The Funny Thing About Lima…

patience is a virtue, lima, the funny thing about lima

“The funny thing about Lima…”

I feel as though that sentence could go anywhere. There are all sorts of bizarre things here. Such as:

Waving your hand out the window of your car simply to feel the air in a city where the air is a) not fresh, and b) limited in the space between cars squished so close together in traffic you’d think they were looking for physical comfort.

Other reasons to stick your hands out the window include but are not limited to:

1. Indicating you’re turning right from the left lane and the person in the right way should let you pass. Makes sense, right? …
2. Wanting to lose your hand.

Anther fun fact about Lima is people love their casinos, and even after losing heaps and heaps of money on slots, it seems that Peruvians of all ages are addicted to the idea that they could win a bucket full of money. So they’re quite happy to let the place be a mini-Atlantic City with salsa music. Not a mini-Vegas. A mini-Atlantic city, as there’s nothing large or majestic in the Tropicana, Admiral or Mardi Gras casinos here. The top-rated casino in the Marriott hotel is tiny. It’s one almost large room with a “Special players” area that’s all slots and a second bar. No hold ‘em, and only a little blackjack.

There’s more. 1/4 cup of sugar is the correct amount of sugar to add to a single serving of juice. The country has a national cavity. If your strawberry juice doesn’t taste almost slimy from having reached the saturation point in the amount of sugar to juice ratio, the juice guy will probably be fired within a week. He’s probably new. You should probably warn him. You should then promptly brush your teeth.

Sandwiches do not include vegetables. In fact, at one popular juice and sandwich bar there’s a sign that their sandwiches come now with 30% more meat. Because that’s definitely what Lima needs. That and more cars, especially ones with windows out of which citizens can stick their hands.

Oh, and turning on your four-way flashers means you’re looking for parking, not sure where you’re going, forgot to turn off your four-ways, or simply driving with your four-ways on. Now that that’s all cleared up, here’s my favourite:

Whether or not you’re waiting for someone to leave somewhere together, if they’re on the phone or talking to someone they essentially become immovable pillars. They do not need to acknowledge the fact that you are waiting, as their current conversation is more important, whether or not it’s about anything at all. It’s also appropriate to answer a question with a question or a sentence that is not an answer, all in the hopes of prolonging the conversation.


“What time do I need to come to work tomorrow?”
“Well…I have a lunch in the afternoon. We will go to that place nearby with breaded chicken a la milanese. It’s muy rico.”
“So is 10am okay?
“10, 11, maybe 1.”
“Could you pick one please?”
“I have to drive my wife to an appointment in the morning.”
“You do not drive me to work. This has no relevance on the time at which I show up…How about 10am?”
“She has to get her hair done.”
“That is not an answer. 10am?”
“Well, maybe it’s best to meet after her appointment. Or maybe before.”
“I’ll see you at 10:30.”

Because that’s what a conversation is for – to be long and pointless. Not that pointless conversations are bad things – they’re the basis of many relationships, and my North American sense of efficiency doesn’t make becoming close with another person easy, but it sure does make getting anywhere on time extremely difficult. Fortunately, being late is always acceptable. Expected even. Heaven forbid you arrive on time and have no one to talk to.

Patience is a virtue, and the country is Catholic.


  1. Dan says

    Catholic, you say!?
    But seriously, Amie – wow – Peru sounds like a whole other world. The best experience, and experiences happen against such backdrops…
    Oh, and we miss you in Canada.

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