1: You don’t put TP in the toilet. You put it in the trash. The TP has some kind of perfumey stuff on it so it doesn’t really smell too bad, it just smells like perfumey stuff. I have to flush the toilet and close the lid before I wipe so that I don’t toss it in there without thinking.
2: The waiters don’t bring the bill until you call for it.
3: Taxis are literally everywhere, I think because unemployment is high, so anyone with a car looking to get some cash puts a sign on it and it’s a taxi. Thus, there’s also no meter. So basically, at any moment on almost any street, if you step out and wave your hand, a taxi is there. Then you tell them where you want to go and ask how much it costs. If you don’t like the price, then you walk a few steps away and there’s another taxi. There will be a whole line of taxis waiting for your business. They also honk at you when they drive by to let you know they are there.
4: Which leads me to my next one, which is that cars honk like birds chirp. They honk not only to express the urge to keep traffic moving, but also when crossing intersections to let oncoming traffic know they are coming, since no one stops except at stop lights. Basically, there’s a lot of honking going on. It’s so ubiquitious that you don’t really notice it, it’s like people talking in a cafe, a necessary ambient noise. It makes me laugh to think of how people would react in the United States if you honked like that. I’ve observed many drivers in the US who won’t even honk when a car has cut them off because they are afraid of expressing themselves in the form of such a loud noise.
5: When telling people where you are from, you do not say, “Soy Americano.” As mi Profesora politely reminded me, people from Latin America also live in America. You say “Soy estadosunidense” (Los Estados Unidos is the United States).
6: The Peruanos are very proud of their culture. When you tell them that the food they cooked for you is very good, they will say something like “You will miss Peruvian food a lot when you return home, won’t you?” not knowing the multiplicity of fine dining that the metropolitan United States can provide outside of fast food. Tell them that their food is the best food in the world. And yes, I will miss it.
7: The chicas all wear form fitting jeans. Which is a wonderful thing.
8: Smoking prolifically and drinking and driving are apparently not something that culture or parents here consider to be a bad thing. I do not know if this is because people are just more comfortable with the idea of death here or what. There are a lot of people in this city.
There’s a lot more things that I can’t think of right now; I’ll update as they come to me.