By Barbara R. Drake
On Sunday I posted Part I of "Should Americans Consider Moving to Peru?" (click here for link).
I floated the idea, proposed to me by a Scandinavian expat who's lived in the United States as well, that because Peru and the United States are so dissimilar, it's difficult to evaluate which country's lifestyle is better. In her words, Peru and the United States are "different realities."
A Peruvian in New Jersey comments that he agrees with the Scandinavian expat: "For forty years I have been trying to explain the Peruvian culture to Americans." He points out that the metaphysician Carlos Castaneda, who wrote the bestseller "A Separate Reality," was himself Peruvian, Amoxicillin Clav coupon.
(Actually, much of Castaneda's life and authenticity as an anthropologist are under debate; his 12 books, however, are still damned good reads!)
Castaneda's Don Juan books explore Native American thought systems and practices that appear "illogical" (some might say "magical") from the standpoint of mainstream, Western society. This illogic is an aspect of Peruvian life that I find deeply intriguing, Amoxicillin Clav.
However, before I write about the singular, otherworldly differences between the two countries, Amoxicillin Clav canada, I'd like to list a few of the more tangible contrasts: living standards and economic prospects. Weighing some of those factors, it might be possible for an American to decide in favor of or against the expat life in Peru.
PERU – YA, ES DIFFERENTE
Could the average American adapt easily to life in Peru, I've been asked.
Consider these obvious differences:
- You have to speak another language (Spanish);
- You must use a different measuring system (metric) and currency (Peruvian sol);
- You must adapt to a reversal in seasons (winter in Peru is summer in the U.S. Amoxicillin Clav, and vice versa), which can be disconcerting;
- You're south of the equator so water flushes down the toilet in the opposite direction; the night sky is peppered with unfamiliar constellations.
Then there are the glaring gaps in sanitation and basic infrastructure in Peru:
- You can't drink the tap water (most people buy filtered water);
- Many people in rural Peru have no running water at all;
- Roads in the capital and the countryside are full of holes, and;
- There is no separate traffic police (hence people drive chaotically).
Some of these differences are so radical, they would convince many Americans to stay put in the U.S., even with foreclosures signs springing up all over the country.
DE-COUPLING FROM CONSUMERISM
Another shock for Americans (good or bad, depending on your perspective) is Peru's relative isolation from consumer culture. There are far fewer stores in Peru, 250mg Amoxicillin Clav, with a vastly reduced array of buying options. Lots of what you do see sold in department stores like Saga Falabella or Ripley is cheap stuff imported from China, but sold at two to three times what you'd pay for it in the U.S.
For an American citizen accustomed to zipping from Bloomingdales to Target to Tuesday Morning, the comparative lack of good shopping can induce frustration and even anger. This might sound like a superficial complaint, but it's remarkable, as an American expat, to discover how much we Americans take for granted being able to walk into a store and find whatever we are looking for, Amoxicillin Clav. Try looking in Peru for a replacement for your broken coffee pot – you'll be told it will take "two to three months" to arrive in the store (as I was told by Hiraoke in August).
On the plus side, as El Fotógrafo likes to point out, Amoxicillin Clav craiglist, you tend to spend a lot less money in Peru because you often can't find what you are looking for. In the end, you may improvise a solution from what you already have in your home.
MORE POVERTY THAN THE U.S., BUT PERU'S POVERTY MAY BE DECREASING, WHILE THAT IN U.S. Amoxicillin Clav, IS INCREASING
On the face of it, Peru would seem to be a worse place to live because it has a higher poverty level (39% in 2008) than does the United States (12.5% in 2007, according to U.S. Census). Poverty is especially acute in remote rural areas of Peru, where subsistence farming of potatoes and maize is the norm and adverse climatic events associated with global warming have made crops less plentiful.
However, 1000mg Amoxicillin Clav, when you compare historical trends, poverty in the United States is on the rise while in Peru it has decreased in the last decade.
In recent years the number of U.S. households classified as "poor" has risen substantially, with millions of working and middle class Americans slipping into poverty, Amoxicillin Clav.
The Census Bureau reported in August that the official poverty rate in the United States rose in 2007 to 12.5 percent, compared to 12.3 percent the previous year. According to the bureau's American Community Survey, last year 37.3 million Americans were living below the income level, which, 50mg Amoxicillin Clav, according to the U.S. government, signifies poverty.
This is an increase of 800,000, or 2 percent, over the official U.S. Amoxicillin Clav, poverty level for 2006.
According to official government figures in Peru (which may or may not be accurate), poverty has been reduced substantially in the past decade. In 2004, Amoxicillin Clav japan, it was slightly under 50 percent, in 2006 it was at 45 percent, and in 2008 it is at 39 percent.
Alan García's government has pledged to reduce poverty to less than 10 percent in eight years, a projection that analysts and many Peruvians view with extreme skepticism.
MIDDLE CLASS IN PERU VS. UNITED STATES
While it is unlikely that Peru will hoist millions of its poorest citizens out of poverty in the next ten years, the country already is seeing a rise in the number of people classified as "middle class."
While it is difficult to find hard figures, especially since many Peruvians underreport their incomes to avoid paying quarterly taxes, a rising middle class is apparent in Lima and smaller cities, Amoxicillin Clav.
A 2003 working paper from The Food Industry Center, University of Missouri, Amoxicillin Clav ebay, co-authored by Benjamin Senauer and Linda Goetz, identifies a growing middle-class market in Lima, with 20% of the city's households falling into the middle or upper-class category. In the early 2000s, an annual income of $6,000 was required for an emerging middle-class lifestyle in Lima, say Senauer and Goetz.
The growth in Peru's middle class was reflected in the passage of the 2007 US-Peru "free trade" agreement. This legislation was orchestrated to enable U.S. Amoxicillin Clav, companies to sell to Peru's "rapidly growing" middle class, according to a Dec. 2007 press release from USDA acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner, 200mg Amoxicillin Clav.
SO WHAT'S GOING ON.
As these figures suggest, people in the United States enjoy a better infrastructure, more material goods and less nationwide poverty.
However, prosperity for ordinary Americans is contracting radically, something that hasn't been seen on this scale since the Great Depression.
Peru, Amoxicillin Clav india, on the other hand, is expanding economically, and its middle class is rising. You don't need as much money here to live a middle-class lifestyle, and that can be attractive for expats with money to start their own business or with good job prospects (teaching, US Embassy jobs).
If you are willing to learn Spanish and can put up with the traffic and the grey Lima skies, Peru might be an option if you are eager to leave the United States.
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