Author: Danielle Krautmann

Arequipa and Colca Canyon Photo Essay

  Arequipa and Colca Canyon Photo Essay 1) The Plaza de Armas in Arequipa.  Arequipa is also known as “the white city” because many of its buildings are made from a white volcanic rock called sillar.  The city rests in the Andes around 7,800 feet above sea level and is the second most populated city in the country (around 904,900 residents) 2) Our wonderful hosts; Alberto (who works with Charlie) and Rosa.  Along with letting us stay in their house, they showed us around our first day in Arequipa and Rosa prepared breakfast for us every morning! 3)  Yummy...

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On Culture Shock

Culture shock refers to feelings of anxiety, depression, or confusion that often go along with adjusting to life in a foreign country.  The process of adjustment can be broken down into three stages:  The Honeymoon Stage, The Negotiation or Frustration Stage, and the Understanding or Acclimation Stage. The Honeymoon stage generally occurs when you first arrive in your new country with vigor to experience a new culture.  “Symptoms” include an eagerness to learn the language, a love of the food, pace of life, habits, architecture, etc., and an excitement to experience as much as possible of the new country.  Why can’t honeymoons last forever? The frustration stage can be expected to set in within weeks of your arrival as the initial enthusiasm begins to wear off.  During this stage, you begin to resent characteristics about the culture that you originally found appealing.  You may also feel homesick or become frustrated with the process of learning the language.  Mood swings and feelings of depression are not uncommon.  You may realize that you’re actually very lonely when your husband is away at the mine in Cajarmarca and wrongly resent him for it.  Some people have been known to have difficulty keeping their regular blog. During the frustration stage, you might be so preoccupied with your feelings of sadness and loneliness that you get lost on your way to meet your friend,...

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Getting out of the city

An American in Peru Between junior and senior year of college, I studied abroad in the rainforest of northeastern Australia.  I spent four weeks living in an open-air cabin in the middle of the forest learning about and aiding local reforestation efforts…the experience of a lifetime.  Afterwards, I spent six weeks traveling in parts of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, my first stop being Sydney.  Accompanied by five other students from my program, I spent my first night in the city participating in a pub crawl.  The $35 fee covered a ride on the party bus (complete with disco ball), a drink or shot at seven different pubs, and a t-shirt!  It sounded ideal to a 21-year-old who had been living a sober existence in the middle of the rainforest for the past month.  Although I recall very little from this night, I am told that after the 5th stop, my friends found me sitting next to a tree alone outside one of our stops, crying.  Apparently I drunkenly blubbered about how sad I was to be out of the forest.  “The city, it’s so loud!” I slurred, “You can’t see any stars!  The trees are growing out of the cement, not the earth!  There are more buildings than animals!  The ground is so hard!” In recent years, for reasons such as this, I have written off drinking shots...

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Kissing in Peru

An American in Peru What time is it? Every greeting starts with a buenos dias (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon or evening), or buenas noches (good night).  This is fine and dandy, but sometimes adds to my anxiety of beginning a conversation, entering a store, or asking for directions.  In addition to figuring out how to say what I want to say, I need to quickly determine what time it is.  Who pays attention to that anyway?  Usually I wait for the other person to greet me and copy them, or just say buenas and mumble the rest. They pay for things differently This is not one of my favorite things about Peru.  Usually the purchase of a simple item goes something like this; first you need to tell a sales clerk what you want, they print a receipt which you take to a different counter to pay.  Once you’ve paid, you get a second receipt to return to the first clerk so they can finally give you the item.  That’s how I bought my vacuum cleaner.  Buying a $15 alarm clock at an electronics store was even more complicated.  I told the clerk at the clock counter which one I wanted.  He printed the receipt and sent me to the pay counter where I waited in line and paid.  Then I needed to go to a third...

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It's the little things

An American in Peru It’s amazing how much a single interaction, or the successful completion of a task can make my day and contribute to my happiness here.  Conversely, a failed task or misunderstanding can be devastating.  Who knew I was so sensitive? Here’s an example. This weekend, Charlie bought me a cell phone (I had been using a temporary one lent to me by his company), but it’s a pay as you go, so I needed to go to my favorite grocery store, Wong, to add minutes. This involved reciting a nine-digit number to the cashier in Spanish three times.  She showed me the number printed on a receipt, it looked right and I walked home feeling proud of myself for doing this without Charlie’s help…all in Spanish!  Boy, I was feeling good…like maybe, just maybe I can make it here on my own.  I don’t have to wait for Charlie to come home from the mine before I take care of business.  I am an independent, Spanish-speaking traveler who will be just fine here. I called Charlie to brag about my accomplishment and after a couple minutes lost the call and heard a message that said I needed to add minutes to my phone.  What?  After further investigation of my receipt I realized the number I recited was one digit away from the correct one.  I added...

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The GoMad Nomad Travel Mag is an online magazine for independent travelers publishing original travel articles on popular and off-the-beaten-track destinations, volunteering and working opportunities abroad, and practical travel advice on long-term, adventure, alternative, and budget travel.

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