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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

What were you expecting?

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Yes, that’s water forming the pyramid.

The other day, my house-mother took me along as she argued with contractors on behalf of her daughter. She also showed me the apartment her single adult daughter is buying, the club they belong to, and the apartment where she grew up and her mother still lives. She asked what I had expected of Lima, because many of her students arrive expecting harsh third world conditions.

Well, the answer isn’t simple. I expected to see more poverty but also expected her home to be very nice, after our emails. The reality is that there are differences, but parallels. Her home is luxurious, with those great instant water heaters so everyone can get a hot shower. The gardens are beautiful. She doesn’t have a dishwasher, but they are very environmentally conscious. The gas dryer is new because natural gas was not available here before. She has help that comes in three times a week to help keep everything immaculate. I’m sure people live like this in the US, and even better, but it’s on the high side of middle.

While I haven’t seen the shanty towns yet, I know they are more extensive than the tent city I saw in Fresno, CA. The beggars and street vendors are very much on a par with the same folk in the US. I even caught the dirty hippie smell on one vendor the other day. I think the poverty in other countries hits tourists more because of the numbers of people and because at home they stay in their own zones and simply don’t see the way others live. So, to focus on the poverty in another country is not giving it a balanced viewing.

Overall, Lima is an international city.

(Left with ISA roommates, right with classmates from Universidad Pacifico.)

If you were expecting Lima to be third world, check out the laser show at the Parque de la Reserva. The park was initiated in 1929 and the fountains themselves are phenomenal, but the laser show is absolutely modern.

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