7 things that kinda suck about Peru...

7 things that kinda suck about Peru...

4th of April 2013 - written by Katy Shorthouse

7 things that kinda suck about Peru...

Well, I can't be upbeat all the time! After almost a decade living in Cusco, here's a list of things that are bad about Peru.

7 things that kinda suck about Peru...

1. The football (soccer) team.

It’s hard to understand why, when everyone is so enthusiastic about it, but Peru is not going to set the football world alight in the foreseeable future.

2. Bureaucracy.

This deserves a blog all of its own. Here is just one example:

I have my residence here in Peru (after a process of six months and two expensive trips to Lima.) Now, in order for my two year old daughter to have that residence extended to her, I have to embark on a process that starts with me getting her birth certificate reissued in Australia, taking it to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade there, getting them to ‘apostil’ it (something I had never heard of until living here), then have it sent to Peru, translated by an approved translator (all of whom are in Lima), and then I can submit it… along with all the other requirements. All this so a two year old can live with her mother.

3. Driving.

It can be terrifying to cross the road here, let alone drive a car yourself. I’m not sure this is actually a thing that sucks though. I have come around to the theory that there are two different driving cultures in this world. In the culture that prevails where I learned to drive, in Australia, you assume no other drivers are paying attention, and act with due caution. Here in Peru, you assume everyone else is on the ball and act with due recklessness. Strangely, both systems seem to work fine – it’s when you move from one system to another that dramas can happen. Me sitting waiting, with my indicator on, for a big enough gap to turn into a busy lane of traffic, is enough to cause gridlock behind me. Just get in there!

4. Racism.

Internally, the prejudice of rich, white-ish people from Lima towards subsistence farmers from the sierra (cholos) is casual and shocking. Externally, I find the consistent assumption that I am rich and dying to be exploited, um, galling.

5. Sexual comments from strangers.

As a female – even an unkempt 40 year old sporting tracky daks and a toddler – it’s rare to walk down the street and have nobody make any indecent proposals.

6. Construction.

Why, in a cold place that experiences 12 hours of sunlight per day at most, would you build everything out of concrete with no regard to orientation to the sun? And leave a load of rebar sticking out of the roof for good measure?

7. Litter.

It’s everywhere. When I am mayor of Cusco the first thing I’m going to do is put in rubbish bins everywhere. It’s ridiculous to tell people not to drop litter in the street, and not provide anywhere for them to put it. All it requires is a redistribution of labour from street sweeping to bin emptying.

Well, I’m glad I got that off my chest. It’s interesting to see that none of these things really apply to visiting Peru (except the assumption that all tourists are rich, which I imagine you would encounter anywhere and which does have a certain basis in the truth.) When I go home to Australia I find plenty to complain about there too. So don't mind me. I'm off to make another coffee (coffee is GREAT in Peru!).


Katy Shorthouse is the co-founder and director of Aspiring Adventures, an adventure tour company running award-winning trips to Peru and other destinations. Find her on Google+ and Facebook. As well as running adventure tours, Katy is also a Peru guidebook author, mother, and avid hiker, skier and mountain biker.

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