The Point Lookalikes

Do we have any more lookalikes? there have been rumours of a Jesus lookalike in mancora, and Jude Law worked behind the bar in Lima in October.

No dating scene in Bolivia?

Well i have consulted Coleina (the previous love guide writer)  on this and she has told me the dating scene for gringas in Bolivia is a wasteland. It is certainly true that Bolivian people have the worst reputation for looks on the continent, but is this true? There is as i discovered a strain of beautiful women in Bolivia that all seem to live in the same areas and are all too willing to shed thier international reputation as ugly and sexless…

So to cut a long story short…somehow I ended up  in Potosi playing spin the bottle with 3 bolivian girls a Canadian and a Danish guy, there were certainly more teeth than people on the bolivian side and I was praying for the bottle to land on my Danish travel buddy, his long blonde hair and nice straight teeth were looking more and more appealing by the second and the beard he was sporting was now just a minor issue. The bottles circles began to slow and then it came to a halt between the Dane and one of the girls “spin again” I begged. But no, my fate was decided, luckily I was spared and just a peck on the lips was my only punishment. We left the bar after a few more nerve jangling spins and I wondered if I would ever find my Bolivian babe.

"Spin again, it was a false spin to start with, please, please!!"

I had heard rumours of beauties in Santa Cruz but by the time I got wind of that I was in La Paz and the linda latinas that i imagined while in the rat race in London seemed a million miles away, I then started to learn Spanish and my teacher told me of some places in the rich neighbourhood in La Paz that a filled with hot girls who are ready to shed the ugly Bolivian image.  The rich are rich in la paz, there is for example; a golf course that costs $20,000 a year to join (average salary in Bolivia is $2500 P.A) and huge houses with SUVs parked outside. It really is  a strange neighbourhood, full of TV stars, company owners and even the odd ex-pat and criminal.

To Be Continued….

South America Nightlife top 10

To some night life when travelling is as important as daylight activities, indeed many friends are made and relationships formed when the sun goes down, so… here are my top 10 South American night-life spots. Help me complete the last 2 with your picks!

1)    D-EDGE – Sao Paulo: Rio has beaches and Lapa but for serious clubs Rio is left lagging being Sampa, and 1st in our entry of SaoPaulo clubs is D-EDGE Perhaps one of the most unique clubs on the continent, neon lights surround the club in an LED style from ceiling to floor, all coloured and moving perfectly to the music. Top Djs from around the world can be found here on the pulsating weekends, Monday nights as well are a particular highlight when the club hosts indie and rock mash up nights.

2)    LAPA – Rio de Janiero: possible the most fun place on the list, loads of bars, people drinking and dancing outside and some famous Brazilian hospitality make this a must do nightlife spot in this continent. Lapa has a dangerous reputation in the day but at night it becomes a awesome party spot every night of the week. If it rains nothing happens, its all about partying outside here.

3)    GOTICA – Lima: Located in the larcomar shopping centre overlooking the sea this is one of Limas biggest and most expensive nightclubs, but for music it is certainly one of the best in Lima if not the continent.  From the point of view of a man it also has the most beautiful women in the continent, it gets very crowded on the weekend but there is a terrace outside where you can cool down while enjoying views over the ocean. An absolute must do if spending the weekend in Lima.

4)   FULL MOON PARTY – The Point Mancora: Started as a anniversary for the hostel, but soon this event became one of the best clubbing events in Peru. The whole town descends on the Hostel for a night of drinking, dancing and partying under the bright white moon above. This is a must for anyone who heads to Mancora. The atmosphere here is one of warmth and friendliness as everyone is here to have a good time and party!

5)   LOVE STORY – Sao Paulo: This place is pure madness and not for the faint hearted! This place does not get busy on weekends until after 3am and anything goes here, Layo and Bushwacker even named one of their tunes about this place. The music is load, drinks and entrance insanely expensive but once in anything goes, its all Sex, Drugs and fun here.

6)   PACHA BA – Buenos Aires:  BA has some of the biggest and best clubs on the continent, and Pacha brought the big brand from Ibiza to this ornate city. Saturday nights are best.

7)   MIRRADOR HOSTEL – Taganga: A strange one to the list maybe but there is always a awesome party on the rooftop bar which goes on all night overlooking the bay, beautiful Colombian girls and guys and a few travellers pack the terrace, music is a bit hit and miss but the location and people make up for this.

