Karencita de Perú

Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

As I walk around the streets of Lima one of the most obvious differences from what I had grown accustomed to in Vancouver is the architecture and the way buildings are constructed.  Apart from the fact that Lima is a much more historic city than Vancouver and many of the buildings are hundreds of years older, there are two principal differences that stand out to me.  As well, there are a few other interesting things that aren’t commonly seen in Canada.

First, the majority of the buildings in Lima have flat roofs as opposed to peaked roofs, as is common in Vancouver and most other parts of Canada.  This is because having a sloped roof to ensure that the snow and rain-water run off  isn’t a concern in Lima.  Lima is in the midst of a coastal desert and gets an average of 13mm of rain per year.  Vancouver has an average annual rainfall of 1117 mm!!

Another reason that homes in Lima are built with flat roofs is that they are often added on to after the original construction.  As children grow up and start to have families of their own, it is common to expand the family home so that the new couple can live with the parents, but have their own space in the house.   Lima is densely populated and there is no room to build to the side, front or back of the house, so they build up, adding subsequent floors as more space is needed.  This practice of adding additional floors to a house leads to one of the things that isn’t often seen in Canada which is that a lot of houses appear unfinished.  They commonly have pieces of re-bar sticking out of the roof  in preparation for the future construction.

The other major difference is in the construction materials used.  In Lima buildings are constructed with concrete, cinder block, brick and re-bar.  In Western Canada the most common building material for individual homes is wood.  Again, this is due to geographic location.  In Western Canada there is an abundance of wood so lumber construction makes sense.  Conversely, there are no forests immediately surrounding Lima and no lumber industry to speak of in Peru.

In a country where central heating and air conditioning are very rare, concrete construction has the benefit of good insulation.  In Canada apartment building are often constructed on the outside with concrete but the inner walls are still made of lumber and dry wall.  In Peru, even the inner walls are concrete.  This is good for sound proofing, but it does make hanging pictures a bit of a challenge.

Apart from the differences in architecture and building materials, I have seen some other things that have caught my attention.   One of those is the electrical wires in the street.  Lima has very few underground cables.  The majority are  above ground, attached to poles, as is common in the older neighborhoods of Vancouver.   However, what you won’t often see in Vancouver is the tangles mess or archaic cables that you will find here.  It is really quite a frightening sight.

Another thing that is more commonly seen here than in Vancouver is abandoned buildings or buildings where the construction has never been completed.  In some cases these partially constructed buildings sit empty, deteriorating from disuse.  But there is one building which always makes me wonder how it is possible that people can be living there.  It is in the heart of Miraflores, one of the nicest districts in Lima, on Avenida Benavides, a main street.  The building is obviously unfinished yet it is inhabited by many people.  Imagine trying to get an occupancy permit in a building like this in Canada!

The final thing that I have seen numerous times that always grabs my attention is a difference in construction techniques.  It is common to see wooden poles used as supports during the construction process.  In Canada supports are generally made of metal so the image of what looks like a bunch of sticks holding up pounds of heavy concrete somehow doesn’t seem very safe to me, although I’m sure they know what they are doing!

I have been so lucky to work with such great people!  Tonight my team at work took me out for dinner.  I am not going to call it a “good-bye” dinner, rather it was a final chance to get together outside the office, share some great food and spend some time together before I move to Lima.

You guys can’t get rid of me that easily!  You’ll be talking to me every day and we’ll see each other on Skype all the time.  It will be like I haven’t even left!  OK, maybe not quite the same as there is something to be said for face to face, in person communication.  I think more than anything I will miss the casual chats in the lunch room, hearing about what’s new in your lives and just seeing your smiling faces around the office.  You can all keep up to date on my life here in Lima via my blog, but how am I going to know what’s new with all of you???  Hopefully, you keep me informed about the important, and even not so important, events in your lives and I don’t get too far out of the loop.

Here is the corporate team… minus Ronica who couldn’t make it due to illness (we missed you Ronica!)

The restaurant we went to is called Baru Latino Restaurante and is located on Alma St. near Broadway.  It serves a fusion of Latin and Spanish cuisine.  We started with some drinks (3 of us had Pisco Sours, the national drink of Perú) and then ordered some delicious appies, which of course included Ceviche (another popular Peruvian dish).  The two most popular entrees were Steak Chimichurri and Cartagena Crusted Halibut, with an order of Paella and Chepen Duck thrown in for good measure.   The food was great and beautifully presented.

The Steak… yes I like my steak rare and the potato jalapeño pave was fantastic!

The Halibut…I tried a bite and it was also very good!

Thanks again to you all for a great evening!   We’ll have to do it again when I come back to Vancouver in October to visit!

¡Hasta la próxima!

We all know that Vancouver is known for its wide variety of ethnic restaurants… Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Italian, Greek, etc.  But how many of you have tried an authentic Latin restaurant other than Mexican?  If you haven’t I highly recommend it.  The food is unique and delicious!  There are two places in particular where I have eaten and that I would recommend.

The first, of course, is a Peruvian restaurant.  It is called El Inka Latin Deli (3826 Sunset St., Burnaby.  Close to Burnaby Hospital).  It servers Peruvian and Colombian cuisine.  Don’t let the appearance from the outside scare you as this is somewhat of a whole in the wall.  However, the service is friendly, the place is clean, the prices are very reasonable and best of all the food is awesome!!  I have taken some friends and family there and they all loved it.  I suggest that you try the Jalea Mixta (mixed seafood), Chicharrones con Cassava (crispy fried pork with yuca fries), Lomo Saltado (sauteed beef) and Causa (chicken & veggies stuffed between puréed potatoes).  Below is a photo of the Ají de Gallina – my favorite Peruvian dish.  It consists of chicken in a rich, creamy sauce made with Ají, a type of hot pepper.  It is served over potatoes with a side of rice and always comes with a hard boiled egg on top.  Nothing low carb about it, but it is sure worth it!

The second place I would suggest you try is an El Salvadorian Restaurant on Commercial Drive (2062 Commercial Dr., Vancouver) call El Rinconcito.  I went there for the first time tonight with some friends.  While the music was a little loud, the atmosphere was casual and friendly.  We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals.  I had Pupusas, which is the traditional dish that El Salvador is best known for.  They were great!

So even if you can’t visit me in Perú, you can still experience a little Latin culture right here in Vancouver the next time you are looking for somewhere different to eat.  ¡Buen Provecho!

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Today was my farewell party at RGF. It was a great day with so many kind words and such great support from a fantastic group of people. At the same time, I can’t help feeling sad to be leaving. RGF has been a huge part of my life over the past 13 and a half years and I will miss so many things about it… the work, the learning, the challenges and most of all the people. Here we are enjoying the pizza!!

Jim Rogers hired me in October 1996 and gave me the opportunity to learn and grow under his guidance. I have to credit Jim with teaching me great organizational skills and excellent attention to detail. Thanks Jim!

After working for Jim and then Clay as a financial planning assistant, I moved over to the corporate team and started to work for Barb. Over the past 8 years I have had the opportunity to do a variety of jobs and learn many aspects of the financial advisory business. Barb has been a fantastic boss and mentor and has taught me so much including patience, listening and understanding. I will be able to carry these skills with me wherever the future takes me, both personally and professionally.

Finally I want to thank everyone in the office again for the beautiful, thoughtful gift. The Journey Circle Pendant is gorgeous and is a perfect symbol for the adventure that I am about to embark on in my life.

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Keeping my friends, family and co-workers up to date on my life and adventures in Perú!

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Miraflores in Lima Perú