Yesterday in the evening Hugo Mancha died. He was a computing teacher at the Diego Thomson and a friend of mine. I worked with him during my civilian service in Peru last year. During my time in Peru he also took some time off to show me the historical place Pachacamac. All the best to his family and co-workers and I hope that God helps them through this time of sorrow.
Let me give a short summary of the two candidates in the second route. Humala is a left-wing politician, former military commander and doesn't seem to have very clear visions for the country. Mostly he wants to help the poor and has a few very drastic ideas. Some Peruvians fear that Humala would prohibit Peruvians from leaving the country, because he claims that mainly the rich Peruvians leave and thus the country gets poorer. García seems to be a bit more on the center, though his party APRA is counted among the left ones. His party has a long history as a strong opposition party in congress and García was himself president from 1985 to 1990 and his term is mainly remembered for extreme inflation, increased terrorism and general chaos. I haven't yet heard good things about his term from any of my Peruvian friends.
So it's no wonder that in Peru the current saying
solo queda elegir entre el sida y el cancer(
it now remains to choose between AIDS and cancer) is very popular.
It seems probable now, that García will win the second round, because supporters of Lourdes Flores are more likely to vote for him than for Humala. Many Peruvians feel, that at least they can get rid of Alan after his five-year term while with Humala it seems much more likely that he would try to stay in office for much longer. In that aspect, Humala is often compared with Hugo Chavez, who was originally elected in a democratic process but has since then used his powers to extend his term limit. That assessment has been repeated to me by several Peruvians.
A current poll by the pollster DATUM currently predicts that García will win with 54% over Humala. But if we have learned one thing from the first round it's that pollsters can't be trusted in Peru either. The second round is scheduled for May 28.
Llegué hace unas horas (ayer el viernes). No tenía problemas y ya estoy en Suiza de nuevo después de más que seis meses en Perú. Voy a escribir más en español en este weblog en el futuro. Gracias otra vez a todos los amigos que me han despedido al aeropuerto en Lima y también a todos los amigos que me han recibido de nuevo al aeropuerto en Zurich.
Unfortunately the official ONPE site is always a few hours behind. Though it doesn't matter much because they are currently counting at a rate of 3% a day (or so it seems).
Update: The Peru Election weblog reports that ONPE (the official electoral office) has just started counting the votes aborad. About three percent of the Peruviants vote from abroad, so this could actually alter the result in favour of Lourdes. The foreigners are estimated to vote more in favor of Lourdes while the rural areas (which is the main part of the votes that have not been counted yet) generally vote for Alan and Humala. The suspense will probably only terminate when 100 percent of the votes have been counted.
I'm leaving Peru on April 13 and will arrive in Switzerland April 14. (Disclaimer: I have no control over any plane crashes, terror attacks, weather situations, the airline, etc. Actually I have no control over anything.)
Coming from: Madrid
Arrival date: Friday, April 14, 2006
Arrival time: 18:35 Zurich local time
And as the theme song for the occasion I recommend Perfect Summer by Waiting For Steve. Though it seems I'm returning for something like winter, according to some photos.
According to the latest numbers of today, Monday, 5pm Peruvian time with 75.64 percent of the votes counted, Humala gets 29.65%, García 24.95% and Lourdes 24.69% (source). Lourdes and Alan have switched the second/third place a few times.
In my opinion a second round with Humala and Alan would be the worst result possible. Alan has proven that he is a bad president and Humala doesn't exactly sound promising either. But many Peruvians don't trust Lourdes because she has strong links to big business.
The evangelicals are glad, that Humberto Lay, an evangelical pastor, did better than many expected. His party gets about three seats in congress. It's the only new party without a serious presidential candiate which gets new seats. There will be six parties with representation in the congress. Of this, three have presidential hopefuls (APRA of Alan, Unión por el Perú for Humala and Unidad Nacional for Lourdes), and two parties represent former presidents (Alianza por el futuro which wants Alberto Fujimori back and Frente de centro for Valentín Paniagua). Not much can be said about congress representation, though, because just about 14 percent of the votes have been counted.
My sources for following the elections are:
- Official Web site of the ONPE (Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales)
- Peru Election 2006 Blog of the University of British Columbia
- Findory search for Peru
I'll keep you posted.
Update: I learned a few more things about this. The law is called "ley seca" (the "dry law") and under this law selling and consuming alcohol is forbidden from Friday until Monday lunchtime on the election weekend. The reason is that drunkards actually go voting. Also large congregations are forbidden, with a few exceptions such as church services which are allowed on Saturday but not un Sunday.
Can Peruvian polls be trusted?
No. Peruvian polls are notoriously unreliable. The most solid prediction is that there will be a second round and Humala will be in it. The volatility of the polls rests on the fact that many Peruvians do not make up their minds until a few days before the election and that polls rarely reach the 20 percent of voters in the poorest, most remote areas of the country. (Because isolated, low income voters are most likely to vote for Humala, this may mean he is even further ahead than polls suggest).
