Ian Shay


Ian Shay

I am studying in Lima, Peru for the year at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and staying with a host family. Here I'll be documenting some of my daily life and my travels.

South America » Bolivia » Tarija Department » Tarija February 9th 2012

Hey, I'm back in Lima from my travels in Chile and Bolivia. I can't document the whole trip, but here's a taste. Back in the 90's, Robert, a student from Bolivia, stayed with my aunt and uncle on foreign exchange. Now, continuing the foreign exchange, I went to Tarija to visit him and his family. They gave me a warm welcome. They fondly remembered their times studying in the U.S., and seemed eager to show me their hometown. Tarija is in south central Bolivia, wine country. Apparently it's one of the higher arable valleys in the world at nearly 2 kilometers above sealevel. People tell me that wine conoisseurs have vouched for the world-class quality of wine, but the problem is just that people haven't invested enough to export Bolivian wine on a large scale (nudge ... read more
Rueda Chapaca
Robert and Carlos

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Villa María del Triunfo November 6th 2011

The hills are alive with the bright colors graves. Millions of graves ranging from piles of stones to full-out cement altars with stairs, as people have been able to afford. It started out as an appropriation of unused land, the squatting dead, so to speak, and it has become a veritable unplanned city of the dead. In a way that very much reflects the informal nature of most of Lima, the Cementerio de Nueva Esperanza in Villa María del Triunfo, has become the largest cemetery in Peru (or in the world? Can't remember. It's up there). Apparently now people have to apply for permission to bury there, but I wonder how many do, and what's the point? For our Peruvian Social Reality class, we visited the cemetery on November 1, Día de los Muertos. Thousands upon ... read more
Nueva Esperanza 8
The Scissor Dance
Nueva Esperanza 3

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores November 5th 2011

Welcome to a minority of Lima. All these pictures are from la Costa Verde in Miraflores. The tourist track will lead you here, and most host family placements aren't far away either. For this post I draw largely on our Peruvian Social Reality class with Juan Carlos Callirgos, an Anthropology prof at la Católica Lima is a city that has grown exponentially in the past century, as literally millions of people have migrated from the Andes in search of economic opportunities, better education, and refuge from the violence of Sendero Luminoso in the 80's and 90's. The growth was too much for the services available at the time: the city simply couldn't incorporate that many people into its current structure. There were not enough jobs, not enough schools, not enough hospitals, not enough houses. So the ... read more
Costa Verde 2
Costa Verde 3
Costa Verde 4

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » San Miguel October 16th 2011

Going to school at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP, la Católica) is a little bit different than Gustavus. Some things I like less, and some things I like more. If you're curious about student life here, here's a bit of comparison: Before I get ahead of myself, I should let you know where I'm coming from. As a Gustie Spanish major and Curriculum II (Integrated core of gen eds) student, I'm used to a small Swedish-Lutheran liberal arts feel of campus. I am accustomed to small discussion-based classes, or at least a somewhat interactive lecture style in larger classes. And I'm accustomed to the lovely Gustavus Marketplace. At la Católica, I am in the CIEE Liberal Arts program, taking two CIEE program courses (Peruvian Social Reality and Advanced Spanish: Writing Workshop) and several direct ... read more
Staircase poem
Biblioteca Central
Protesta PUCP

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores October 14th 2011

I don't have any big news, but here's some little news. Winter in Lima is cold, damp, and cloudy, nearly always gray. But we're getting into spring now, which means that the sun peeks out every now and then to warm us up. Everything is suddenly brighter, warmer, more colorful, more alive. In case you haven't noticed, I love food. There happens to be a fine selection of fruit in Peru, much of it arriving in Lima from the jungle and the mountains. This here is one of my favorites, the granadilla, native to the Andes. Roughly the size of an apple, it has a smooth, hard exterior which, once cracked, reveals a soft inner lining to protect the delicious fruit within. It contains many little pouches of juice with little black seeds in them - ... read more
Palta on toast
Sunday lunch
street art

