The Last Blog

August 14, 2010

So in the weeks after returning home from Peru, I struggled to think of a way to end this blog. When I tell people I meet about my year in South America I always speak about it fondly. It was a hard year, but one that has been very rewarding. I met some awesome people, picked up a bit of Spanish, saw some cool places and ate some amazing food. People who saw pictures of my adventures thought it was a year long holiday as there were no pictures of the menopause work. So it made me realise that the good times is what I am going to take from my experience 20 years from now. So what follows is a year of said good times, so I and any any else who experienced them never forgets.

July

August

September

October

November

December

January

February

March

April

May

June

(Special thanks to Jacquii, Becca, Jo and Jair for the use of their photos).

The Power of Negotiation

April 12, 2010

Completely unrelated amusing concert pic

Some years ago a friend and I attended a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. Through some family based failure my friend’s ticket was rendered useless. As a result he needed to buy a ticket from a tout on the day.

Having never brought a ticket from such unspeakable people I didn’t know what to expect, other than that said tout would no doubt pull down my friends pants and aim for penetration with regards the price.

A heavy police presence meant that touts were hard to come by and after 10-15 minutes of aimless walking the situation was beginning to get a little desperate. At least it was for me. I had no desire to go to the gig by myself and my friend had no inclination to miss one of his favourite bands live. The difference between us was that my friend knew that hiding such desire was the key to avoiding the aforementioned penetration of his wallet.

 

Eventually we happened along a tout selling tickets for 3 times the original sale price. My friend to my bemusement walked away from the ridiculous offer without a thought. The tout, knowing full well that he’d gone in too high eventually dropped said price by 50 or so percent. As much as I hate said friend, that day he seemed like some manner of legend and I never thought I could show a shred of the same negotiating calibre. Enter Peru.

Before I came, I was told from various sources that haggling prices of goods was common. Little did I know that 9 months in I’d be haggling over the price of t-shirts, taxi rides, chess boards and postcards (Yes, I know I haven’t sent anyone a single postcard but I have a stack of them big enough to show that my heart is in the right place). The result of all this is my emergence from my year in Peru as some manner of negotiating master.

The odd thing about my growing talent is that despite the language barrier it’s been honed by:

1) A desire not to be charged gringo prices everywhere I go.

2) My girlfriend (who speaks excellent Spanish) turning an adorably amusing shade of bright red at the mere thought of having to haggle over anything.

The key aspects to negotiating I’ve learned here are:

 1) Never be afraid to walk away: As my friend showed me all those years ago more often than not the person selling will be more desperate to sell than you are to buy.

2) Don’t be desperate: Even if the above is untrue and you are desperate for said item/taxi ride/food or drink never let it show.

3) Always go low: Counter offering half of the original price may seem ridiculous, but if nothing else a cheeky smile with your cheeky offer will lighten the mood and some manner of centre ground price can be worked towards.

4) Try to find some manner of discrepancy: If you’re buying a souvenir, finding a wobbly leg on a llama toy or a smudge on an “I love Peru t-shirt” can sometimes work to your favour. No one wants damaged goods….unless they are available at a discount…

5) “I only have X amount” Telling the person you are haggling with how much money you have is a risky and potentially deal breaking manoeuvre. If used correctly and at the right time it can speed things up considerably. (Pro ‘I’ve been there’ tip: Saying you only have a few coins on you and then opening up a wallet bursting with notes to pay looks awful. Stash your millions in other places before haggling commences).

6) Think about the price for an inordinate amount of time: If you’re not running against the clock and can abide being harangued by the seller for the duration of the negotiation, try to wait it out. Some money is better than no money and sellers will usually try to close the deal if money really seems that much of an issue. Particularly if you’ve been looking at the same item longingly for the past 20 minutes.

7) Playing the gringo card: As much as being a gringo can work against you here, occasionally it can work in your favour. Mastering “Yo soy de Londres” (Even if you’re not from London, can sometimes be the difference between getting into a club or getting that Bob Marley key ring for a few soles less).

A recent night out saw my amusing genesis to negotiating master as I took on the early morning taxi driver.

