Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Peru - Cuzco - Elter photo

Peru - friendship - K. Elter's photo


Likes


1. It’s fantastic to be among the Native Americans, and to personally experience their aboriginal culture.
2. The taste of southern fruit which is still unfamiliar to us – different kinds of banana, etc. – definitely worth checking out!
3. Domestic air travel: like taking a bus back home
4. The range of products available at markets – many finely colored soft textiles, including blankets and tablecloths, and clothing of linen and fur
5. Cheerful bus transport – most buses play Latin music, and the ticket inspector shouts out at every stop – “baja baja! – get off get off!” or “sube sube! – get on get on!”
6. Cheap, especially if you can bargain
7. The beautiful landscape, with exotic plants and animals
8. The ocean and the mountains
9. The exclusive restaurants and exclusive service, though the best meals we ate were all street food
10. The hike up to Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain). I could list more.


Dislikes


1. The Native Americans don’t like it when foreigners take their picture, which is a shame, because they wear fabulous clothing, and their thick eyelashes protecting their eyes from the sun make their faces equally striking.
2. It’s hard to see lots of little children hauling the bags or baskets of richer people through the market.
3. The airports are crowded, administration is slow, and sooner or later you discover that everything in your hand luggage has to be thrown away, because it doesn’t conform to Peruvian airport rules (they have separate criteria to the rest of the world)
4. Be careful with your valuables – particularly your money, your camera and your phone – the public safety situation has improved, but the markets are crowded. Satan never sleeps, and neither, it seems, do pickpockets
5. The buses have low ceilings, and many Europeans only fit if they tilt their heads to one side. Distances are long and marked stops are few. Also, be prepared to flag down a bus, especially if you’re not waiting by a marked stop. It’s happened that buses just drove straight past us, though we’d been waiting for half an hour or more
6. If you don’t speak Spanish you’re a gringo, and everything will be more expensive for you
7. The rapidly changing weather is very unpredictable – it can change completely every hour
8. The ocean can be dangerous if you aren’t familiar with it (and sometimes even if you are). Only swim at official beaches, and don’t think that just because the locals are swimming, it’s safe for you too – they know the waves
9. The mountains are steep and high, and getting to the top is a real physical challenge, especially in the thin air. The stone steps made by Native Americans help, but they also wear down your feet
10. The beaches can be cloudy and cool, even in summer
11. So many steps – never again!
(Suzanne, 2015)

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Likes

1. The beaches, the mountains, the jungle
2. The diverse, variable climate
3. The spectacular native culture
4. The traditions and customs to be found in the country
5. You can find any kind of food in Peru (grocery diversity)
6. One of those countries where the global crisis seems to have had no effect
7. In terms of food and range of dining options, I’d put Peru third in the world
8. There are work opportunities for everyone who wants to work
9. In some cities it’s possible to find real peace and quiet, as well as beautiful nature
10. The rhythm of Peru flows in the veins of its people – they’re friendly, laid back and kind


Dislikes


1. Illiteracy
2. A lot of racism in Peru (unexpected but true)
3. Some cities have high crime rates
4. Weak law enforcement
5. Corruption
6. In an international comparison of traffic congestion levels, Peru was in either second or third place in the world
7. The drug trade has expanded here in recent years
8. The exploitation of children (they make them work at six, seven or eight years of age here)
9. The level of education is very low
10. Deforestation is increasingly evident


Practicals

Transport

Domestic flights&intercity buses

You need to present your passport if taking a domestic flight. If you take an intercity bus, a copy of the passport can do.

Driving

The Peruvian section of the main transit route, Panamericana, which leads from Ecuador to Chile, is in good condition, partly subject to tolls.

Keep the tickets issued at the toll stations ("Peaje") in a safe place, as they will give you free help in the event of an accident or breakdown. You find the emergency numbers on the toll ticket.

Do not drive at night with your rental car, as there is an increased risk of accidents and even assaults.

In the country's interior, some other main roads are well-kept, but connections between larger towns are often not paved in remote areas.

In the highlands, especially during the rainy season, driving is difficult or impossible because of the landslides.