Also it seems, that Flores is currently in the lead again according to the polls. I have read some very critical articles against Humala in the newspapers (though I only read the first pages at the kiosk). So the following interpretation seems plausible:
"Humala's support has fallen because of a barrage of attacks against him these last few days. ... That has generated a fear of voting for the unknown," said CPI's director, Manuel Saavedra.
But again: polls are unreliable.
So out from his prison, Fujimori now married a Japanese woman (Fujimori is Japanese as well). Many Peruvians see this as a move to get his party some more sympathy votes. Personally I think so myself, because the timing is just "too perfect" and Fujimori too political.
The elections are on Sunday.
Then there is this piece of knowledge:
But surveys suggest professional politicians are almost universally despised as self-serving. This context helps explain the apparent popularity of Mr Humala, who has not previously run for office, according to John Crabtree of the Centre for Latin American Studies at Oxford University.
You don't need to survey for that, though. Whenever I talk with my Peruvian friends and taxi drivers it's very clear that politicians are liars, corrupt, self-serving and anything but responsible. Women and non-politians are trusted more. Also I'm told that it helped Fujimori that he was Asian and that also Humberto Lay, an evangelical pastor with Chinese parents who runs for president, profits from the notion that Asians have a better moral base.
Also most Peruvians I talked with feel that Peru has a lot of unused natural resources that the past governments should have used to enrich the people. They usually talk about the sea resources.
I'll comment more about the elections here, as I'm very interested in the outcome. Though I'll be more interested in what the new government actually will achieve. Hopes are generally very low.
I guess the reason for that is, that voting is obligatory here, which was new to me, coming from Switzerland where it's voluntary. Many people have to travel in order to get to the place where they are actually registered for voting. If they had anything going on that Sunday, they might not go voting and rather pay the fine. That's the only sensible reason I can currently think of for such a law.
Update April 4: I learned today, that the actual reason is different. Flavio also mentiones it in his comment. It seems the law was brought for security reasons, specifically because of fear from terror attacks. The church services I know were rescheduled from Sunday morning to Saturday night by the way.
- Software libre in schools (Movie)
- Linux distributions and Skolelinux
- Experiences and successes
- Technological perspectives
- The LINEDUX project
- Work networks
For some of the talks I have no idea what they are about. One of the talks will be mine (The Skolelinux one of course). And I will try to record the presentations and make them available online. In Spanish only, though.
The race will most likely be decided between Lourdes Flores and Ollanta Humala. Flores is very pro-business, though she claims to be more to the center than before, and Humala is extremely leftist. Though Humala doesn't have a clear policy, because he mainly gains votes by declaring that all other politicians are corrupt and that he is not. For quite some time Flores led the polls but currently Humala leads by a few percent points. For the second round it's very undecided yet with one poll claiming Humala's victory and others claiming that Flores will win. Flores uses the general opinion that women are not as corrupt as the men in her favor.
Many Peruvians don't have much hope, though. I mean just look at Alan García. He is currently at third place and for some time it looked as he might just win the election. He already was president before and his presidency was probably one of the worst the world has ever seen. Knowing that he might get elected really makes you think.
Many Christians hope that Humberto Lay of Restauración Nacional will get some points - or at least that his party gets some congressmen. Lay is a christian pastor and the party as well is christian. As a candidate for that party, one person of the Diego Thomson is running for congress as well.
Not the one to give up easily, I went looking for police. When I asked people in the street, where I could find police, they didn't know. The first police car I saw on the street ignored my request to stop, even though they confirmed that they had seen me. The second car had to stop at the red light, so I talked to the policemen in the car and told them about the incident. They didn't really care. They were kind enough to drive me back near to where I live, but they had no intention to go looking for the kids and make them return the stolen stuff. And that was the really disappointing thing. Peru is therefore a country where not even the police has the courage to stand up to crime. And that's pretty sad.
I was told today, that groups like that are called Pirañitas ("little piranhas").
And that's already the second time, where something was stolen from me in Peru. In Arequipa someone stole my digital camera - which thought me to be a bit more careful with my stuff. Not enough, yet, it seems.
I'll have a lesson with the same people again at one of their colleges to install Skolelinux clients in their network.
But I do love that kind of weather. Even though I'm currently loosing skin like a snake because I got burned on my trip to Pachacamac last week.
Attached you'll find the presentation I'll use. Any comments are welcome.
Theoría de redes
So we went sight-seeing with a tour bus which cost five Soles and left from near the Plaza de Armas. The tour was hardly impressing. But they drove us up a mountain from where we got a nice view over the city. Though I'll probably have to go again on a nicer day with less clouds.
And in the evening I finally had a Japanese meal again. It was extremly expensive for Peruvian prices. We paid 140 Soles for the Sushi & Tempura offering. That was said to be for two people but it was enough for the three of us. Of course we had to have a Miso soup first, because that just belongs to a Japanese meal for me.
Pictures are available on my Flickr account as always.
You can download the presentation I used for the three-day course here: Administración de Linux.