8)   ROUTE 36 –  La Paz: Certainly an experience to be had in South America. The rumour is that this place moves every 4 weeks to miss detection (it doesn’t) dodgy money changing hands in smoke filled rooms is what keeps this place open.  Being served cocaine at your table is certainly an interesting experience if not to everyone’s taste.

9) Million – Buenos Aires Coolest bar in the city, restaurant by day and bar by night.


The Gocta Falls

Many of us have undoubtedly met someone who has done something that was “not even in lonely planet” or “so local” but the Gocta Falls in Peru are certainly something that can be considered off the beaten track.  The falls are 771 meters (2,529 feet) high and located in Chachapoyas and actually not that arduous a task to reach.

Debate has raged over whether they are the 3rd highest or whether a two tier waterfall should not be counted as one, nevertheless the falls are one of the most spectacular sights in Peru and relatively easy to reach. The most bizarre thing about this natural wonder is that it only came to light in 2005 after a German working for the portable Amazon water company found it while hiking in the region.

Tours are now being arranged by companies from the nearby village of Cocachimba in the district of San Pablo, to take in the surrounding area and the falls itself, the falls are a 6 hour hike from the nearby village along the walk you can enjoy the scenery rich with toucans, hummingbirds, and monkeys; and end with a refreshing dip in the waterfall’s pool.

According to local legend, the waterfall is home to a beautiful blonde mermaid, who keeps a golden bowl guarded by a giant serpent. The reason it was not discovered was because locals kept its location secret for fear of provoking the serpent if it was discovered.

Peru Love Guide

 Peru dating and romance guide

“Sexual interactions between locals and travellers are common” – Lonely Planet 2009

Well that’s about as realistic as lonely planet can get about the realities of travel, and yes it is true and hooking up with locals is all part of travelling. So writes Coelina Johnston with help from Karl Sheedy.

In general dating Peruvian girls and guys is great fun, Peruvian girls and guys are sexy, fun and live for the moment, often paired with there less attractive Bolivian neighbours Peruvians seem to have a bad reputation for there looks among travellers. That is until they go out any Saturday night in Lima or Trujillo and Arequipa and see the scores of beautiful women around. Peruvian men are very “Latino” and can dance well compared to the gringos and show a lot of affection which is always nice. The men are generally smaller than the gringo men and fiercely macho, though to a lot of Peruvian men being “macho” means being sexist, immature, wolf whistling, heckling, never cooking, hating gays and the new thing to show how tough you are seems to be having a silhouette of a soldier on your car, how tough! But as I discovered after time there were also men with handsome Latino looks who were gentlemen as well, perfect!

If you have blonde hair be prepared for a lot of attention (male or female). For some this is great for others it is a nuisance that becomes increasingly annoying. The writer of this actually cut off her blonde hair because she got fed up with the attention, but some girls will love the attention and enjoy every minute of it. Often they will be seen as a rather unattractive girl back home and will relish all the attention from these rampant Latin men.

In Lima you will find the most trendy and beautiful Peruvian guys and girls and because not many travellers hang around too long because its “so dangerous” so it is easy to meet someone just about out anywhere (a friend even hooked up with a policeman) , and as there are lots of universities and money about people often speak English so you may not even need to know Spanish.  People talk about Colombian women (true) and Brazilian women (myth) but no one talks about the Peruvians and they really are beautiful people! Peruvian men may not be as handsome as Argentines or Brazilians but they are a lot better than Bolivian, I can’t think of anyone who has hooked up with a Bolivian man…

There are some strange stories going around in Peru, if you are in Peru a while you will surely hear the word Brichero/a. These are are often mentioned as money grabbing Peruvians who will try and suck as much money from a poor gringo as possible, indeed this can often be the case as people can “punch above their weight” and date a gorgeous girl or hot surfer dude in return for splashing out on them relentlessly. Stories have been passed on of gringos paying for latinas to travel a month with them for free or buying shopping trolleys full of food for their family, stories have even surfaced of gringos paying for some long lost grandmas medical treatment. Some bricheras even have a national reputation as a professional bricheras who never work but just live off gringo/a´s, these can allegedly be found lurking mostly in Cusco and Mancora. Or is all this talk just nonsense… Well probably,  people spend money on their partners all over the world without getting labelled something so why Peru is different is very strange…

In Cucso lots of  girls (gringo hunters or “Bricheras”) will approach gringos asking what their name is and if they want to buy them a drink. They have rehearsed these lines well and perhaps know a couple more usually XXX rated lines that you may hear later on. If you want to spend some money and have some fun then this is all very well, there are no victims right? So everyone is happy.There are some strange terms that they use like if “big fish” if a Brichera captures a rich gringo (apparently). Or is all this talk of bricheros and bricheras just nonsense?  travellers are willing to spend money and if they want to spend money on dating then who cares? Who has a problem with it…? Well this bizarre name means even when hand in hand with your Latino partner, wife or husband you may get heckled, often by a lonely insecure man in a passing car, who is clearly a little jealous and without girlfriend.

