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Dia de los muertos

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Sunday, February 27, 2011 0 comments

Saw this really well put together video by  The video shows footage of many Limeños celebrating day of the dead at Santa Rosa de Lima cemetery in Chorrillos.  The photos used in the video were taken November of 2010.

It's Coming....

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Saturday, February 19, 2011 0 comments

If you live in Lima you definitely won't want to miss this event.  More details to come....

Carnivals in Lima: Part 1

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza 0 comments

It's February here in Lima and for those living below the Equator's belt it's summertime, but Marco you say "what makes summer in February so special?"  The answer is simple my loyal readers, CARNIVAL!  Now I'm not going to go into detail about carnival in Lima just yet but I have managed to find a few videos that provide a good visual base to what I will later discuss in more depth.


The Perversion of Male Baking

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, February 16, 2011 0 comments

When work is scarce for the average English teacher/father to be, there tends to be few options with which to occupy your vast free-time and when boredom verges on insanity thats when most men turn to baking....well probably not most men at least.  Ah yes baking the age-old male practice of merging wet and dry ingredients along with the aid of a hot oven in the hopes that the process will render an edible and delicious treat, yup nothing screams masculinity and testosterone better than baking.  An act that much the military´s position on gays in uniform, is don´t ask, don´t tell.  Now in the past I would have definitely shaken my head in disapproval at the sight of such a reality but as I have grown older I like to think that I have matured if not just a bit.  To be quite honest I was rather surprised that until recently with the aid of my lovely wife, I found the unorthodox male act of baking to be, well not that bad, really.

Over the years I have discovered my growing interest in cooking and yet it shouldn´t have come as a surprise to me that I would find baking to be enjoyable as well, yet not nearly as much as cooking.  The feminine stigma that has plagued the minds of many men in the western hemisphere is probably to blame for the countless years of persecution against those deviant and confused lads who put on the apron and oven mitts.  Initially for me what started out as an uncomfortable and gender-conflicting scenario later became an open and acceptable one free of my paranoias.  Though my first attempts at concocting a delicious treat were less than satisfying I soon figured it out well enough to not burn the orange pound cake I had baking in the oven.  In no way would I ever consider baking to rival in complexity when compared to cooking, though that is not to say that baking isn´t without it´s own difficulties.  There are a lot of factors one should consider if they decide to take up the task though, like the importance of exact proportions and volumes as well as oven temperatures and baking time.  Many of these factors if left ignored or disregarded through gross negligence could have unsavory results in the end.  

Returning to my opening sentence, yesterday presented itself to be among all things rather uneventful and dull. Now I´m not sure if Rosemary´s expected arrival or Zdenka´s more than lathargic state has played any role in our overall lack of activity but it was more than enough to encourage a baking session at home.  It should also be noted that today is Zdenka´s birthday and yesterday it seemed like the perfect reason to make cakes.  Initially what started out as one indecisive cake idea quickly became a safe bet cake idea.  Having consumed more passion fruit (aka. Maracuya) in one summer than in my entire life I was perversely obsessed with making a birthday cake using maracuya juice.  An unheard of procedure, I was told it could not be done, yet not willing to take shot in the dark on my wife´s birthday cake we decided to make two instead, one maracuya, and the other orange.  In preparation of the maracuya flavored cake I gathered the strained juice of 1 kilo of maracuya´s which rendered about a cup of potently acidic juice.  The rest of the ingredients were standard of your basic cake mix, though I never was prepared to deal with how long the cake would take to bake.  At 250 degrees the cake started off smoothly baking for 45 minutes, when it came time to check the cake however, I realized that I had made a mistake somewhere in the process.  The center of the cake had not fully baked yet which left me with no other choice but to foolishly raise the temperature in a desperate attempt to salvage what little hope I had left for the cake.  At 350 degrees that cake baked for nearly another 45 minutes, yet surprisingly did not burn.  

The final result was a cake that had both the bold tropical flavor and punch of maracuya with the soft texture (at least the inside that is) of any cake.  I can´t say that my efforts were a success and I am pretty sure that the tart nature of the maracuya might overpower some lesser individuals but all in all I was quite pleased with how it turned out and as I stood there cleaning up the aftermath of our madness I am greeted by my father who in his smug nature contemplated verbally with me as to when I made the transformation from husband into housewife.  I leave him without response standing there in the kitchen all the while realizing that certain mentalities don´t die easily,

Health Care Hell

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Saturday, February 5, 2011 0 comments

Well Zdenka spent the past week in the hospital all thanks to her wonderful screw-up of a gynecologist who through his several years of incompetence and blatant negligence spent the past few months of consults merely checking the babies heartbeat, measuring mommies stomach and taking her blood pressure, all while ignoring (not answering) Zdenka's questions and concerns and rushing her visit just like he did every other maternal patient during his shift (which unsurprisingly is the last of the day).  If this guys passion for medicine was a candle flame then it's safe to say that it burnt out probably somewhere around his over-the-hill party.  Now I'm guessing there definitely isn't anything medically exciting about the field of gynecology and after seeing your fair share of vaginas you've eventually seen them all so it's perhaps no surprise that this guy's sold his soul to his profession a long time ago.  Now if I sound a little forgiving trust me that's not where this rant is heading, I mean here is a man who pretty much is killing time at work like any other demoralized employee yet what makes it so bad is that he is in a profession that dangles with peoples health and the health of their soon to be born children.  Luckily we had the sense to change doctors though I wish we would have realized a bit sooner rather than two months before Zdenka's due date but hey, better now than never right?  ANYWAYS... the good news was that Zdenka's new gynecologist (which surprisingly was a woman, not to many of those oddly enough in the field) was a young gal with a good head on her shoulders who when was informed of the atrocities of said previous doctor decided that the only solution was a temporary stay at the hospital in order to perform several tests (you know the ones that are fundamental of every pregnant women who spends 9 months in consultation visits...minor details really).

The week went by and while the experience for me was less than uncomfortable, Zdenka unfortunately had to deal with nurses, doctors, and the dreaded medical interns whose noob status in the medical realm makes their hands very shaky when it comes time to draw blood from the patient in the room next door.  A true battle of wits in a place where the medical staff are desensitized to the point that they see patients as impatient whinny moochers rather than people who have paid for their health care and are less than satisfied with their medical experience.  I am still rather green to the whole public health care system, a concept all to foreign to me and yet as I spend more time within the walls of the EsSalud hospitals I begin to realize just how unpleasant the reality of a well intentioned system can be (I begin to wonder if perhaps this is what the reality of such a system would be if it existed in the US).  Friday came and thankfully Zdenka was released giving her the satisfaction of freedom from medical beds and clockwork patient checkups every hour, though happy and ecstatic to be out we both knew that it would only be a matter of time before we would have to return, and like many others excepted our reluctant dependency to the health care system. 

It's experiences like this that makes me ask the question: "what is the lesser of two evils?"  A country with private hospitals and insurance companies where people without insurance can't even afford to pay for a simple consultation let alone the medical bills for a blood test or a country with a public health care system where the health care staff are underpaid and demoralized, the facilities and hospitals are in shit conditions, and the people are unhappy.  I shutter to imagine what the future holds for man in his ever continuous quest to solve the age-old puzzle that is health care.

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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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