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Site Under Construction

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Monday, November 30, 2009 0 comments

Well as most of you can see my site has a new coat of paint, for months I have wanted to change the look and feel of my blog and with the help of a fellow colleague and friend(thanks Carlos) I have been able to breathe new life into my once outdated blog(you may even notice my secondary title that reads "A Traveling American Photographer Living Abroad").

Now please take into consideration that this blog is still undergoing changes and anything that doesn't seem to work will in time be fixed. Living in Peru has been hectic what with work and other obligations so I am trying to finish the sites development as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience and please leave a comment/feedback.

Thank you,


Marco

The Healing Properties of Andean Tocosh - Fermented Potatoes

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, November 26, 2009 3 comments





You may be thinking what is Tocosh?  Up until recently I had not heard of Tocosh (Tocush, or however it is pronounced), I was told it was a potato that had a horrible smell associated with it but was supposedly really delicious.  My curiosity having already been peaked I decided to follow through by researching a little further. 
After a few minutes of searching on Google, I was surprised to discover that there wasn’t much information (at least on the English version of Google) about Tocosh, hell it’s not even on Wikipedia!  I decided to switch gears and use Google.pe which is the Peruvian/Spanish equivalent of English Google.  There I found a more information on Tocosh, some of which I found rather interesting.
It turns out that Tocosh isn’t a type of potato if not an end-result product of an ancient fermentation - putrification process developed by the Incas many years ago.  Back in those days the Incans considered Tocosh as the preserver of the human body.  The Incans would prepare Tocosh by digging a small hole along the side of a river bank.  In the hole they would fill it with regionally picked potatoes and then placed rocks over the potatoes to flatten them.  There they would leave the potatoes while the water from the river slowly worked its way into the hole for a period of 6 – 12 months.  The water that ran through those holes was what eventually would transform the potatoes to the point that it produced a powerful and natural antibiotic.  After an almost year long fermentation process the Incans would take the potato remains out of the holes and leave them to dry under the suns powerful rays.  Once dry the Tocosh in its final form would be used in stews and dishes of the Incans, as well as medication.
In today’s modern world Tocosh continues to be used more commonly in rural towns and cities of the Andes by their population.  Tocosh can even be purchased in a powdered state and in capsule form for certain medicinal uses.  Tocosh is said to be effective (and has been confirmed in medical investigations) in dealing with postpartum (whatever that is?), pneumonia, common cold, curing wounds through direct application,  hemorrhoids, and gastric ulcers, altitude sickness (Soroche), and gastrointestinal infections.  It has even been used as an antibacterial agent due largely to its high Penicillin content.   It is said that the people of the departments of Ancash and Huanuco (in to the North of Peru) have had fewer cases of gastric infections due to Tocosh being widely consumed in those regions.  It is speculated that the strong and unflattering smell of Tocosh is what keeps it from being consumed in larger cities like Lima. 

Having conducted an initial investigation through limited resources I would like to actually try the intriguing fermented potato and see if I can handle its strong and overpowering smell.  I will definitely write a follow up once I have made physical contact.
For those of you interested here is the link to a site that sells Tocosh in capsule form, LINK.


Donating Blood

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, November 24, 2009 0 comments



Last week my father was in the hospital recovering from a surgery and as a result of the massive blood loss was in need of a blood transfusion.  I had gone to visit my father on Friday when I heard the news and suggested donating blood, something I had heard alot about in previous years but had never experienced.  After returning from a rather decent lunch at a local chinese restaurant in San Borja I was instructed by my Aunt to head with her to the first floor where the Hematology labs were located. 

While I filled out the required paperwork I felt a little nervous, having never donated blood before but managed to put my concerns aside to help my father.  Apparently in order for a patient to recieve blood (or in my father's case, 1 unit of blood = 1 liter of blood) friends or family must donate an equal amount of blood to replenish the blood used.  On top of that the patient is charged the cost of the blood which at the Clinic in San Borja came out to be S/. 770.00, which isn't inexpensive!  When I was finally called in to the back of the lab I was taken into a room with two patient benches and a weight balance.  The nurse orded me to stand on the balance which I found odd for a blood donation, nevertheless I did as I was told.  I almost laughed when the nurse asked me "if I had lost weight recently or if I had always been that skinny?"  I had no clue what so ever that a persons weight was important for blood donation, in fact I was almost denied the opportuntity to donate blood because of my weight.  The nurse decided to take a few blood samples to test my hemoglobin levels in order to determine whether or not I would be able to donate blood, in the mean time I sent back to the waiting room to wait until further notice.