Usually the process of negotiating prices with taxis involves haggling with them one by one. Fortunately for me, two taxi drivers put themselves in a situation where only I could benefit. Upon exiting the bar in an intoxicated state I was instantly accosted by the taxi drivers, who for the sake of storytelling ease we’ll call Bob and Barry.

 Barry: Taxi?

 Bob: Taxi?

 Me: Si! 28 De Julio y Alconfores (Our address). *To Barry* Cuando cuesta?

 Barry: 8 soles.

 Me: Hmmm *To Bob* Cuando cuesta?

 Bob: 6 soles!

 Me: Nice *To Barry* Jog on luv.

 Whether I’ll return home and try to haggle some pennies off of a 50p bottle of Evian or a portion of chips remains to be amusingly seen.

My first big trip in Peru

March 31, 2010

So a few weeks ago my first big trip in Peru happened. Like most big trips it wasn’t planned, it cost me a bit of money and won’t be forgotten easily. I am of course not speaking of the traditional type of trip, but instead the kind that usually hurts both ego and appendages.

A few weeks ago myself, my girlfriend and a handful of friends decided to spend friday night in a well-known club in Miraflores. Known to some as Sargent Peppers, others as Sargento Pimienta. Its name is synonymous with western rock music, affordable drinks and plenty of places to make a fool of yourself.

Make no mistake at the beginning of the night, everything was going fine. In fact everything was going better than fine. We’d all pre drinked ourselves to merriment, arrived at a time that wasn’t too late and wasn’t too early and were increasingly securing our position as “that crazy group of gringos”. Personally, I was in a good mood. The Arctic Monkey’s, King’s of Leon and other such familiar choons were multiplying the effects of alcohol immeasurably. Not usually a dancer myself, my good mood meant that I was trying to infect others with good times and was insisting people danced at every available opportunity. If I was smart I would’ve known that failure lurked around the corner.

Before we get to said failure, during and after I was reminded of super villains.

 

Who upon being at the top of their game and are so close to having a good day, they get cocky and blow it. They leave killing the hero to their henchmen. Divulge the full details of their plan before they’ve actually won or try an extravagant finale that’s so unnecessary it ruins all of their good work before said moment. Such people don’t know how to quit when they’re ahead and until that fateful day I never understood why.

So as the evening wore on all of our menagerie slowly began to grow in confidence. Even those who weren’t dancing decided that going to the stage to dance was the way forward. My friends went ahead and behind them a very inebriated Jason sought to cement a good night by pulling off a simple move. To get onto the stage there were 2 steps. Now any normal person would just step up both steps normally and enjoy the remainder of the night. Not me. My line of thought happened very quickly but it involved me 1. Thinking that I was a legend 2. Thinking that whilst drunk I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

Besides the drunkenness there was one very fatal flaw to my plan. That being, that it is ridiculous to expect to jump over two steps from a stationary position, with very little forward movement.

I didn’t see the steps…

I think I may have jumped half way up one…

I lost my beer in the confusion…

I looked like a twat…

 

 

I felt like a twat…

The mark of FAILURE

The only saving grace of this debacle was the fact that none of my friends saw me. They simply saw me sitting down very calmly with my girlfriend stroking my bruised ego and my bruised shin and regretted not seeing what sounded like a hilarious spectacle. If this was in front of my friends back home, there would be a YouTube video of me writhing around on the floor in agony. But alas, I got lucky.

At least now when the villain in the sci-fi film for some reason decides that he wants to conquer ANOTHER planet, despite already having had a good day ill understand a little more why…

The power of the Wong

March 11, 2010

So let’s get the amusing name thing out of the way from the get go*. The child in me giggled moronically when my flat mate first told me about ‘Wong’ and still does when the current crop of interns talk about Wong. For the past 8 months “going to Wong” or “thinks Wong is good” has made me pull a face that can only be described as a child who has just learnt how to use a new swearword to devastating effect. In terms of things that are perfectly innocent, but sound wrong; it ranks up there with a vegetarian telling me that:

“I’m eating meat again”

But any who, I digress. The purpose of this blog isn’t for all and sundry to frown upon how juvenile I am, it’s to talk about Wong.