Update: The third class was blogged by Juan. The fourth was blogged by Juan and Richard. Isai blogged them as well (third course, permissions and fourth course but his Blogger.com design seems to be broken at the moment. Great example of how weblogs can be used in a learning environment.
According to a new poll the woman Lourdes Flores leads the polls. This was greeted by the stockmarkets, because for some time it looked as if Ollanta Humala, an ally of Chavez and Morales, might win the elections. Former president Alan García still gets third place, which is a bad sign.
These polls will probably change again over the next months. The current numbers are:
- Flores: 29 percent
- Humala: 18 percent
- García: 13 percent
- Software installation
- Text environment: bash and commands
- Graphical environments (Gnome, KDE, Windowmaker to show that you can choose different window managers)
But we actually got no further then software installation. Between starting too late, some people not understanding very quickly, me not being the ultra-perfect Spanish speaker and me covering the topic extensively quite some time got lost.
And I have to grumble a bit: the Debian Backports system used to be a lot easier. It's gotten quite complex to explain with the APT pinning and preferences and all. That ate quite some time as well.
The slideshow (which will be made available at the end of the course) for today looked like this:
- Instalar software
- dpkg, rpm
- apt-get, apt-cache
- upgrade, dist-upgrade
- packages.debian.org (which unfortunately was and is down)
There is no viable public transportation except buses and taxis. What I miss most are trains as I'm an avid train user in Switzerland and have owned a General Abonnoment for several years now.
The buses (called "combi") are run by individuals. They buy a bus, decide on a price, put on a bus number or a route and drive that. That's all. To my knowledge there are no bus maps available centrally. So if you want to know if it's possible to get from point A to B by bus you have to ask a local.
Unfortunately it's very difficult to use the bus from my apartment to the office. So I have to take a taxi every time. In Lima you fix the price before entering the taxi but in other cities there seem to be different rules. The cheapest fare for anything here I've ever gotten was 3 Nuevo Soles. From my apartment to my office (or the other way) I pay between 5 to 7 Nuevo Soles. Depends on the time, the mood of the taxi driver, my mood, the traffic and probably other factors as well. As it often the case in Peru they will often give you a higher price only because you're a foreigner.
Every week a few taxi drivers hope I'm just a tourist and will tell me the route costs 10 Nuevo Soles. This is probably more common than normal, because I always tell them to drive to Cruz del Sur, the bus company. They then think I want to travel somewhere and so I can only be some stupid tourist. Truth is that I work just opposite the road of Cruz del Sur and that almost every taxi drivers knows where that place is. They probably don't know the Diego Thomson, though. When a taxi driver tells me that fare is 10 Nuevo Soles I don't even bother to negotiate and send him (no, I've never seen a female taxi driver so far) away. They then always want to negotiate and immediatly drop down to 8 or even less Soles. But I send them away for the principle which is that I don't want to sit in the taxi of a dishonest driver (who might just as well try to physically rob me later).
I have heard by the way, that in Cusco the procedure is different. There you apparently don't negotiate but just tell the destination and board the taxi. At the end you give the driver 2 (day price) or 3 (night price) Soles and all is good. Sounds like a better (and cheaper) system to me.
Also one peculiarity is that many times the taxi driver hears where you want to go and immediately declines to the trip. Without even asking how much you're willing to pay. What exactly is the reason for this I don't know, but that reminds me that I should ask a taxi driver next time I get an opportunity. This was very common in La Paz where we had a hard time finding a taxi to the bus terminal because so many taxi drivers just flat out declined.
I hope that summarizes the public transportation system in Lima correctly. There is also a Wikipedia article: Public transport in Lima.
Place ny additions or questions in the comment section.
They were very enthusiastic and one of the teachers (or students rather - for a short time) started to investigate and looking for many programs. I showed them the Gaim instant messenger and they liked it. Also they were blown away by my description of diskless thin clients. The before-mentioned teacher is thinking about setting up a few Pentium 1 computers at his home. With thin clients that could be easily done. So I'll show them how to do this in the network administration course.
As the installation part is now finished, I'll directly continue with system administration next Tuesday. I had originally planned on two days of installation.
There are pictures of the class in Flickr account but they are only available to my friends for privacy reasons.
- Linux installation: SkoleLinux and it's goals, Installation, Grub, Partitions
- Linux administration: Gnome desktop environment, software installation, text environment (bash, processes, commands, etc.), system booting, X Windows, display managers, other graphical environments
- Network administration: Users, permissions, thin clients, theory about networks (server, cables, switches, hubs, etc.)
- Python: Basics, Python documentation, object-oriented programming, graphical programming using PythonCard and Boa Constructor, file system, database using SQLite, Internet programming, program design,UML, XML, Python software examples
- PHP: HTML, CSS, LAMP installation, PHP basics, documentation online, Databases with MySQL, phpMyAdmin, object-oriented programming, program design
The Spanish program is online: El programa de la capacitación enero - marzo 2006.
I'm sure this will prove to be quite a challenge for my Spanish. But I'll give my best. Any feedback to the course contents?