20 minutes of watching reggaeton music videos and I was finally called back to the room where I was guided on to the bench.  The nurse first took my blood pressure (for what reason I am not sure), then she prepared the blood recipient bag and followed up by soaking a piece of cotton in alcohol (which smelled strong of Vodka) which she then passed over my arm, marking the spot where she would eventually make the insertion.  Finally the moment of truth came as the nurse pulled out what was a huge needle and stuck straight into my arm with a rather painful piercing feeling (Damn, cartoon blood drop LIED TO ME!).  I laid there for what was 10 minutes making open and closed motions with my hand to help pump the blood from my veins.  It wasn't towards the end that I started to feel light-headed and sweaty, followed by an increasing sense of nausea.  I mentioned my symptoms to the nurse and she quickly grabbed a chair and placed it under my feet elevating above my head.

For my donation I was given a rather tasty juice box and a rather nasty packet of cheese crackers, all followed by a dissertation on: THE EFFECTS OF BLOOD DONATION ON PATIENTS by the head doctor of Hematology.  :(

Donating blood turned out to be an interesting experience in itself and one I will never forget.  I am proud that I could help my father and I am proud that I attempted something I onced feared.  Would I do it again?  If the situation required it, DEFINATELY!  Otherwise, it may be awhile before I voluntarily donate again.

Saturday Morning Cartoons! Week 1

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Saturday, November 21, 2009 1 comments

So I have come across several cool sites on the internet one of them Channel Frederator which is a site and business dedicated to animation.  I have always been a big fan of cartoons especially since I have always liked to draw them.

Today I announce to you my readers that starting today I will host Saturday Morning Cartoons where every Saturday I will post crazy and awesome cartoons from the internet, for your viewing enjoyment.  If there are any particular types of cartoons you would like to see just leave me a comment and I will do my best to find them for you.

And with out further a due I present to you Saturday Morning Cartoons, Enjoy!


ANIMATING RALPH S. MOUSE from Joel Fletcher on Vimeo.





Harvey Krumpet



Man on the Moon








Superman

Stephen Colbert and Woody Harrelson Sing The US National Anthem

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, November 18, 2009 0 comments

I was watching the colbert report on my computer when Colbert and Woody ended the show by singing the Star Spangled Banner (US NATIONAL ANTHEM), while Stephen shaved Woody's head in a show of support for the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.


GOOD MORNING AMERICA! (I hope I don't get in trouble for copyright infringement).  GOD BLESS THE USA!

The Colbert Report
Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sign Off - Stephen Shaves Woody's Head
www.colbertnation.com

Colbert Report Full Episodes
Political Humor
U.S. Speedskating

Aww Portland How I Miss You

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, November 17, 2009 0 comments



I had spent the evening with Zdenka celebrating our sixth month dating when I showed her a youtube video of Portland.  I am always talking about it and I wanted her to get a more visual image of the city I just can't seem to stop talking about (weird).

I never really imagined that I would miss Portland and yet I am always surprised when I do, but I guess there really isn't any better place than home.  Here is the promotional video that we watched, which I thought was rather cool.

Hotel Love in Peru

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza 1 comments


If there is one thing that differs culturally between Peru and the United States it's intimacy among lovers, couples, and spouses.  First of all it's important to take into consideration that Americans generally enjoy independence to the extent that we all long for the day when we can move out of our basement bedroom at mom and dad's (well at least most of us).  In fact, it is usually frowned upon in American society for an individual to live with his parents in his later years without a reasonable excuse (and even then it can still be very difficult to find a partner who is willing to accept the fact that Jim still lives with his mommy and daddy).  Peruvian families however are much different in this aspect with most children living with their parents as well as grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other close relatives under one roof, most of their lives (if not all of their life).  There does exist a collectivist mentality among Peruvians with a strong emphasis on family.  Poverty may be a leading factor in why this collectivist culture still exists also (with a little more than half of the nations population living in poverty, that's roughly 54%.  Don't quote me on that).