Wong is one of the biggest supermarket chains here in Peru. Everywhere you walk/drive you’ll see giant Wong’s in various parts of Miraflores. Now why is Wong so different from other supermarkets? Say in comparison to:

Vivanda: Small, homely and unlike Tesco

Metro: The Peruvian Tesco

Plaza Vea: A bigger Peruvian Tesco

The Wong has a power that none of these other supermarkets possess. It has the power to make you spend a great deal more money than you ever anticipated. Most people have done the Tesco Metro snack shop. You go in to get a couple of items. You don’t even need a basket because you’ll be able to carry what you need in your hands. And then the unthinkable happens.

3 for 2 deals. Special offers. Clear out special offers. That new chocolate by the counter that you really wanted to try (Kit Kat Chunky Jelly with sherbet in the wafer all dipped in honey and wrapped in a gold flecked wrapper). By the time you’re putting your two baskets of indecipherable goodies on the till, you truly stand in bemusement and wonder why you needed 3 giant bags of Haribo Starmix or a giant baguette that only cost 8p.

Nobody really goes to Tesco Metro for the big week/monthly shop and if they did the results would be disastrous. Wong is Tesco metro x 10 and instead of popping in for a few bits and bobs most of the interns go to Wong for the big monthly shop. Now before I continue I should probably localize the power of the Wong to my intern coworkers only. International people, who have been starved of familiar brands from home, suddenly enter a store with all of their home comforts. Such goods come with an over inflated imported price tag but who cares? Especially when you know that before the hour is done you’ll be spreading Nutella over that fresh bread.

In my 8 months here I’ve undergone some manner of genesis with regards the Wong. My first visit to Wong upon my arrival into Peru ended in me getting to the checkout and realizing that I’d spent more money than I actually had. My awesome and perfectly understanding flat mate (who I’d known only for a few days) was kind enough to pay for my goods until I’d procured more dinero. The interim period, has been comprised of me looking like I was going to be shot as the friendly Wong counter man/lady totted up my bill. Due to none of us being paid a considerable amount, all of my intern coworkers look just as terrified in this situation and I take some comfort in being able to tell from their facial expressions alone if they’ve spent twice…or thrice as much as they intended to.

The significance of the power of the Wong, is that last week for the first time my bill came to LESS than I thought it would be. It was a well executed shop (without a shopping list, because that’s how I roll) that finally ends the power of the Wong over me. Now if only I could apply such willpower to Amazon.co.uk upon my return home, I’d be a happy man.  

*’Wong’ looks and sounds very similar to ‘wang’, which is a slang word for ‘penis’, which to those under the age of 14/who have a mental age of under 14 is mildly amusing.

Summertime alcoholic in Lima

February 22, 2010

So as summer rolls around here, there seems to be a lot more time from drinking. This isn’t just because our employer allows us to leave halfway through the day in the summer months; it’s also because the sun will always persuade you that you need a refreshing alcoholic beverage. Being a noticeable different culture from my own, this predictably delivers a menagerie of problems. All of such problems become a great deal more pronounced with the increase of drinking. So here we go:

Table service

To my knowledge no one here seems to particularly view this as a problem and me being the stubborn soul I am it makes it even more of an issue. In Miraflores there are very few bars that involve some manner of bar only service. Instead the fanciest bar or lowliest pub delivers your drink to your table in the hope that you may at some point relinquish some manner of tip.

Such a tip is of course optional and if I were some manner of heartless barstard I may choose to ignore the fact that the nice waiter/waitress has been kind enough to bring me my drinks all night. The simple fact remains though and that is…

THAT I DON’T REQUIRE ANYONE TO BRING ME MY BLOODY DRINK!

If I were given a simple choice in the matter I might be less antagonistic on this issue, but forcing me to be waited on hand and foot (In some places I just feel outright wrong watching for 3-5 minutes for some guy to place my tissue on the table, place the glass onto the tissue, open my bottle of tipple, smile politely, pour said tipple into glass, place my bottle beside my glass, straighten the bottle and/or the glass comment on my shirt and do up my bloody laces!) Ok so I’m exaggerating but for this East London boy it seems a little extravagant for an 8 sole bottle of beer. Bars and pubs here seem centered around groups of people sitting in one spot all night and only speaking to the person next to them and table service is vehicle for this travesty. If truth be told I enjoy going to the bar back home. Sure you might have to wait awhile and then shout out your order when someone serves you but its part and parcel of going out. Some of the most interesting and random conversations I’ve had were propped up against the bar with some drunken soul babbling about Alex Ferguson stealing his donut. Here, no one seems to mingle or talk to anyone outside their designated table and it is a real sticking point for me.

