In the month of June in the year 2002 I traveled through Peru with my friend Thomas. Herein lies an account of our adventure. Enjoy!
A few of my thoughts & notes on Peru:
Obviously Spanish was the language we encountered the most. I speak some Spanish so we got around just fine. Though my skills were put to good use pretty much every day. I think without the meager skills that I have we would had a lot more difficulty in some of the situations we found ourselves in. I really enjoyed speaking with people in their native language and I defiantly noticed my skills and comprehension getting better even during our short two weeks of travel.
Quecha was also spoken by many Peruvians we met. Quecha is the native language of the region.
Showers and warm water
Hot water became something we got used to not having. Peru is a developing country and of like much of the rest of the world does not have the same plumbing standards that most Americans have come to expect. It was kind of like playing the lottery taking a shower in Peru because you never knew if you would be the lucky one to get a little bit of warm water or not. The most interesting system I encountered was in our hotel in Cuzco which had a metal electrical coil wrapped around the pipe leading to the shower head. This heated the water somewhat and made it at least a little bit pleasant to shower in. In other places we stayed there would mysteriously be warm water sometimes (usually when Thomas was in the shower) but most of the time just cold water.
Peru is a very economically agreeable country for Americans to visit. Things like food and hotel lodging were very cheap most places. Other things like tours of cities or ruins, souvenirs, getting your boots shined or anything else you can think of were also very cheap if you knew how to bargain. Like in many countries were bargaining is customary if you do not bargain a little bit you can kind of get ripped off. Personally I like to think that I am pretty good at it. I always have some moral issues with bargaining too much though. I mean, I do not want to get ripped off, that really irritates me. However, I have no problem paying the going rate for something. And in all reality most of the people that were selling things in markets and such were all very friendly compared with some other countries I have visited (like Egypt or Turkey where they can get ornery). As I said, most everything is already pretty damn cheap anyways. So I guess my advice is don’t get ripped off, but don’t worry too much if you can’t get an extra 50 cents deduced from your Inca Cola T-Shirt. After all, in a country like Peru, with all of its own internal problems keeping the people from reaching their full potential, tourist dollars are often a very substantial part of the economy. Besides, what are you going to do with your money when you get home, buy a bigger Sport Utility Vehicle with a VCR/DVD player in it so you can watch movies while you are driving?
Thomas and I did not worry too much about saving money and did pretty much everything we wanted to do. I ended up an average of $57 a day plus my plane ticket from Portland to Lima. Not to bad I thought. A person could travel for considerable cheaper then this by not taking as many taxis, eating in fewer restaurants and staying at cheaper hotels.