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"We didn't have any bad experiences, and even at night, we could safely travel really cheaply, taking a taxi at a pre-agreed price. In Peru, it is an estimable fact that anyone who wants to work is supported by the state, so there are many private taxis on the street not to con or steal, but to give people the opportunity to make money as a taxi driver, and they don’t even have to install a meter in the car, so they work at their own fare, which is significantly more favorable to the passenger than an official, state-controlled yellow taxi. it is much cheaper and faster than even bus travel.
In addition to the bus stop, buses can also be boarded at any street corner, all you have to do is flag down the speeding bus in time. You generally don’t get much time – you’ve just got to scramble on as quickly as possible since these minibusses don’t stop for long, and hardly any of them have working turn signals. Either the driver waves out the window if he wants to change lanes or turn around, or the conductor leans out on the right side of the bus, signaling to other road users that he is going to the right. It’s good to always have small change at the ready, and ideally the exact fare – you pay the conductor when you disembark. Don't wait for a ticket, because you won't get one except in the rarest of cases. Let’s take care of our heads because the buses, with the exception of the more modern ones, are not tailored to European dimensions, and are very low.

On the other hand, you’ll encounter pleasant Latin music, which continually plays on the buses, and creates a cheerful, good mood. Worth experiencing, at least. At the same time, we can experience how polite the Peruvian men are: European men could learn from them. They would never board a bus in front of women, and even if there was only one woman on the bus, they would already jump out of their seats, kindly inviting the lady, no matter how old or young she was, to take a seat. I have not experienced this high degree of attention and courtesy anywhere else in the world. Men, you have something to learn from them!

I often see Native American women with babies traveling on their backs. Don’t look at it judgmentally if they breastfeed a bit while on the bus, it’s natural for them.

And the Colectivo? Perhaps we would just call it a directional taxi, but the locals see it as a collective journey. True, there is no indication from the outside that it is a taxi, we only notice that people are getting in and out. Most of them are car-sized, but these days you also come across minibusses, which means a much more comfortable trip. The Colectivo is mainly used by students, who can thus travel even cheaper and more quickly than by taxi or bus. The point is to get on a route where someone gets out, or where there is still room. Wherever you sit down, you tell the driver in advance how far you’re traveling, and where you want to get out. You pay on that basis.

Traveling by rail is a special experience. Here I highlight the railway line from Cuzco to Machu Picchu.

During the trip, you will be entertained with a fantastic show by the locals on a comfortable train with huge windows. Thus you can admire not just the nearby, passing landscape, but also the mountain ranges which soar above you. Because of the fun show, the trip doesn’t even seem long. On the way back, a fashion show is held, inviting travelers to showcase a piece of clothing, and encouraging the audience to buy.” (Suzy, 2016)



Peru - Road World Championships Elite Men's Road Race - Elter photo

Iquitos - bus - K. Elter's photo

Peru - train to Machu Picchu - p.a. photo

Peru - Homer Simpson as taxi driver -h.a. photo

Peru - Proyecto bus - ticket-inspector - s.t. photo

Accomodation

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Peru - Cusco - Amaru Hostal - p.a. photo

Food

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Peru - the famous ceviche - r.k. photo

Peru - lomo saltado - stir-fried, marinated slices of beef tenderloin, onions, yellow Peruvian chilis, and tomatoes - a.g. photo

Peru - Aji de gallina (chicken stew) - j.t. photo

Shopping

You can change money at a ban, but the exchange rate is slightly more favorable at the exchange offices (casa de Cambio). The U.S. dollar (USD) is virtually the second currency. Card payment is becoming more common in places visited by tourists.
If you travel to visit the Andes and Amazon areas, you better bring cash, preferably smaller dominations. 

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“Out and about in Peru, we meet a lot of market vendors. On some street corners, you still find little hand carts piled high with fruit, including the most appetizing and exotic varieties. We found even the unfamiliar banana varieties irresistible: there are green and red bananas specifically for baking, with both coming in a range of sizes from tiny to enormous, as well as bananas for making chips from, or which can be eaten raw. Altogether there must be at least twelve different varieties. The range on offer is even greater at the big markets, and I’m still only talking about different banana varieties. We didn’t even try to familiarize ourselves with all the different types of potatoes. The range of exotic fruit on offer sometimes seemed practically overwhelming.

