October 11, 2012: El Comercio

It’s All in the Relationship

From the “Economia” section of this Thursday’s edition of El Comercio came a story about the MSC Ines, a container ship that is – to put it mildly – on the big side.

The story itself – about how this Panamian-flagged vessel would be docking in the Peruvian port of Callao – was not what grabbed my interest.

What I found interesting was the comparison the newspaper used to convey to the reader how big this seafaring craft really was. Sure, El Comercio could have simply stated that the MSC Ines was 348.4 meters in length (381 yards), but where is the fun in that.

In the United States, when periodicals and publications want to give the reader a sense of scale, they trot out a football field (examples here and here and here).

Here in Peru, El Comercio does the exact same thing except that they use a futbol field (“soccer” for those of you reading from the States and Europe).

MSC Ines

She can hold 9,000 containers

If you look down at the bottom of the above picture, you can see the comparison the newspaper makes.

Comparison of MSC Ines

According to Wikipedia, a futbol field can be anywhere from 90 to 120 meters, so the MSC Ines is indeed three pitches (the fancy name for a soccer field) long.

I simply enjoy the fact that something as simple as the object used for a size comparison can vary depending on where you live.

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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in El Comercio, Newspaper, Peru


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October 1, 2012: El Comercio

I know I have problems at times with the language situation here in Peru, but this was taking things too far for me.

I honestly thought someone was playing an April Fool’s joke on me when I saw the front page of this Monday’s edition of El Comercio except for the fact that a) it was October and b) that punnish holiday does not hold much sway here in Peru.

Here is the front page in question.

Front page of Peruvian newspaper in Arabic

Remember to read right to left

The editors of El Comercio were paying homage to the Arabic-speaking visitors who were in town for the 3rd Summit of South American-Arab Countries, a gathering to establish social, economic, and cultural ties between the two geographic areas.

So that traffic would be less than its monstrous self and so the visiting delegates would not have to sit in gridlock (which, so you know, is not the official governmental version), the President of Peru declared that the 1st and 2nd of October (the same days as the summit) would be official city-wide holidays.

Woo-hoo! Four-day weekend!

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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in El Comercio, Newspaper, Peru


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September 17, 2012: Publimetro

At first, it seemed like a giant “Oops!” from the Peruvian free daily, Publimetro.

This was part of the front page that greeted readers on this Monday.

Front page of Publimetro from Sept 17, 2012

Who took my photo?

This missing photo on the front page was not an isolated incident as this image of a gray background with the “broken image” icon appears again on the front page…

Broken Image from Sept 17 2012 edition of Publimetro

This image is broken, not stirred.

…a page 3 article about the premier food festival in Lima called Mistura

Broken image from Sep 17 2012 edition of Publimetro

I would have liked to have seen the food on display

…and the movie section.

Broken image from 9.17.2012 edition of Publimetro

Not the silver screen I was expecting

Almost every image – expect for the pictures on the crossword-type puzzle – had this broken image icon associated with it.

So what was the issue. Had there been a strike amongst the graphic designers and/or photographers of this paper? Did the paper receive a royalty for every “broken image” icon they displayed?

No, it was a promotion.

In the next day’s edition, the paper announced it was hosting a photo contest (look here for details) and was asking for readers to send in their favorite photographs in a variety of categories including “My Country”, “My Night”, and “Capture the Moment.”

I have entered this contest and this was my entry in the “Capture the Moment” category…

Skateboarder in Miraflores

Catching some air in Miraflores

I’ll let you know if I win.

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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Newspaper, Peru, Publimetro


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September 14, 2012: Peru 21

By the Numbers

The Friday edition of Peru 21 had some interesting figures in their newspaper.

The second and third pages of this paper had results of a poll (1,209 respondents; margin of error 2.9%; confidence level 95% for those of you who need to know) that asked who were some of the most powerful people in Peru.

The results…
…30% thought Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru, was the most powerful;
…18% gave that title to his wife, Nadine Heredia;
…15% responded that Alan Garcia, the former President, was the most powerful;
…7% said that Keiko Fujimori, a member of Congress, the runner-up in the last election, and the daughter of a former President, wielded the most power.

When asked if people thought Ollanta Humala, his wife, or both governed the country, the breakdown went as follows…
…36% thought the wife governed;
…35% thought the President governed;
…26% thought both governed.

A later story has the President denying that he co-governs with the First Lady.

When it comes to Peru’s friends and not-friends, the people had the following to say…
…22% thought that Brazil was Peru’s best friend;
…18% said that the United States was “El pais mas amigo del Peru” (the country most friendly);
…74% responded that Chile was the worst friend to Peru; and
…8% gave the title of “least friendly” to Ecuador

The survey takes even have their say about the 2012 Presidential election in the United States…
…48% said that it would be better for Peru if Barack Obama is re-elected;
…12% said that it would be better for Peru if Mitt Romney is elected;

Which means that forty percent of respondents had no opinion or didn’t bother to answer this question…and that number (40%) puts them in line with the percentage of eligible voters in the United States who didn’t bother to cast a vote in the 2008 Presidential election.

In other numbers in the news, the Organizacion Meteorologica Mundial ranked Lima as the most polluted city in South America.

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Newspaper, Peru, Peru21


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September 14, 2012: El Otorongo

How influential and important is soccer futbol in Peru?

I offer the following post as proof.

