There is a popular Spanish proverb, Donde fueres, haz lo que vieres. It’s the South American equivalent of When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But my translation would be, When in Lima, do as the dogs do.

They surf. They ride shot-gun. They poop wherever they want. Seriously, there are more turds on Lima sidewalks than potholes in Michigan. If you don’t believe me, just check out the bottom of my shoe. But I love them from their wagging tails to their lapping tongues.

Take for instance, this perro poser. When this dog realized I was taking his photo? He gave me the dog equivalent of a duck face. For what? More doggy likes?

Another translation of Donde fueres, haz lo que vieres could be, Do as the cats do. Felines are the golden cow of this country, and have some sort of royalty status. They can sleep wherever they want, do whatever they want, whenever they want. This one was dreaming about whatever cats dream about on a display of new books at a trendy bookshop in Miraflores. The owner didn’t care that customers couldn’t read the new releases, the chief one being me.

My nephew, who was recently in Lima, was also amazed by the cats. While conducting research to see how many meals we could eat before our stomachs exploded, our gorging session was interrupted by cats. There was a tree near our outdoor table, and while licking the ceviche off our fingers, three cats climbed up the branches rapidly. Mysteriously, never came down.

We just stared at the tree. “I wonder what’s going on up there?”

“Maybe they are having a feline version of a rave party, with bowls of catnip for their guests.”

We never figured it out.

Who knows. The cats might have seen a fluorescent yellow finch, just one of the exotic Aves that are indigenous in this city.

But this cat in Surco? He stopped our hiking group to get his purr on.

Well, maybe the best interpretation of Donde fueres, haz lo que vieres is to Eat as the locals do.

What does that mean? Try everything. The croissants. The ceviche. The Chifa hole-in-the-walls. What is chifa? Chi fa, a shortened version of chī fàn le ma, a Chinese expression for Have You Eaten?, is the name of Peruvian restaurants that sell Chinese fried rice. There is a huge Asian influence here and Chifa blends together the best of both cultures. Some folks go nuts over it but personally, I’d rather have cracker-thin crust pizza. Just don’t waste calories on the munchies in your hotel room.

Eat until you have to loosen your belt a notch or bring your pants to a local tailor for extra leg –make that butt room.

Or, you could just go to Lima and not be like a dog. Or cat. Or local. You could just go to Lima and look for Jesus. He’s everywhere, including a frankincense car freshener.

3 thoughts on “When in Lima…Donde fueres, haz lo que vieres.

  1. Ginger, hearing about what you are experiencing in Peru is exactly what I needed today! I’m so glad they are cat and dog friendly there, and you are finding food you can eat. It’s great to see the pictures and read your thoughts about Peru. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I agree with Jane. I am amazed (not in a good way), at how very, very little I know about South America, and I am pleased to be learning from your experiences!

      1. Thanks! I’m slowly acclimating. I miss the order of being in a communist country (ex: bus schedules), but love the friendliness of Peru.

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