What surprised us is that in the larger markets, raw meats and raw fish are just set out in the open, without refrigeration, sweltering in the heat as they await a buyer. True, we didn’t see any flies, but we were horrified by the sight.

When we expressed an interest in visiting the markets, we were warned not to, on account of the pickpockets, and on no account were we to bring cameras or money with us if we went. But then what would be the point of going there? The market hall and the market were an unmissable experience. And if you don’t take money, how are you to buy anything? And what about the camera? Without one, how could you capture the many wonderful products and handicrafts? After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle and atmosphere, and if we were going to experience it and bring it home with us, we’d have to disregard all the good advice we’d been given. I have to say that our visit to the market was a really special experience for us, and we had no negative experiences whatsoever.

You can bet that if you ask how much it costs (¿cuánto cuesta?) the next thing you’re going to say is that it’s very expensive (muy caro). Bargaining is mandatory. It’s hard to get used to this, but you can often get what you want for half the original asking price, and if you don’t buy it now, you never know when there will be another opportunity. Of course, there are normal shops too, but there they ask the full price for everything and they don’t like to bargain: it’s just like shopping at home. In fact, some things even seem more expensive than at home, though in general prices in Peru are much cheaper than in Europe.

On our waders, we came across a craft workshop where the goods were made in front of us. I am very sorry that I haven’t get mastered the technique of Native American women, who can spin thread from a hank of llama wool. It would come in handy since I wouldn’t have to throw out the fur my dog casts on the floor.

Good advice: when shopping, always have only as much money on hand as you want to spend on a particular item. After all, they want to sell, and if they see you really only have a certain amount of cash, it will be easier to get a good price.” (Suzanne, 2017)



Peru - customer is a queen - s.t. photo

Fun

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Peru - dancer - not enough attention - s.t. photo

Public safety


The crime rate in Peru and the risk of becoming a victim of assaults, thefts, or kidnappings are particularly high in public transport, bus stations, shopping streets, and markets.
In the regions around Ica, Arequipa, Puno, and between Puerto Maldonado and Cusco in particular, there are isolated night-time attacks on intercity buses, occasionally with sexual assaults and armed violence.

In Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco, taxi drivers are occasionally accomplices in crimes such as robbery and rape. Criminals force victims to withdraw money from the ATM.

Only use taxis from officially approved companies, preferably not taking a cab 'off the street'.

Avoid being alone at night and always stay in well-lit streets and areas. If you happen to become a robbery victim, don't resist in any manner, and don't provoke the attackers. Your life is the ultimate value.

When traveling by train or bus, do not carry valuables in your hand luggage but on your body. Taking night buses is not safe.

When choosing accommodation, pay attention to security aspects such as night watchman, hotel safe, and room telephone.

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“We were warned in advance that there’s a lot of theft in Peru, that it’s unwise to walk alone, public safety is bad, you have to be careful everywhere and keep your money and valuables well hidden, and generally be warier of people than at home.

• Don’t carry money, or only in a well-hidden place – no one ever tried to steal my money during my stay of more than eight months. And let’s not forget that you can be a victim of crime at home too – even in broad daylight.
• Don't go to the market – the market is where I can find the best Peruvian handicrafts, and I shouldn’t go there? Of course, I did, and I don’t regret it. Again, at home, even in shopping malls, you have to be careful of bag snatchers.
• Don’t be out and about alone in the evening - I walked back from my Peruvian friends’ place more than once after dark, and nobody ever bothered me. Back at home I only walk places where I know there will be plenty of other people – I’ve had bad experiences.
• Cuzco is an unsafe city - I wouldn’t say so – there’s a policeman on practically every corner, ensuring security. The illuminated main square is beautiful in the evening. And back at home? Where are the police there?


All that said, there were two places we never let our things out of our sight for a second. One was an upscale bathing area on the ocean shore where we came down to bathe. We could sense on our skin pairs of sly eyes watching us. In such cases, it’s better not to talk to the person selling drinks and ice cream, because they’re often in cahoots with the thief. While the former distracts the customer, the latter can operate with impunity. Sun loungers and parasols can be rented for horrendous sums. We didn’t even take our camera out while we were here.

