16th August 2019
Peru is a really beautiful country.
Along the west coast, the beaches are clean, soft-sanded and hot. The sunrises fill the horizon with pastel colours. The north is coated by the Amazon rainforest and the south scraped out by deserts, with the Andes mountain range pulsing through the country’s centre.
The cities are polluted — here Arequipa in especially — but they often have lots of green spaces in an attempt to balance it out. City plazas are made up of grand fountains, vibrant-green, untouched lawns and contained by the facades of presidential houses, clock towers, cathedrals and white-stone columned buildings. Each bench is warmed by a local using their afternoon to socialise and people-watch. Street vendors flit around with trolleys of popcorn, ice cream and brightly-coloured puddings.
The people here are peaceful, often spiritual, progressive, open-minded and friendly. Right now I can see two men snuggling up to each other, laying on the grass in the park. Few people here speak English, but those who do are keen to practice.
Two days ago there was a parade here. It seemed every citizen of Arequipa had flocked to the plaza, forming a thick human wall around the edges. They cheered with enthusiasm as dancers, clowns, musicians and donkeys flared their way through the streets. As part of their continued celebrations, street artists performed to the crowds. Almost all of the shows were sexualised comedy. There were stars challenging each other to dance sexily, volunteers attempting to seduce the performers in front of the audience and men with their T-shirt knotted at the waist gyrating to Beyoncé.
In between cities, there’s lots of barren land. The spaces often gets used as landfill or as tiny, pit-stop villages. The roads are fairly well looked after and the journeys so far have been smooth. In a couple of days, I’ll test out the roads that remain ahead of me and continue to explore this fruitful country.