On to bigger things. I've been in Lima for about a week and half now--pictures and videos coming soon, I swear--and I've gotten to know, not in the Biblical sense, mind you, a fair deal of this city and the country of Peru in general. Did you know they speak Spanish here?! It's like living in Spain (if you can call that living?.... my sincerest apologies to any and all Spanish readers and enthusiasts).
What's piqued my interest thus far? I'm always amazed at how the world is full of so many contradictions: Peru is a country with a proud indigenous past--the Incas, of course--and a somewhat rich European tradition, nothing like Argentina or Chile, but, still, the Spanish definitely left their foot prints deep in Peru's chest. However, whom did the Peruvian people elect in the 1990 presidential election? Mario Vargas Llosa, the most famous novelist, arguably writer (I say arguably only to pay my respects to Cesar Vallejo: much love!) in Peruvian History?
The 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa, so dubbed by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, came up just short. To whom, might you ask, did the eventual Nobel Laureate lose? Alberto Fujimori. That's right, Peru beat the US to the punch. Surprising but it's true. The first generation Japanese-Peruvian won in a surprising landslide over the national idol, and I'd like to say Fujimori's story is one of inspiration and barrier-breaking excellence. Seriously, I'd really, really like to say that, but, unfortunately, the man who did away with the narco-terrorists responsible for insighting the violence of the 1980's in Lima and other areas of the country, did so with his own terror tactics. Without giving you a history lesson, because I'm not here to do that--wikipedia this man--I'll tell you this, the Peruvian Constitution states that a person can only be president for 5 years, then he/she must step down, and he/she may run again in another 5 years, so that is how Peruvian reelections work. Crystal?
Fujimori was president from 1990-2000, like a red-eye from LA to NY: nonstop. Violating/rewriting the constitution for your own needs: strike 1. Granting the military almost endless power to do away with "suspected" insurgents: strike 2. Forced sterilization of hundreds of thousands of indigenous women: well you know. The list goes on and on and on, I'm not exaggerating. Once affectionately dubbed "El Chinito" ("the chinaman": these nicknames don't carry the same weight down here as they do up in the States) Fujimori would come to be known, by the mid 90s, as Chinochet: get it?
Next topic: I'll be quick-- I'm an ally, and I've never been ashamed or afraid to hide that. I've a Pride bracelet on almost 24/7, and there's a Colby Pride sticker on my laptop. With that said. I've decided to maintain a lower key in Lima, not during the day, mind you, but when I'm out at night with friends in the "more active" parts of town. Why? Have I suddenly given in to the pressures of backwards thinking? Are the Catholic ideals of this country seeping into my brain via osmosis? Absolutely not! What's a belief if you don't believe it?
My main concern are "Los Matacabros" (The Goatkillers). Are they a cool punk band? Maybe Peruvian comic-book heroes? Sadly enough, no. They're the 21st-Century equivalent of a lynch mob. Although, they don't target any specific race; they target gay men. I know only what I've read and heard from others, but there are a lot of horror stories surrounding this group of violent morons, and as much as I'd love to flaunt my strong beliefs and show that I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts, there are people who are afraid for me--I can think of seven off the top of my head. Hence, I shan't invite any trouble...
unless of course I'm rollin DEEP with a whole crew of my gay brethren who are looking to bloody up this gang of ignorant jackasses. At that point all bets are off, and we rumble.