Come Visit Me, A Howard Original

December 2, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Posted in dogs, family, food, friends, horses, language, music, party, Peru, sick, tourism, travel | 4 Comments

(sung to the tune of Rod Stewart’s ‘If You Think I’m Sexy’…play the video, then follow along with the new and improved lyrics)


azucar, oooh


ooh ooh ooh


You sit alone, reading my weblog
Peru sounds nice, except the trash and stray dog(s)
The climate is dry, the food cheap and delicious
The culture abounds, for you Peru is waiting


If you want to visit me
And don’t fear diarrhea
Come on azucar let me know

The flight will be expensive
But then once you get here
Everything will be dirt cheap


To Machu Picchu, I cannot escort you
It’s far away, and I’m basically penniless
Northern Peru, to you has lots to offer
Pyramids, Ceviche, and a cute jewish curly haired spanish speaking guide

So hop a plane to this third world country
At last! you can watch me dance the festejo


If you want to visit me
And like eating rice
Come on bebe let me know

We’ll go horseback riding
And we’ll hike the pyramids
We can go surfing if you are paying!


There is ancient stuff here too
Not quite as famous as the south
Come on friend/relative/complete stranger
You might want to pack some diapers


(saxaphone solo)

(time to break it down)

We will pick fruit and eat it off the tree
Guanabana, Chirimoya, and other stuff you’ve never heard of
If it’s not rainy season, we’ll go to the mountains
Ride around on donkeys, and do lots of cartwheels

One other thing, you’ll have to remember
Carry around some TP because they don’t have it available in public restrooms

IIIIIFFF you want to visit me
And like being relatively tall
Come on azucar let me know

As a special bonus
You might get to feel a tremor
Ah, I see you are booking your ticket right now!


shuu gar

if you really need TP
i’ll carry around some extra
come on sugar let me know

really really really need TP! just let me know

(whispers): TP TP TP TP TP TP

(2x) I’ll bring the TP, you’ll bring the TP



Would you like some cheese with that…

September 8, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Posted in dogs, espanol, sick | Leave a comment

It is not my style to use my weblog as a medium through which I can complain or get things off my chest. BUT, I have gotten several comments about wanting to know all the depressing, sad, or otherwise unhappy details of my life here in Peru. So, here goes (don’t judge me):

The noise for one: sometimes, I just want to have peace and quiet, but ever since electricity arrived (I’m guessing), stereos have been blasting Salsa, Nectar, or Grupo Cinco all day every day loud enough to make your ears bleed. If it is not the stereos, it is the dogs barking, or the chickens caw-cawing, or the horns blasting. Most intersections lack stoplights, so cars and trucks just honk before they get to every intersection – or pretty much non-stop. I still haven’t seen two cars arrive at the same time, but I guess whoever has the louder horn wins (?). Anyways, if you are thinking of joining the Peace Corps in Latin America, might I suggest an industrial sized box of earplugs – it is my most valuable possession here in Peru. I am 100% serious.

The language for two: I don’t think I ever posted the results of my final language exam. I was bumped up two levels again to advanced medium which is one spot below fluent (advanced high, then superior, or fluent). Hooray! I was really surprised and excited. So my Spanish is the bomb at present, but still, sometimes it is so wearing to speak in another language all of the time. Moving to Lambayeque meant (means) getting used to a whole new accent and new slang. Sometimes I get so excited about the stuff I’m talking about and I JUST WANT TO TALK IN ENGLISH, but no one understands it. Another bummer is sometimes I really feel like I hit these plateaus with my language level and it is frustrating to not be able to express myself exactly the way I want to. An additional gripe is the accent; now that my grammar and sentence structure is better, I’ve been trying to perfect my pronunciation with little success. In particular, words with ‘rd’ in them such as guardaropas or tarde are difficult for me to say. My little 8 year old brother always asks me to say those words, so I’ll say them and then he will point and laugh at me. This wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of the family did not also start laughing.

The efficiency (or lack thereof): things get done a lot slower here, and while in most circumstances I really am embracing this new pace of life, in others it can be frustrating. Case in point; I lost my bank card my first day in site (super smart, Danielle) and right away called the Peace Corps office to get events set into motion so I could get a new one. This was almost two weeks ago now, and I was told it would take up to a week to get a new one. I’ve called several different people and keep getting the same response: we’ll let you know when you can go pick it up. Grrr.

Lastly, and most important, the getting sick. I haven’t talked about this a lot in my blog, but since my site visit I have been having on and off stomach problems for almost a month now. It is not bad or serious, mostly just annoying. I’ll be fine for three or four or even five days, and then have between an hour up to an entire day of really bad stomach cramps accompanied by the big ‘D’ and the big ‘V’ (that is diarrhea and vomiting). Again it is not debilitating, mostly just bothersome, but I’m almost getting used to it. AND, it is definitely tapering off (I HOPE I PRAY!). I’m pretty sure what is going on here is there is something in the water that wasn’t in Lima, and I’m just getting accustomed to it. Such is life, but some days it can definitely be a downer, especially when I have to put on a happy face when meeting new people.