The vast majority of relationships between travellers and Peruvians are great fun! and many gringos will find a nice, intelligent and loving partner and maybe long term love in Peru, often Latina girls prefer the exotic more sensitive and inquisitive gringos who don’t try and be “macho” all the time, and the Gringos like the exotic fun loving Latinas. Perfect! Also many girls including this author have found long term love with a Latin lover and have lived very happily, do Latinos do it better? maybe, but i think we are all attracted to something that is different or is it true that once you go gringo/a you never regreso or vice versa?

Inspired by telenovellas Peruvians fall in and out of love all the time, expect to hear “te amo” after dating a girl or guy for a week or so, this can be a bit full on for some travellers but for others its very sweet.  They will also be fiercely jealous and protective of their westerner, is there something in the blood or do they just try to imitate the tellenovellas? Who Knows but whatever the reasons, it has to be said that dating in Peru is great and a must do on any single travellers to do list.

Views expressed in this article are personal and therefore not those expressed by The Point.

So perhaps you like the country you are in and want to meet some people and earn some money while you are there, well as many of you will know if you speak English you already have a job somewhere in the world and its all the more easier if you are native, because of course if you are native your English is better right?

Many teach in Asia where the wages can be as much as $3000 a month, nice, if you can sell your soul and teach 5 year old kids the alphabet for 8 hours a day.  But I am afraid in Peru wages are between $5 and $15 an hour, but still not bad, most will earn $7 an hour. All you need is perhaps a degree or  maybe not even that, but anyway we can all false s degree certificate cant we? Anyway life is better on this continent isn’t it. And many a latina/o will surely end up falling in love with there gringo/a teacher.

If you want it there is work out there

Those looking to wing it in lima like many do in South Korea will have a bit more difficulty generally South Americans have a good grasp of grammar so if you don’t know your past present passive from you present continuous you better swat up, or be caught out by some 14 year olds. The most enjoyable thing about teaching in South America and especially Peru is the people, students are fun  and interact with classes more, they will ask questions, give back some banter and you can genuinely get to know them and enjoy the lessons. Compare this to the robotic automatons that Asian students so often are, and you can see why more and more people are coming to South America to teach English.

There are some excellent international schools in Lima and for these you will certainly need a PGCE and Degree from good university, in fact the best schools on the continent are in Lima, and these have a worldwide reputation for brilliant students. The top schools in Lima are bilingual and these students will speak perfect English far better than most people from English speaking countries so you have to be on the ball to teach them. Most English institutes teach a variety of students from 6 year old kids to business people with a variety of English levels from basic to proficient. You will see these all over Lima, the biggest two are IPNA and Britanico.

Some institutes specialize in business people, teaching business people is also becoming more and more common, with 7% economic growth in 2010 Peru is a growing economy and English skills are essential for international trade.  If you can swap t shirts and jeans for shirt and trousers then this is an interesting way to make some money. You may end up working in high tech offices (be prepared for 7am starts) or for a mining company or even be sent to the mine itself to teach business people on site. This can pay up to $1200 a month with all meals and accommodation paid, but then you have to live in a mine for a month.

Teaching privately is also an option, but be prepared for students not to turn up or cancel at the last minute. You can charge $10 an hour and if get students to pay upfront for say 10 hours  you can get some cash coming in instantly. Once you get one student then you will surely get more especially if they are at college or at University.

You don’t really need a visa to find work in Peru, and it is not easy to get a working visa. So many people just don’t bother. TEFL qualifications are not that important unless you want to work for a really good English school, even then it’s not essential. A smart appearance and pleasant manner will get you far in South America.

Despite having a bad reputation as a smog filled crime fest most people will end up teaching English in Lima, and then they will see that it’s a great city with great people, nightlife, top museums and absolutely everything you would expect from a modern western city. There is also work in Trujillo and Arequipa and some as well in Cusco but it’s harder to find. So fancy earning some money in Lima? Get some smart clothes, print out CVs and Business cards and take them to some institutes. Send you CV as well but it is important to go in person, you should be able to get work no problem.

If anyone has questions please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

David Horne