John Mahar's Blog

Education, Spanish, Travel, Poems, Bonnaroo reports, and more.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Today I might get to leave Lima. The plan was to head to Hauraz less than 2 hours after arriving. I am staying at a cool hostel where I have met all kinds of good people from all over: Israel, Brazil, USA and Wales. I talked music with Marcos from Brazil, gave sagely travel advice for eveyone´s next destination, and discussed politics with everyone. I shared some kosher dinner with the Israelis, (and avoided talking about palestinians) and one of them taught me an Israeli song--he played it on the recorder while I copied him on the harmonica. I taught him when the saints go marching in. He kind of knew it already, I guess.

There´s a general work stoppage here today, and it spilled over to yesterday and it might affect tomorrow as well. Certain regions of the country, according to one taxi driver and the news, are ¨paralizados.¨ But if I´m lucky I´ll be leaving for Huaraz tonight.

The work stoppage was called by a large union here, and a few others joined in. The workers at the gold mine in Huaraz, for example, are on strike, and teachers as well, so schools were closed today. There was a political cartoon showing an angry mother yelling about the strike as her children came home early from school. There is a general sentiment in the city that a complete work stoppage is going a bit too far. The manager of the hostel remarked--¨They want tourists to come in, and then they do this [the wk stpge]. It would be like if I piled up a bunch of rocks in front of my door.¨ So some people have little sympathy.

There are various reasons for the work stoppage. As in the rest of the world, gas and food prices have gone up, causing problems for drivers of transport and families. A gallon of gas here costs around 6 dollars. And here the average salary is around 200 dollars a month (or so).

I asked a taxi driver what they´re going to accomplish. He stuttered a bit before saying ¨they´re keeping a promise, they said they would stop work, and they did.¨ He went on to talk about the reasons for the strike, adding that most of the foreign aid money sent to the Ica region after last year´s horrible earthquake and ensuing disaster has been stolen by various political agencies.

Another thing in the news is that Alberto Fujimori was finally extradited from Chile. Apparently he came to Chile (from Japan, where he has been an international fugitive) considering running for reelection. Yep. Chile, kindly enough, respected Peru´s request. A former general has been testifying that Fujimori knew about all the death squads and massacres and so on. It was not just his hitman, of sorts, Vladimiro Montesinos. Meanwhile, Montesinos, for a reason I can´t figure out, was in an ad on tv saying that people shouldn´t be involved in the work stoppage. This is really weird for a few reasons. 1. He is in prison. 2. People in general have a negative opinion of him.

On this confusing note, I´ll give up the computer to someone else.


At 2:07 AM, Blogger Jen and Ben Lamm said...

Okay, that's all very interesting, but when are you going to tell us why you're in Peru. Are you climbing mountains? Starting a school? An exchange program? Spill the frijoles already.


Post a Comment

<< Home