I remember last year flying into Panama. We had been in Panama for almost a year but flying into the country anew we could see the vigor and the life in the people. There was a feeling of joy, energy, adventure in their walk, in the feeling on the street, in the shop owners and the customers. That same feeling we feel in Peru.
Guatemala was different. While many things about the country are magical we found that the people seemed to be carrying a heavy burden. They were moving forward, but slowly. Peru and Panama are moving at light speed.
Oh, both countries have a long way to go but they are moving in a positive direction; not just positive for the wealthy but one that is good for most everyone. One HUGE difference I find in Peru is the number of book stores and the emphasis on reading. One can judge a country’s health by their dedication to education and the peoples ability to read with access to knowledge. In Guatemala Libraries were rare and from what the locals told me; reserved mostly for the gringos. The few book stores had books but by the standard income of Guatemalans they are expensive. Textbooks in schools had to be purchased and only the rich were able to buy them. Students of the rich sat in the front rows. The rest were left behind. In Peru most every business has a note about how to recycle, trade books.
One local told us that in Ica there is 100% employment. I kind of doubt the 100% but I understand that anyone who wants a job will find one.
This doesn’t mean there are no problems in Peru. We would actually like to bring our boat here but were told that near the Navy Station there are still Pirates. Go Figure. So until the Pirates are of minimal concern we’ll have to skip visiting by boat. But….
We like the country. We’ve been here a week, the Pisco Sours are ok, a bit strong for my taste but the Ceviche is great. Equal to and often better than in the Bahamas; which until now I felt had the best Ceviche in the Caribbean.
We arrived in Lima and checked into our hotel, changed money, picked up some SIM cards for the phones and started this adventure. We’re into our fist week, already we’ve been to 3 museums, flown over another UNESCO site; the Nazca Lines, ate at a dozen local restaurants, traveled cross country on their bus lines and visited one Winery where we were shown the old ways. No one really makes wine the old fashioned way anymore but it was interesting. We visited a zoological garden by accident (it was part of our Hotel) and have been moving every couple of days.
My grandfather was here in 1952 and I can’t wait to look at his pics from those days and compare them to now. That experience will occur later as the pictures are in Florida and we’re in …. Peru. Ciao