Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Huancayo 2

Where have I been? Well, there was a short stint in the Amazon Jungle (aka "Satellite Cell Signal and Wireless Free Zone") and then on return to Lima the hotel internet was down again. I am only able to get a signal at this very moment by scrunching my entire body up against the bathroom wall with the lap top balanced between my feet (No Photo! Not Pretty!)

I needed to finish up with the Huancayo story (please don't ask for pronunciation assistance; people here smile or just look really pissed off when I try to say it). Dr. Rosa Osario and Dr. Tando (President of the Huancayo Medical Association) really knocked themselves out to make our stay as interesting and educational as possible (I mean it. They are really astonishing doctors working in a setting that in some ways is comparable to Montana in the 1890's). They took us out to hear some local music and to show us the important sights in their town (including the Obama Cafe). While they were trying to get Caleb drunk on some local brew called calientita in a nightclub, I asked what people do for fun in Huancayo. In response they sent a taxi over to the hotel the next morning to show us around before delivering us to the bus station for our 8 hour return trip over the mountains to Lima(at our expense, of course). Fun in Huancayo is spelled: Visit to the Trucha (kind of like trout but bigger and not so pretty) Hatchery; death-defying, cliff-hanging drive to a giant hilltop statue of the Virgin Mary (only one soles to have your photo taken between the legs of a virgin); visit to the silver smith's village where every store sells silver jewelery and displays a "Visa Card Welcome" sign but where no one actually accepts credit cards.

Would I ever go back to Huancayo? Tricky question. After sitting on a bus for 8 hours each way I totally get why the people there want to get ALL of their health care in their own town without having to travel to Lima. I also understand why a central government way far away over the mountains is just not hearing their demands (especially in a country with no nationwide blood banking system, no electronic appointment or medical record system and no national system for ensuring quality standards in health care).

So many words that I haven't told you about! Did you know that a banco is a financial institution that sometimes needs to be bailed out by your tax dollars but that, at least in this part of Peru, a banca is a stool that you sit your butt on when you're drinking at a bar or looking through a microscope? Your pie is your foot (Yup, don't eat your pie here!), and your piel is your skin. If you want to eat a piece of pie, please don't ask for pie, ask for pastel. Got it??

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