Friday, October 1, 2010

Election Day

This Sunday, Peruvians voted for the mayors of their districts and regions. Since it's mandatory to vote in Peru, today was absolutely crazy. It seems like all of Huaycan (and Lima!) was out on the streets. The volunteers who commute from Lima to Huaycan every Sunday couldn't get here today because the traffic was at a standstill. And the main intersection of Huaycan was completely clogged up. There were so many cars in it that none of them could move. When I had to cross the street there, I couldn't even go between some cars because they were stopped so close together. Getting to classes today was quite interesting. We left 45 minutes to an hour early for each class. And then we quickly realized that finding combis was impossible and just used motos all day.

Mandatory voting isn't the only way the government reacts to election day. There's also a law in Peru called La Ley Seca, or the Dry Law. It says that alcohol is illegal in Peru 48 hours before the election and 24 hours after. In other words, no alcohol can be served on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and maybe even Monday. And all discotecas and clubs are closed those days too. The objective is for people to be sober and ready to vote on Sunday. However, I think it's a fairly ridiculous law, since people respond to it by stocking up on alcohol on Thursday and partying throughout the weekend. In fact, it seems like people almost drink more than they normally would just because they're not allowed.

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