So we went to Copacabana where we stayed for one day (two nights). We chose the really nice and moderately cheap hotel Continental. My room provided a beautiful view over Lake Titicaca and cost 50 Bolivanos a night (80 for matrimonial I think). We rented a pedalo, enjoyed the beautiful weather and the cheap food. The next day we took the bus to La Paz. That bus had some troubles. It came about two hours late and the organisation wasn't really able to handle the problems. We were already thinking about getting our money back, skipping La Paz and returning to Puno the next day. But in the end we were glad we didn't do that.
In La Paz we went to the hotel Torino which also cost 50 Bolivanos for good quality but not on par with Copacabana's Continental. We took the tourist tour bus which during about 3.5 hours drove us through La Paz and the nearby Moon Valley. The evening we spent at the restuarant Dumbo where we enjoyed some of the best food and service in our live for ridicilously cheap prices. We each paid about 50 Bolivanos for that meal including a bottle of wine which we shared. I also bought three more Narnia books for 15 Bolivanos each. And we went to see the Narnia movie in the cinema.
The next morning we took the bus to Puno. We left at about 8 o'clock and arrived at around 1 pm. I checked out the returning buses to Lima and ended up using Cruz del Sur again. This time I had the standard class Imperial from Puno to Arequipa (the same average service I had from Lima to Cusco two weeks ago) and the luxurious Cruzero (with something to sleep in that almost deservers the word "bed") from Arequipa to Lima. Unfortunately I had just a few minutes stop in Arequipa because the first bus was late. I arrived the next morning at 10 o'clock in Lima just 50 meters from my office.
And because I had slept well in the bus I went straight to the office to check my mail, update my weblog and sync with my blogroll. A few news related to my blogroll might come up shortly.
We first went to the Uros floating islands. The Uros build these islands of reeds. One island lasts about ten years. After that, they have to build a new island which takes about two months.
After visiting two of these islands we continued to the island Amantani. The trip there took us three hours on the boat. This island is the second-biggest on the lake after Isla de Sol. We were distributed to different families after arriving. We went to the family and ate lunch at their house. We then met our guide again to climb a mountain-top. From there we were able to watch the sunset. This is probably the first day where I have pictures of the sunrise as well as the sunset. In the evening we had a party where I learned a simple local dance. We spent the night at the families houses.
In the morning we went to the Taquile island which took us about one hour. We walked around the island, ate some really good fish at a restaurant and left for Puno again. After another three-hour trip we arrived there.
We were very lucky with the weather. While it is the rainy season, we had sun for almost the whole two days. So the long boat trips were really cool. Also I can especially recommend the Amantani island. It's quite untouristic so far and you actually get to sleep at families houses. It's culture is still very authenthic as tourism only came here five years ago. But how long this will last, I don't know.
There is a map of the Lake Titicaca at Wikipedia. It shows you the position of the two islands Amantani and Taquile. It also shows how little of the lake we have actually navigated during this two days.
I am currently still uploading pictures and probably won't get to upload all of them until returning to Lima next week. See all the current Lake Titicaca pictures.
Machu Pichu is a city of the Incas, built around 1440. It was then "forgotten" (some locals still knew about it) until in 1911 Hiram Bingham rediscovered the city. The Peruvian government then made sure it became a tourist attraction. Wikipedia has much more information about Machu Pichu.
It was a rainy day, though it only rained maybe half of the tour. And the weather allowed for some very nice views because of the clouded mountains. Generally, I found Machu Pichu mostly worthwhile for it's stunning views. It's embedded in the middle of a few mountains.
I'm including here a few of my pictures. There are many more on Flickr.
The entrance fee to the museum was 10 soles. We also took a guide who spoke English and expected a tip. And I would not recommend taking the tour without the guide. You miss too much information without one.
Then yesterday I walked around Cusco a bit without doing any "serious" sight-seeing yet. Went eating in the evenign and met an American called Stephen. Went out for a beer together and called it a night.
Today we booked our passage for Machu Pichu. So tomorrow I'll finally visit that archeological site. I hope it's as impressive as it sounds. A funny thing happened when we booked the tour, though. There were two offers: one day and three days. The one day tour cost 120 US Dollars while the three day tour cost 119 US Dollars. Seriously! Apparently they are trying to promote the longer tour. But the time just doesn't suffice for the long tour. So tomorrow early in the morning we'll leave and I hope I can provide you with some interesting information and pictures abut Machu Pichu on Friday.
Friday night I will continue to Puno. At the same agency I booked the bus to Puno with a two day tour for Lake Titicaca including one night at a hotel. All for 39 US Dollars. Sometimes prices sure are cheap here in Peru. But not for Machu Pichu.
So the next two weeks my posting will be very spare if I do any at all. But I guess I'll have to do some Flickr uploads from Internet cafes as my memory card is a bit limited and I'm not taking my laptop.
Oh and I wish you a happy new year.
So, after that praise (which probably could be applied to other VoIP-companies as well, but I just happen to use Skype) let me finally get back to my topic.
