A day of interesting encounters

Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, October 21, 2007

We were stuck in our desert oasis paradise today because of the census.  No buses were running.  We were also to find that not much else was open.

We lazed around today because we didnīt have much to do.  We spent some time on the Internet and then started hunting for lunch.  Everything on the river front was closed so we wandered back into the street off the lagoon.  The guy offering us a dune buggy ride became our savior.  He brought us into the back of his hostel to a bar and said he could get us some lunch.  As we waited we explored the backyard, which turned out to be a zoo. 

They had a monkey.  Iīm not sure where they acquired this monkey, but it was wearing a jacket with a rope connecting it to a branch.  It kept tangling itself up as it hopped around.  It was very cute.  I advised that Erin not touch the monkey.  But she really wanted to.  Also resident in the backyard were six parrots. 

I really liked the food.  The strange part was that for a rice stir fry they donīt put the meat and vegetables on the rice, but on the french fries.  Its like gravy.  We were finishing up the meal when we noticed two of the parrots making a beeline towards us.  They wobbled right over.  The more forward of the two walked up to Erinīs ankle and made it very clear that if she did not extend a hand he would scratch his way up her leg.  Erin complied and the parrot jumped on the table and made a dive for one of her French fries.  The other one was too shy to do this so I gave him one of mine.

The hungry parrot was now eating the rice off of Erinīs plate and she decided she was done.  I was not, however, and greedy was eyeing my plate.  I finished up and gave it to them.  Both were up on the bar by this time.  They finished the rice and began on the onion pieces.  Iīd never seen a parrot try to eat a cooked onion before.  The cook came out and yelled that the parrots were eating the touristīs food. 


We had climbed up on the dunes to get a view of the oasis and the setting sun.  There were a bunch of families, mostly Peruvian, also out enjoying the day.  Erin was making faces at one of the little babies and, apparently seeing this as an invitation, the family of three came over and sat down next to us.

They asked if we had done a pasilla, which we later figured out meant a dune buggy ride.  We were so used to people trying to sell us things (I assumed they were as well), that we never even considered that they might want to do it themselves.  In any case, it was clear that they wanted something else.  Eventually it became clear what it was.  They wanted us to take their picture.  Like a family portrait.  Except free.  I couldnīt really complain because I had the camera and it wouldnīt cost me anything either, so I took a couple photos of them and the sand.  The girl wrote down her email address for me and I said I would send some of the pictures to her address.  At first I thought they were going to attempt to get me to print them out and send them, but they didnīt ask.  We had a little bit of conversation, then they called the men over from playing on the dunes.  They tried out their English (Hello-how-are-you) and asked a couple more questions.  We took pictures of them too, promised to send them, and then they headed down the dunes.  It was getting cold so we were heading down when we saw one of the men heading back up the dune towards us.

He asked a very interesting question.  He indicated my teva sandals and asked me how much they were worth in the United States.  I told him they were about 50 dollars.  He shook his head in disbelief.  He said they were very nice sandals and they donīt have sandals like that in Peru.

Then he asked me how much I wanted for them.  He offered to buy my sandals. 

I explained that my sandals had to last me through my travels and I only had one pair for the next year.  Sorry, but they werenīt for sale.  He accompanied me the rest of the way down the dune, shaking his head a couple times and saying, 50 dollars.

Back with his family, he broke the sad news.  He said the only way people from Peru can have things like that is if they steal them.  He asked me how much it cost for the dune buggy rides (about 12 dollars a person).  He couldnīt believe it. 

Ever had a conversation that made you feel really privileged?  Iīm just glad he didnīt ask how much my camera is worth...
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youngtravellers on

Re: Great pics...
You know, we think that the parrots had their wings clipped, and I don't think they're meant to eat the food, because the cook was shocked when she came out to see how we were. Erin

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