Before coming to Peru, I bought a lonely planet travel guide book and read up on all things touristy in the country and decided early on that if I was only able to do a few things during my time in Peru, sandboarding in Huacachina would be number one. This past weekend, I FINALLY accomplished that goal. I went with four of my Mexican friends and we had a blast. The four of them actually study in a different university here in Lima, but one of their roommates goes to the same university as me so that is how we know each other. They are a really great group of people and I enjoy the trips we take together. It was always funny whenever we were buying tickets places and showing our passports because the assistants would think we were all from Mexico until they got to my passport and then they were just confused as to how we were traveling together.
Maybe I do not have enough experience with all of the variety that exists in English, but it appears to me that Spanish has much more variety across countries and regions within. Hanging out with my Mexican friends all weekend, I learned so many jergas, or slang terms, that are unique to Mexico. No manches, chavo, que ondas, and güey to name a few. Unfortunately, these words do not get me anywhere when speaking to a Peruvian as they might not know them if they have not interacted with Mexicans before.
I have also come to realize recently that in Spanish, the verb “can” does not have the exact same meaning as it does in English. For example, the other day when I asked my Colombian friend in Spanish, “can you sing a song by Daddy Yankee?” she understood it to mean, “can you sing a song right now” whereas I meant it as more of an inquisitive question like “do you have the capability to sing a Daddy Yankee song?” There have been other small instances like this with the verb “poder” and I am still honing in on where the differences lie.
Whenever we were in Paracas touring the Islas Ballestas, we met an Italian who was on vacation traveling through Peru. I bring this up because it was so interesting talking with him because it turns out that Italians watch professional American football. The midday games on Sunday come on at night in Italy, so they get to watch the games live as well. I had no idea, but apparently Italy has its own football league. I told him about the Ole Miss / Bama game my freshman year when we tore down the goal posts complete with pictures. Who knew.
During our weekend adventure we took a tour of the Islas Ballestas (most well known for its huge population of guano producing birds) and the Reserva Nacional de Paracas, went sandboarding, toured a Bodega, flew over the nazca lines, toured the Chauchilla Cemetery, and went to the Museo Didactico Antonini. I very much enjoyed the Nazca Lines and Chauchilla Cemetery. Both are extremely thought provoking. Why did people draw giant geoglyphs when they did not have the ability to fly and see the complete picture all at once? Also, why is it that mummification existed in cultures all around the globe? Even though the mummification process was different, I still couldn’t help but make parallels to the Egyptians, who also lived in a desert and used cotton. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera with me on this trip, but I do have some iPhone pictures which I have attached to this post.
Other things to add: when traveling in Peru, especially in more rural places, you have to buy and carry around your own toilet paper and soap. In order to use a public restroom, you have to pay and there are only the facilities. The thing is, if one restroom did supply toilet paper, people would steal it in order to have paper during their next bathroom stop. During the trip to Huaraz, I was completely thrown off by this as I am accustomed to toilet paper and soap always being supplied. Never did it cross my mind that it could be different.
Also, the cars here honk waaay more than in the states and I’m starting to learn the different reasons why. Unlike in the states, honking does not necessarily equate to anger. Taxis honk at people on the streets to get their attention to see if they need rides. Cars also honk whenever they drive past a stopped car on the side of the road so that the car knows not to pull out into the road until after they pass. In the countryside, (this one took me awhile to figure out) cars honk before taking a curve on a narrow mountain road to make sure there is not another car coming. If there is, another car, there will be a reciprocal honk and somehow they decide who is going to take the curve first (have not quite figured that part out yet). Honking is more so a way of communication than solely for expressing road rage.