One of the reasons I wanted to visit two countries in each continent was so that we could have a slightly better sense of the diversity within and between countries.
Now that we’ve spent a few days in Brazil, it has helped me solidify my impressions of Peru as well as form first impressions of Brazil.
Peru is definitely the less developed of the two countries. In Peru, partially finished buildings were a common sight, both in the city and countryside.
In Sillacancha, I saw a woman wash dishes in the stream and other women hand washing laundry. Cows and sheep would be tied up along the side of the road to graze. There was no heating or cooling in the house, just wool blankets to keep you warm at night. Tiny ants and sizable wolf spiders were common sights in the kitchen.
In terms of the people, there was a very distinct look to the Peruvian people and we didn’t see a lot of diversity, even in Lima. The drivers were very aggressive, but not in an angry way. Even though there was lots of passing on double lines, honking of horns (again not in an angry way), and stopping less than a centimeter behind the car in front of you, I felt very safe with Peruvian drivers.
I found the people in Peru to be helpful, accommodating, and they generally would try to communicate with you, language barriers notwithstanding.
In Brazil, it is more developed, but as with Peru, needs better, more reliable internet connection. Whereas it was difficult to find bread in the Andes, we picked up the best baguette at a supermarket in Foz do Iguacu.
Here, we have ants as well, but much bigger! I’ve also come across a couple of horned beetles (I think that’s what they were). The people haven’t had that same sort of calm attitude we found in Peru, though Brazilian insects have certainly been friendly!
It’s possible that the Brazilian heat and humidity affects their attitudes. The drivers here are not as aggressive (though I may have a different opinion in Rio de Janiero), and you have to pull off to a lane on the right in order to make a left turn.
It’s still early days in Brazil though, so look for an update after we’ve spent some time in Rio.