10 Things About Peru

Lydia at Renewed Day by Day has put up a meme of 10 quirky facts about your state. Beth answered it in the previous post about her adopted state of Texas.

Now, I love memes so I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of this one. However, I saw that Lydia tagged Susan to do one for Georgia, and I didn't want to take the wind out of Susan's sails, so I decided to pick a different place. Most of you probably don't know much about the country of Peru in South America (where I grew up), so I'll enlighten you:

1. There are two national languages in Peru: Spanish and Aymara. The latter is a descendant of the ancient Incan language. Most of the population speaks Spanish, though.

2. A native and popular drink of Peru is called "Chicha Morada". The Incas used it as a sacred drink, and it was fermented. The non-fermented drink is also very popular today. It is made from purple corn, and usually things like cinnamon, apples, and pineapple are added to give it a sweet taste.

3. Peru is the home of the modern potato - discovered and spread throughout the world by the Spaniards when they invaded and conquered Peru in the late 1500s. Peruvians often have both rice and potatoes at their main meals.

4. Peru is one of the few countries in the world where Coca-Cola has a presence and is not the most popular soft drink. (I read somewhere once that there is only one other country - Sweden, I think - but I can't find the source now to verify.) This is due to the enormous popularity of Inca Kola, a local soft drink that is bright yellow and tastes like bubble gum. At many restaurants, it is the only soft drink available. (In 1999, Coca-Cola purchased the brand of Inca Kola.)

5. Peru was a colony of Spain from 1532 until 1824, when it gained independence following several rebellions. Peruvians celebrate their independence day on July 28. They call it the "veinte-ocho".

6. Peru has three major regions: the desert (narrow strip along the west coast), the Andes Mountains (in the middle, dividing the country), and the Amazon jungle (bordering with Brazil). The capital of Peru (Lima) and where I lived was located in the desert. It never rained the entire 9 years I was there.

7. Peru's Andean region is known for being the home of some members of the camelid family: the llama, the alpaca, and the vicuña. The llama is used as a pack animal and for meat, helping the farmers in the mountains. The alpaca is known for its soft and warm fleece. The vicuña was in danger of being extinct due to its fleece being the world's most valuable natural fiber. Peru is also home to the Andean Condor, the world's largest flying bird.

Cuy is a delicacy in the Andes of Peru. It is compared to rabbit, and it's very economical to raise. What is it exactly? I'm sorry for all of you who love them as pets... but cuy is "guinea pig".

9. Paddington the Bear is from "darkest Peru". Apparently, his aunt lives in a Home for Retired Bears in Lima.

10. The city of Lima has roughly 8.2 million people. The entire city relies on the Rimac River for potable water. If you look at the picture, you will be surprised - and understand why we couldn't drink the water the entire time we were there. :-)

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  1. Lydia H. said...
    This was super fascinating to learn about Peru, Ashley! I am so glad you decided to participate. I thought of tagging you for Georgia but since I knew Susan was from Georgia I thought I would tag her for that state. I am grateful I did, otherwise we would not have learned so many neat things about the country of Peru.

    Thanks for jumping in and sharing about your home "country."

    BTW, What years did you live there? And what led you to live there with your family? I thought it was missions related but I couldn't remember.
    ashley said...
    My parents are with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Our family moved to Peru in 1992, when I was 9, and left in 2001 after I graduated from high school. During that time, we did one furlough in the States - in Georgia, which is where my parents are from and where I was born. Beth and I met at school during that year and became best friends.
    Keziah said...
    Were your family in Lima then? Did you do your schooling in a school there or were you home schooled? What language were your parents working on? I worked in a health clinic in Moyobamba on the edge of the jungle a few years ago. We will need to practise our Spanish!
    Keziah said...
    Should also have said how much I miss all the wonderful fruit juices like chicha morada. I even like cuy - have you tried it?
    Susan said...
    Hehe. You just had to one-up us all, and do a country instead of a state ;-). You. . . world traveler, you. Very interesting. I'm sure Hannah will enjoy this post, since she enjoyed her trip to Peru. That Inca-Cola stuff sounds disgusting. Bubble Gum is not fit for consumption. Unless it's mint flavored, or something like that, and then it's acceptable.
    ashley said...
    Keziah: Yes, we lived in Lima the whole time. I went to a small mission school for 4th-8th grades, then to an international school for 9th-12th. My dad is a computer guru and worked closely with the Bible translators to help them with any computer problems and issues (buying new computers, doing training classes, fixing broken computers, Bible layout, etc). That's so neat that you were in Moyobamba! I've never been there, but I have visited the jungle (Pucallpa) a number of times. How long were you there? Did you like it?

    I never actually tried cuy but I have heard it's good. My favorite Peruvian meal is anticuchos - beef heart shish-kabob. Our maid used to make this one juice that I really miss - maracuya juice. I miss a lot of the foods from Peru! I should learn to cook them myself so I can have Peruvian meals here. :-)

    Susan: I hated Inca Kola till I returned to the States. Now out of memory, I will drink it when I get my hands on it. I totally understand people not liking it, if you understand the national pride associated with it. :-) I should take you and Hannah to the Peruvian restaurant near my house sometime. Let me know some Saturday when you're both free. :-)
    ashley said...
    Oh and I meant to add that I apologize for one-upping everyone. :-( I didn't mean to!
    une_fille_d'Ève said...
    This was so fun!
    Anticuchos were very delicious. I so wanted to try cuy, but wasn't able to. And, yes, rice and potatoes at most meals - hence the 15 lbs weight gain while I was there!! :-) I thought Chicha Morada was pretty good. It was very pretty. :-) And Inca Kola wasn't that great, but then I'm not much of a soda person anyway.

    Yes, yes, Ashley, what a good idea for us three go to the Peruvian restaurant sometime together! What fun. We'll have to plan that sometime. Not next Saturday. I think Susan has other plans. ;-)
    Susan said...
    I think it's *fun* that you did a country instead. You're just upping the ante. That's good, not bad :-D. And I think a Peruvian restaurant trip sounds fun. We'll have to fit that in soon.
    C.J. Schexnayder said...
    the first rule about eating cuy, it's only wrong if you name it first. that said, it's much tastier than you would expect.

    and while i very much enjoy my cuy i have to say anticuchos are, by far, my favorite peruvian food.

    excellent, entry. i must say.
    ashley said...
    Thanks, Clifford! I enjoyed your Peruvian food critiques. My favorite Peruvian meal is anticuchos, too. Mmm... just thinking about it makes me hungry...
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