…not enough to stop me from drinking but it comes close.

Beer Gardens…or lack of

In the winter the lack of beer gardens here didn’t bother me. It was cold and grey and even alcohol would fail to brighten the day. In the summer this changes. Blue skies and sweltering heats are perfect weather conditions for a beer garden…excepts there are no beer gardens. There are some bars which have a few seats outside but this is not a beer garden. I could put some seats outside my apartment and drink beer but it wouldn’t make it a beer garden. My fury at this sorry state of affairs is now shared by one of my roommates, and in protest of this we marched to the park to drink beer; something we both believed was legal. Apparently however, it isn’t. And as policeman here have guns and probably dislike black people even more than those back in London, I’ll be a bit more cautious about impromptu alfresco beer marathons.

Cider….or lack of

If somebody last summer told me of a place without cider and beer gardens I would’ve laughed in their face and called them something obscene. When you live in a country with an abundance of both things it is hard to imagine why anywhere wouldn’t have these two essential elements of summer. The lack of cider was at first a challenge, then it was amusing and now it makes me want to rock back and forth in the fetal position in a corner whilst murmuring something about: Magners “with a little bit of ice”.

In defense of Peru I should however mention: Pisco Sour, the Peruvian made (Shut up Chile) national drink. But despite its awesomeness it doesn’t quite compare to a tall cold glass of Magners on a warm day.

At just about the halfway point through summer other aspects are keeping the balance fair and good. Ceviche (or crack in raw fish form as I call it) for instance (which deserves and will have a blog post all to itself) rebalances the lack of cider and beer gardens. Peru is a country that prides itself on its good food and perhaps instead of bemoaning what I can’t drink in the summer the focus should be on what I can eat…

Lima stomach.

January 15, 2010

So before you Google ‘Lima stomach’ I’ll say right now that it is of course not a real illness. It is a term coined by perhaps one of the first interns to work here and suffer from varying degrees of stomach pain after intentionally or accidentally drinking the city’s tap water. The water here isn’t the same as back home and as a result foreigners can become ill upon consuming it. The resulting effect is something that makes your stomach feel like someone is stirring a tiny bubbling cauldron in your stomach.

You’ll feel slightly nauseous and even the slightest movement will most likely make you feel as though you’re going to vomit.

The significance of me writing about this now is that the most recent of our intern menagerie has been bed ridden for the past few days with this intern created illness. Such falsification of medical terminology was brought to my attention, when I informed one of my managers about our sickly colleague. His reaction upon hearing the term ‘Lima stomach’ was of course one of complete confusion. A term which for our international intern circle has become medical fact is of course absolute nonsense to rest of the country.

I talk about Lima stomach having suffered from it only once. Growing up I was taught by my smart mother that most ailments could be cured by drinking tea and lying down.

 

Somewhere in my formative years I believe such an attitude towards illness has somehow tricked my constitution into being akin to that of Mr. Grylls.

 

The little person stirred my cauldron, I lay down, I drank 2 cups of tea and within a few hours I was fine. Sods law dictates that after I publish this I’ll be struck down by some horrific illness, but I take little pride from being able to fend off something that debilitates others for extensive periods. Touch wood, I have never experienced Lima stomach since.

The irony of my LDN persona is that amongst myself and some of my close male friends minor illnesses are something to be balked at and used to insult each other.

 

To highlight this point, one of my good friends I’ve known for many years recently became very ill after eating some ice-cream on a trip to India. Upon telling me of his anguish and about how he was excreting fluid for an extensive period of time and almost died I could not stop laughing. And indeed when I recount this story to people, I can barely get through it without…almost dying of laughter before its completion (My friends liquid poo adventures). It isn’t that I’m a cruel heartless barstard. But when you’ve been at the receiving end of a torrent of abuse for having a cold, near death by diarrhea is pure gold.

