The city of Lima has authorized persons to feed the cats in the park. We watched as a lady placed styrfoam trays of food and water under most of the trees so that there was plenty to go around.
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The following entry is by Theresa and is a bit on the "reflective" side of travel. If you just want to enjoy the photos, then do just that. But if you want to read something a little bit different, then continue at your own risk.
A brief review on what made me squirm or uncomfortable...hey, gotta give credit to the dark side of traveling so that we can enjoy the good stuff even better!!! Bring it on!!
Larvae or slugs. The Equadorians who live near the jungle love a special delicacy--slugs--a larvae that can be found in hollowed out tree trunks lying on the jungle floor. You can eat them raw or have them BBq´d. We did neither as the gringo reviews were not very appetizing....But we did see many of these squirmy delights being cooked on the barbeques in Coca. Here´s the catch! They were still alive on the skewers, squirming as they cooked! That was a big 10 out of 10 on the "ewwwww" squirmy scale!
some cats at the Lima park broke the barrier of feralness to enjoy the odd petting from a tourist.
People asking for money or selling whatever...as our trip took us through Peru again to catch our return flight back to Canada, we noticed that the culture in Peru (in comparison to Ecuador) is more in your face with people trying to sell you stuff or ask for money and possibly rob you, using decoys which may include children... So, after 3 straight days of bussing it down from town to town and hanging out in noisy bus terminals, one´s patience grows thin with any extra noise pollution or stimulation. That is why we picked the loudest part of town to stay at!!! LOL! So when people approached us, we were very good at shouting "no!!" and being quite rude. Afterall, what´s more important? Our passports and our way home and turning someone away OR being friendly and potentially losing our passports? I like to call this "being a seasoned traveler"...there comes a point where you just need to be nasty to save your own ass. Especially, if you are weary from the travel itself. This rated 3 out of 10 on the squirm scale.
Kids on the street selling things... the odd picture captures your heart when
you see kids asking you if you want your runners shoe-shined, or kids selling a candy to get some money. The one shoe-shine kid we said no to in Cuzco, had the courage to ask for money or food. We gave him a huge hunk of our newly bought cheese as we had been in Cuzco for awhile and the area we were sitting in was relatively safe. The smile he gave us as he said "thank you" in English for our benefit, was an amazing moment of inspiration and realization of his state of affairs.. We felt like we at least made his day and he ate something good for one day. But the kid who came up to us in Chiclayo, in a chaotic part of the city where robbers were known to be, was not so fortunate. We turned him away with a rude no, assuming he was part of a plot to rob us with another adult who was possibly standing by... we will never know if this child has parents, or was part of a scam, or was just authentically trying to sell something for an honest living... this moment was also a squirming moment....
on display at the Palace in Lima.
of a different kind... this is the dark side of traveling... when you have to embrace your own dark side to protect yourselft... This rated a 5 out of 10 on the squirm scale.
Feral dogs and cats... it never ceases to amaze me all of the semi-domesticated-feral animals in every town and city (except for the really big cities where the municipality has taken some roll in bylaws)... but the odd pet is treated like one, so that gives me hope. Altho, when you see a small cage full of puppies and inside they are piled on top of one another, you wonder if this culture is giving in to the "puppies are cute" trend, with puppy mills abound (or no control of the population, in general), and then, when they are not cute anymore, or the family realizes that they cannot afford to feed the animal, they are rejected to fend for themselves. The many dogs I have witnessed in the more secluded areas (smaller villages especially) to be pregnant, or just had babies with swollen nipples or looking like they are on the verge of starvation....there are no words...squirming... Definitely a 8 out of 10 on
hanging out at the plaza in Lima. Who needs gargoyles, when you've got these guys!
the squirm scale.
The one image that continues to haunt me is from one occassion when we witnessed a lady pulling a dog out of the luggage compartment of a bus! The dog was in a plastic rice bag. The bag was knotted closed at the opening and the corner of the bag was cut for the dog to stick its head out. So this medium sized bagged dog (yes, I know...doggy bag...sad but true) could not move its legs whilst being in the bottom of the bus with all the suitcases, boxes and backpacks. And it would have been scared for its life as the bus driver hurled around the corners in the mountains at half the speed of sound, probably getting knocked about inside and squished by luggage. It was shaking and full of vomit and drool and mud when removed from the compartment and its tail was between its legs after released from the bag as it was extremely traumatized! I could not contain myself, shouting and in tears..."that is just shocking!" My emotional sentiments on this mistreatment of a beloved animal was met by another Canadian traveller as he agreed, "Yes, this is just shocking!".
Last dinner in Lima, Peru
before returning to Canada. We decided to spoil ourselves at a posh restaurant with the "cerviche" delicacy. Fish fermented in lime juice. It was divine.
I think the owners got the message and I made sure the owners of this dog knew my dissaproval by shaking my head whilst passing by after the initial shock. This is all one can do as a traveller. You feel helpless, not knowing the appropriate route to take in order to complain, and if you do start any trouble, there is a chance you can be in bigger trouble, so you just walk away. Although this has only happened once to us, we worry about the other pets out there that have been treated poorly... 9 out of 10 on the squirm scale.
But there is hope. The day we arrived in Lima to prepare for our return flight home, we were greated by a well cared-for cat named Dippy at the hostel we were staying at. His owner was very good to Dippy. And Dippy loved guests (and plants, too!). Then when we walked through the central park near our hostel, there was a lady feeding the cats in the park AND giving them some love. For these lovely felines, life is good and they continue to luxuriously lounge in the park, living in the trees and
yes, we washed our hands
even though we were at a nice restaurant, our travel clothes remained the same. T-shirts, field pants and hikers!
being fed by generous city people. There is even a sign posted by the city of Lima stating that the cats are fed by authorized persons only. For the cat who was in Chiclayo at the bus station, looking for food, and pregnant, and being treated like a pest as it approached people for help, life is not so easy.... still squirming over this one... 9 out of 10 on the squirm scale.
In contrast, in Quito, Ecuador (big city) the trend is to dress your dog in clothes. There were dogs dressed in fancy dresses, sweaters (as if they needed them!!!), booties, etc. People were selling dog clothes on the street with their own dog dressed in the latest style...It was a strange contrast to the poor, starving dogs in other parts of the continent.
And that is just it. We experienced the contrast on many different levels. If we did not experience the contrast in our lives, would we be inspired at the same degree or empowered to grow, reaching for what feels right? I think not. Keep on practicing turning those lemons into lemonade, everybody!
One thing you can do if you have been
and for desert....
a sampler platter. Our favourite was the passion fruit pie. yum!
moved by these stories is to be the change! Do something nice for our furry animals. Volunteer for an animal shelter, or help animals that have been deserted, resisting the temptation to just turn away from the situation. Or, give your pet a special hug or treat today to let them know that you do love and care for them. Get inspired to do more for our domestic animals. The universe does not mean for us to be motionless...for too long...
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