Monday, February 1, 2010

Inca Kola

Staying in quite a posh part of Lima with a wealthy family you notice the class differences in the city. I had breakfast brought to my room. I would put my clothes out and fairies would take them away and bring them back clean. I ate fantastic food in the best restaurants. I was completely spoiled and it’s hard for me to admit this but I kind of liked it and it was a bit too easy to get used to.
The reality of Peru is you have the poor, the wealthy and the filthy disgusting rich but not really much of a middle class. This is the problem a lot of countries, especially Latin American countries face and Peru is right up there with the best of them.
Lima is a large city but the social circles that people move in are tight and closed off. You don’t approach a girl in a bar, you need to know her name, who her family is, where she went to school, wait for a friend to introduce you and vice versa. Party’s not just bars have guest lists and no matter who you are you can’t enter if your name is not in print.
In places people go without water to bathe in but if you go to the city centre you can see El Ciruito magico del agua a beautiful park that cost the city approx 16 million dollars, with impressive fountains and lights flowing to music. An amazing spectacle of flowing water.
There are parts of Lima not even Limenos will go they are too dangerous. Shanty towns can be seen sprawling up the hill of the Cerro del Azul.
There are extreme social differences in this country but you can find this in countries the world over. It’s not unique to Peru. Although, what is unique to this country is its strong sense of nationalistic pride. Peruvians are quite proud people and with reason which transcends classes. The symbol of this sense of unity and national pride can be found in the shabbiest eatery in the dodgiest part of town to every single table in the fanciest restaurant in the rich and prestigious neighbourhoods. The beverage that transcends the class system of Peru and is a symbol of the country is Inca Kola.
Inca Kola has a long history; it was created in 1935 in the Rimac a neighbourhood of Lima. It soon became very popular and reached the status of the drink of Peru. Coca-Cola was not able to beat Inca Cola in the Peruvian market so they did what Coke only knows how to do; they bought 50% of the Inca Kola Corporation.
The taste of Peru was bought out and the recipe changed. Perhaps it was a good thing, now the beverage is being pushed in other countries by the help of Coke but it does hurt the Peruvian pride just a bit.
Peru is a fantastic country with so much to offer; it has the resources and diversity to do really well in the global market but lacks the human capital which makes it still a developing country. There needs to be less of a social economic divide in this country for it to progress. Maybe they should be listening more to what their favourite beverage is saying, “Con creatividad todo es posible”

“With creativity anything is possible.”

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