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New Idea for Inti Aperture

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Sunday, August 29, 2010 1 comments

Lately I have been thinking of ways in which I can offer my readers a more unique experience, well after a bit of brainstorming I came up with a very promising concept.  The plan which I have elaborated is not new in the realm of internet multimedia but it does add an extra dimension to my website.  What I would like to do is record not just conversations but all ones in the form of topic related discussions, reader questions relating to life in Peru and  Lima, and interviews from people living in Lima.

This new idea would require me to invest some money in purchasing a digital USB recorder but would make the new change possible, what I need is to know what YOU the reader think of the new idea.

What are YOUR thoughts?  Feel free to through suggestions my way as well.  I would really appreciate hearing what the Inti Aperture Community has to say.

The more responses I recieve the sooner I will be able to purchase the recorder (not to mention the more comfortable I will feel shelling out some cash).

Thank you!

Sonrisas en Peru - Smiles in Peru

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, August 26, 2010 0 comments

As an English teacher you frequently get the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, most of which are usually just visiting Peru for a brief period.  Interestingly enough most of my friends and acquaintences are from countries other than the US.  Today while I was waiting for my afternoon class I ran into a friend of mine who I had met a few months ago (who is from Australia).  We talked for a while in the infamous teachers lounge for awhile until he started talking about a charitable organization he had formed not to long ago.  The organization which he administers is dedicated to providing essential educational materials to rural schools, institutions, and various local projects which recieve little to no support from the Peruvian government.  Below is a full description that was taken from his website:

 "We provide classes as well as essential materials for education such as textbooks, writing supplies, and other resources to rural schools, institutions and various projects which receive little or no funding from government. This is accomplished through donations: monetary as well as books, stationery items and clothing to aid those lacking the resources for a simple education we take for granted.
We also raise funds through the sale of local-made traditional products in which the proceeds go toward providing education and assistance.
Part of our vision is to increase local trade in the community by offering Peruvian products to our donors at fair trade prices. This helps to improve the economic stance of the community members while also allowing the community to feel personally invested in and responsible for the positive changes taking place in their schools."

From what I have heard and seen the organization looks legit and the owner accepts more the just monetary donations like used clothing or shoes.  The cause is authentic and benefits the underprivileged youth which is always a good thing.  Take a few minutes out of your day and go check out his webpage, look at the photos as well while your there.  Below are a few more words from his page along with a link.

"Sonrisas en Peru, meaning “smiles in Peru” in Spanish, is an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of under-privileged children in rural Peru.
Working closely with impoverished communities, our organisation prides itself on being a bridge for needy children to connect with a better quality of education by providing classes as well as basic necessities such as textbooks, school supplies, funds, clothing, and even food.
Discover more about what we do or if you want to put a smile on a child’s face here’s how you can help." - Restaurants and Huariques

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Friday, August 13, 2010 0 comments

What is a Huarique?  A Huarique is a Peruvian slang word for a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, which has a well respected reputation among not just the local populace but from many who have dined within it's walls.  The food is fantastic and simple, with very sophisticated flavors that keep you coming back for more.  A Huarique is often a small restaurant that is packed full of local patrons who make up the collaborative orchestra of conversation and clanking cutlery and plates.

When it comes to Huariques no other blog covers the topic better than the fine group at, a site which is dedicated to turning over every culinary stone in Lima (and other cities as well) search of authentic Huariques.  I check this site out quite regularly and I highly recommend it for those who are looking to break away from the mundane routine of over-frequented restaurants.

For those interested in the site I have provided the link below

Amazing Scrambled Eggs Prepared By Gordon Ramsey

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, August 12, 2010 0 comments

I realize how random this post must seem since it has very little to do with Peru, but I was teaching one of my English classes today and I promised a student that I would post a video on how to make scrambled eggs.  We have all had scrambled eggs before and most of us know how to make them but few of us know how to make those really delicious and creamy eggs that we often find in restaurants or at buffets.

Since I enjoy cooking I often read several blogs about food, this eventually led me to discover a YouTube video which features the famous British chef, Gordon Ramsey preparing a traditional scrambled eggs.  It´s very simple to prepare and I have done it several times since I have watched the video.  The only downside to preparing scrambled eggs this way is the cleanup afterwards.

Anyways, here is the video.

When Photography Becomes Dangerous

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, August 11, 2010 3 comments

In the process of capturing great photos often the photographer will place himself in dangerous and compromising situations where common sense usually takes the back seat.  The more I continue to develop and improve my photography the stronger I feel a need to push myself and my work.  Each outing that I take here in Lima is another opportunity for me to evolve and at the same time I can't help but feel that this need is what will eventually lead to the lose/theft of my camera. 

