Drinking with the Peruvian congressman and other reporting updates

The past week has been a total whirlwind, so I wanted to take a minute to give an update.

First, I’m totally blown away with your generosity. It’s been less than a week since I launched my Indiegogo campaign, and I’m already more than halfway towards my goal. Thank you so much!

I spent last week running around Lima, which is an amazing city. The food is top rate (everything from chili stews to Amazonian rice-balls packed with meat to Chinese food), it’s got a beautiful walk along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, and the people are really warm and welcoming.

I would have liked to have had more time to explore it; I spent most of my week running from back-to-back interviews. (I also missed a day recovering from food poisoning.) I met with a city councilman who provoked a backlash from religious leaders with a proposed gay rights ordinance, an alum of Liberty University who helped organize anti-gay protests, and several leaders of the LGBT movement in the city.

The highlight, though, was the time I spent with Carlos Bruce, a member of the Peruvian Congress who was the vice-presidential nominee of former President Alejandro Toledo in the last presidential campaign. (They started the campaign in the lead, but ultimately lost.) Despite the very real power of the church in Peruvian politics, Bruce has endorsed civil unions and took time to record a video for Peru’s equivalent of the “It Gets Better” project in the middle of the campaign.

He’s not entirely circumspect in his personal life, either. The night after our formal interview in the Congress, I met him at the bar he owns in the Barranco neighborhood, which he says is one of the city’s few bars attracting a mixed gay and straight clientele. That night, it was hosting a “fashion show” featuring women in bikinis and male bodybuilders in boxer shorts.

“Something for every taste,” Bruce said.

I’ve since headed inland, taking a break from interviewing to try and make sense of what I’ve gathered in Lima and in Argentina. The traveling has been a little bit more difficult than I expected–for some reason Peruvian wifi networks don’t like my computer very much, and it’s been a balancing act to stay connected, find hotels, and get myself from one place to the next.

I write now from a dumpy hostel on the outskirts of Cajamarca in the northern highlands, where I was awoken several times by packs of barking dogs and crowing roosters. I hope to get settled somewhere more manageable shortly.

Thanks again for everyone’s support, and I’ll check back in soon.


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