A useful tip: always bring food and drink with you if you feel like sunbathing or swimming in the ocean.

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Safety: only bathe in places where many people bathe. Since there’s no time to learn about the tides and currents in a particular place, it’s hard to recognize which wave is taking you ashore and which isn’t. It’s very dangerous when you’re trying to swim back to the shore with a wave that sucks you back out and spins you around. The water can have enormous power, and it’s no joke, especially at sundown, when the swell intensifies.

The other place we always stayed close to one was Puerto Maldonado. First of all, everyone there rides a motorbike – I mean really the whole city gets around on motorbikes. With the exception of a few bike- or motorbike-mounted rickshaws, we saw almost no other type of vehicle. It’s like a whirlwind when you’re in the middle of it, and when the motorbike gangsters showed up it made me think of Mad Max.

We had a total “déjà vu” feeling and felt like this was also not the sort of place for taking out our camera – if we did, they wouldn’t be ours for long. Fortunately, nothing unpleasant happened. True, it must be acknowledged that our tour guide was a well-known person in this neighborhood.” (Suzanne, 2017)







Lima - police - K. Elter's photo

Peru - Arequipa- security - Mister tourist - K. Elter's photo

Health

Be careful about altitude. Many tourists suffer altitude sickness to a different extent. 

Others

1. Peruvians use a lot of “ya" instead of “Sí" for yes. 

Background

Destination in brief

Peru in brief

Peru is located on the western side of South America. Neighbors: Ecuador (north), Colombia (north), Brazil (east), Bolivia (southeast), Chile (south). Peru has a long coastline along the Pacific Ocean.

Size: 1,285,000 km² (496,200 mi²) – Peru is the third largest South American country (after Brazil and Argentina).

Capital city: Lima, with a population of 12.7 million (2020) – Some points in Lima rise up to 1,550 meters (5,090 feet) above sea level.

Population: 32.8 million (2020) – 44% Amerindian, 38% mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white), 15% white, and 3% black, Japanese, Chinese and other. Darker-skinned Peruvians are often subjected to various forms of discrimination.

Language: Spanish is the official language, but the Constitution protects a multitude of indigenous tongues, like Quechua and Aymara. 

Religion: 85-90% Catholic, although many Indigenous Peruvians blend Catholicism with some traditional beliefs.

History:
In the 15th and 16th century, this area was the center of the Inca Empire. Peru was a Spanish colony between 1520 and 1824.
Peru’s name may come from the Spanish misapplication of the Quechua word “pelu”, meaning a river.

Form of government: Peru is a presidential republic

Currency: Peruvian sol (PEN)

Average net monthly salary: about 420 USD (2020)

Most frequent surname: Quispe

In Peru, on New Year’s Eve, friends and family traditionally give each other gifts of yellow underpants. 

Optimal timing for a tourist visit: June-September, during the dry season

Main tourist attractions:
Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Old Town of Lima, Nazca Lines, Old Town of Arequipa, Huascaran National Park


Peru - national flag - s.t. photo

Geography

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Peru - Ballestas Islands with a lot of guano to be exported - yes, the accumulated excrement of seabirds is a highly effective fertilizer - v.e. photo

Climate

"As we get to know Peru better, we realize that the statement about it being a land of contrasts is completely true. There is a plain along the coast, which is a largely barren desert. Moving inland, the tremendous peaks of the Andes create a large area of very fertile land, which is still farmed by the countries indigenous inhabitants. The tree line at this latitude is as high as 5,000 meters. The weather in the Andes Mountains can change practically from minute to minute. The situation in the primeval rainforests on the other side of the mountains is no different – a rain shower can arrive at any moment.

While the summer sun bakes the Pacific coast, cool, rainy weather prevails at higher altitudes. Care must also be taken because on the shores of the Pacific Ocean you don’t always feel the strong sunshine due to the sea breezes, which can be quite blustery. Sunscreen is particularly necessary if you’re traveling around Peru in January, because that’s the height of summer, with scorching sunshine. Be careful not to let even your feet stick out from the shade provided by the parasol because it’s possible to get a nasty sunburn in a very short time. If you want a tan, you have to build it up gradually.