The evening of the 24th I spent with a Peruvian/Swiss family in Lima. We ate turkey, had some more Panetone (as if I had not already had enough in December 2005) and watched the firework over Lima.
The 25th I invited some friends from church and work to eat a cheese fondue. At the Wong supermarket near my house I found instant Gerber fondue that I just had to heat before eating. From the before-mentioned family I borrowed the Rechaud, the obligatory utensil in every Swiss kitchen around the world. Some people quite liked the fondue, while others didn't really care for it all that much. I was prepared for that occasion and had brought Spaghetti. But no-one wanted them, so it can't have been all that bad. :-) A few us then spent some hours talking and the idea popped up to do a Peruvian evening the next night. So it came to be and two of my friends at work cooked a nice dinner. We ate it while watching Shrek 2 and The Pianist. The latter I quite liked while the former is simply pale in comparison to the first Shrek (that's why I'm so glad that Pixar doesn't do sequels - or rather only when required to by Disney).
The 26th there was a school-end party at the school including a meal for the professors. And two days later, there was the graduation of the 5th year classes. I have made one picture of that available for general viewing at Flickr. All the others are only visible to my Flickr friends due to privacy reasons.
Sylvester we spent almost in the same fashion. Watching a film and eating chicken.
Apparently you can only apply for an extension during the first two months of your stay, not later. So now I'll have to pay 1 US Dollar for every day that I choose to stay beyound my original last day. I'll have to visit the office again a few days before leaving the country in order to pay my debt.
As I'm planing a trip to Puno anyway, I'm now wondering if it might be a good idea to go over the border to Bolivia and visit La Paz for a few days in order to get an extra three months for free. I guess I will have to check if it's possible to pay the debt I'll have until then (about ten days' worth) at the border.
That solution would also help extend my visited countries map. ;-)
At work, there were three projects I was involved in. First I prepared the Debian-Edu rollout which is now scheduled for end of January. I patched the installer (see also the followup) a bit and tested the configurations. The big change will be, that the users finally get central user accounts and a home directory on the server. So the'll be able to log in at different computers and have the same configuration and data.
Second we set up a course for the non-computing students here. This will start in January as far as I know.
And third I'm busy preparing the courses for the computing profs here. They will get some courses in Linux, OpenOffice, Python, PHP, MySQL, etc. Stuff they will need to properly teach the curriculum in use here. Details about this will follow when I have them.
While not much I also had some time outside of my work. Almost two weeks ago now I moved into a new apartment. It's the Casa Colibri in Miraflores. Quite nice, though I have to say that my current room stinks. I hope the room where I'm planned to move into once it's free is better in that aspect.
Sunday the 11th I went to a football match between San Martín and La U with Oliver, a friend from work. Unfortunately we ("La U" that is) lost 1:0 because of a penalty. Was quite a boring match. Maybe because there were only very few matches to go before the end of the season and the positions in the league table were pretty much fixed already. The season should start again in Match and I hope I can go to another match then.
Last weekend some of us young people at church had a meal together. Including gift-exchange. I was so stupid not to take my camera (may actually have been a good think). But it was a great evening. Six of us ended up going to a friend's home and talking the whole night. So without going to sleep we made us some breakfast the next morning and went to church directly. To the early 8:30 service instead of the usual 11 o'clock service.
Oh and I also saw King Kong on the day it came out last Thursday. Quite liked it but still am waiting for Narnia. With a bit of luck I can finally see it today. It was at least announced as "upcoming" last week. But when I now look at the cine.terra.com.pe Web site it still lists it under "Próximos estrenos".
The PDF file Currículo primaria e inicial is available for download. The main points we teach are:
- Use the Linux system: logging in, running applications, loggin out
- Internet: Firefox, find information using Web search engines or Wikipedia, email
- Applications: text editing, presentations, graphics
- How to use computers for teaching
I initially created that curriculum as a suggestion. But all the people attending the meeting about it immediately liked it. So I didn't have to change anything (except adding some sound tasks to it).
This whole course will of course be tought using free software (OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, Gimp, etc.) Some software is mentioned in the curriculum.
It was also an opportunity to ask some question. I was mainly interested in how teaching with the current (quite new) curriculum works. It turns out that there are still some reservations about replacing Visual Basic (from the old curriculum) with Python (the new curriculum). There seem to be two main points about that. First, the existing teachers don't know Python as well as Visual Basic. That's easy to solve and the headmistress made it very clear that the teachers must either adapt to the new curriculum or be replaced with teachers who are able to teach it. The second point was, that they fear Python does not have the commercial backing so that students could then go on and work for some company. Well first, Visual Basic is not really commercially used. I don't know where they got that idea. Second, Python is used by many companies (also see the Job openings). And I also explained to them that Python is probably the best language to teach. It teaches clear style (indentions for example) and is easily understood (though that's not that true for non-English-speaking people). Hm, what about a Spanish translation of the Python programming language... :-)
"Hello world" would then look like
imprime "Hola mundo"
Or a loop might look like:
imprime x, x*10
Anyway, back to the meeting. We then talked a bit about the Linux environment. When I explained to them what Skolelinux can do for us, they were very excited. I already wrote about the profiles earlier. With that it's possible to install a Skolelinux network very easily without much technical knowledge. You can choose a Server or Workstation profile (and others, particularily thin client / thin client server) and the installer will then automatically set up a network with central log in, central home directories, proxy server, other servers and also tons of education software. Independently of my plans, they said that central home directories would be very nice. I already had planned on that, so that's a go.
