10 things about Peru

Posted on

Originally published on January 31st, 2007 at Onward & Upward

Lydia at Renewed Day by Day has put up a meme of 10 quirky facts about your state. Beth answered it in the previous post about her adopted state of Texas.

mperuNow, I love memes so I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of this one. However, I saw that Lydia tagged Susan to do one for Georgia, and I didn’t want to take the wind out of Susan’s sails, so I decided to pick a different place. Most of you probably don’t know much about the country of Peru in South America (where I grew up), so I’ll enlighten you:

1. There are two national languages in Peru: Spanish and Aymara. The latter is a descendant of the ancient Incan language. Most of the population speaks Spanish, though.

2. A native and popular drink of Peru is called “Chicha Morada“. The Incas used it as a sacred drink, and it was fermented. The non-fermented drink is also very popular today. It is made from purple corn, and usually things like cinnamon, apples, and pineapple are added to give it a sweet taste.

3. Peru is the home of the modern potato – discovered and spread throughout the world by the Spaniards when they invaded and conquered Peru in the late 1500s. Peruvians often have both rice and potatoes at their main meals.

4. Peru is one of the few countries in the world where Coca-Cola has a presence and is not the most popular soft drink. (I read somewhere once that there is only one other country – Sweden, I think – but I can’t find the source now to verify.) This is due to the enormous popularity of Inca Kola, a local soft drink that is bright yellow and tastes like bubble gum. At many restaurants, it is the only soft drink available. (In 1999, Coca-Cola purchased the brand of Inca Kola.)

5. Peru was a colony of Spain from 1532 until 1824, when it gained independence following several rebellions. Peruvians celebrate their independence day on July 28. They call it the “veinte-ocho”.

6. Peru has three major regions: the desert (narrow strip along the west coast), the Andes Mountains (in the middle, dividing the country), and the Amazon jungle (bordering with Brazil). The capital of Peru (Lima) and where I lived was located in the desert. It never rained the entire 9 years I was there.

7. Peru’s Andean region is known for being the home of some members of the camelid family: the llama, the alpaca, and the vicuña. The llama is used as a pack animal and for meat, helping the farmers in the mountains. The alpaca is known for its soft and warm fleece. The vicuña was in danger of being extinct due to its fleece being the world’s most valuable natural fiber. Peru is also home to the Andean Condor, the world’s largest flying bird.

8. Cuy is a delicacy in the Andes of Peru. It is compared to rabbit, and it’s very economical to raise. What is it exactly? I’m sorry for all of you who love them as pets… but cuy is “guinea pig”.

9. Paddington the Bear is from “darkest Peru”. Apparently, his aunt lives in a Home for Retired Bears in Lima.

10. The city of Lima has roughly 8.2 million people. The entire city relies on the Rimac River for potable water. If you look at the picture, you will be surprised – and understand why we couldn’t drink the water the entire time we were there. :-)