With entire families living together, intimacy among couples can be difficult to achieve with everyone present.  It's even considered disrespectful depending on where you fall in the family hierarchy.  Thankfully in Peru there is a solution, HOTELS!  In Lima there is an unbelievable amont of hotels, hostels, hospedajes, and even the occasional taxi cab (when you just can't hold the love in any longer), with prices at most of these establishments being fairly reasonable for the average Limeñan's or Chalaco's (the nickname for people from Callao) wages.  Hotels being the most expensive option provide a couple with such wonderful commodities as: an actual bed mattress (one that's not stuffed with straw and hay), blankets (most hostels and hospedajes only offer a bed with a bed sheet on it), better privacy, a sense of security, and the occasional jacuzzi.  Most hotels can range from S/. 35 to $200 or more depending on district and neighborhood.  For the average unmarried couple, sex occurs more frequently throughout the week and therefore a hostel or hospedaje is much more economical.  Hell the cheapest ones will only set you back a measly S/. 10, which buys you a small room with a bed and even a TV for the duration of a few hours (that's more than enough time to show that special someone in your life how much you love him/her).  The one amenity that almost every establishment provides their patrons with is a complementary baby repellent (also known as a condom), however I would personally recommend that you stock up before your head out on your midnight adventure (HELL, a decent pack of condoms only costs S/. 7.00 and just like hotels, pharmacies are literally everywhere). 

The practice of renting a room for the sole purpose of making love is actually accepted by Peruvians and is quite common and normal.  I wouldn't be surprised if sex was what kept the hotel industry alive and thriving here in Peru.  For Americans this concept maybe unusual to us considering the fact that most of us have our own place (apartment, home, car, etc.) where we can be intimate with our partner.  For most Peruvians the luxury of having one's own place is difficult to come by for various cultural / societal reasons, therefore the best option for quality alone time with a loved one is at a hotel.  For someone who is accustomed to renting a hotel room for travel purposes it may seem odd to rent one just to have sex.  Though with time the feeling of awkwardness and embarrassment wears off once you realize that most establishments understand that the majority of their clientele use their rooms for more intimate purposes. 


Extraordinary Measures Movie Filmed in Portland, Oregon

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, November 11, 2009 0 comments

I just came across this video a few minutes ago and I got to say it looks promising (if your into those kinds of sentimental tearjerking, feel good, happy but possibly sad ending kinds of movies).  The film even has some A-list celebrities starring in it: Harrison Ford and Brenden Fraser.

I the past Oregon has been a choice location for such memorable films like Bandits and the ever classic Animal House (TOGA, TOGA, TOGA!!!), so it comes to me as no surprise that Oregon has once again been chosen for a film location.  I think I remember even hearing somewhere that the State of Oregon promotes film production companies to come and film in Oregon by giving them a discount on taxes or something.

Anyways here the link to the trailer,  Looks good to me.  What do you think?



Happy Veterans Day, America!

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza 0 comments




 Being here in Peru it's hard to really celebrate some of the US holidays, especially when all your friends and family are over there.  In honor of the men and women who fight to keep our country safe (wither you believe that or not) I decided to post this video that was put toghether by the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, that yours truely is a proud member of.  The video is dedicated to all the Phi's who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces.  For any American's watching this video try to take into consideration that even if you are against the wars in which we as a nation are currently involved in, it is still important to acknowledge that while you might not wish to be a part of that war there are those who have chosen to do so and it is through their commitment that you enjoy your freedom to not have to serve.  In many countries military service is required of its citizens, Peru used to have mandatory military service but recently changed it to voluntary (which has work so well for them in terms of inscription numbers).  Aren't you glad that your an American?




Oh yeah, Proud to be a Phi! YEAH OREGON EPSILON!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, November 10, 2009 0 comments

Here is a song that was posted by brother Steve Wasson up in Portland, Oregon.  The song should put that extra boost of energy that might be missing from your day and remember Keep on Smiling!

Albazo's Bar and Dancing at Calle de Los Pizzas

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Monday, November 9, 2009 0 comments


After what was a long week here in Lima, a few friends of mine and I decided to get together for drinks last Saturday.  Zdenka and I arrived at Albazo's around 9:30PM, where I had told everyone earlier to meetup. 

Albazo's is this small little bar on Av. Berlin, located just around the corner from the Calle de Los Pizzas in Miraflores.  The thing I enjoy most about this bar is that it's usually never croweded which, makes it a great spot for gatherings with friends.  The place serves a wide array of alcoholic beverages at reasonable prices for being located in Miraflores.  I usually prefer to order my 1 liter bottle of Pilsen and at S/.11 it's a great deal.  The music at Albazo's pretty much says alot about the people who frequent their, nothing but good 90's and 80's music, for me this is a nice change in pace from all the latin music that I hear regularly (not that I don't like it either). 

for those of you who are interested here is the address: calle berlin 172, Miraflores