We also checked what technologies I'll have to teach to the professors. I'll probably show them how install and administer a Linux network, GUI programming using Boa Constructor and open source replacements for software like Photoshop (replaced by Gimp), Corel Draw (OpenOffice Draw, Sodipodi or Inkscape), Page Maker (Scribus) and FrontPage (shudder but can happily be replaced with http://www.nvu.com/).
And in the end we also talked about computing education for the other two branches of study (primaria and inicial). They have 200 hours to learn some computing and I'm going to write a proposal of how to use this 200 hours until next Monday.
The Swiss club is quite near and I was recommended to buy myself a season pass for the club. Reason: they have a swimming pool.
I'm moving in next Friday and will then be able to provide you with photos.
Now I'm going to try and work with libexif from Ruby. I'd like to use it in a private Rails project I'm working on.
This is especially so since it coincides with a crisis in relations with Peru, triggered by Peru's recent approval of a law to modify the countries' maritime boundary unilaterally, to claim some rich fishing grounds.
And this is what the Peruvian ambassador has to say about this:
SIR – You state that recent tensions between Peru and Chile have been “triggered by Peru's recent approval of a law to modify the countries' maritime boundary unilaterally, to claim some rich fishing grounds” (“An unwelcome visitor”, November 12th). The approval of a base-line law (a line drawn by countries along their coasts to measure the breadth of their sea) is a practice carried out by almost every state in the world and in no way signifies the unilateral establishment of maritime boundaries with Chile. Since the current fishing agreements between Peru and Chile cannot be upgraded to the category of maritime boundary treaties, Peru proposed negotiations to determine these boundaries, which were not accepted. The refusal of Chile to agree to the negotiations has exhausted the possibility of finding a bilateral solution, leaving Peru the option of peacefully settling the dispute by other means as set out in international law.
Luis Solari Tudela
Ambassador for Peru
Of course an ambassador will not exactly be very objective in these matters.
The weekend was a really good opportunity to get to know some of the teachers and staff. I'm glad I could be part of it. Also we had a topic during this retreat - everything was about stress and how to avoid it. Quite interesting.
I uploaded the photos again.
This recorded lessons could then be posted to a weblog (or to the Moodle platform).
One of the reasons I bought a SIM card instead of a new mobile phone with Claro offers incoluded was MMS and WAP. I want to continue to moblog here. But the Claro package did not contain any information about configuring MMS or GPRS (but it contained an EULA of 10 pages or so).
So I browsed the Web and found some information about how to configure GPRS (this or this - TIM just became Claro so the same settings should apply). Unfortunately this did not work. It appears that I'm able to connect through GPRS but then the connection times out. Sending MMS does not work, either.
So today I went to the local Claro store for help. But they were not very helpful. They told me to buy some software (called "Actualización de software mensaje multimedia" or in English "Multimedia message software actualisation"). Up until now I was pretty sure, that GPRS and MMS are worldwide standards. But it seems that the mobile phone industry is even worse at standards than the software industry.
Well, hopefully I'll be able to send MMS messages from Peru one day. But it may take a trip to the main Claro centre.
I digged a bit into Skolelinux (Debian-Edu), a Linux distribution optimized for schools. I was really impressed with the profile system. This is an idea to pre-configure the system for certain roles. For example there is a server profile which gives you a network server with central login, home directories on the server, mail (I think) and other things, tool. There is a client profile which needs almost no configuration and automatically integrates into the network. Language support is quite good, though Spanish is a bit rough in certain areas.
What I want to try next is installing GNOME on Skolelinux. I'm interested in how easy this is going to be. We currently use Gnome here at the Diego and I'd like to continue that. Though I have read quite an interesting mail by Knut Yrvin, stating that GNOME's language support is worse then KDE's. His mail is quite interesting to get a general perspective of internationalization of software.
Apart from Skolelinux I also wanted to try out Edubuntu. Unfortunately on my test machines the installation always failed (or maybe just took hours and I was too impatient). I'll try again with a future release - or maybe just with Ubuntu.
Then I have stumbled over the software SchoolTool, a school administration software. (When I bookmarked it at del.icio.us, I saw that I had already stumbled over that back in August...) The tool likes quite nice, but doesn't provide the features we would need here, yet. Or so I think. And what annoyed me (at a first glance), was the strange division of courses into sections. I don't fully understand yet, what courses or divisions are supposed to be. There does not seem to be a demo online, but you can test it out very easily if you use Debian unstable. It's included in the distribution.