Obviously doing that to someone who has only been with us in Lima for a couple of weeks is wrong and unlike London Jason, Peru Jason is a great deal more considerate. How much my intended concern for my newest housemate is acknowledged; considering all I’ve actually done is ask how she is and offer to buy her something that resembles Lucazade, remains to be seen. But my usual cold, indifferent man heart is in the right place.

Get well soon new housemate!

The problem with hot pants.

January 11, 2010

I can audibly hear every guy reading the title of this blog thinking: ‘There’s not a single thing wrong with hot pants’. And 7 months ago I would’ve been one of such men. Even in cosmopolitan London, hot pants are a relatively rare thing when the sun goes down. I don’t frequent London’s clubs and bars much but I cannot remember seeing a significant portion of the party going female population clad in shorts so short every guy gives that same bemused “dayum” look as said woman walks by. They are like rainbows. It occurs every now and again. You stand in acknowledgement that you have witnessed a thing of natural beauty and you move on. Enter Peru.

On a recent night out I was slightly confused by the amount of women who chose to don the aforementioned item of clothing. Granted it is summer here now, but it seemed as though there was some manner of hot pants sale the day before and local women had decided to adorn themselves in their revealing garments in droves.

As a man who is in a very happy relationship (previous blog post aside) and thinks of himself as respectful to women (no, I’m not just trying to win points amongst my female readers here) I try not to stare too much when women wear ridiculously revealing clothing. Low cut tops are one thing, but when the salsa cranks up and hot pant clad women begin to shake it like they mean it, it becomes a terrifying mine field for men who know they shouldn’t be looking. Going to bathroom or the bar becomes an activity in sheep like glances down at the floor (unless someone wearing hot pants has decided to go down low) or simply gouging your eyes out in desperate futility.

When even your other half is mesmerized by the booty shaking movement of one of said women, it puts the problem into some kind of horrific perspective.

I don’t purport to speak for all men, but for me there’s a distinct difference between looking at a woman who wears hot pants on a night out and dating a woman who wears hot pants in a similar setting. The same way in which most of the men I know (despite possibly finding it oddly attractive) would probably never date someone who dressed like Jodie Marsh or other orange scantily clad women who try to mimic her.

 Whether women take much solace from this fact is unknown to me. I know full well my other half would look great in a pair of hot pants, but like most women she has a tad more taste and the know how to look good without having to show quite so much flesh. The truth is and it’s a truth that I think even most women acknowledge. Is that men perceive women who dress like that in one way. And this multiplies tenfold depending on how much alcohol has been consumed. This isn’t a blog post to denounce the evils of hot pants. As if you know what you want and you know how to get it, kudos to you. If you want a bear and you know bears like meat, you’re not going to go into a forest armed with a packet of sunflower seeds.

There’s a certain crafty intelligence to women who dress like this, but as I don’t want to start a huge debate on the power of sexuality I’m going to leave it well alone.

Jason Vs. Everything.

January 11, 2010

As militant as it sounds, I liken my life to a series of battles. Unlike most, I have no qualms about cutting people off if I believe they have wronged me. I am estranged from my only sibling for this reason and don’t at all miss people I was once happy to count amongst my closest friends. The only people who are immune to such treatment are my immediate family and a few characters from East London who I can’t seem to get rid of (you know who you are). Behind my jovial visage is a person who doesn’t forget a grudge easily. Enter Peru.

I once told a close friend about the past couple of days in my current location of Lima and he was understandably amusedly shocked. My response was “you can’t write this shit”, but alas here I am writing it. I have thus far never mentioned the name of my employer or anyone I work with, to preserve people’s anonymity and I still wish to do this.

Having said that, last week culminated in my current employer wronging me more than any one person or institution has done in a considerably long time. The fact that my girlfriend is involved in my grievance makes it an American soap opera like tale, which due to my stance on anonymity I am not going to go into any detail in here. The culmination of this was an amusing overly long conversation with my boss, in which some truths were laid out with an angry black man scowl so pronounced that the top of my face actually ached a little afterwards.