Sitting there waiting for my friends to show up we decided to have a few drinks and enjoy the loud drunken shouting of a group of guys who were rocking out to Los Heroes del Silencio.   Unfortunately for us the DJ (or who ever the hell was in charge of the music) decided to humor the group by playing a marathon of "Heroes", which only meant a continuous, almost never ending roar of off key singing.  I should also probably mention that Zdenka had been and continued to suffer from a tremendous migrane of epic proportions that not even 4 excedrins, 2 cups of mate de coca, and an almost empty bottle of beer could cure.  It would be an understatement to say she was in pain, yet being the trooper and awesome girlfriend she decided to stay inspite of my attempts to call it an early night.  When the music had finally switched gears and all the shouting had come to a lull, my friends came waltzing in one by one through the door.  Orgasms, Vodka/Tonics, Pilsen, and a side of french fries were ordered as we put our still sober heads together to come up with a game plan for the night. 




A decision was made and dancing was elected as the designated activity for the night.  Walking down the crowded Calle de Los Pizzas we found a club that was decent enough without being ridiculously packed.  The music was varied but wasn't any different from you hear at just about every other club (with the exception of electronica and techo...That GOD).  More beer was consumed as is custom as well as law in such places.  I did my fair share of dancing, though in all honesty I could have danced more.  Everyone appeared to be having a good time and the night was starting to wind down.  It was roughly around 2AM when Zdenka looked over at me and visually threw in the towel.  I said OK and we said our goodbyes to everyone and were quickly on our way home.  Thankfully I was sedated enough to not really care about sleeping on the couch but in all honesty I can sleep on just about any surface if the situation calls for it.






 

Crazy Women's Soccer Game

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Friday, November 6, 2009 0 comments

Okay two things you should know:

One: It's 12:44am and I just got home after some minor gambling (I bet S/.10 and won S/.30, so Yeah me) followed by some celebratory drinking which = one drunken writer.

Two: Being said drunken writer I managed to stumble across this video that was posted on the Portland Mercuries website (yes I know this isn't the first time I have taken a video from their website but what can I say they post some awesome shit).

The video is pretty amazing since I have never seen a women's soccer (or Football if you must call it that) this intense before.  New Mexico looked so desperate to beat BYU that they were literally throughing all kinds of punches.  If I made absolutely no sense then just humor me and watch the video below.

Japanese Extreme Ping Pong

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, November 4, 2009 0 comments

The internet can be a wonderful as well as weird place, of which I love both aspects.  Using my favorite application called Stumble Upon I came across this video.

None of us our strangers when it comes to public transportation, there has been a moment in all of our lives where we have had to rely on others to get us from point A to point B.  Here in Lima, Peru just like in my hometown of Portland, Oregon the people of this city rely heavily on multiple forms of public transportation.  In Lima the most common forms of public transportation that one will encounter include: buses, Micros (small buses), Combi's (name was adopted from the original Volkswagon model), taxi's, mototaxi's (which is a motorcycle that has been converted to carry passengers), and Colectivos (which is a carpoolesque taxi).


This photo was taken from within a Colectivo while traveling along the Costa Verde

All of these forms of transportation have their respective levels of risk and reward along with their varying range of transportation fares.  The mode of transportation that I most frequently use are the Colectivo's. Why?  There are a number of reasons why I prefer Colectivos the best three being: cheap price in comparison to taxi's, fast travel, and less passenger stops. 

The Colectivo as I mentioned earlier can be best described as a public carpool service which is similar to that of a taxi.  All Colectivos have their respective routes that they travel much like the buses, Micros, and Combis which, are fairly flexible to work with when trying to reach a destination in the city.  The downside of the Colectivo is that there are'nt many routes avialable in Lima, with the most common ones I can think of being: Via Expresa/Chorrillos, La Parada (La Victoria), Chosica, Comas/San Felipe, and Callao (there may be others that I am not familiar).  From these routes one may also have to rely on a secondary form of public transportation to reach their actual destination, fortunately for me this is not the case since the Colectivo that I take drops me off within walking distance of my home. 

The most you will pay for a Colectivo I believe is 5-10 soles (again, not 100% sure on this figure) to travel to Callao and 4 soles to travel to San Felipe/Comas.  I currently pay S/. 3.00 to travel from Chorrillos to Plaza Grau near the Sheraton Hotel and El Palacio de Justicia in Downtown Lima.  Another benefit is that they can often be found in the early morning hours which makes it a nice alternative to taking a cab for some (again, depends on whether or not the route is in towards your neck of the woods). 

