Peru has always been a dream destination for me for as long as I can remember. I didn't know much about Peru growing up but I did know that something drew me to its allure - the various smiling Peruvian faces I had seen in magazines, the green mythical images of Machu Picchu, the bright red-orange textiles... I knew I wanted to go. So many, many, many years later my dream came true. My husband and I packed our dusty backpacks, kissed the children good-bye and ventured out into our hiking adventure extravaganza!
Kind of like a disclaimer....Our experience of Peru was mostly in the Andes Mountains - Cusco area - so all views, reactions, stories, opinions relate to this specific area and it's people.
People. I could go and on about how sweet and pleasant the people of Peru are. Although hardly anyone spoke English, between my grade-school Spanish and their own flexibility and creativity we were somehow were able to communicate quite well! The smiles never faded as we tried to talk with stewardesses, waiters, tellers, shop owners, hotel staff and on and on. Only our guide spoke English throughout our entire trip. Yet, I didn't realize this until now...guess it wasn't a real issue eh?
Places. We went on a three day hike called Lares Trek - the Inka Trail trek (the most well known trek in Peru) was sold out because only 500 trekkers a day are allowed by the government. Thank goodness!
On our trek we actually went through remote villages and saw locals and spoke and played with children that are very isolated from tourists. Some saw their picture taken for the first time, almost all tried to eat the candy we gave them with the wrappers, and a couple of children were scared until I took off my sunglasses. They all look liked beautiful, dirty, messy, happy dolls. The girls all wore tightly wrapped layers of colorful sweaters with v-shaped skirts and the boys cropped pants with blue knits and they all wore the most uniquely gorgeous hats I have ever seen. Every child had rosy big cheeks that had cracked rom wind and sun exposure and they all wore simple, plastic brown sandals. I will remember each and every one of the children we met in the Andes Mountains for as long as I live.
Food. Quinoa paradise! Potato heaven! Corn bliss! Need I say more? We had potatoes three times a day, quinoa risotto, fresh, delicious vegetables with everything and an abundance of pisco sours...a girl could surely get use to this. Peruvians treat meals like I do - a gesture from the Gods; an expression of love; the beginning and end to all things wonderful...so you see how well we got along... The only thing that I didn't try (and I am usually up for anything) is guinea pig (their festive luxury) - I babysit our neighbor's "Fluffs" so too many images in my head. But the alpaca meat was tried, tasted and noted - not a favorite but not bad - I'll stick to quinnotto!!
Children. No need for more words.