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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

11 June 2011

The new Peru

9th June 2011

And so via the rather un-travellery approach of hopping a short plane flight, we have arrived in Cusco. Tourist capital of the Andes by anyone’s account. So we’ve missed Lake Titicaca, which is a shame, although it was visible out of the window of our 737.

Cusco is very different from La Paz. It is pristine, tidy, all the buildings in the centre meticulously restored, very definitely a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are scads of classy looking cafes, hotels and restaurants and innumerable shops pedalling souvenirs. It’s so obviously traveller-friendly that a comparison with Thamel is tempting, but Cusco is not crowded. Indeed, there are more tourists than locals as far as I can see. And as mentioned, Cusco is clean.

I guess obviously with this being South America there are a lot more North American tourists in evidence, and plenty of them on friendly family holidays rather than the doggedly backpacker set we found in La Paz. In fact of all the different tourists we met in our four days in La Paz only one of them was not fluent in Spanish. Made me feel quite inadequate, whereas in Chile we had felt rather proud of being able to stumble through some everyday conversations. I feel much more comfortable here in Cusco where I can quietly look down my nose at the good folks on holiday who wouldn’t even try to say “gracias” and were diligently studying their menu for the plainest and most familiar dishes. I know I shouldn’t.

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