“Did your father allow you to do that?”

“Did your father allow you to do that?”

When we arrive in Bagua Grande on Thursday, Marius has chosen a vegetarian restaurant for me. There is no meat served there, but unfortunately it is not a real gain, because the side dishes on the menu, which are supposed to represent a whole main course, are exactly the same as everywhere else. So I eat rice with eggs and beans again. Afterwards we visit the city market to shop for the evening. We want to make pancakes. This will be an experiment, because we have no flour and no pan, only two cooking pots. In the market, we even get some milk.

For several days we have been looking for a tailor in the larger towns. It seems that some of the equipment is not as resistant as it should be, including, to my great hassle, expensive cycling shorts that I bought just before the trip. The material is simply torn. When we come from the market, we think about where we could find a tailor shop and suddenly we notice that we are standing right in front of one. Across the street is a narrow entrance, Sastrería a sign above says. There are three sewing machines in the hallway. We show our clothes. He immediately begins to work.

Our bikes attract attention. I do not know if the man owns the adjoining store or if he just sits in a chair in front of it, at least he asks us where we’re from. “From Germany,” I say. The conversation takes place in Spanish. “Ah, ah, Berlin!”, He nods. “No, from Hamburg, that’s in the north”, I explain.

Marius is still doing shopping, and so I find myself alone. “How much does a cup of coffee cost in Germany?” “About 3.50 €, that’s 12 Sol.” That seems pretty expensive to him. “Where are you going?” “To Saõ Paulo in Brazil. We have five months time.“ He looks in disbelief, I see him thinking, maybe he’s wondering if he misunderstood me. “All by bike?” “A bit on the bus.” “Can you not drive?” “Yes, yes, I also have a driver’s license, but I prefer to ride a bicycle.” “And how much is that? The flight from Germany? “” About 1000 €, there and back“, I explain. Now the Peruvian really gets going. If I have the permission of my father, he wants to know, and if Marius and I am married, if my father pays for the flight and if he probably has his own shop (To him, that seems to be the highest, what a man can achieve: an own tienda). “No, my father is a police officer and I do not need his permission. I’m 25 years old.“ While he seems to gain some understanding for this, he acknowledges my explanation that Marius and I are a couple, but not married, with a critical eye. Even my assurance that this is normal in Germany can not reassure him. In order to not finally destroy his patriarchal concept of society, I answer his request for whether my father paid for the flight, yes, although I finance the trip myself and had two jobs in Germany. During the conversation, I’m so concentrated on defending my view that I completely forget to ask him a few questions as well. Maybe that’s better, because in this way the conversation keeps a cheerful undertone, instead of degenerating into cultural debate.

Fifteen minutes later, I leave the tailor shop, with repaired clothes, 5 Sol poorer bur with a new experience.

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