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Cultural Shock

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Cultural Shock

  • Machismo; men go to work and whilst the women must stay in the house cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. They are not able to leave the house because they have too many family responsibilities.

  • Pregnancy and illegal abortion is common amongst young teenagers. As it is illegal to perform abortions some youth may visit a shaman or inexperienced doctor to abort. It is also common for girls as young as 12 year old to become pregnant and very common for the girls to be single parents, as some boys don't want to take on the responsibility of having a family.

  • Corruption amongst the government exists between its members, in addition to presidential promises that never eventuate for the Peruvians.

  • Misunderstanding cultural attitudes. If you have seen Babel the movie then you haven't seen nothing that you are about to hear. For example, if you are invited for a meal with a low class family and they give you a dish, it would be nice if you ate it all, because otherwise they may feel offended if you don't finish it.

  • Being gay and lesbian: Cusco is a very conservative City and therefore, homosexuality is not really accepted. However, people are nice, polite and will keep their mouth shut, even though they know that you are homosexual.

  • Cheating men and women: Men generally cheat on their woman with two or three girls. These women are called in Spanish "amantes" (lovers). Often the wife knows, but forgives her man because he tells her that it will never happen again and appears to be faithful. But it does!

  • For some reason, who knows why, latino people want to know in the first minute of being introduced; Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend, or girlfriend?

  • If you're a couple over 32 or 35, local people may be astounded to learn that you are not married, or don't have children, and they ask WHY?

  • Pollution and rubbish is evident. Smoke pollution can be experienced in most places, but the worst would be in the capital Lima and larger cities such as Arequipa, and Cusco. Most of the population is not educated to keep their streets clean of rubbish and you'll find that the locals leave their papers anywhere. It is common for locals to also throw rubbish out bus windows, and for some indigenous people to use the street as a toilet.

  • Dogs like to chase cars and approach people. Its best not to go patting any dog that you come across, as they may be infected with an illness and it's possible to be bitten. You don't want to get rabies! If in doubt, carry a rock in your hand to throw, it'll scare the beast away.

  • Community Visits: expect modest living conditions and occasional lack of public facilities.

  • Festivals: in addition to the wonderful costumes, music and dance at the heart of most festivals, also expect crowds, lots of noise &/or fireworks, exotic smells and sounds, occasional drunks, few if any benches or chairs on which to sit, and mostly street vendor food as well as a scarcity of/and/or crowded public restrooms.

  • Host families: expect warm, welcoming hosts, but often little English is spoken within the home. Although always clean, safe and comfortable, most host family homes are more modest than what we are used to in North America, Australia and Europe.

  • Local markets: markets can be wonderfully evocative places to get an insight into the hustle and bustle of daily life. They can also be over-crowded, have strong odors, and seem a bit shocking if you're not used to seeing live animals for sale, exotic traditional medicines (like llama fetuses) or home-made food and drinks served from questionable containers.

  • Kidnappings and assaults here in Peru not only happen to politicians and rich people, so everyone should be alert and aware.

  • Prostitution is legal in Peru. For those of you travelling in Peru it won't effect you, however, you may come across it from time to time. Sex work is allowed, yet pimping women is not.


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