Freedom is power, and it grinds some people up and spits them out as empty, shallow husks. All you can do is watch, laugh, and scarf down copious amounts of popcorn.
It’s been my impression that there is a shelf life for an Expat living in Lima. At first, Lima appears as a mystical playground that is unregulated without a bunch of psychopaths beating down your door and getting in your face about every little thing. You know how people are always getting fired in the US because they do something like post a picture of themselves kissing their wife while on a family vacation? Well, that doesn’t happen in Peru. In fact, Peruvians think such things are ridiculous.
It’s kind of strange though because all the freedom eventually does go to the Expat’s head. They start off kind of aloof thinking that all the BS they used to put up with in terms of extremely repressed social propriety back in their home country makes them somehow “superior.” They strut around trying to convince others that their way is actually better because it’s the only reality they know. But of course they’re not going to convince anyone because societies where a bunch of people sit around waiting for you to make a misstep only to mercilessly pounce on you isn’t the way anyone wants to live.
Eventually the Expat gives up and heads out to Snap Car Rentals where they acquire a car for a wild weekend down in Asia (the beach party town closest to Lima). There they partake of true partying style it’s all over. But instead of just adopting the Peruvian way of doing things (a fun, relaxed style of entertainment that still knows boundaries), the Expat, as if to make up for lost time, starts going off the deep end.
It’s almost like it’s a competition, and you see these guys start dropping like flies. The dabbling becomes a way of life. Soon these guys (and gals) are hiking around in a single pair of motorbike pants that they haven’t taken off or washed in a year. They lose their job, and their house, and they start plaintively begging you for money because they just burned through 30 large in a weekend and a half. Next thing you know, they’re working as Chicken Feeders on the outskirts of Trujillo, still with a superior attitude and a sense that they’ll once again prove their superiority once they can make it stop whistling when they breathe through their noses.
On the one hand it’s kind of sad to see intelligent, capable people going into the Peruvian death spiral. However, I have to admit that I find I’m pretty entertained by it. Abraham Lincoln has a quote that is tangentially related:
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.