It’s the same if you’re sailing on Lake Titicaca, which sits at an altitude of 4,000 meters. Even 15-20 minutes in the sun can be dangerous. And don’t be tempted to wear less in the warm sunshine: a light, long-sleeved t-shirt is advisable. And always bring warmer clothes and waterproofs, because out on the lake it can cloud over at any moment, and the sky can open. In the Andes as well – it can go from sunny to overcast to rainy in the blink of an eye. We were very lucky and managed to get to every main sight when the weather was pleasant, and it wasn’t pouring rain. There were some poor American tourists, however, who visited the same area right before us and had been soaked to the skin for days, while at the same time getting very cold, since the air cools down a lot with the rain. Global warming is also having an effect on this landscape. Years ago, among the high peaks of the Andes, snow-covered areas sparkled in the sunshine at an altitude of 5,000 meters. Nowadays, there are hardly any snow-covered areas left, and only the peaks of the highest mountains above 6000 meters, which are largely located on the Bolivian border, shine white in the sunshine.” (Suzanne, 2017)

History


“Many people imagine that the colonizing Spanish and their Inquisition exterminated all traces of Native American religion. The truth, however, is quite the opposite: the Inca rulers were recognized as the local subordinates of the Spanish kings, thus ensuring the loyalty of the native aristocracy, and at the same time strengthening the hierarchical structure of the nascent colony.”


Nowadays

Peru, along with Colombia (and to a lesser extent Bolivia), is the world’s leading coca producer. Coca leaf is a sacred plant of ancient Andean cultures; its consumption and distribution are perfectly legal in Peru. Cocaine produced from coca paste is a very different legal issue: its consumption and, above all, its trade is severely punished by Peruvian law.

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“Peru still preserves its past today. There are many gringos (white people) who migrated and settled in Peru from North America and Europe, Chinese people, who are also a large minority in the larger cities, Australians, and also many sub-Saharan Africans, as well as the local Native American population. The latter mostly blend in terms of clothing, yet they are recognizable, and their characteristic features are not hidden by today's modern clothing. Their characteristic short stature, dark skin, jet black hair, and thick eyelashes which protect their eyes from the strong sun, are all signs that this community remains an important part of the local culture.

As I mentioned before, Peru is a land of contrasts. This is well illustrated by, on the one hand, Native Americans in sharp city suits and their relatives cultivating terraces in the mountains, perpetually bent over as they hoe their plots. The owner who invites you to his restaurant, who entices people in off the street with the wonderful scent of original Native American food and has a lavish luxury restaurant menu, while in the mountains, the Indigenous woman sits alone by the roadside and chews sugar cane. Next to the disintegrating, clapped-out public transport in the cities, luxury cars are frequently parked. A handcart loaded with fruit is also not uncommon. Despite the increasing levels of development in Peru, illiteracy is still common, and many people cannot even write their own names. (In the rainforest, we waited more than an hour to get into our room because the Native American boy didn't know the letters and so he didn't know which key to give us.)

Latin music is played in most modern discos, and young people dress according to the latest fashions, while ancient Indigenous music is played at street carnivals, with dancers dressed in folk costumes playing the Quijada – a donkey’s jawbone – rattles made from dry pumpkins filled with seeds, Bombo drums, pan pipes, handmade wooden flutes, and the charango, a 10-string guitar made from armadillo hide.

Often, the shamanistic ritual which is included in many guided tour itineraries is little more than a joke. You quickly discover that the whole thing is really just a choreographed performance, with performers who can hardly be called masters. I don’t even understand why they have to exaggerate the whole thing. It doesn’t even look to me as though they take it seriously themselves, and I don’t think it should be encouraged by giving them money.

You can shop in a supermarket, or sail out to sea in a tiny skiff to catch the next day’s lunch. There you only have to pay the hourly rate for the boat and its captain: no payment is asked for the fish caught. But what do you catch them with? A modern, fiber-glass fishing rod? Oh, no. All you get is a line strung with paper balls, which you hold on your finger, and you can feel it at the tip of your finger when there is a bite. And bites are plentiful. You can catch enough for your and your neighbor’s lunch in under an hour. It would be good if our waters could also boast such rich fish stocks. Then we would be able to consume more fish, which is very healthy, and good for the brain.

