Friday, March 28, 2014

Hey, hey, wait a minute - that's illegal!!

From our struggles to get driver's licenses, we have become fairly familiar with the Peruvian traffic laws.  There are three levels of infractions - leve (lowest - "light"), grave (medium - "serious") and muy grave (highest - "very serious!").
It is clearly stated that sounding one's auto horn without a life-threatening reason is an infraction at the grave level, warranting a fine equal to 6% of UIT (an annually shifting amount presently at about $3,000.00 USD), thus one stands at risk of a $180.00 penalty.
Yeah, right.  He looks pretty uneasy, no?
There are even signs warning against the honking of horns.
 This sign says, "It is prohibited to honk your horn!"
It is now known that the shortest measurable quantity of time is not the attosecond (.0000000000000000001 second), rather it is the time between the light turning yellow, indicating an upcoming green signal, and the Peruvian taxi driver 17 cars back honking his horn.  
It is apparent from the condition of taxis and other autos here that the required annual equipment safety inspection must be to check the horn only, without which the vehicle would be obviously inoperable.
If drivers were actually fined half of what they are supposed to be penalized for this grave infraction, the city  could fix a pothole or two, or even, gasp, fix the sidewalks, or, double gasp, provide public restrooms instead of the walls of buildings.
Anyway, we hope that you are not guilty of any grave (much less muy grave!) infractions yourself.
Dave & Paula

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tonsorial Excellence, Mission President Style!

So in the new Mission Home, how do we fill the closets?  With great variety, I must tell you.
Sure, they're all white shirts, but hey, they come from all over the place, like J.C.Penney, Joseph Bank and Lands End.
And the suits? No peacock has anything on this collection.
The ties?  Wild and crazy.
Each day, I have to make the difficult decision - what shall I wear today?
We hope that your daily decisions are neither as demanding nor as potentially life-changing.
Dave & Paula

Friday, March 7, 2014

To the Mountain...Again!

One of our beloved Assistants is heading home on Tuesday.  He has always wanted to visit Huaytapallana, the 18,143-foot snowy peak some 45 kilometers behind Huancayo. I've been there, done that, but they needed a guide.  Wisely, Paula came up with excuses not to go.
This was the happy-go-lucky picture at the start of the expedition... (see below).
When we got to the snow, the snowballs flew. 
 The hike began at the parking area at 14,300 feet and the trail turned upward.
We had some luck, as the clouds intermittently parted to give views of the mountains.
The foot of the glacier at 15,350 feet was gained without much difficulty.
Some fresh snowfall covered it, giving an opportunity for 'angeles de nieve' (snow angels), etc.
The Assistant who impelled the trip was seeing snow for the last time for a while.
OK, that was the good part.  As we started down, three of the group insisted on hiking down to the blue-green glacial lake, the trail to which was obvious.  I stupidly allowed the group to split in two, agreeing to meet on the ridge before descending to the car.
That's when the weather turned ugly, with the clouds closing in again, and sleet and snow began to fall. Visibility plummeted, and the temperature dropped.
After an hour of anxious waiting on the ridge, with the time approaching 3:00 PM, worried about darkness, we started down.  I was greatly relieved to hear yells from the wanderers, who had gone by a separate route to the car, and had started up toward the ridge from the other side.
As a reward, everyone ended up exhausted and with bad headaches from the altitude - except for the old guy, me.  We had a debrief on the way down, and decided how we could have done better.
Oh, and just to add insult to injury, my beloved 10+ year-old boots decided to both delaminate on the same hike.  The group accused me of wearing leather flip-flops; the noise was the same.
I'll have to admit, this was eerily reminiscent of dozens and dozens of Scout trips.  Back in the car, warm and dry, everyone fell asleep, leaving me to drive the two hours back down to Huancayo.
We hope that your hikes to glaciers go smoothly.
Dave & Paula

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Dedication of the Mission Home

Every three months, a Coordinating Council is held in the Mission, to which attend the Presidents of the Stakes (collections of five to 10 congregations) and the General Authority of the Church at the next level.  All serve without recompense, and I have come to respect and appreciate them.
After yesterday's meeting, everyone trooped over to the new Mission Home.  I was asked to give the dedicatory prayer; my only hope was that I didn't instead call down some kind of curse with my + Spanish skills.
A tour of the place was next.  Most of these good men live in much humbler circumstances; only one has a car, and they travel by bus or colectivo taxi to arrive in Huancayo.
Sister Henderson had meanwhile prepared a great meal, and at their request, the recipe from the Southern Living Cookbook for Ham Tetrazzini has now spread across the highlands of Central Peru.
I'm sure that the neighbors must have thought the CIA or the DEA or the FBI had shown up, with all the guys in dark suits.  Paula says we need to invite folks over to tell them why a couple of gringos have arrived, and offer them her excellent gringo brownies with ice cream. 
Our new and dear friend Irma Callupe, the architect for the house, was also in attendance.  Though she is not a member of the Church, she has built at least 25 of its chapels in the region over the last 15 years. She's a great lady, and a hoot to boot.
We are most grateful to be allowed such a nice home for the next 2.4 years (but who's counting?). We'll remember that it's not really ours, and try to use it for good purposes.
Dave & Paula