And now I'm going home. A bit early today, because I'm feeling quite dizzy. Have not been as healthy as I'm used to since coming to Lima.
Peruvian government officials reacted sharply to Japan's response to the detention of Fujimori.
Peruvian Foreign Minister Oscar Maurtua summoned Japanese Ambassador to Peru Hitohiro Ishida on Tuesday and protested the embassy's response.
"Japan's action is unacceptable because it has no right to intervene in the extradition between Peru and Chile," Maurtua was quoted as telling Ishida.
Auch ist Peru wütend, dass Fujimori aus Japan nicht ausgeliefert wurde. Peru hatte an Japan wiederholt Anträge zur Auslieferung gestellt.
The second weekend in October, we visited the Colca Canyon from Arequipa. We drove there by bus starting from Arequipa. The bus left at 2 am Saturday morning. We then went to Cruz de Cóndor where we saw some condors flying. Then we visited the village Yanque where we also passed the night. After a visit in a hot bath (in a bassin) Saturday night and another one (this time right out there in the nature) on Sunday in the afternoon, we left again for Arequipa.
The following Saturday we went to Mollendo which is a city at the pacific. From there we took a taxi to Mejía and walked all the way back to Mollendo. The Sunday of that weekend we spent sightseeing Arequipa.
Two days later we finally went for our Cuy (guinea pig) eating.
October 28th was the last day at school and I had to say good bye from my wonderful teachers (picture only visible to friends).
If you enjoy my pictures and would like to see private ones as well, get an account at Flickr (it's free) and add me to your contacts.
So I started with reading Matthias' curriculum a bit more thoroughly (now that I can actually read a bit of Spanish) and also got myself a schedule of the current Linux clases. Then I'm going to talk to the teachers and I also plan to watch them teach a bit to get a feeling of how they do things around here. From there I'll continue.
I'm doing this for the first time, you know. :-)
Dürft ihr gerne auch verwenden.
PS: Die anderen Bilder noch aus Arequipa werde ich demnächst auch endlich mal hochladen. Und von hier aus Lima sollte es dann auch mal Bilder geben.
Vor einigen Wochen hat sich Fujimori offiziell wieder zur nächsten Präsidentschaftswahl aufgestellt. Seine Chancen werden als recht hoch eingestuft und würde er gewählt, wäre er wieder immun und könnte strafrechtlich nicht belangt werden.
Nun ist er mitten in Spannungen zwischen Peru und Chile in Chile gelandet. Da wurde er nach entsprechenden Bitten von Peru dann auch festgenommen.
Bin ja mal gespannt, wie es weiter geht.
Peru is part in another border dispute, this time with Chile.
Peru's Congress has passed a bill to redraw its sea border with Chile, deepening a diplomatic row between the two Latin American nations.
The bill, backed in a 98-0 vote, grants Peru control of 37,900 square km rich fishing waters in the Pacific Ocean.
Chile - which currently controls the area - says the legislation violates treaties signed in the 1950s.
There was a war about the border to Ecuador in 1995, called the Cenepa war.
I have talked a little with Juan here at the institute about the work I'm planning to do. We have planned what I'll be able to do in the beginning. So Wednesday I'll probably start doing some real work here. Tomorrow, Tuesday is a free day.
In the meantime I've had a first look at the online Linux courses of the Diego Thomson. Will help me in learning technical Spanish.
Saying good-byes was hard in Arequipa and I'll miss some of the people (mostly "my family" and friends from school). But knowing myself I guess I'll integrate easily here and feel right at home after a few days. At least I hope that will be true again.
Today we'll probably go eating guinea pigs for our first times. I hope it tastes better than the one my father got in Ecuador. Many Peruvians like guinea pigs very much.
So my service will start on October 31, 2005 and continue until April 26, 2006. But I will probably do the final days of that service back in Switzerland.
A note about my pictures on Flickr: the pictures where people can be recognized are only visible to friends. So get an account (yes it's free) and add me to your contact list. I'll then add you to my friends list too, and you'll be able to see my private pictures.
This weekend I'll be away for a trip to the canyon near Arequipa. I'll probably write about that Sunday night or Monday afternoon (Peruvian time).
The Internet and Wikipedia addicted guy I am, I first went for the Wikipedia article on shoe size. There is some information in there, but most useful is the link International Shoe Size Conversion Charts. Unfortunately this charts do not include Peru yet. The author also writes that he would be grateful for any information about the sizes used in Latin America.
Funny what little details start to interest you when traveling abroad...
Yesterday I had some stomach problems. I suspect the altitude change as the reason for my sickness, though it may also have been the pizza I got in the plane. Silvia put me on a diet immediately and I am feeling much better now. I hope to resume normal eating tomorrow.
I had my first Spanish lesson at the ABC school today. My two teachers are called Sandra (for grammar) and Edgar (for 1-1 language practice). They have started at quite a high pace which is fine for me. I just hope I can keep up with that pace when practicing the vocabulary. Today's two topics were verbs (especially the regular ones) and family vocabulary. So I'm now able to talk about my hermanos (brothers), can say that I'm soltero (single) can answer questions like ¿Cómo te llamas? (What's your name?), ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?), ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you) and some more stuff along those lines.
