So today involved the more tedious side of travel, the things you like to forget you are going to have to do. In no particular order:
1, Make multiple withdrawals from ATMs with soul-crushingly small withdrawal limits.
2, Pay for the things you’ve been looking forward to doing, but desperately would love to do for a lot less money.
3, Practicing your very warmest smile coupled with “No, gracias” to the 50th street vendor to approach you.
4, Scrupulously avoiding spending money so that you won’t have to live out of a cardboard box by the end of your trip.
5, Buying bread rolls which are NOT AS FRESH AS YOU’D HOPED, DAMNIT!
6, Feeling bad for not having the money to help the unwell, and disabled people begging and selling on the streets. These are the people that every country fails in some way, and it stings to walk on by them.
7, Tidying up your room because it has steadily become a hovel in your 4 days of occupancy.
That’s the reality of long term travel, and are things which happen a lot. It’s not glamorous, can’t be posted on Instagram, and doesn’t make you feel like you are on holiday every day. It’s the real world, in all its shades of grey. That’s not to say we didn’t do some really enjoyable stuff today, mind.
Highlights include going into a shop to buy some pens and ending up with a photo of myself in full Andean getup, whilst being physically hurled around by the owner. Making some cracking guac from a market-bought avocado. Eating multi-coloured jelly from said market; I think I may have found my passion. Marvelling at the quantity of alpacas and llamas being dragged around the streets for photo opportunities.
Of all of this, wandering into a shop and being tossed about by the owner is something I won’t forget. It had us in stitches, both customers and owner. What shines through again and again in Peru is the people themselves. From the hostel owner who is now my FaceBook friend (and for whom I’m typing up a leaflet in English I think…) to the fantastically energetic people who’ll help you out when you look lost, Peruvians help their country shine.
And last but not least; the Inca Trail is paid off. If you have any advice or tips or warnings, feel free to add them below.