my favourite religious painting ever!
The sequel!

6. Cusqueña/religious art is weird – in an amazing way!

I'm not usually someone who is into religious art, or would visit churches (even less, pay for them). But the way Inka and Andean culture has mixed with Spanish catholicism fascinates me to no end.
Not really all the overly dark pictures of the horribly mutilated Jesus, but the little details. Suns and cats everywhere, and funny details in paintings, as Zapata's famous Last Supper where a guinea pig is eaten and Judas' face is that of the much hated colonialist Francisco Pizarro, or the creation of the earth where god created Llamas and unicorns – these people had a sense humor!

7. Peru has it's own terrorism
That's not a great of funny one, but from the 70s to 90s, many Peruvians died during attacks of Sendero Luminoso (“The shining Path”) and other extremist groups. It left many kids orphaned, especially in already very poor parts of the country. But as Peru doesn't have oil or any of these fancy things all the big rich people want, this never made the news. I felt very ignorant for not knowing about this. Things are better nowadays, but the presence of these groups (and many signs on buildings) can still be felt and seen in lots of places.

8. Peruvian Spanish is super easy

on the 5th day, he created unicorns
Definitely a pro! People here speak clearly, slowly and with barely any slang. I guess Peruvian Spanish, among with Colombian and Bolivian Spanish, is one of the easiest in the world and if I ever decided to deeply study the language (on an advanced level – eek!), I'd do it in Peru, where $100 buys you a 20 hour week of lessons. If I had landed in Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chule instead of Lima, I would have been so confused with my purely theoretical Spanish. Highly recommended!

9. Lima could be in Spain, if Spain had nice cities

Which it hasn't. I had big expectations for Lima (thank you, Rough Guide to Peru), but now I'm trying to minimise my time spent in the city, only getting back there a day before my flight. Sure, it has colonial architecture. So have hundreds of cities around the world. Lima is sterile, expensive and boring – in a Spanish way. The beaches are the most interesting thing about it (and I'm not a beach person at all).

10. The world needs more Peruvians!

meeting the devil in Arequipa
Peruvians are probably the most friendly, open-minded and helpful people in the world. I made friends with people I only talked to for maybe 3 minutes while queuing to buy a bus ticket, and they kissed me goodbye like we've been friends for years, inviting me to their homes. Whenever I walked into a not so nice area of town, people would come to me, warning me that it's probably not a part of town I should wander around. People are funny and direct, but never harsh or arrogant (hi, Chileans...). I had people share their food on buses with me and ask many smart, never annoying questions about my life and home country/ies. Where some hospitality is too much for me or I can't really understand it, Peruvian are never pushy, just genuinely nice. Even if they don't want to sell anything to you.

(The exception: Cusco. Whether people want to sell something to you or not, people there are jaded by tourism and nothing like Peruvians I have met anywhere else. All Peruvians I've told this agreed.) 
why have a complete house when you can have little planes?
 
I've got five more days in Peru and already, I know I'm going to miss it – and I'll be back, because I've only seen a tiny part of this beautiful, varied, friendly country.


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