Peru: Introduction


We have talked about visiting Peru for years, and the last year quite seriously. We do not usually go on tours but rather spend a good amount of time putting together our own itinerary. So I spent hours looking for a tour that best matched the itinerary. We went through a newer tour agency based in Lima called Peruvian Soul. They have preset tours that they will then customize, and one in particular matched what I was looking for.

Some of the unusual tidbits I picked up while we were there before I delve into the experience itself:

  • Peruvians are short, I fit in pretty well. This is mostly due to the mountains’ thin air, causing the body to develop larger lungs for smaller bodies.
  • Peruvians are hagglers. Expect to negotiate prices for taxis and most shopping.
  • Nowhere can one throw toilet paper into the toilet. This was the hardest aspect because frankly one goes into autopilot in the bathroom. They have garbage cans next to toilets and are good about keeping up with it.
  • The roads and sidewalks outside of Lima are super slick cobblestone. It’s impressive people aren’t slipping all the time.
  • A lot of quinoa is grown here. Unfortunately, like many crops that become popular outside its country of origin, the price is now greater than many Peruvians can afford.
  • It’s easy to confuse the Incan flag for the gay pride flag; however, if you look closely you’ll see the Incan flag covers all seven colors of the rainbow and the pride flag only six.
  • A Peruvian woman with two braids is single. After marriage it becomes one braid.
  • Many doors are painted blue to keep away the devil. When the Spaniards invaded, they converted much of the population to Catholicism.
  • Drivers are frightening. They make their own lanes and rules. Driving here requires a lot of luck and confidence. They also “talk” a lot to each other; one must be a heavy sleeper to make it through the cacophony of honking.

We left on Friday, 28 August, packing as lightly as possible. Our tour contact spelled Herr’s name incorrectly repeatedly, which was something we needed to address a few times throughout the trip. I brought my luggage to work and Herr met up with me on the way to the airport that afternoon. Our flight path took us first to Chicago, then Dallas, and then to Lima. It took from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. the next morning, but we stayed in the same time zone the entire time. This was our first time south of the equator and to South America.