Another downside is the fact that you have to carpool with complete strangers and depending on the time of day at which you decide to travel in one you may find yourself seated next to beligerently drunk guy (who apparently has lost all motor control of his body and collapses in your lap halfway through the trip).  Sitting between LARGE individuals is no way to travel and gives literal meaning to the phrase human sandwich. 

Lastly public transportation and recklessness are two words in Peru that are seen as synonymous with one another, so it should go as no surprise that by riding in a Colectivo you are putting your life in just as much danger if not more than riding in a taxi or combi.  This has more to do with the fact that most Peruvians (YES I AM GENERALIZING, especially since recklessness and total disregard for public safety rules seem to be commonplace in Peru) seem to drive with a feeling of self entitlement (as if they owned the damn road) and could frankly give a damn about their fellow drivers, FORGET about pedestrians they don't even exist, who are they?  Life Insurance is a valuable thing here, ARE YOU IN GOOD HANDS? probably not. 

So if you ever find yourself with the task of deciding between taking that taxi to Callao or Chorrillos or the Colectivo, try mixing it up and saving a few soles by going with the Colectivo.  You might just discover a new found respect for a form of transportation you once denied. 

Okay, so the title was a mouthful but it gets the point across.  A few days ago I was on my Flickr account uploading more photos when I saw that I had an email.  The email was from a Peruvian Violinist by the name of Daniel Zamalloa who was born in Cuzco, Peru.  He had seen some of my photos on my Flickr page and wanted to know if he could post two of my photos on his website, I of course agreed and now the two following photos are currently on display with many others on his site:

 

In case the photos don't appear use this link to check them out: http://www.danielzamalloa.com/photos.html

These two photos were taken back in May when I went to Comas to visit my grandmother for Mother's day.  The photos depict what went down when I travelled with my father and a friend to Comas's Cementary that day.  If you want to read about what CRAZY events took place that day CLICK HERE!

For those of you who are not familiar with Daniel Zamalloa's work I highly recommend checking out his website.  Here is a little snippet that I took from his bio page:

"Daniel Zamalloa was born in Cusco, Peru, the ancient capital of the Inca civilization, and grew up in the old neighborhood of San Blas, renowned for its craftspeople and musicians. He began performing in a violin orchestra at the age of 7 and learned folk fiddle playing from master Eliseo Yare."
I also managed to find a few YouTube videos from some of his performances for those who might be curious or interested in watching.  He plays the violin beautifully and I love his interpretations of Peruvian Folkloric music.  Enjoy!













My 100th Post!!!!

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Monday, November 2, 2009 0 comments


Well everyone I have finally written my 100th article/blogpost, I haven't written this much since college.  What makes this day even better is the fact that for the past few days the temperture has risen and the clouds been pushed back by the sun's beautiful UV'tastic rays, all of which are signals that my year long bout with S.A.D. has finally come to an end and that summer is finally upon us. 


Hallelujah!

I have even started to sport my very fashionably short shorts, because nothing says it's summer like the bare white hairy thighs.  The above photo was taken a few weeks ago at a bar in Pueblo Libre.  The two drinks in my hand are AMF's under a different name (which I can't remember) and were deliciously intoxicating. 


Hope everyone had a fun Halloween.  For Zdenka and myself the night started off rough since most of our friends bailed on us at the last minute.  Witnessing our plans for the evening unravel in front of us we decided to try and re-cooperate the night by going to our local bar in Miraflores where we knocked back a few.  The night progressed as we made our way to Barranco where unsurprisingly all the bars were full and the entrance covers were expensive.  Determined to make the best of a compromised night we found Wahio's bar in Barranco empty and decided to spend the remainder of the night there.  All in all fairly decent, but by no means a wild and crazy as other parties I have heard about lately.  

 

Welcome To Inti Aperture!



A travel blog about living abroad in Lima, Peru and my travels to cities like Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Inti Aperture is a blog about travel, Peruvian food, culture, adventure, jobs, tourism, travel, news, teaching English, photography, and living abroad, making it a perfect resource for the traveling expat.
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Un buen lugar para practicar ingles. Articulos sobre Peru, en ingles y escritos por un Americano viviendo en Lima. Todo lo que tu quieres saber sobre Peru en un solo sitio: experiencias, historias, recommendaciones de restaurantes, bares, y clubs, videos, consejos, recursos, guías de turismo, fotos de Peru, comidas tipicos del Peru, cultural Peruano, noticias de Peru, lugares y destinos turisticos, viajes en Peru, hasta SEXO....bueno todo menos eso... :)



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