Peru was such an eye-opening trip for me. There were so many things I loved, including:
1.) The jungle. Heh.
The people, especially.
2.) The gorgeous sites.
Machu Picchu was seriously the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen.
And the Sacred Valley wasn’t so bad, either.
Washing my hands in aphrodisiac water, according to the Incas.
3.) The Markets!
These markets were packed with vendors selling tons of handmade items for SO cheap. I had to buy an extra bag when I was there so I could carry home everything I bought. Seriously.
4.) The simplicity of people’s lives.
Everything is just so much simpler there. No fancy phones, no constant checking of email, no being unhappy over trivial things.
5.) Feeling appreciative of all we take for granted in the states.
It’s so much easier to realize when you’re away from it all.
6.) Meeting random people from the states on tourist trips and at hostels.
There’s some instant connection you automatically feel when you connect with someone from your home when you’re not there.
7.) Everything being new and familiar.
I have been in DC for almost 11 years, so I feel like I know it like the back of my hand. I LOVE that about DC, but it’s incredible what simple things can strike you as you travel to a new place.
And now, for the things I won’t miss.
1.) Not being able to drink tap water.
Using bottled water to even brush my teeth took some getting used to!
2.) Being (quite aggressively) bombarded to buy things all the time when you walk down the streets, are in stores or markets, or even when you’re eating at a restaurant.
3.) Not being able to use a credit card anywhere.
I think in a lot of ways it was good for me to have to use real money, but NO WHERE took credit cards in Peru. Even places that had Visa and MasterCard signs plastered to their windows couldn’t get the machines to work! And I am cheap, so I hated paying $10 ($5 from my bank, and $5 for the ATM fee) anytime I wanted to take out money. And I also was mindful that a lot of people get robbed, so I didn’t want to take out a lot of cash every time.
4.) Having to take malaria pills every day. Yuck.
5.) Not being able to dry my clothes after washing them.
A luxury I always took for granted! Even at the apartment we had just a washer, not a dryer, which wasn’t the end of the world but I do appreciate drying my clothes!
6.) Drastic temperature changes from day to night.
During our 6 nights in Cusco, it would be almost 70 degrees during the day, and then drop to the low 30s overnight!
7.) Being fearful that everything I eat would make me sick.
And, unfortunately, this ended up being the case.
Despite using bottled water for EVERYTHING including brushing our teeth, peeling every piece of fruit or vegetable we ate, holding my breath in the shower, and doing everything I could think of to avoid it, Stacy and I both left Peru with parasites! Stacy got a lot sicker than I did, so I got tested just to be safe and it turned out I had something, too! We both were able to take care of them with just taking antibiotics (both Cipro and Flagyl), but trying to get medical attention in a foreign country can be quite challenging. Luckily I am off the drugs now (and OK to proceed with my surgery!), but it was still not fun.
Moral of the story? Peru was amazing, but I sure do love America!