THINGS I DID AND DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO WRITE ABOUT AND WANT TO REMEMBER
05.07.2016 - 23.07.2016
Here are some of the things that I noted while visiting Peru.
1. Tourism – they have it all figured out. Tourist sites are well equipped. They manage thousands of tourists daily with relative ease. But when you drive through areas with no tourist attractions, the poverty is very apparent.
2. Although tourism plays a large role in the country’s economics, mining is still the number one resource.
3. Bathroom tickets. Not only do you pay to use the bathroom but you get an actual ticket to show you paid but there is no one to check it. You also get a little toilet paper.
4. Winter ( July/ August). Cold in the morning and evening but blazing hot and super sunny in the daylight hours. Layers, layers and more layers.
5. Guinea Pigs. People really eat them and love them. Not so good and very boney.
6. Woven products – in beautiful colours everywhere.
7. Alpaca everything. Meat, wool, sweaters, blankets.
8. 100 % baby alpaca ma’am. Everything is genuine baby alpaca according to the sales people but it is too cheap to be true. When we asked our guides, the stuff that is cheap in the markets is still wool. Usually a blend of adult alpaca and lamb’s wool so still a good deal.
9. Alpaca are very fluffy so there is lots of wool to make all this stuff. Isaac loved touching the alpacas.
10. People eat Alpaca. We ate alpaca and liked it.
11. Machu Picchu. Tick!
12. Worst wifi ever. I have been in the jungles of Guatemala and the boonies of Indonesia and had better wifi. First world problem.
13. Incredible blue opaque skies. Even more vibrant against the lush green at Machu Picchu.
14. Peru is a multilingual nation. Its official language is Spanish but in many places the aboriginal languages, Quechua and Aymara also have official status.
15. Altitude effects. We felt a little dizzy on arrival in Cusco and noticed it when walking uphill. Machu Picchu was great as it was lower. BUT Puno and Lake Titicaca were higher and more challenging. No one had “altitude sickness”, which is the typical headache and nausea, but we sure felt it when walking around. Hotels at this altitude and higher generally had oxygen available.
16. Random numbness. Apparently from oxygen deficiency. Our lips, feet, hands, heels would periodically be full of pins and needles or numbness.
17. Coca leaves. Sold every everywhere. Served for free as tea at hotels to help deal with altitude sickness. Sold as candy for altitude sickness. Are a stimulant and locals chew it like crazy. They are used to make cocaine but that is not the “official” use.
18. Primarily a Catholic society. The second most popular organized religion is the Church of Latter Day Saints. In addition, most people still practice traditional beliefs, offerings to Pachamama or Mother Earth, a tradition that started even before the Inca’s.
19. So many seniors hunched over from years of carrying heavy loads on their backs.
20. Potatoes, over a hundred varieties. I think the black potatoes were the absolute worst.
21. Quinoa, 22 varieties. Often served with little flavoring.
22. Peruvian chocolate. Figured that would be an ok gift but at $10 a bar, forget it. Especially in a country that is relatively cheap.
23. A decent meal is about $10 without drinks at a nice restaurant.
24. The currency is the Neuvo Sol; one Canadian dollar is 2.5 Nuevo Sol.