Even after only this few hours I was already able to talk much better with my family during dinner. For the beginning it's an advantage that Oscar know English quite well, though.
I haven't had much time to take pictures, yet. So you'll have to wait for those to be available. Also I haven't taken any real time out to the city. I've only walked a short distance from the house to one of the main avenues. My first impresison: lots and lots and lots of taxis. And very hectic streets.
There is an Internet cafe just across the street from where I currently live. It seems, that at least in Areqiupa that's a major way for people to get online. There are eight stations here and all are currently in use by Peruvians (except one of course which is in use by a certain Swiss). My guest family doesn't have Internet access at home, either.
Oh and the language school is also only about 50 steps (probably less but I'm not going to count them) from my home. So everything important is really close for me.
I'm now waiting for my plane to Arequipa which is scheduled to fly at 19:40 (it's 18:40 in Peru now). Through a contact in Arequipa I was able to confirm my stay at a family in Arequipa and they should now know I'm coming and pick me up from the airport.
I spent most of today and yesterday learning Spanish. I did not invest too much time learning the language while still in Switzerland because I just didn't have any time left to invest. I'm looking forward to learn that language full-speed now and it definitely should be a lot easier than Japanese. :-) Even though I have lost much of the Japanese I knew there are currently many situations where I wished the people would understand that language, because I can only think of the sentence in Japanese but not in Spanish (of course if they understood English or German or French that would be even better). But anyway, staying with a Peruvian family and learning at a school for one month should do wonders to my Spanish abilities. Maybe I should also switch my computer's language, which thanks to the wonders of Mac OS X (or Linux for that matter) is easily done.
There's not much more to tell for now. Just a question to the gadget-equipped part of my readership: does anyone know if it is somehow possible to send MMS from Peru using an Orange mobile phone? The information I found on the Orange Web site about roaming in Peru says there is no way. Would be nice to be able to moblog from time to time.
Anyway. With arriving there were no major problems. Flight, Immigration control, luggage check, etc. Though the flight was a bit uncomfortable. I had a bad seat (right in the middle, with one person to the left of me and two on the right). According to the ticket I was sitting on the aisle but I wasn't in the mood to fight with the person who took that seat and switched quietly. Also - and more important - during my Austrian Airlines flight to Tokyo I had my own TV screen, while here with Iberia there were only a few shared ones. But as the flight only makes for two of the ca. 220 days of my stay in Peru, that's not too important to me.
But after coming out to the reception hall the problems started. I have a contact in Lima where I can stay for the first days in Lima (two days now and a few days after coming back from language school). At the airport a tourist office guy chatted me up and told me he was sent by those people. Actually he asked me whom I'm waiting for and I told him the name. Then he said he was sent by them. While I found it highly dubious in the beginning, it started to make sense after a while in the conversation. So he helped me to get to a hotel and we went for a drink. During the drink he asked me about my friend "Willy S." (full name known to me). I did not know such a person and told him so. We then realized that I was waiting for "Wilson R." and that he made a mistake at the airport. He was actually sent by Willy to pick up another guy. Ouch! I phoned my friends here in Lima, told them about the problem, and they are now coming to pick me up this morning.
Somehow I always seem to have some similar problems when arriving in foreign countries. When going to Japan I had met a nice young Japanese guy on the plane. In the airport he helped me get a ticket for the train. It was more expensive than the price that I expected, though (I had detailled information about how to get to my target when arriving, including ticket price). So I asked him about this. And only after about 15 minutes of discussing he finally realized he had purchased the wrong ticket. A few weeks later a friend told me, that maybe that guy at the airport had purchased a ticket to Ishikawa instead of Ichikawa (which sound quite similar, especially when pronounced by a Swiss guy who does not speak Japanese well).
So after all that excitement yesterday I stayed at the Hotel, watched a bit of TV and slept. Though I'm probably quite jet lagged because I was not able to sleep the times I wanted to.
Tomorrow, October 1st, I'm flying to Arequipa for language school.
By the way: my time zone is UTC-5. You can always check my current time online.
First, you can just look at http://weblog.patrice.ch/en/. This includes all English posts on my weblog. The according feed (for your RSS reader) is http://weblog.patrice.ch/en/atom.
The second way is to just look at the Peru category which is available at http://weblog.patrice.ch/Peru. The category's feed is http://weblog.patrice.ch/Peru/atom.
Of course the latter solution will also work if you are interested in just one of any of the other categories.
Den Oktober werde ich aber erst in Arequipa an der Sprachschule verbringen. Danach bin ich für ca. sechs Monate in Lima.
Abflug ist bereits morgen, am 29. September. Ich freue mich auf diese geniale Gelegenheit und werde hier versuchen fleissig zu bloggen. Sicher fleissiger als im letzten Monat... ;-)