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Turkey Trauma

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, December 23, 2010

The summer sun shines bright and warm while everyone is dressed in shorts, flip-flops, skirts, and tank tops.  Crowded beaches complete with colorful bikinis, fresh crisp and clean ceviche, ice cold beers, and ice cream.  School is out and so are the children endlessly roaming the streets like stray dogs.  Out come the plastic pine Christmas trees and their overshadowing counterpart the nacimiento (nativity scene).  Panettone sales skyrocket through the roof and diets are put on hold.  Sounds familiar right?  Probably not.  Christmas is almost here and while for most of you the description above probably does not fit with what you are currently experiencing (unless of course if you live in LA or Phoenix), that's because this is Christmas in Peru.

While I definitely miss what I consider to be the classic version of Christmas (snow, lights, Christmas songs, REAL Christmas trees, etc.) it is not my first time celebrating Christmas in Peru.  I do what I can to make the most of a favorite holiday and I have been looking forward to Christmas Eve since that is when it's celebrated here.  Dinner this year will take place at Zdenka's parents home in Breña, where the Christmas presents will also be opened after midnight.  Everything is just about ready for tomorrows upcoming festivities but the turkey was one of the few chores left to tend to. 

Turkey like in the US has become an integral part of the Christmas Eve dinner and is exclusively consumed during this holiday (how the custom of eating turkey was adopted by Peruvians is a mystery to me) and like many hard-working citizens in Lima whose employers are generous enough to gift turkeys lies the arduous task of collecting a turkey.  A voucher for a bird of certain weight is presented to the employee who must then undergo what can only be described as a gastly experience.

Zdenka received a voucher from her job and her father and I decided to go today to claim a turkey, it seemed simple enough but we would later discover how wrong we were.  Arriving to one of the many locations available by the poultry company San Fernando we were amazed yet not surprised by the long formed line of people awaiting their turn to get a turkey.  As we tried to find our way to the back of the line we were quickly diverted to a waiting bus where we were boarded and transported to an alternate location (first time in my life have I ever had to be ferried to my poultry).  The ride was short but the mass amounts of complaints generated during the trip could last a lifetime.  We got off at a large mall on Av. Colonial in Callao where we made our way to the underground parking lot near the loading docks.  Hundreds and hundreds of people waited in lines seperated by weight, the situation was so serious that the Red Cross had set up a first aid booth!  After waiting what felt like an eternity in line we finally received our turkey but not the weight we had wanted since there weren't any left. 

In retrospect it probably isn't as bad as I try to make it seem but it sure is something I am glad only has to happen once a year.

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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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