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Lima September 10th 2011

"Lima: Gastronomic Capital of the World," say the posters in town. Its a brag, of course, but it's not without substance. The restaurant scene in Lima is kicking, full of cebicherías, chifas (chinese-peruvian fusion), parrilleras (grills), anticucherías (grills specialized in anticuchos. See photo) and I've been told it's the home to a number of world-famous chefs. Lima is a cultural crossroads between Spain, the Andes, the Amazon, China, Africa, and more. What better place to have an entire festival devoted to food? For ten days each September, the Parque de la Reserva in cental Lima is flooded with chefs, foodies, connoisseurs and tourists from around the world. Come hungry. Get reduced prices on delicacies from famous chefs, visit Huariques (hole-in the wall restaurants), indulge in Amazonian tacu tacu, then waltz over to the Sierra for some ... read more
A small selection of Peruvian produce
Fruits with names
Chocolate Sushi

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores September 9th 2011

Since last fall in the U.S. I was eating vegetarian, mostly for political and environmental reasons. I am not morally opposed to eating meat, and I enjoy eating it particularly if it has come from a sustainable source, where the animals were treated well. Eating vegetarian in the U.S. was great because I largely had food independence at college (where there also happened to be a fair amount of veggie options). I had time to help cook when I was home, and I knew enough about the food system to explain to people why I ate vegetarian. I figure my own actions make some small difference, but it is also important to use the "why are you eating vegetarian?" moments to spread the word. In Lima, on the other hand, I live with a host family. ... read more
Tamal peruano

South America » Peru » Ancash » Huaraz August 28th 2011

One of the best things about studying abroad is the opportunity to travel. When you're staying in hostels and paying guides, it's much cheaper to travel in a group. So, some gringo friends and I decided to go to Huaraz. Huaraz, being situated right between the Cordillera Blanca (white mountain range, named for its snowy peaks) and the Cordillera Negra (black mountain range, comparatively lower altitude, less snow), has become a mecca for hikers. Breathtaking mountain trails, and lots of hostels to choose from. Jo's place is a good one: cheap lodging, though it has hard beds, also the option of just camping in the yard, which I assume costs less? Hiking info available, and plenty of space to hang laundry to dry. We found a nice restaurant, too, café andino. They have a library/book exchange. ... read more
On horseback
Landscape changes

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores August 20th 2011

Hello! I suppose I haven't yet given an introduction to where I’m living, which might have been a more logical place to start this blog. Lima is a huge coastal city, the capital of Peru. The concrete jungle stretches miles along the bay. The weather here, being winter, is cold, gray and damp. 60 degrees F sounds very nice, but taking into account heavy humidity and constant cloud cover, it's a cold that falls short of biting, but rather slowly chills you to the bone. It's not quite cold enough to justify central heating; I am quite comfortable wearing my winter coat all day. If you're going to Lima in the winter, I recommend bringing pants, a winter coat, and at least a couple sweaters. Things take forever to dry. A typical Wisconsinite I am, talking ... read more
The streets of Lima
Plaza San Miguel?
Campus deer

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores August 13th 2011

Welcome to Polvos Azules (blue dusts/powders), the treasure chest of the informal market of Lima. Make a voyage through the corridors of millions of "original" items: navegate the sea of Nike shoes bathed in white light, plunder Barcelona fútbol jerseys at 20 soles, unearth the Rosetta Stone or the Pirates of the Caribbean series, next to the pirated CD stand. Prices are negotiable, but you need to know how to haggle. Some of it might be lost shipments or legitimate purchases of originals….but the most of it is an imitation. Most any imitation will be cheap. Some things are more difficult to fake; video game consuls are originals that have been "fixed" to take pirated games. These and many other electronics are probably more expensive than in the U.S., but you save money on the discs ... read more
polvos azules 3
polvos azules 2

Tot: 0.249s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 9; qc: 91; dbt: 0.054s; 91; m:apollo w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 6.6mb