The Backpacker Princess in Peru - Part 1
When I think of Peru, a couple of things now come to mind. Well, tons, but I’ll limit it down to the first pops. Ready! Set! Go –
Seeing the top of the canopy of the Amazon, documentary-style, the colors of the sun festival, throwing up in front of 80 people on top of a very high mountain, being alone on a trail with a donkey and a llama, a very pleasurable 17-hour bus ride, exceptional rum on a sand dune, lots of bird poo, a tie for the best food experience of my life, and dogs. Yes, dogs.
That about sums up our recent 2.5 week backpacking holiday June/July. Now I’m not someone you would look at and think of as a backpacker. Quite the contrary, actually. Don’t you get a pleasure out of shocking people sometimes? That’s right peeps. Even people who live for certain luxuries, and tend to be the girliest girl in existence, can backpack. And play computer games. Anyone can.
You get to see places, people, surprises that very few other people in the world get to see. C’mon, everybody needs a bit of rock n’ roll in their lives sometimes! If you can force yourself to pack only what you can carry (for me this isn’t a huge amount, so it was best to start with warmer countries, i.e. smaller clothes required), it really only requires an open mind and a tendency not to panic.
This year it was the Land of the Incas. The Land of the Llamas. The Land of the Sun. And a cheeky little alcohol called Pisco. Awesome-sauce.
1. Truly kind people, who are very, very proud of their heritage. Also, they don’t like Chile very much.
2. Dogs, lots of dogs everywhere. Not the scary, flea-jumping street kind, the sweet, friendly kind.
3. Every extreme of landscape known to man. I mean, their jungle is the Amazon, their mountains are around the same size as the highest one in Europe, their deserts are like golden sand dunes in Namibia, their seas have nice surfing, sea lions and shed loads of birds.
4. You can see amazing animals – we saw 4 types of monkeys, caimans, sea lions, penguins, billions of types of birds, snakes, lizards, spiders, horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, and more and more, oh my!
5. It’s pretty easy to travel around, compared to many countries. However –
6. If you want to do certain things, you must book in advance. We often travel not booking anything, so we have the flexibility to go and do how we want. Peru required a decent bit of pre-planning.
7. It was a lot more underdeveloped than we thought it would be, especially outside of the bigger cities. Though, we never once felt unsafe.
8. People will try to grift you. For every llama picture, for every little bit of everything. Give in when you want, don’t when you don’t. We did pay a few Soles for a baby llama pic. Because, hello, baby llama! These people are trying to make a living too, and it was a lot less aggressive than many places.
9. The food will appeal to almost everybody. A lot of it is quite simple and based on meat and potatoes, or some fish, if by the sea. You must grow some balls and try guinea pig (the cuy), ceviche, pisco sours, and just about anything else that is offered to you. Street carts are fine.
Final word is: GO. Literally Right Now. It is the type of place you can do as an explorer with friends, by yourself or take it a bit easier with kids. You might just discover you are a llama whisperer.