As a small victory from such a meeting, my Spanish classes were duly sacrificed. Making me slightly richer, giving me more time in the evenings and making some manner of point…the likes of which I think was moot by this point in the conversation. When you’re that blunt with your employer and imply things about a company that would make any manager of people squirm, all whilst looking suitably black and enraged, words become slightly pointless. Quitting Spanish was the mootiest moot point that ever mooted in any moot filled meeting room. But it was something I wanted to do for quite awhile. To further illicit this point I am going to insert into this blog an unpublished blog draft about learning Spanish I wrote months ago when I wanted to quit. It was titled Jason Vs. Spanish and went a little something like this:

Jason Vs. Spanish

So the consequence of living in a Spanish speaking country is that speaking a little bit of Spanish may come in handy at some point. Recognizing this, our employer is kind enough to provide 3 hours of private tuition for us per week. Problem sorted you may think…you think wrong. The will to learn and the means to learn at your disposal doesn’t instantly equal you being able to speak a language. The Jason Vs. Spanish equation looks a little something like this:-

Initial enthusiasm to learn +1

Free private tuition + 1

Classes being 5 minutes walk away from where you live +1

Difference between English and Spanish -1

Having a class after 9 1/2 hours of work -1

Said class sometimes being on Friday or Saturday -1

Most words (Including the sky and milk being masculine or feminine) -1

Being taught by a teacher who would sometimes prefer to practice his English over your Spanish -1

Your Spanish teacher being filthily inappropriate (even by my standards) -1

Working with people who all speak English -1

Having Spanish speaking friends who will try in futility not burst into fits of laughter if you attempt to try any Spanish -3

The Will to learn -245

This brings the Jason Vs. Spanish enthusiasm meter to an amazing minus 252. The problem with being a pessimistic cynic and an indifferent realist is that such an equation will often dampen the enthusiasm for the learning…moreso than my general laziness ever could.

Like most British school children I learnt a language at secondary school. That language was French. Had it been a cool/socially relevant language like Japanese or Klingon I may have stuck with it.

But my lack of natural aptitude for learning anything new on that scale and my disinterest in ever having a conversation with anyone in French was my undoing.

A few weeks ago I was on the verge of quitting completely, because the realist in me broke it down like this.

1. Like most tourists with a phrase book there has never been anything fundamentally key to my continued existence that I haven’t been able to communicate through pointing, giving a thumbs up and saying “Gracias” a lot. 

2. Even working balls out to learn this language for a year a conversation in Spanish is highly unlikely. As evidenced by previous interns.

3. Unless I continue speaking to Spanish people on my return to London (I won’t) or continue classes (I won’t) I will have forgotten everything I’ve learnt within a few weeks of touching down in LDN.

End

It is amusing reading my thoughts on learning Spanish barely 2 months after arriving in Lima, as from my tone it was only going to take the slightest thing to tip me over the ‘giving up’ edge. Unfortunately I was launched over the edge on a rage powered space rocket called “muthafuckingfuckrocket” covered in faeces and decorated in barbed wire. It was a memorable ride though.

The British are coming!

January 4, 2010

A few weeks ago I ended the blogging year with a few words on a detestable TV show and the split of interns in my office. To my knowledge one of these new interns would be from the UK and one would be from Canada. A 3 to 1 split of UK domination sat well with me and I assumed that if somebody was coming here from Canada they must be…Canadian. Clearly unable to think outside the box in this regard meant that upon meeting her last night and witnessing her take out a UK passport, my first ridiculous thought was: ‘which poor British girl did she knock over the head in order to steal her passport?’ When I questioned it in sheer confusion the Columbo like clues began to slip into place.

1. That she didn’t sound remotely Canadian (granted my only knowledge of Canadian accents is from South Park, but I’d still like to believe I’d recognize a Canadian if I heard one).

2. That she understood my accent completely (I’ve become thoroughly accustomed to repeating everything I say at least 4 times for both Peruvian and American friends and coworkers).

