I want to vote in Perú. Last week, Sunday, was a special national congressional election. Always Sundays, which seems much more reasonable than our workday Tuesdays. With high level corruption rampant, politics are more of a mess here right now than in the U.S., if that’s possible. The entire congress had been dissolved a few months ago and everyone was up for election. Voting is required in Perú and the alternative is a modest fine, though those my age and older are excused if they wish, dottering as we are.
We discovered that our 4th floor Arequipa corner apartment on the edge of old Yanahuara was immediately across from a polling place in a school, and while sipping my coffee at 7:30 in the morning I noticed a young woman, dressed in army camo fatigues and carrying an automatic weapon. She had placed herself near the school entrance, as large ballot like signs were hung and polling workers began to show up. Looked very official if not threatening. Simultaneously, in counterpoint, two ice cream vendors arrived with bright yellow push carts sprouting large umbrellas. Subsequently, two blocks were cordoned off as police redirected inconvenienced motorists at each end.
Voters straggled in, more, and more, and more until the two blocks were full of at least a couple hundred people, kids, families, everyone. The ice cream vendor count had swelled to seven and there was music from somewhere and a lady with her grill stoked up selling roasted potatoes and anticuchos, marinated beef heart medallions on skewers. At the other end another enterprising woman, Manuelita, laddled her adobo from a big pot, a classic Arequipean Sunday morning dish featuring a rich spicey chili like broth with chunks of pork and onions. One of my favorites.
A party ensued, clearly way more fun than my polling place at the Jefferson School gymnasium in Menasha, with somber citizens waiting quietly in line to consider the least offensive of uninspiring candidates. I vote YES for adobo!
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