Monday, March 22, 2004
We just got back from spending a weekend in ICA which is about 3 hours south of Lima. It was a lot of fun and interesting as always. Thankfully I did not break any bus windows on either leg of the trip there. We spent one morning out on a boat tour of some islands where there are more birds then I have ever seen in my life. They actually harvest the bird droppings (to the tune of 15,000 Tons a year), called guano, and export it to other countries as fertilizer I assume.
In Ica we found out that Tricia and I have radically different reactions to what they call "culture stress" (in living overseas lingo). Basically culture stress is stress that gets built up over time because the culture you are living in is different and you really have no clue what is going on. It usually manifests itself in unexplained irritabilities at trivialities leaving the Peruvian baffled at what he did to irritate the giant gringo. Actually I haven't lost my temper yet here in Peru which is a testament to prayer as at times I am known to have a short fuse even when I understand my surroundings. Well anyway, Tricia and I were walking in downtown Ica to a church where we heard good candy was sold nearby. Apparently it was in a dangerous part of town because the police officer told us exactly which street was the safest to walk to get there. On the way there all of a sudden we see everyone looking up above our heads at the roof of a house and we hear a guy yelling stuff in a rather crazy manner. We didn't have a clue as to what was going on. Tricia's immediate response (probably the prudent one) was to go back the exact way we came and get out of there. My response was to trod ahead and get the candy that I felt was due me since we were almost there. So Tricia's natural tendency is to return to the known when faced with a situation we don't understand, and my response is to forge ahead. As I think Tricia's response is probably wiser we will usually be following her lead in the future.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that I didn't finish the story. Nothing happened. We kept walking to the church and the guy on the roof just kept yelling at everyone. I got my candy, and we took a cab back. For the record, it was tasty candy.