So, the worst it can get: I’m feeling really sick, and there are stereos blasting all around, and dogs-a-barking, and horns honking, and I have to explain to my Mom or whoever in espanol why I keep running to the bathroom (I guess it is a little worse if there doesn’t happen to be toilet paper).

Okay, now back to the peppy, fun-loving, dreadlock-growing* Peace Corps volunteer you all know and love!

*just kidding!!!


August 16, 2007 at 5:50 pm | Posted in dogs, natural disasters | 4 Comments

Terremoto means earthquake in Spanish and this was the first one I’ve ever experienced save the middle-of-the-night tremor we had in New Hampshire back in April of my sophomore year of college. I was in a combi on my way to our directors house for a pizza celebration as we are winding down our training activities this week and next. We were driving along, and it felt like we ran over about a dozen or so speed bumps right in a row. As we were in a residential neighborhood, and speed bumps are common in these neighborhoods, I didn’t think much else of it until people started coming out of their houses. We’d been told there had been an earthquake and over the next few hours more and more details surfaced as to the severity of the earthquake. The epicenter was offshore of Ica which is the department south of Lima, and from what I’ve heard it registered a 7.9 on the scale and was felt down in Chile and all the way up to Colombia! Parts of Ica and Pisco were totally destroyed and the last death toll I’d heard was 400. Another interesting bit I saw on the news is that the wall of a prison collapsed and that over 600 prisoners escaped! Just so you know, the affected area is a few hours south of Lima, and maybe 15 or 20 hours south of my site, so I shouldn´t be seeing too may of those escapees hopefully.

There have been a bunch of tremors, well over 100, since the quake. It is odd living in a neighborhood with so many dogs because they sense the tremors before we do, and will start barking and freaking out a few seconds before the tremor.

The strangest part of this experience is the fact that not two days ago in spanish class we learned the vocabulary for natural disasters including the words for earthquake and tremor. Que raro. In any case, thanks for all of the e-mails of concern. Don’t let this scare you away from coming to visit!

Livin’ in Yanacoto

June 16, 2007 at 2:08 pm | Posted in dogs | 2 Comments

I made it to Peru in one piece. Sorry for the delay in blog posts. I’m living in a town called Yanacoto which is part of a larger area called Chosica which is about 1 hour from Lima (east, I believe). I am waaay up in the mountains and there is more dirt, dust, rocks and DOGS than you could ever hope for. On the flip side, the weather is like whoa; it is sunny and 75 degrees every day here and it never rains (at least in the winter). It gets chilly at night – down in the 50s. I live with one senora named Jesusa who has four sons, three of whom are in Argentina to make some dough. One works here in Lima and he tried to teach me how to dance the other night, though somehow I arrived in Lima with two left feet. In any case, I’ll figure it out. Below is a pic of me (looking rather dumpy), and Jesusa and our casa in the background:


and a pic of Yanacoto, take note of the super sweet mountains in the background:


Que mas? I have a teeny little room but it is comfy and has everything I need (bed and dresser). I have to go through my Senora’s room to get to mine so there won’t be much sneaking out over the next three months. We are lucky enough to have electricity but the running water is pretty sporadic. In fact, I got back from my run the other morning to find zero water; running, sitting, standing, in buckets, whatever. So I stank for a little while until the municipality arrived with more agua. For some reason our toilet is broken so it eats up all the running water pretty quickly so I took another bucket shower today. In case you are curious: the *pro* of a bucket shower is that the water is a bit warmer than if you take a shower w/ running water. That is hella cold, but I’m getting used to it, and I still prefer it to my bucket shower.

Hands down the worst thing thus far are the stray dogs. They are everywhere – you cannot walk ten seconds without seeing two or three stray dogs and if you are lucky sometimes they are humping. J/K – that is not so awesome. As you (may not) know, I’m terrified of dogs and have been ever since I was a little kid. They chase you and bark at you when you are running but otherwise they mostly keep to themselves. I found a road I can run on with very few dogs but it is a giant uphill climb. Oh well, better than getting rabies. Oh, don’t worry, I got a rabies vaccination the other day so even when (if?) I get bitten I won’t die, I’ll probably just pee my pants or something.

There are also a ton of kids everywhere that stop me whenever I’m coming or going to chit chat. Then I start talking in spanish (and my spanish is not so good at present) and then they start making fun of me. And then we all laugh and then I stop laughing and they are still laughing. Alas. They are cute and at least I am on the same level as them language-wise (okay, a little below). I think one little girl named Judith has adopted me as her big sis which is super cute, especially because I don’t have any hermanos of my own. She is 11 and I can’t understand anything she says. So it goes, so it goes.

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