It is not uncommon for little Native American children to come help people carry the heavy goods they’ve purchased. Despite Peru’s economy developing year by year, child labor still exists. I still can’t get used to the sight, and I’d rather take the baskets, which often weigh several kilos, out of their little hands. And then I remember that he may not eat today, or tomorrow if he doesn’t earn this small change.

Anyone who wants to can work in Peru. Labor is not restricted by the state, and indeed it encourages everyone to get a job. That’s why there are so many street vendors, markets, and shoe polishers on the street, and why we come across more and more private taxis, the so-called collectivo, and I could list more. No one in Peru pays taxes. At most you have to pay the 18% sales tax, but only if you get a receipt, which is very rare.

Unfortunately, with the development and employment of women, the number of divorces is increasing. In the countryside, among the Native American population, the sacrament of marriage still binds the family closer together, and divorce is unacceptable. In cities, however, it is increasingly common for a woman to raise her children alone. The victims of urbanization include the many small but beautiful family houses that investors buy for pennies, then build and sell multi-story residential buildings in their place with huge profits, just like everywhere else in the world. This is also the path of development.” (Suzanne, 2017)


Peru - a butcher shop - quote from George Orwell: A people that elect corrupt politicians, impostors, thieves, and traitors are not victims, but accomplices" - t.s. photo

Peru - Cusco - modern - n.e. photo

People

Peruvians are: very picky about food,

Peruvians tipícally dislike Chileans. Why? Probably because they are jealous or have inferiority complexes.

,, Through (Argentinian) female eyes, Peruvian men don't have an attractive look."

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"Peruvians are kind, polite, and respectful. Of course, there are some who are more aloof and talk little to strangers, but once you break the ice with them, they open up in the same way as we Hungarians. I have experienced many similarities between the two people. Their way of thinking and expressing themselves is similar to ours. It never felt as though I had from a completely foreign country, and they accepted me into their culture. Their dishes are varied, with a lot of hot, strong peppers, and ají, a spicy condiment, is never absent from the table. When I discovered that, I immediately embraced them in my heart, because a good fish soup or Hungarian goulash is equally unimaginable for me without strong chili pepper.

Except for the art ceremonies for tourists, I never felt like I was a foreigner among them, or that they just wanted my money. True, over the years they have developed a great deal in this respect as well, as they make a living from tourists. Indeed, their number one source of income is the many foreigners who visit their country. I love their music, which is played everywhere, and which also makes the locals forget about every day worries. As if they didn't exist.

In the capital, the sound of car horns is constant, since the car horn is the only source of authority on the roads there. They signal to each other with a honk that they’re traveling faster, and the other should make way for them. There is no swearing or finger-pointing, it’s simply understood that someone is in a hurry and is claiming priority. They know the traffic rules because you have to take an exam like everywhere else, but the rules are not observed at all. And yet accidents seem astonishingly rare. What’s more, the punishment for causing accidents is much more severe than at home. Anyone who runs someone over is taken to prison at once, and can only prove their innocence from there, through a lawyer. If, however, it turns out that the driver was at fault, he can expect to spend many years behind bars.

In the city in recent years, the fashion for young people in the summer is the miniskirt, which is very surprising to me in this deeply Catholic country, where students still wear gray uniforms with white blouses, no matter what school they go to, and the length of the school skirt has to be almost knee-length. There are public and private schools. Education is compulsory for everyone, and there are no tuition fees in public schools. There are a lot of entertainment opportunities for young people, including many nightclubs. Young people stand in long queues to get into the more popular places including pubs, clubs, cafes, and bars. Cinemas, equipped with state-of-the-art sound technology, show the latest blockbusters.

On the ocean shore, many walk in the moonlight or just lie down listening to the ripples of the ocean. Looking at the sky, we would not even think that we are on the other side of the world and are seeing the moon upside down, as compared to at home. It’s a fantastic feeling to walk barefoot on the playa in the warm sand, or just recline and watch the surfers, seeing what acrobatic stunts they are capable of as they ride the foamy crests of waves, or even surfing the ‘tube’ inside huge, breaking waves.

