Well, ive been in Peru since the 5th and so far have done a s*** load of travelling and seem a bunch of great stuff. Its a completely different place to anywhere i have been before. Its VERY poor, and kind of austere too, its an Andean culture, not Latin flavoured like the rest of Central and South America. So theres no salsa dancing, (which is fine by me cause I have 2 left feet and no rhythm) not much machismo (i gotta cople of hisses though) and there doesnt seem to be a big party culture, but thats okay, a bit of culture wont kill me.
I spent one day in Lima which has a horrific reputation for express kidnappings, rapes, muggings, gunfights etc. (I can mention all that now that I have left there!) The only time I felt that it may be a bit sketchy was that my cab driver insisted that i locked the door when we left the airport, that and that my hostel was locked up like Fort Knox. However, I felt perfectly safe but I think that was because I was with my friend who is a) male, b) speaks spanish c) good with a knife. Lima was cool, didnt really explore but we shall hopefully be heading back there to go paragliding on our way out of Peru. We shall see if we have time.
In the past week we have travelled through the desert (sand surfing, visiting weird Nasca lines) gone to the top of the Andes, ( visiting the Ice maiden mummy, guinea pig dining in Arequipa, visiting Lake Titicaca´s floating islands, caught in a massive hailstorm in Puno) and now I have worked my way down by about 1000 metres. Clayton and I parted ways in Lake Titicaca - hes gone to do a motorbike trek to Machu Picchu and I wanted to do some shopping, but we will be meeting up in a couple of days. I took a 10 hour bus journey today to Cuzco, (the tour guide sounded like Borat and I couldnt stop laughing) which is the biggest city closest to the citadel of Machu Picchu.Im heading there in 2 days, so tomorrow Im going to explore Cuzco and look for jungle treks into the Amazon which is our next stop. Theres quite a sweet scam going on with MP, theres only 2 ways to get there, train or by trek. The treks cost mininum of 150 bucks, thats for the most bare bones stuff, and easily go up to 750. You have to go with a guide, theres no way round it, and since theres a limited number of permits given out you usually have to book very far in advance. The train is only run by one company and so they can charge the earth. I think we are lucky that its out of season otherwise the prices would be much higher. From the sounds of it we came to visit at the right time, since theres talk of a super luxe hotel resort being built right ON the site, so the locals are protesting about that. They like their protests here they do, we have seen several. Also, apparently its sinking too so i imagine in a few more years it will be like Stonehenge, impossible to get close to.
Right some random things about Peru
There are 30 different colours of llama.
There are over 3 THOUSAND types of potato grown here, (according to my guide today )and I reckon i have tried about 9 so far. This is the country for me i think, considering how much i love potatoes.
The Peruvian men are really REALLY tiny. Skinny little things compared to the women who tend to be taller and a heck of a lot chunkier. The last place i was at the women all wore brightly coloured blankets round their waists, their hair in 2 very long plaits and porkpie hats on their heads.
The idea of having your own seat in a bus is just a suggestion. They will happily sit on you.
Everything closes very early, and their siestas are 3 hours long.
They do not believe in heating of any sort.
Peru is reputated to be the most dangerous country in S. America but so far I havent seen any trouble and Im beginning to think that my guidebook writer is a liar (and i think they wrote the Vietnam guidebook too).