What does it mean to live rural life in the Andes? It means a slower paced life, with time to enjoy the morning and evening sun casting a glow on the mountains. It means being able to see many more stars.
It also means everything else is done at a slower pace too, such as boiling water, or air drying your clothes (no dryers here, and this is not the California sun, meaning clothes take over a day to dry, not a few hours). The Internet connection is also slower and if you’re driving, you’ll have to slow down for sheep, donkeys or dogs in the road.
It means hearing announcements (either political or vendors selling their wares), from mega-phones attached to trucks driving up and down the highway. And instead of political lawn signs, politicians paint their name and logo on the side of buildings.
It means living in majestic surroundings (minus the trash along the roads) and traveling long distances between sites on winding mountainous roads, though it’s definitely worth it.
Today (Sep.7) we hired a driver to take us to the salt pans in Salinas, a weaving demonstration in Chinchero, and the ruins in Moray. It would definitely be better to have a guide to explain things, like we had at the Pisac ruins.
The public buses run up and down the highway, but then you need to take a taxi up to the ruins. The other options are to hire a driver for the day, like we did, or go on a package tour (at least then you get transportation and a guide, though the pacing is faster).
Given that many sites are somewhat remote, there are few amenities, so we had to do some backtracking to get to a restaurant for lunch (didn’t think to bring a packed lunch).
In Salinas, we had to pay to use the bathroom and the toilet paper was rationed. In Moray, we didn’t have to pay, but there was no toilet paper either (luckily I had napkins).
The hardest thing we’re having to adapt to is remembering to put the toilet paper in the garbage cans so as not to clog the pipes and cause an overflow.
We have found the people of Peru to be kind and helpful and have felt very safe here (even when taking the local buses. The locals kindly explained that I pay when I get to my destination, not when I board the bus) We’re enjoying our stay here and think this bodes well for the rest of our trip!