On Tuesday, September 11, Peru played against Argentina in the round-robin tournament to determine who will qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Before this game, Peru was near the bottom of the nine-team standings and Argentina was in first place. The prevailing mood going into this contest was that Peru had little chance of winning.

So, two minutes into the game, the fans of the red-and-white had reason to celebrate as an Argentinian player committed a foul in the penalty area which meant that Peru was awarded a penalty kick.

Claudio Pizarro lined the ball and prepared to take his free shot. Now, I can’t point to any official statistics to back up this next statement, but 8 times out of 10, a penalty kick will result in a goal. It is rare (though not unheard of) for a free kick to not result in a score. So, fans all around Peru were eager to see their team go up by one point so early in the game.

Pizarro missed. He fired the ball low and to his left, but not hard. The goalie dived to his right and caught the ball.

The game wound up being a draw (1-1).

This missed penalty kick was so big in the national consciousness that when the next edition of El Otorongo, the insert that appears in every Friday edition of Peru 21 that contains nothing but editorial cartoons, came out, four of the fifteen cartoons made reference to Pizarro’s error.

This was the satirical drawing that graced the front page of El Otorongo (“The Jaguar”):

Editoral cartoon in Peruvian newspaper

Many goalies prevent the score

The gentleman taking the penalty kick is Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. Facing off against him in the goalkeeper area are various members of the working class as they participate in a strike (huelga and paro in Spanish) by doctors, teachers, and vendors at a Lima market called La Parada.

Editorial cartoon in Peruvian newspaper

No Gol

This type of cartoon, the “DVD Pirata”, appears every week in this insert. It always features the artist’s fanciful view of a contemporary issue by using the poster of a current movie. The title of this faux movie is “Gol! The Dream Ends.”

I must be honest and state that I do not know what movie the artist is riffing off of.

Editorial cartoon in Peruvian newspaper

…Translation unavailable…

I know that this cartoon is referencing the futbol incident because the person in the drawing is wearing the uniform of the Peruvian national team. The white shirt with the red stripe is iconic here. My second clue is that the voice balloon uses the word “penal”, which can mean “penalty kick”.

I am going to guess that the person being caricatured is former president of Peru Alan Garcia, who is always in the news for one reason or another.

Google Translate was of little help to me when trying to parse together what Garcia was saying. The best I came up with was, “We should not dramatize. Sometimes it fails with a penalty.”

Editorial cartoon in Peruvian newspaper

Pizarro makes a second appearance in cartoon form

This last cartoon features Pizarro himself with the comment, “If Ollanta explains Conga to me, I will explain to him how I missed the penalty kick.” (As always, I could be wrong.)

“Conga” refers to a mining project in the Cajamarca region Peru that has seen protests against it.

One missed shot by Pizarro results in four shots taken at him by the leading pens and pencils of Peruvian cartoonists.

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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Newspaper, Otorongo, Peru, Peru21


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September 14, 2012: Publimetro

Starting off our look at this Friday’s edition of Peru’s free daily, Publimetro, with a picture of food, but not just any food item.

Potatoes at Peru food festival

Ironically, none of them are hot.

This picture from the front page highlights the potato, the tuber born in the Andes. This picture was taken at the Mistura food festival, which saw a record number of visitors in its 2012 incarnation.

Somebody once told me that the agricultural school near where we live grows 100 different types of potatoes. Now that would be quite an adventure – or a mildly interesting blog premise…or a reality show on the CW – to try and sample each and every type of potato.

Plus, this picture also allows me to link to this book…and how often do I get that chance?

Strike Three
Page three of the paper alerts the keen-eyed reader to the fact that the workers at a large outdoor market, La Parada, will be going on strike starting Wednesday, September 19.

This follows on the heels of the work stoppage by teachers and members of the medical profession.

How Are You Feeling?
The fourth page offers the following numerical information about how people in Lima see their city.

Of the 501 respondents…
…36% say their city is “insecure”;
…80% describe Lima as “beautiful”;
…2% would use the word “boring” as an adjective for Lima;
…53% say they would continue to live in Lima; and
…31% say they would move out of Lima, but still live in Peru.

Tennis, Anyone?
While futbol is the number one sport in Peru and volleyball makes a good argument for being the silver medal sport, tennis holds the attention of many a Peruvian reader. I make this assertion based on the fact that an entire page of Publimetro contains a trio of stories about the 2012 Davis Cup.

Talent, Anyone?
Coming to the airwaves of Peru this Saturday is Peru Tiene Talento. Similar to America’s Got Talent, this program will feature folks showcasing their talent.

New Word of the Day
An article on page 15 alerts the even keener-eyed reader that the Birding Rally Challenge will be held from November 27 to December 7.

This locale is not a bad place to go see our avian friends as, according to the article, this country hosts 1,831 bird species of which 120 are endemic to Peru.

The word I learned while reading this article was avistamiento de aves which gets translated by the paper as “birdwatching”, but the paper also uses the word aviturismo (“bird tourism”).

(End Note: If you combine the first section of this post with the last item, you get this.)

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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Newspaper, Peru, Publimetro


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September 3, 2012: El Comercio

El Comercio reported in their Monday special section, Dia_1, that the following restaurant chain will be coming to Lima in 2013.

Chuck E. Cheese’s

Enough said.

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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in El Comercio, Newspaper, Peru


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