Posted on | April 5, 2012 | 27 Comments
Anyone who reads my blog even occasionally will know how much I love Peru. I love the people, I love the weather (most of the time), I love the country. There are times when we’re out in the car and I see something that will strike me in a certain way, and I have to turn to my husband and say “Man, I love this place.”
That said, there are some things that I find much better in the US. And if we want to really get specific, some of these things are more a comparison of where I’m from in Florida (Cape Canaveral) compared to living in Lima.
And don’t worry – at a later date, I’ll be doing one on how Peru is better than the US!
1. People respect your personal space. I know I’ve talked about this more than once, but I’m kinda fond of having my personal space. I’ve gotten a lot more used to it now, but it still bugs me when people crowd me in a line (especially at the grocery store!), or stand right on top of you when there is plenty of space around.
2. Food variety. Yes, I know that Peru has a billion and one different dishes – but sometimes it seems that 99% of them involve chicken, rice and potatoes. With aji and onion. It’s true that I really do love Peruvian food, but I long for variety – Chinese food (that doesn’t come with “More Peruvian Flavor!), Italian food that doesn’t have aji panca mixed in, Mexican food, good steak houses, a barbecue place… and just a million other things that I’d love to find in the grocery store. I will say that things are getting better – but there have been more than a few recent days where I went without eating lunch because I just couldn’t stomach another criollo plate. (It would probably be different if I went back to cooking every day – I like my own cooking better than anyone else’s!)
3. Organized traffic. I don’t think I even need to explain that one – this video shows it better than I can tell you. I usually ride in the car with my eyes closed, holding on to the door handle tightly.
4. Clothes! You can buy a lot of really inexpensive clothes here, but I swear you get what you pay for. No, it’s worse than that – as cheap as the clothes are, you STILL aren’t getting what you pay for. Every pair of jeans I’ve bought for my kids has had the riveted button come off – and my kids are skinny! All their tshirts seem to come apart at the seams after just a couple of washes. There’s not much variety, either – clothing styles come in waves, and all the stores will carry all the same things. And if you’re overweight like me? Fahgeddaboutit. There’s just not anything. I’d love to see a Lane Bryant open here!
5. Clean air and water. People can bitch about government regulations all they want – it’s easy when you’re breathing air that’s not heavy with soot and exhaust. Those of us living in a place where the few regulations in place aren’t being enforced are too busy coughing black crap out of our lungs to do much bitching. And it would be nice to have tap water that wasn’t contaminated with arsenic, if that’s not too much to ask. Of course, at least I HAVE tap water – millions of Peruvians don’t even have that “luxury”.
6. Public restrooms. Ok, I’ve seen some gas station bathrooms that had me fearing for my health back in the US, I won’t deny it. But that is the norm in Peru, not the exception. A decent public restroom is such a rarity here that people share their locations with each other! Ripley and Saga usually have very nice, clean bathrooms, as do any of the major grocery stores. But unless you’re in a very upscale restaurant, be prepared for no paper, wet floor, no soap, NO SEAT…. and probably no cleaning in weeks, if ever.
7. Cheap Cell Phones and service. ‘Nuff said.
8. Decent Toilet Paper. Toilet paper here doesn’t seem to biodegrade as well as paper at home. And it’s not as absorbant. And there never seems to be any in public restrooms.
9. Central air and heat. I’m kind of torn on this one – while I love being able to have my house open all year because of the mild weather, I really dislike the humidity and dust. Being able to put on the A/C once in a while would do wonders. And when it’s 60F in the house and my hands feel like ice cubes, I’d love to have a little heat!
10. Clean beaches. Ok, this one is strictly a Lima/Cape Canaveral comparison – I lived a block from the ocean, with a beautiful sandy beach. Here, the beach is rocky, small, dirty and smelly. It just makes me sad.
Bonus: Cool stuff to do with the kids. Ok, I know here I can go to the jungle or Machu Picchu with our kids, take them sandboarding at Huacachina or to Nazca to see the lines – but those aren’t really things you can get out and do a lot. At home, we had lots of amusement parks (I lived less than an hour from all the parks in Orlando), go cart rides, county fairs (and church fairs!), a nice beach as mentioned above – and there were all sorts of sports for kids, not just soccer; lots of extracurricular stuff in school…. it just seems like kids in the US always have something to keep them busy. My kids don’t have friends in the neighborhood – because there is no neighborhood school to unite them; there are not school districts. There are no clubs or extracurricular activities in school – no intramural sports either. I want to get out and do something fun with my kid every week, but it always seems to go back to play soccer in the park, go to a movie or… yeah, that’s about it.
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