I was born on the night I met you

A few more days has passed here in Lima and the summer has reached its hottest phase - or at least so it seems to me. On the working days I leave my apartment quite early and then - that is around 7 am - the weather is still nice and the air is fresh. But by the time the day has reached midday it is something completely different. During the afternoon hours from midday until 4 pm it is hot and sultry here. Or as the locals say, quema, burning hot. At and around midday Sun shines directly from the zenith and the only way to avoid that is to stay indoors. Which most people do - if they only can. Fortunately sometime around 5 pm the weather cools down a little and gives people time to go out again.

This time of the year - when schools and universities have their summer holiday season is not the high season for international tourism in Peru. The big flow of tourists come usually during springtime (autumn on the northern hemisphere) and during autumn (spring on the northern hemisphere). Tourism is big and important business here - as it is in Lapland too. There are some interesting common things in travel business that these regions share - despite the vast distance. One thing is of course the presence of the indigenous people and culture. In Lapland we have the vital Sami culture and the local indigenous culture here in Peru does not lack behind in comparison. Not too surprisingly both cultures have been used quite shamelessly in travel marketing purposes until recently. Another interesting issue is the clash between tourism (especially ecotourism) and mining industry. The mining industry has grown rapidly here during the last years - thanks to the high demand of precious metals in computer/mobile phone industry. Another major clash mining industry faces with agribusiness which can be compared with Finnish forest industry in its significance to the national economy. 

Currently Peru receives some 3,5 million international tourists annually. That may not sound very much but one needs to bear in mind that Peru is located quite far away from the big travel markets of Northern America, Europe and Asia. Only a handful of airlines offer direct flights to Lima. Nevertheless, Peru has bold plans to increase the number of international tourists threefold up to nine millions in the coming years. And Peruvians seem to be quite serious about this plan. Various local universities offer wide range of studies in travel business. For example in my neighborhood the local Universidad Nacional Federico Villareal offers 5 years long study program in tourism business with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. As I see it - for those students studying travel and tourism in Finnish universities Peru and its universities have a lot to offer. Of course - as the case is in this part of the world - the basic knowledge of Spanish is required.

So, what kind of tourists Peru attracts? Adventure and ecotourism is - no doubt - the spearhead of the local travel industry. And for a good reason too. Peru has so much to offer; from tropical rainforests to arid deserts and from sunny beaches to snow covered mountains. You have it all here, in one single country. Another big factor is the vivid indigenous culture which attracts people to see the remains of the once mighty Inka empire, such as Machu Picchu. Furthermore Peru is said to have the best local cuisine in the whole South America and this provides grounds to the growing gastronomic tourism. Maybe in this gastronomic field Finnish travel industry could learn a trick or two from Peruvian counterparts. How to develop Finnish cuisine - and specially that of Lapland - to a even higher standard and international recognition.

But of course there are things that Peruvian too need to learn in the future. One sure thing is the ability and will (!) to promote recycling and other forms of sustainability. In this area Peru lacks far behind Finland and other developed countries. Such a shame for otherwise such a beautiful country. Fortunately more and more people - and especially younger generations - are coming aware of the poor consequences of inefficient waste management. 

Time for me to hit the hay and go to bed - in Finland it's already Friday early morning. I hope my blog(s) will encourage students - young and old - to enjoy possibilities about study exchange or work practice in this beautiful country which surprisingly has quite much in common with Finland. Our university offers a wide range of courses on Spanish language which will get you on the right track here from the very beginning.

...what about the blog title then, you may ask. Yes, it is a famous line from a Hollywood classic movie Gilda (1946) loosely (very loosely indeed) connected to South America, - Buenos Aires to be exact. YLE Teema will broadcast this movie on Sunday 19th February at 6 pm. A Film Noir classic with strong characters and witty dialogue. Strongly recommended. 

An interactive learning experiment at Lima Museum of Contemporary Art. Children are important part of everyday life in Peruvian culture. And children - they are plenty and can be found everywhere.

The Cathedral of Lima at Plaza de Armas.

Part of the older colonial Lima. Don't let the picture fool you though - Lima is not this quiet.

Shopkeepers getting ready for the Valentines Day.
A kissing contest at Festival del Amor on Valentines Day. Unfortunately came too late to participate.

Fun at Parque de la Reserva with plenty of fountains to enjoy.

Gilda (1946) with Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. YLE Teema on Sunday 19th at 6 pm.


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