There are plenty of soccer fields outside the city. From tiny boys to grown men, and from girls to women, everyone kicks a ball. And if we think about it, the legendary footballers of the future will probably come out of these many little Native American kids.
It’s amazing that famous Hungarian football players from the past are still mentioned today in Peru, which is heartwarming for us.” (Suzanne, 2017)

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“Even today, the majority of Peru’s population is still Native American. The people living in the more isolated Andean villages still speak the ancient language, Quechua, and have preserved their customs. Here, almost every woman wears folk dress: a colorful skirt and poncho, as well as the indispensable black (or white, depending on the region) hat, while on their back is a bundle consisting of nothing more than a scarf skillfully tied. Everything from firewood to children is transported in this. Of course, every woman’s long, waist-length black hair is braided into two braids, just like the Native Americans we see in films. The Native Americans are very kind and helpful people, but infinitely poor, and they live in quite primitive conditions. For example, they don't really like washing, so they don't overdo it.

Their culture is remarkably different from that of Europeans. They are well-intentioned, open-minded, hospitable, eager to talk (that is if they dare to talk to the ‘ghosts’ with blonde hair and even, heaven preserve us, blue eyes…) and above all, they are very diligent. It takes a great deal of perseverance to live among the barren mountains of the Andes: they have built terraces on the steep hillsides (so-called Inca terraces), on which they grow the plants they need for a modest livelihood.”

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“Peruvian women are generally of short or average stature (150-155 cm) with dark skin, long, black hair, and a full-body – 80% of them are overweight. In terms of their way of life, they are completely different from Hungarian women. Eight out of ten modern Peruvian women are materialistic. As they say, “no pierden el tiempo con un misio” i.e. they do not waste their time on a beggar. After modernization, no more attention is paid to the family, and men are exploited financially. This is why men often punish their inattention with beatings. As a result, they also have a saying that “the more you beat, the more you love”. Many women also openly state that “I iron my husband’s shirt if he pays for it”. According to surveys conducted worldwide, Peruvian women have been rated “extremely promiscuous”. Most of them are uneducated; they talk a lot and act like men. They have no sophisticated features; they like to drink and can’t behave. The salary is spent on clothes and the bills remain unpaid. The restaurant is simpler than the kitchen. They become mothers at a young age when they are teenagers. In many cases, they have a child without the man’s knowledge, so that someone supports them. Back in the ’80s, it was the woman who kept the family together and ensured that the fire burned in the family home, both in the kitchen and in the heart. However, not everything is lost. Perhaps two out of ten still live this way, and there is education as a way out, so the younger generation can still learn morality and responsibility.”








Peru - lady with her llama - Krista photo

Peru - care - u.p. photo

Peru - h.a. photo

Peru - girl - s.t. photo

Peru - Puno - siesta - t.r. photo

Tourist etiquette

1. If you would like to impress locals, just praise your local culinary experiences, as Peruvians are hugely proud of their gastronomy. Don't forget to glorify their national alcoholic drink, the pisco. If you already did Machu Picchu, Cuzco, and the Nazca lines, it will be easy to find and another topic as well to please your conversation partner. 

