With the exception of a few incidents, best forgotten, in Ecuador years ago, the people of South America have, over the years I’ve been visiting, been unfailingly awesome. So welcoming and ready to bring a lone bicycle traveller into their lives, especially here in Peru. It’s for that reason mainly that I realised that, no matter what happens with my chest, I must stay as long as I can. Things are much better, I have to let go of some riding goals I think but that doesn’t matter, other good things will fill their place even if not particularly two-wheeled.
My days here settled into an easy rhythm; get up, have breakfast with the lovely couple that run the place at which I am staying, resist attempts to be set up with the sister who is “fiery and passionate” apparently (I might have to rethink this one), spend the morning working at a cafe in the plaza, go for a wander after lunch with my camera, have icecream, bit more work, then find a place for dinner. I have been very much adopted by the family here; today was Carlo’s birthday with multiple generations of family arriving for a fantastic home-cooked feast of local dishes, and they insisted I join. I couldn’t refuse and it was a truly super afternoon with a wonderful family. Mi familia Ayacuchana. I wasn’t even permitted to help with the washing up. A wonderful memory to add to the rich tapestry of life on a bicycle, or temporarily not on a bicycle in my case. Unfortunately, or fortunately – I’m not sure which – the sister Milena was not able to attend ;-) It will be hard to leave.
It’s not only the people however… it’s the colour of life here.. those little vignettes of interest that could never happen at home and make time spent in these places so rewarding. A couple of evenings ago, in a basic, dimly lit local eatery, I sat next to a family enjoying dinner with their green parrot. I very much got the impression the bird was just another member of the family along with their toddler. The restaurant served up a glass of water and a plate of rice for the bird; it sat on the corner of the formica table and quietly ate its dinner, with the occasional contented “chuckle” and exhibiting better table manners than many humans. I loved that.
South America is also a terrific canvas for the street photographer of course, so with that in mind here are a few more snaps.