨there are 4 chairs in the room,¨or ¨my butt hurts¨. Got to start somewhere though.


Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

4 thoughts on “Solo Marco”

  1. Although you are only spending 2 weeks in class, that will give you a basis for the rest of your trip. If you have the desire to learn the language, you WILL LEARN!!

    GO MARK!!

    ahem. anyways, I just wanted to let you know that feeling disconcerted for the first while of the journey is totally standard. I felt it, and I wasn’t even travelling by myself.


  2. La comida Peruana es muy diferente que Mexicana. La comida Peruana tiene muchos mariscos y muchas papas. It’s not very spicy–they keep telling me their ajî (hot pepper) is very hot, and I barely notice it. It’s very simple food and limited to a few popular dishes, but thus these dishes are much culivated and expected to be a certain way. Speaking of food, I just finally had a solid bowel movement! Yay for me! Remember that dish I had at the Nicaraguan place? That was lomo saltado, a very common dish in Peru as well. All of the dishes are centered strongly around meat–pollo o carne de res o mariscos o pescado, or they can be centered around papas. Papas fritas are extremely common here. I’ve started just eating pretty much one meal a day now, yo como pan para desayuno, and then como almuerzo muy grande, entonces usualmente nada en la noche.–>

  3. Hello.

    I am trying to find peruvian food in New Orleans. I read your comments and I only can say that you can find different things wherever. I was living in Washington DC for almost 2 years and It is beautiful, the center of USA, I use to go a lot to Manhattan, New York, the power but, if we want to see the negatives things we can. In K street Southwest Washington DC you find every corner drugs, robbers, people sleeping on the floor, drunk people. Dangerous. You can see that if you want but, that has beautiful things too. Manhattan is amazing for a lot of people but, it is very dirty, rats on the street, garbage on the streets. drunks, and more. But is beautiful too.

    I am living in New Orleans now, it is a very beautiful city, with good places and bad places like all the cities in this world.

    Lima is only one more city. We have good places, bad places, about night clubs in Lima is different. If you go to a cheap places you won’t find good things. Miraflores is very famous for young people because they can’t spend so much money. You can go to bar and drink, dance, eat something and you will spend only 10 dollars this day but, in Miraflores you can go a very nice nigh place where you will pay 50 dollars only to go inside. If you will buy drinks, it will be like 20 dollars more. So, In this kind of places you will spend like 80 dollars night per person.

    About the restaurants it is very sad when you go to a place and you don’t have enough money. The typical “MENU” is for people who doesn’t have time to cook or who have to eat every day out. You can eat everything for only 1.5 dollars, of course the quality is not good but, if you only can pay that, whats the matter. it will become delicious with the time.

    The peruvian food is consider one of the best food in the world. I don’t say that, the chefs, and people who works in restaurant say that. In Washington DC a peruvian restaurant won for 3 years a award for the best international food. I won’t talk about menu’s restaurants. i am going to talk about real restaurants. In Lima you can find restaurants where each dish is around from 3 to 10 dollars appetizers and from 6 to 15 dollars main dish. They are the regular restaurants. The fancy restaurants each dish start around 10 for appetizer and 20 to 50 for main dish. Consider that in Peru the money is like 3 times less than USA.

    Latin America has the same past. We have the same background. It is very easy to find similar things in our countries. It is like in USA. If you go to New York you will find McDonnalds the same than Florida. They have the same bigmac.

    It is very sad to read about your experience in Peru. Maybe you were very young and you couldn’t take adventage of your trip. i hope you read this message. If you go again to Lima, try to go to Alfresco, La Rosa Nautica, Costa Verde, Muelle 1, Las Brujas de Cachiche, Senorio de Sulco, Julia, La Carreta, EL Gaucho, Mesa de Piedra, La Huaca Pullana, Las Brisas del Titicaca, and more…..

    If you have more time go to Trujillo (north peru) the seafood is delicious. Go to Cuzco (Machu Pichu) the best corn and typical food from the mountains.

    I will finish with this. Peru has 104 different kind of weather, 104. The meaning of that is that you can find different kind of food in each one, different potatoes (we have more than 40 different kinds) corn, sweet potatoes, vegetables. In the jungle you will find other world.

    What you said is true about the French fries. We have so much potatoes and some peruvian people think that make the food like here is better. They are wrong. French fries doesn’t have anything extraordinary .

    In summary. try to go again to Peru, with some money and you have an idea now about some places. I am a Medical Doctor. I am working here in USA, my wife is from here and i like this country for two reasons: my wife, my friends.

    Good luck the next time.

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