Lima is a wonderful city full of life and diversity that is often unseen by those who travel here (not to mention many who have lived here all their lives), however like many large cities Lima can be a dangerous city for those who aren't careful.  Awareness is the name of the game when it comes to survival in this city that never sleeps and a shiny new DSLR can draw up a lot of attention if carelessly flaunted in the wrong neighborhood or street.  Just writing this I can't begin to tell you how many times I have barely escaped becoming another victim of the street, which was usually because I got caught up in the moment and in the desire to capture an image that is out of the ordinary.  Being aware of your surroundings is often more than enough to keep out of troublesome scenarios, but other times there are places within a city that an outsider just shouldn't venture into (a lesson I have yet to learn myself).  It's true that if you want to capture a photo that tells a strong and visually graphic story you often have to place yourself in harms way (this isn't true %100 of the time). 

When we visit a foreign city or country we often know the risks involved yet we tend to conduct our own form of risk analysis (usually one the spot) to determine whether or not the shot is worth the possible lose of our personal belongings, and physical well-being.  Many times we are able to get in, take the photo, and get out without too much trouble, but other times fate plays against us and we find ourselves in a situation that we can't bail out of.  I believe that the risk no matter where you decide to take photos will always be there and it's something inevitable that must be accepted in order to carry one. 

The buddy system doesn't just work in military squad formations, it can also be useful in urban and travel photography as well.  In certain situations the photography of a particular area is to risky or dangerous that another set of eyes is necessary to evade the several other pairs that seem to follow your every movement waiting for an opportunity to gather and strike.  I found myself in a highly risky situation not too long ago when I decided to go for a photowalk through the old forgotten district of Rímac (a district that is located just across from the city center, and separated by the Rímac river).  I was with Zdenka and we had been at the Plaza de Armas for the National Day of Pisco when we decided to go and visit Chabuca Grande and Puente Trujillo (just behind the Palacio de Gobierno).  While on the Trujillo bridge I got the idea to cross into Rímac since there was a street fair on the other side.  Once there we visited the many stands and stalls all while taking in the rustic and historic scenery of the Lima's original city center.  A district that once shined brightly now slowly wasting away in the cities ever-constant push forward into the 21st century.  As we continued to walk further along the street the itch to take photos was strong, even with Zdenka urging me not to.  A quick survey of the area confirmed that I was clear to take a fast sequence of photos (I should have taken a second look).  While walking back towards the bridge Zdenka pointed out that two separate men had be eyeballing us and in a flash decision we took refuge within a local supermarket.  Once inside we looked out at the band of thieves who had congregated in front of the only entrance (5 men in total).  Like a pack of wolves waiting for their prey to fall into their clutches we took the only action available to us and hired the assistance of an off-duty cop who was moonlighting as a security guard.  As we walked past the hungry band and into the security of a taxi cab a sigh of relief was felt by both of us as we just barely managed to escape what can only be speculated as a number of bad endings.  I can easily say that Zdenka was not happy but she managed to overlook her anger and take comfort in our successful evasion. 

While that moment still sends shivers down my spine it hasn't kept me from picking up my camera and heading out onto the streets, yet these days I try to be more aware of my surroundings. 

A Civil Affair in Lima, Peru

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, August 10, 2010 0 comments

As some of you may already know I have been talking about my preparations for my civil marriage to Zdenka for quite some time now.  Last Saturday was our civil marriage at the municipal hall in Breña, located near downtown Lima and it was a wonderful day.

They say that's it's common for both the bride and groom to be nervous the day before and day of the actual event, however my experience was a completely different one.  I have never felt so calm and sure about any decision I have ever made in my life and I was looking forward to seeing it through.  The interesting thing about a civil wedding is how formal and luke warm it is compared to the typical religious wedding.  The room where the wedding took place inside the municipal hall of Breña was more of a conference room/storage room than anything else.  The procedure itself was administered by a municipal employee and had all the makings of contractual agreement.  The ceremony was fast, 15 minutes fast, with the majority of the time dedicated to various family/friend photo configurations.

The rest of the day beautiful sunny day was spent inside of across the street at a reception hall where lunch was served and music played from a DJ who apparently had just taken a crash course in operating a music synthesizer.  While I am thankful to everyone who came that day I have to admit that the best part was the down time spent with Zdenka in a very comfortable and upscale hotel room in Miraflores.  The best sleep I have had in a long time, wish I would have looked a the brand of mattress. (thank you Evelyn and Lorenzo for the wonderful hotel package!)

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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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