Thursday, June 30, 2011

My First Kiss - in Peru

My visit to Peru was driven by the business needs of my client. I work in a technology consulting role and meet with many people during each engagement. In the weeks leading up to my trip, I had scheduled meetings with a great many of the local subject matter experts.

Monday morning, I had flown all night and taken a slightly terrifying taxi ride from the airport to the office. There was the usual bit of confusion while a desk was found for me, site access badges were requested, and I logged on to my laptop, hoping furiously that I would have no problems accessing the local network.

Then it was time for my first meeting. Into my office walked a pair of Peruvian men. One was young and rather handsome. Much to my surprise, as I offered him my hand for a handshake, he leaned over and kissed me! It was rather startling and unexpected in a business setting.

As I puzzled over this during our meeting, the only thought that occurred to me was wondering if I reminded him of his grandmother!

I later found out that this is the custom in Peru - to kiss each other on the cheek in greeting or goodbyes. I was also told that Peruvian men do not kiss each other, only ladies. Argentinean men do kiss each other in greeting, which causes some awkwardness when Peruvian and Argentinean men meet.

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