3. That she told me she is in fact from the UK.

Why some special unit of police hasn’t hired me for my sharp detective skills I’m not quite sure. Regardless of such rejection by the Peruvian equivalent of CSI, I’m obviously pleased. There’s nothing quite like being able to speak about cultural references when you are so far away from home. As pleased as I was to have what I thought was going to be someone from another country, I neglected to Wikipedia Canada before she arrived. So my witty banter was going to be woefully limited. I still got to mention chips covered with cheese though…

Christmas and New Years as a slovenly man hermit.

So the past 3 weeks have been slightly odd. All of the interns returned home leaving me behind to guard the interests of the apartment. And it was a sacred duty I didn’t take lightly. Unlike most interns to pass through my companies doors I came here to find writing inspiration and the time to write, as opposed to traveling extensively.

Due to various distractions, before Christmas there was somewhat of a lapse in my work ethic in this regard.

3 weeks with the apartment to myself meant many things:

1. That I could walk around butt nekkid.

2. That I could make scrambled eggs butt nekkid (Being VERY wary of hot oil splash back of course).

3. That I could make as much mess as I wanted to.

4. That I could walk around butt nekkid.

In between all of this nekkidness, some writing did actually occur and for this I am grateful. The one problem however with being a slovenly man hermit in Lima is that regardless of how empty your apartment is, SOMEONE will notice. That someone will be your doorman. Most apartments in Miraflores seem to have a doorman and it gives him a very detailed look at your lifestyle. A previous intern once told me that she was convinced her doorman thought she was some manner of shameless hussy, solely because he saw her male friends come and go on a very regular basis.

My bliss as a slovenly man hermit was kind of broken up by my doorman. I don’t speak the same language as him but with my face I was trying, on more than one occasion to convey that:

‘Yes, I am eating Chinese takeaway AGAIN because I’m too lazy to cook’

‘No, I haven’t left my apartment for nearly 3 days straight and I am completely fine with this’

Alas, I am no longer alone and it is going to take some time for me to adjust to limiting my nudity once more solely to my room….and maybe some beaches that don’t frown upon such activity. The slovenly man hermit and the monkey are for now, firmly back in the cage.

The last Intern standing.

December 24, 2009

So between people leaving early for Christmas and people getting fired, I am the last intern that remains here as 2009 comes to an end. It has been a funny old 6 months and a period that has included a great deal more drama than I’d anticipated. As a female dominated area of the office, the last 6 months have meant that I have had to adhere to a few unspoken rules:

1) That scratching certain areas of my body and other bodily functions that the majority of the male race enjoy doing (ew…no not that) is not allowed.

2) That I will have to listen to hours, upon hours, upon hours, upon hours…bare with me here…Upon hours, upon hours of incessant background chatter about dresses, accessories and whether Keira Knightly’s nose looks big in any given picture.

+

+

=

3) That Dawson’s Creek is a legitimate subject for group conversation.

For reasons no one can actually fathom, this job is mostly applied for by women. I secretly believe it is so that said women can talk about Dawson’s Creek in a more varied surrounding. My chosen degree (English Literature) comprised of 90% women, so I am fully used to female dominated environments. I didn’t however have to live with said girls, work with them for 9 and ½ hours and to my knowledge none of them believed that Dawson’s Creek was a valid topic for group discussion. I accredit this final point as one of the main reasons I stuck to my degree over the 3 years.

In my current corner of the world the reign of female domination is finally over. And while I am carrying out point 1 in earnest during the interim period, points 2 and 3 may well be on their way out as well. It is my ambition that the next time I hear Dawson’s Creek brought up in general conversation I will be at least 80 and unable to hear much of anything.

I’m rambling on about this subject for one simple reason and it is not just because I despise Dawson’s Creek. It is because for the first time in my company’s history, there’s the possibility that there may be an even split between male and female interns. What does this mean for the group dynamic in the office?

Do we find a balance between office conversations about football and Sex in The City? …women’s volleyball presumably.

A compromise between talk about clothes and video games? …The Sims.

A consensus for the beer Vs. wine debate? …Fruity beer.

Or will Dawson’s Creek STILL be deemed a worthy topic for group conversation? In my heart of hearts I sincerely hope not, as not accidentally watching 1.4 seconds of a rerun of that show whilst channel hopping is one of the top ten reasons I came to Peru.

But alas, hopefully 2010 will be a happy Dawson’s Creek free New Year for all.