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1. Obviously, travelers in Peru often wear hiking gear, but if possible, you should try to wear regular attire when visiting churches, monasteries, and better restaurants.
2. Do not harm the self-esteem of the Native Americans in any way. They pay close attention to whether white people treat them with respect. Do not be condescending even to begging children or beggars. You can still refuse them with a polite but firm ‘No gracias’.
3. You can and even bargain with market vendors and taxi drivers, but try not to be unrealistic in terms of price.
4. In many places, especially in markets frequented by tourists, it is common for locals to ask for money to take a photograph. There may also be an attempt to charge a separate fee for each picture. Let's not quarrel about it. That’s how it goes there.
5. Peruvians are usually very direct and friendly with strangers. Try to be the kind of tourist a local is happy to give advice or directions to, by asking them politely and with a smile (just like at home.)
6. Peruvians are rarely on time. If we make an appointment with someone, we can be sure they will be up to 30 minutes late. Don’t blame them for this, they are very relaxed people, and don’t really exert themselves to be punctual (with the exception of tourist buses and time-bound flights).
7. If you receive an invitation, don’t bring an expensive gift. Flowers, a bottle of wine, a little chocolate will do fine, and it’s best not to put your host in an awkward position. (I once got a huge pot of gladiolus, and needless to say, I crumbled under it. My poor Peruvian guest must have seen the pain on my face).
8. Handle tipping carefully. In the taxi, once the price has been agreed, there is no need to tip. You can tip in restaurants, but it’s optional. However, words of appreciation are worth much more. Do always tip bellhops. They won’t leave until they get it.
9. A very important rule: when you enter a place, always greet the people there, and say Buenos dias (good day). That way the mood is immediately more natural, and they treat you like they know you, whether they actually do or not. Don't forget to say goodbye when you leave, too – hasta luego! (goodbye!)
10. When introducing yourself or talking to people, it is appropriate to shake hands.
11. Peruvians stand much closer to one another than Europeans, and much closer to strangers when in conversation. Don’t back away, because it breeds distrust, and hurts their feelings.
12. When they meet, they often give each other a kiss, so we should do the same. The kiss is always on the left cheek, which is worth bearing in mind. Otherwise, awkwardness can ensure.
13. Always observe the guide’s instructions and expectations during excursions. Otherwise, you may cause offense, or end up the victim of some scam.
14. In most cases, Native Americans do not like to be photographed. Respect this, and do not try to take pictures without consent. Unfortunately, many unphotographed Native American faces and clothing will remain only in the memory. Try to always be thoughtful and respectful towards them, and that way there won’t be any problems. In return, they will treat you the same - 'As you give, so will you receive.’

(Suzanne, 2017)


Gastronomy

“I have never eaten as well as in Peru! Whatever I tasted was incredibly delicious, and I’d like to list some of my favorites. My guide to Lima taught me the basics when it comes to Peruvian eating habits, and these are logical enough: fish dishes are best in coastal settlements, while alpaca is best in the mountains (though that’s oversimplifying).

What is your favorite food? For me, potato - in any form! And in Peru, there are papas, that is potatoes, everywhere and in everything!

The country is famous for its special varieties of potatoes, of which there are about 3,800 different colors, shapes, textures, and flavors. They are not only eaten as a side dish, but also appear as an appetizer or main courses, such as Papas a la Huancaina, where white and floury potatoes are served with Huancaina sauce, or Papa Rellena, which is a potato croquette stuffed with minced meat and fried generously in oil – amazingly delicious! There is also a spicy paprika version of this, Rocoto Relleno, but you have to be careful about this because it’s very spicy! The next known potato-based dish is Causa, in which avocado and ají sauce is put between two layers of mashed potatoes, flavored with lemon and coriander, though the filling can vary from region to region.

Ceviche (pronunciation: suveechee)

You’ll find this made with the freshest ingredients at the coast, but it’s also worth trying in Lima, Paracas, and Ica. Raw seafood is included (mainly fish and shrimp), flavored with citrus juice, ají sauce, chili peppers, and chopped onions. Since it is not cooked, you need to take care and eat it in busy, popular places if you want to avoid food poisoning. It is generally served as an appetizer, but you can also encounter it as a main course, served with some kind of potato or an avocado salad. (2019)


Peru - Tacacho - balls of sliced plantains mashed together with onion and bacon, a cut of bacon, and chorizo - j.k. photo

Attractions

Arequipa

Population (in 2020): 841,000 in the city area and 927,000 in the urban area - Peru's second-biggest city

Its climate is particularly pleasant; there is little rain. 
  

Arequipa - at the foot of Misti volvano - K. Elter photo

Arequipa - Plaza de Armas - v.e. photo

Arequipa - Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa - K. Elter's photo

Arequipa - Town Council on Plaza de Armas - f.a. ma photo


Churches


Peru - Pucara - Santa Isabel Church (Iglesia de Santa Isabel) - Elter photo

Cuzco - San Cristobal church (Iglesia de San Cristobal) - K. Elter's photo

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