The 4 Weeks Series: #2 – Weird Arequipa/Peru

I am usually not prone to much cultural shock because I have been exposed to lots of different cultures. More specifically, Arequipa is quite similar to Cebu, Philippines in a way that everything is like a Lego – everything is crazy and they are not the most developed countries but somehow everything works together. However, the weird stuff in each country still cracks me up. It’s the stuff that makes you go “????????????” There are no appropriate words.

Below are some of the weird stuff I’ve encountered. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff.

  • People don’t take coffee with milk.
  • Mayonnaise and mustard comes in a packet.
  • People have soda (“gaseosa”) with every meal. The surely radioactive, fluorescent Inca Kola was born in Peru. Like France, if you order water at a restaurant they ask you want it with our without carbonation.
  • Tipping not required. Not “weird” per se or specific to Peru but it feels freakishly weird.
  • Most people here wear pants or jeans. Rarely do you see men wearing shorts unless they are teens or tourists. This is maddening only because Arequipa can get freakishly hot during the day. I asked some people about this and it seems like it’s because it’s a historically conservative place and the weather can change suddenly (goes from hot to chilly).
  • Non-stray dogs (aka dogs privately owned by people) are not trained. Drives me into near-apoplectic rage.
  • Some people do eat empanadas on the street – just like some French people eat baguette on the street.
  • Tuna cans are like diamonds (cheapest one I found today was US$2.11).

Photographic Exhibits:

Rage face notebook. The thing that makes this weird is that it belonged to a SUPER shy and quiet Peruvian girl at the school and I just…people buy stuff here not knowing what it says on the item.
NBD just some unidentified meat drying on our laundry drying lines
Arequipa Fashion Week
Kill or Dead
I felt so bad for this guy. And then I took a picture.
An ingenious makeshift paper towel holder
Banana Lady

Below are some bookstore finds.

As I uploaded and wrote the caption for this picture, there were girls behind me who surely saw it. Readers, this is how much I am dedicated to you.
This was carefully wrapped in plastic


I used a bathroom at the big local market. I had to pay and they gave me a ticket and some tissue paper.
Stamps. Fried guinea pig at the bottom.

As I write this I am preparing to head off to Cusco, home to Machu Picchu, on Friday. I had some full-on panic mode this week because I had no idea what I was going to do but now I THINK I have SOME kind of a plan.

Eeesh…haven’t even gone through half of my 4 Weeks Series. Eups. So it goes.

3 thoughts on “The 4 Weeks Series: #2 – Weird Arequipa/Peru”

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