Posted by: mw23 | April 20, 2010

Garfield does Peru…

Cow heart sushi, animal liver and chicken gizzards, Peru is the land of fine cuisine.

View Original

Posted by: mw23 | February 12, 2010

Vlog Dos: Ladders, Robberies and Salty Water.

Well… I honestly had all this ready for tuesday (I plan to post the vlog every tuesday) BUT I ran into a headache of technical difficulties 😥 I can’t explain why but Adobe Premiere kept stripping sound from random clips…

Here it is none-the-less!


Watch on Vimeo:

Posted by: mw23 | February 3, 2010

V is for Video Log!


Yes you read me right, now you can hear and watch me too! Perilous Peru has officially endorsed vlogging.

I’ll work on doing things like shaving and fixing up my hair before filming future blogs… haha I blame it on the 5:30am wake up. None-the-less, this is showbiz now! Enjoy… I promise it only gets better from here!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Perilous Peru Vlog Uno“, posted with vodpod
Posted by: mw23 | January 26, 2010

He got started on the wrong foot…

Peru, Land of Adventure

You know a cab driver once ranted on and on to me about how so many Latino doctors, nurses and engineers are working in North America in lesser positions…

Saturday, Jan. 23 2010 Peruvian doctors amputated the wrong foot, but at least they got the right man. He’s now lost both feet in what I might call the tragedy of needing medical attention in Perú.

This doesn’t come as a terrible shock to me, but it was most certainly terribly shocking to this unfortunate man.

Posted by: mw23 | January 22, 2010

Email notifications!

WordPress is fantastic.

For those who want the same good convenience of email notifications offered by blogging gurus like  Seth Godin, now Perilous Peru has email notifications too!

Click “Email” in the sidebar to the right.

I don’t blog that often so I hope this helps us all stay connected, you wont get any spam, I promise!

Posted by: mw23 | January 21, 2010

Notoriously curmudgeonly Peruvians

I agree with The Economist.

Crumudgeonly –noun
a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.

The Politics:

The Economist has a great article about Latin America’s slow but gradual movement up the democratic ladder. The main grab here is that democracy is on the up and up and corruption is supposedly on the decline. Barak Obama made a big impact on geopolitics in the region but Brazil’s influence is steadily rising.

Uruguay is apparently happiest with its current government and Peru least. As far as Peru goes, it has a lot to do with re-electing one Alan Garcia, only the president from the late 80’s who brought Peru to its lowest point in recent history. The man single-handedly destroyed the economy, stole millions, killed thousands, gave rise to terrorism and then fled the country.

As Wikipedia puts it:

“Despite his initial popularity among Peruvian voters, García’s term in office was marked by bouts of hyperinflation, which reached 7,649% in 1990 and had a cumulative total of 2,200,200% over the five years, thereby profoundly destabilizing the Peruvian economy. Owing to such chronic inflation, the Peruvian currency, the sol, was replaced by the Inti in mid-1985, which itself was replaced by the nuevo sol (“new sun”) in July 1991, at which time the new sol had a cumulative value of one billion (1,000,000,000) old soles. During García’s administration, the per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru’s GDP dropped 20%. By the end of his term, national reserves were a negative $900 million.

García’s presidency left the country with hyperinflation, isolated from the international financial community, with negative reserves of US$900 million, continuous subversive activities by the Shining Path, great increase in poverty levels and an electric train multi-million investment in Lima that was never finished. His critics claim the many poor decisions he took while in office created an environment that led to the rise of an authoritarian leader like Alberto Fujimori. Some suspect García and APRA cut a deal with Fujimori during the 1990 election, backing him in return for immunity, so as to prevent Mario Vargas Llosa and his FREDEMO party, then leading in the polls, from coming to power. During the campaign, Vargas Llosa had promised to investigate corruption in the García administration.

García was accused of multiple charges of corruption during his term. Investigations were archived without verdict.”

What are my thoughts?

There is a nice trend in the slow decline of the Church's influence and an equally slow rise of the confidence in society's more grounded institutions.

Brazil and Chile are perhaps the continent’s best hope for achieving a modernized society, at least within our lifetime. As for the rest, well… a snail could slug across the whole world, but who has that kind of patience when you have guys like Alan Garcia and Hugo Chavez playing puppet-games at the top?

I’m certainly not going to wait and find out… there are bigger fish in the sea!

Posted by: mw23 | January 21, 2010

Chicken shit.

I’ve made two new rules for expats living in Peru:

  1. ALWAYS be extra dilligent about understanding exactly what you order and,
  2. NEVER eat anything called Mollejitas / Mollejas.

This story is very short but certainly not very sweet. Yesterday I went to play ultimate frisbee at the US embassy with my roommates (Teresa-USA and Pablo-AUS), we had fun however after the game, I found myself incredibly hungry.

Pablo and I went to the local rotisserie chicken joint.  A quarter of chicken served with mountain of fries for dinner isn’t exactly my dream meal. On the way in I noticed a couple sitting in front of what looked like a scrumptious chicken satay.

I asked the waiter to get me what they had, he muttered something that sounded to me like “Pollitas” which I assumed meant mini-chicken (satay)? I confirmed with him “Chicken right?”, “Si” he replied. The word I neglected to notice was, Mollejitas. An boy was I wrong about that “satay” aspect.

It looked like this:

Mollejitas, Peruvian delight.

Mollejitas, Peruvian delight.

But tasted like this:

Not so delightful.

Not so delightful.

My hunger blinded me.

I’m usually quite particular, but it was only after I hastily devoured three mollejitas that I noticed its true foulness. I looked to Pablo and said, “This is bad… very bad”. At that moment I could see it in Pablo’s face, he was going to tell me something I knew never wanted to hear, “Mate, I think that’s chicken intestines… or maybe worse”.

