Cusco Life Lessons: Part 1
It’s been four weeks since I left the Great White North (aka Canada) and made my way to Peru. After a long flight, I arrived in Cusco and began to settle into life here. I’ve had four weeks of Spanish classes (yo hablo mas espanol ahora!), made friends, had fun outings, been doing some workouts, eating amazing food (most of the time), and really having a chance to relax. Next week I’ll start working full-time for the Latin American Foundation for the Future while still taking a few hours of Spanish classes each week.
To mark my 4-week anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share some things I’ve learned here.
1. Cheap food can sometimes be really good and sometimes be really bad. It’s a gamble each time. You can pay about $2.00 for an amazing meal in San Pedro market and $10 for a so-so meal in a nice restaurant that can have you running to the bathroom. TMI? Meh. It happens to all travelers.
2. Cuscanians will always find a reason to have a fiesta and that can result in fireworks going off at 6:30. In the morning. Oh, and parades at 10pm at night or pretty much whenever they feel like it. WHERE DO THEY GET THE ENERGY?
3. If you are female and white, local men take that as an invitation to talk to you, ask for your number, email address, and actual address. If you’re blonde, it’s like you have a sign around your neck saying “I’m dying for attention. Please talk to me.” If you wear leggings, well, good luck.
4. In the Netherlands Sinter Klaas arrives on a boat from Spain and has little black friends (cough slaves cough) that help him to deliver presents. He sends them down the chimney and that’s why they are black. riiiiiiiiiighhhhhhht.
5. If you don’t mind rum and coke, you can basically drink for free all night long if you bar hop in Cusco. To entice the tourists in, there are guys standing around outside handing out free drink tickets. They will then escort you right to the door of the bar to make sure you go in.
6. I have the permanent sniffles here. They will not go away. Kinda comes from it being cold in the evening and in the shade.
7. Cooking with one small pot and one small pan can be tricky. I need to buy a larger pot ASAP. And a better knife that my wee paring knife.
8. Working out at a high altitude (3200m or so) is tough but makes you feel like you are not in shape whatsoever. Sometimes climbing a single flight of stairs without heavy breathing makes me feel like I have accomplished something significant.
9. Wear sunscreen. All the freakin’ time. Even if it is cloudy. And if you think you’ve put on enough sunscreen, add some more.
10. Collect wi-fi passwords from anywhere you can. It basically means you can get free wi-fi wherever you go just by standing in close proximity to a door. Yes, I’m cheap.
11. Traveling with a stress fracture in my foot sucks. It really limits how much I can walk, how far I can walk, and even my workouts. Wearing my boot is like asking people to rob me. I mean, how could I chase after them? And the boot in combination with lesson #3? Not good. Not good at all.
12. There are a lot of Dutch and German people here. I’ve met one other Canadian and only a couple Americans. WHERE ARE YOU FELLOW ENGLISH PEOPLE?
13. When arriving in Peru be VERY SPECIFIC and speak in clear Spanish if you can when getting your visa. I got screwed over and only got a 27 day visa. This is very unusual; most people get 60 days, 90 days, or even 180 days. Whenever I mention I have a 27 day visa, people are shocked. Oh, fyi, I’m currently in the country illegally. I’M A REBEL.
14. Life is pretty awesome when you take a chance, jump on an opportunity, and see where it takes you. So far, no regrets.
Have a great weekend people! I have a birthday fiesta to attend tonight which will involve chocolate cake.