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Saturday Morning Coffee with Mr. Living in Peru

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Dear Friends,

Belated Felices Patrias!

Living in Peru’s editor and my good friend Hope Ansanelli was kind enough to replace me during the last couple of Saturdays while I was on vacation and I’m really happy to see how many of you enjoyed her stories while I was gone. (For more from the Editor’s Corner, click here).

Last week I returned from Mexico, where I was fortunate to visit Mexico City, a city more than double the size of Lima and which only a few years ago was a mess in most people’s opinion. I’ve been there on a few occasions for business, but this was my first time with the family and for pure pleasure and I was impressed!

Let me start with mentioning that I’ve never met a more proud population.

Everywhere we went, all the nice Mexican people treated us as guests and informed us about their country and culture as if there was nothing more important to them. From the general manager, the receptionist, to the waiter, the driver, and the shopkeeper; everyone spoke highly of their country, despite their challenges similar to those here in Peru.

(Photo: Chichen Itza/ Wikimedia Commons)

They have amazing museums, great shopping, excellent restaurants and a lot of cultural sites including Chichen Itza –one of the 7 wonders of the world, which you can learn more about here. Their culture and success in the past are very similar to the Incas, who, as you know built Machu Picchu, another wonder of the world, which you learn much more about here.

The effort both from the public and private sector to promote their country, culture, and opportunity for a better future is amazing. I hope that we here in Peru can learn a few tricks or two from them to reach one of the goals, set by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski during his speech to the nation, to double the number of tourists by 2021.

Talking about the president’s speech to the nation, many people were not happy with the message and the work done by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and his team during the first year in government. I agree everyone can do better, but it isn’t easy to take over after Humala & Co, who now sit in jail waiting to appear in front of a judge and get convicted or released.

This whole corruption scandal has really hurt the country and on top of it, the natural disaster caused by “El Niño” also pulled a lot of muscle, which wasn’t expected at the beginning of his first term.

What was predicted was that congress wouldn’t be easy to work with. Fuerza Popular, the opposition led by Keiko Fujimori, has done their best to complicate things. Among many other mishaps, we lost an amazing minister of Education and a great Minister of Finance under them.

There is a lot of pressure on PPK and Fuerza Popular is doing everything in their power to have Alberto Fujimori pardoned. According to my sources, this should lead to better opportunities for the country in the future, as Congress will be more open to working with PPK and his team. Many people are against the release of Fujimori, but also many people who remember Fujimori for all the good things he did in his first government want to see him as a free man.

Maybe house arrest is a solution that we all can live with, which gives him a bit of freedom in nicer surroundings among family and friends, but still under responsibility and guard of Peruvian authorities.

Well, we’ll see what happens in the near future.

Next step is to ensure that the five new laws presented to Congress during the presidential speech are being worked on and approved so that we can get the economy kick started and most importantly the infrastructure of Lima improved. The government also has a plan on how to improve traffic and therefore our lives here in Lima. Hopefully, that will be the first law to be put into action, so the amount of time for people to get to work will be lowered. Many people spend 2-4 hours every day to get to and from work, due to the inefficient infrastructure and lack of efficient public transportation.

Traffic is bad in Mexico too, but compared to Lima, we didn’t experience all the frustration and stress that we see here in Lima every day. People stayed in the line, nor try to aggressively enter and jump and get ahead to save 3-4 seconds.

If you wish to read more about President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, please check out Mike’s news story or check out PPK’s complete speech here:

I still have faith in PPK and his team. I’ve seen various improvements in the first year and I expect many more to come (if congress allows it). We are very good at complaining here in Peru and of course it is much easier to complain than to present alternative solutions that will work for everyone.

Have a great weekend and Viva Peru!

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Carsten Korch

Originally from Denmark, Carsten returned to Peru in 2002 with his wife and eldest son. He started LivinginPeru.com in 2005, among other ventures in Peru. Before this, Carsten has worked in tourism, living in France, Sicily and the U.S., and promoted bands like Metallica, Def Leppard and U2 for PolyGram Records (now Universal Music). Carsten loves pisco sours, Peru’s cuisine, and traveling with his family within Peru, a country that he believes is the land of opportunities.