We spent the entire day today traveling to Quito, Ecuador. We have a busy schedule ahead for the next four days and the weather forecast is a minimum of 80% chance of rain each day. Let's see.
This seems a good time to hand-off some great lessons we have learned so far on our trip. We sincerely hope you gain important insight and enjoy:
Profound learnings from our South American Travels, Vol. I
No matter what your ass looks like or how old you are, you can go to the beach and have a great time with friends and family in a thong. Strut that stuff!!!
You cannot learn to Tango in a single lesson. But it is a helluva lot of fun to watch. The effect is almost the same.
Learning Number One:
If you plan to visit Machu Picchu in the future, take this advice: Do it soon--within the next four years. In the very near future a new museum will be built. When it opens, access to the Machu Picchu grounds will be highly restricted. No one will be able to walk the place we did on this visit. This magnificent, sacred place was created to accommodate the daily visits of just a few Inca nobles and their servants. Today, 1.4 million annual visitors are creating erosion and causing the site to sink. Stop what you are doing and go now!!
Learning Number Two:
Harrison, our guide in the Amazon Rainforest taught us this great toast while we were tasting "medicines" at the "office" of the local shaman.
"Arriba" (means "up" -- Hold your glass high and touch the rim of your glass)
"Abajo" (means "down" -- Hold your glass low and touch the bottom of your glass)
"Al centro" (means "center" -- Hold your glass out in front and touch the middle of your glass)
"Pa' dentro or Adentro" (means "inside" -- Drink!! Bottoms up!)
Learning Number Three:
When visiting the restroom . . . anywhere, you cannot throw anything, especially toilet tissue into the toilet. It must be placed in a trash receptacle. Pity the poor guy or girl who has to change the trashcan liners each day!!! Surely it is an entry-level position.
Learning Number Four:
Although I said this was fact and I thought it was, fact, Baby Alpaca is NOT the source of the most desirable, most expensive yarn for caps, sweaters, capes and coats. The most highly valued is wool from the Vicuna, the national animal of Peru. Each year the animals that are ready for shearing (they can only be sheared once every three years) are rounded up and sheared by the Peruvian government to ensure that poachers don't steal the wool or the animals. Vicunas live only in the wild. Once endangered in 1974, their population reaches 350,000 today. Who knows what the government does with the cash from that shearing? There is no corruption 'round here.
Learning Number Five:
Never have we seen more openly breast-fed babies than in Peru. They were all modest, sweet and perfectly natural.
Learning Number Six:
It is a challenge to find the bottom price. We bought an item for 4 Nuevo Soles. We negotiated the lady down from 5 Soles. Not too bad we thought, only a cost of $1.30 in US dollars. Later we decided to purchase another couple of these handy water bottle slings. First price out of the chute: 3 Soles, each. We got the next two for 5 Soles total, or $1.50 U.S., and we probably still over paid. Tell you the truth, if I purchased the materials at Hancock's or Hobby Lobby, I could not sew even ONE for the total cost we paid today of $2.80 U.S. for all three. People need to make a living.