It's time to talk about Peru...
Updated: Jan 8
I've avoided this for many reasons, one being that I haven't been sure what to focus on... another quite possibly being that if I write it down, it's not all still happening and I'll finally have to accept that we won't be going back to Peru or New Zealand for a while.
But, after reading through some of my quick notes from my travels to Peru, I think I can at least reflect, update and perhaps rant about a few things from the experience.
The food in Peru is literally life-changing. I can't imagine going without it now that I've had it. The ridiculous number of delicious varieties of chocolate, the chicharrón, humita, anticuchos de rez, lucuma, pisco sours, ceviche. Oh my giddy aunt. More like giddy me just thinking about it. It is some of the best food in the world NO QUESTION. The fruit! Oh my gosh, I had no idea they grew so many different kinds of fruit in Peru. And the potatoes! Over three thousand kinds! It's just... amazing and so indescribably delicious. Beautiful even. If you eat meat, alpaca is also a tasty delicacy.
The way tourism is intrinsically part of Peru's economy is so clear in the way many locals and store owners will treat you. I never felt like an annoyance or hindrance in their space and everyone I saw was welcomed and valued for the financial investment they brought with them.
There are so many street dogs in Cusco, it's impossible to miss and can be quite sad. You will also need to look down wherever you're walking, to avoid stepping in anything... undesirable.
The nightlife, proximity to ancient archeological sites and countless restaurants are not to be missed.
Arequipa is definitely worth visiting. Not knowing what to expect, I had no idea in what ways Arequipa might be different to Lima - but it is very different indeed! It has its own sense of identity, traditions and style. The same goes for Colca Canyon, Puno, Taquile and the Islands of Uros. Every place we went was worth every second of being there.
Now, I'm going to share a few notes I wrote before and after spending time in Peru.
For this first note, I found it particularly stood out because I'd been completely aware of how accurate it would be at the time of writing it. To preface, I will say that I cried several times while I was in Peru and several times after I left. I can now say that I know getting emotional about my visit is not a bad thing - it is an acknowledgment of how much meeting my family and discovering more about my own history and culture has meant to me.
"As we get ready to take off and head to Lima, it's dawning on me that the one thing I haven't thought about might be the thing that is going to be the hardest during this trip. There are going to be so many people that I see who look like my Father. I'm going to see him everywhere and not truly see him at all. And in some ways, I think seeing him in his family's faces is going to be magical, but I've also just realised that this is the part that is maybe going to be the hardest to not get emotional about. I've thought and been told plenty about how I'm finally going to see people who look like and remind me of myself. How I didn't think earlier about this being even more true for what I'll see in Peru that reflects my Dad, I don't know."
I can't believe I wrote that and then completely forgot about it. There was a moment in Lima when I remember this exact thing happening. I looked around the dinner table and got pretty emotional seeing my Dad in all the faces of my family members. Surreal.
This was a few weeks into our visit:
"I have a family here who want to talk about him and express to me when I show habits or have a look on my face that is like his. I've had people say that I look like him and I've never heard that before... It means a lot that people can see him in me because, in some ways, in a good way, that makes me feel like he's still alive somewhere."
I am so overwhelmingly glad I took this trip. I was so incredibly nervous before doing it and really had to manage the formation of any expectations. But now, after having set my feet down there, seen where my father grew up with my own eyes, and formed relationships I've wanted so badly for so long... I'm counting down the days until I can go back and spend more time in Peru, with my family.