NOTES ON PERU

I’m back from Peru! While the jetlag is still fresh, I thought I would chat about things that are not Inca trail related (which I didn’t do) because that trail seems to get a lot of press, while the rest of the country may not.  The above picture is taken from a bathroom stop on the way to the Colca Valley.  I could honestly have dropped my camera on the ground and still gotten excellent shots because the landscape is so beautiful. One of the best things about travel are those moments when I seem to have casually walked into a postcard because everything looks incredible. 
As an aside, I cropped out the guy off to the side who was holding up an ugly blanket he was trying to sell me and ruining the shot.

Native Dress
Vicunas

I joined a tour group, which meant a lot of busing around, but it also meant that the tour group stopped to let us hang out in people’s homes on the fringes of Puno and hang out with domesticated llamas and alpacas. I’m not sure how easy it would have been to get to some of the farther areas without a guide.

Boat made from reeds on Lake Titicaca

The city of Puno itself isn’t picturesque, but it borders Lake Titicaca, where you can take a boat out to see Uros, a man-made island built out of reeds, and take a ride on the boat pictured above, also made entirely out of reeds.  

I don’t think I can add anything new to Peru that hasn’t already been said, so here are just some random bits that you might not have expected: 

  • You will pee like a master of champions.  I don’t know if it was the altitude or a side effect of Diamox, the altitude sickness medication, but there was not a single toilet or hole in the ground I could deny myself.  
  • Check your altitude medication, different people get different dosages and instructions for no particular reason.  I got a prescription for 125mg tablets of Diamox while my friend got prescribed 250mg.  We were both fine, but I was also told to get off it a day earlier and felt nauseous.  
  • Machu Picchu is not overrrated.  It’s a pretty photogenic wonder of the world and pictures taken from your camera will look just as good as most postcards.  You can also get a Machu Picchu stamp on your passport after entry for extra bonus points. 
  • If you take the train into Machu Picchu, you are only allowed to take a small bag or approximately 5kg with you. Those who backpack up there are allowed more, of course.
  • At high altitude, you won’t be able to eat very much because your digestion will slow down. To even things out, your metabolism may also slow down. 
  • Tour guides are great. I didn’t know much about Inca or Quechuan or Aymaran culture prior to going, and one of our Quechuan guides was able to explain how they survived despite Spanish colonization, and further how a lot of their advanced technology is now lost forever thanks to Spain.  Thanks Spain!  

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