Monday, 21 February 2011
Peru - a beautiful country
After New Zealand, I got the possibility to go and see Peru with my girlfriend, Angela (also Peruvian). Having a Peruvian girlfriend of course helped, not only to meet people (friends and family) but also to travel... I can speak spanish don't take me wrong, but only a Peruvian will know where to go and not to go.
I have to say that the country is beautiful and with so much to offer. It is true that Peru can sometimes be seen as a poor country however there are a lot of rich people which basically tell us that there are big differences in social classes. I realised that although there is a lot of competition to go to university there only a minority of people have higher (and even middle) education - for me that is the main reason why Peru is not better positioned in the so called developed world. Still the majority of the people have good manners and are quite respectful, from high to low class, every one talks with respect.
Sometimes it is also sad to see that most of the houses and apartments need bars in the windows and watchmen are needed to patrol neighbourhoods. You don't really see violence but people protect themselves quite a lot.
On the up side note, the food... man, the food is awesome! Being Portuguese, food is a big part of my life and although I've travelled a lot it was difficult to find places that would offer good and different type of food such as I could find in Portugal, but man... long live Peruvian Cuisine, from fish with their Cevice to meat and their Anticuchos, their food is 5 stars! Even the smallest hidden restaurant in a hidden location such as Lunahuana has good food. The biggest difference to the Portuguese dishes (apart from the dish itself) is the presentation, the Portuguese don't really care how to present a dish, the Peruvians will always try to create a painting of food! Wow! And yes I ate guinea pig, to be honest it became one of my favourite fishes along with Cevice.
To drink... I am not a big fan of beers although they have Cusqueña, but Inka Cola and Chicha Morada are... what can I say... a refreshing vice! Did you know that the Peruvian Inka Cola is one of the few cola brands that is more sold in a specific country than the world nr 1 Coca Cola? You should try to order it!
So... What did I do in Peru.
Well a bit of everything, visit cities such as the very big capital Lima (with the crazy colectivos), the very beautiful Arequipa (with the huge and shy Misty Moutain), the very interesting and ancient Cusco (where churches were constructed over previous Inca monuments). Been through deserts on a 4x4 and did sand surf near the oasis of Huacachina, tasted wine and pisco in the lands Lunahuana (discovered a ghost house that no one wants to buy). Been through street markets where children would piss in the middle of the crowd (Juliaca). Been through huge waves in beaches as in Mollendo where it is difficult to find a spot to lay your own towel. Been through a 4.6 earthquake but did not realised because I was asleep. Been in the highest lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, and visit the famous floating islands of Uros. Talked about life and history with a spiritual xaman. Visit the Nasca lines and realised that they are not protected and anyone can just destroy this world heritage. And...
... and of course did the Machu Picchu Inca trail, more than 40 kms through mountains, rivers and lakes, with the highest point at more than 4000 kms high. To be honest in the middle of the trail I though that I would not make it, but... yours-truly survived and managed to see the astonishing and unique Machu Picchu (one of the new wonders of the world). It is indeed something that everyone should see, a fantastic ancient construction in the middle of mountains and clouds it will take your breath away.
To sum-up, been through mountains, deserts, cities, villages... travelled by car, plane, train, bus (where once in a night-bus I actually wake-up to puke) Tico (Peruvian taxis), bicycle-taxi, boat, 4x4, etc, etc. It was an experience of a life time.
Peru is much more than Machu Picchu and the famous llamas, it is a country full of landscapes, colours and potential. The people are wonderful, they are warm and very-very friendly although bit traditional (>80% is catholic), it is very common for them to open their house and make you part of the family (make you dance, eat and of course drink!)
In May there will be presidential elections in Peru, hopefully the next president can turn the country around and put Peru in the world map! Yes the country can be seen as rather poor (and therefore cheap) but don't be fooled it is one of the countries with the highest development rate in the world so try to see it as it is still traditional and affordable since I suspect that in the coming years things will change and you would need to be very lucky to enjoy these simple and forgotten pleasures.
So, open a new tab-window and search for the next flight to Peru. :-)
Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.