As one blogger put it: “I’m waiting for the top chefs to discover the wonders of gizzards. The flavor is rich and chickeny, a tad gritty, with a chewy, tasty cartledge. As anybody who has ever cleaned a chicken knows, the gizzard is a meaty sub-stomach of tight muscles, pure meat and clear gristle. The gizzard is made for grinding grain for digestion, on its way to becoming chicken shit.”

Molleja (Gizzard)

Molleja (Gizzard)

To be clear, I’ve blogged about this in an effort to make my peace with the memory. Never bring this topic up with me in person, especially over dinner.

Posted by: mw23 | October 29, 2009

“Living in Peru” – Speaks the truth!

Short blog here, I was pretty amazed when I read an excellent article on a popular expat website here in Peru.

From this website, I’ve generally come to expect frivolous trumpeting about how great life is in Lima. You can count on the columns of to be long-winded unbalanced accounts of life in the country. These articles conveniently ignore the country’s more common aspects. To use BBC as an counter example, you can’t always count on LivingInPeru to tell the ‘full story’.

I read a great article recently though that spoke true to Peruvian business culture, I’ve posted it below.


Diego de la Torre
President of the Global Compact

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, began his work in a garage. Erasmo Wong started his empire with 50 square meters. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Peru has more entrepreneurial spirit than any other country.All companies begin modestly. It is only when they begin to think big that they become global players.  To do this, the founder often has to overcome what I call the “51% syndrome.”

In many cases, a company’s retained earnings and its capacity to take on debt restrict its ability to finance expansion into new markets.This is why it is often necessary to open the company to other investors/venture capital funds and/or float the company on the stock market to find the resources needed to grow on a global scale.

All of this requires modern culture, more sophisticated financial engineering and good corporate governance. Let’s take, for example, a Peruvian company like Bembos, which has been able to successfully compete in the local market with the fast food titans of the world. Nothing is stopping Bembos from developing a plan for international expansion, beginning with the Hispanic markets in Florida and California and later making the leap to the rest of the USA and later the world.

To do this, the company needs the financial resources to open hundreds of locations, which will only be possible if it issues shares on the stock market to attract fresh capital that will be invested according to a robust and professional business plan. A serious investment of time and strategic planning is necessary to ensure successful share issuances. Optimization requires a new management approach that takes executives beyond mere roles of insurance premium negotiators and telephone bill watchdogs.Floating a company on the stock market means that the founders will not hold more than 51% of the company and will have to learn to live with other shareholders and a professional management that is capable of producing results in other markets and establish successful strategies for growth beyond national borders. More importantly, company owners must be open to the fact that all operations will be carefully scrutinized by analysts and the hundreds or perhaps thousands of investors who share company ownership either directly or through pension funds.

Many Peruvian businessmen are not prepared to move beyond the 51% syndrome. As such, it will not be easy for our companies to become global players. There are notable exceptions however, including Cia de Minas Buenaventura, the only Peruvian company with a full listing on the New York stock exchange and several-time winner of awards for best corporate governance in Latin America. Fortunately, the new generation of businessmen has more training and is accustomed to open and competitive markets. This is the only way Peruvian companies can become global players.

Posted by: mw23 | October 21, 2009

Danger Zone: Gunshots in da hood

Bad boy bad boy... in Peru their gunna shoot at you.

Guest Blogger:Erin Conboy

[7:33:41 PM] Erin Conboy: So I just went for a run by your apartment, and on my way back to my place I slowed down to stop at the intersection of Panama and Ricardo Palma… and I heard two gun shots! Then a shady man with a backpack sprinted directly by me!! ¡Que divertido!

[7:35:43 PM] Erin Conboy: He and another guy robbed a car around the corner. The police supposedly got the guy that ran the direction of my house on but the other that ran by me is still at large…

[7:35:44 PM] Erin Conboy: When I went to the lavanderia about 30 mins later the
watchman told me it was the police who had shot twice up in the air as a warning.

[7:36:46 PM] Mike Woronuk: I’m speechless.

[7:39:55 PM] Erin Conboy: Just a warning… Peru is as perilous as ever!

Posted by: mw23 | October 4, 2009

Best disco in town: Lurigancho Prison



If someone asked you where the most dangerous night club on earth is, you might start by looking for the world’s most dangerous prison.

After the paper reported a neat little fact about Peru’s most notorious San Juan de Lurigancho prison, Mark showed me a documentary he watched once about life in the danger zone (in this case, San Juan de Lurigancho penitentiary)

Could you imagine it would be like if you let all the ex mob bosses, gang leaders and drug traffickers run their own prison? The result is a sub-human anarchy where the rules of life are drastically different from anything you could imagine.

I’m not sure I could have quite imagined what the result would actually be like. I’ll let the video documentary do the work of telling that story, but it’s nothing short of shocking to see. Poverty within poverty, hate and worse hate, murderers killing murderers and far far worse.

If words like destitution, anarchy, and …..

Holy crap!!!! I know I was on a roll but i just about lost my lunch!

I was typing away when I turned to my side to flip on the light (it’s 7PM and pitch black outside) and next thing I knew a toonie sized gangly looking evil death spider jumped at me! I almost did a backwards somersault over the couch as I was scrambling for safety!  CRAP It’s going to take at least a month before I sleep well again… paranoia is a terrible affliction.

Back to the task at hand… watch this video, it will blow your mind away! FYI the first 23 min are about another unbelievable prison in Mexico, and though horrible I think i’d have to say Lurigancho is worse. Couldn’t find a video of just peru so if you want to skip the Mexico bit, skip to about minute 23 to get to the start of the Lurigancho profile.



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