I was 13 years old and it was my first time traveling alone. Well ‘alone’, I think all latinos know that it is very difficult for the mother to ‘give us permission’ (because, realistically, the mother is the one who commands). It was only one day and we went to Paracas, a round trip.

Llanganuco Lakes. Huaraz, Peru. 1997

Those were the trips I made with the school. We were about 70 teenagers from a highschool of Spanish nuns. I had traveled with my family to places like: Cuzco, Arequipa, Ica, Cajamarca, Trujillo, Piura, Puno, but doing it ‘alone’ gave it a different touch, I felt ‘great’.

Taquile Island (Titicaca Lake). Puno, Peru. 1996

Yesterday a Dutch friend asked me, Ari, in how many countries have you been? My answer was: I do not tell countries, I tell experiences. One can ‘be in a country for 1 day’ and ‘count’ it on the list when in fact he has not known anything about it. Also note that (to give an example) on the surface of Peru, there are more than 30 ‘Hollands’.

Pastoruri Mountain. Huaraz, Peru. 1997

Peru has 24 departments and one province, each one extremely different from the other. This year I celebrated ‘Fiestas Patrias’ (our national day) with sun, in the ‘Oasis of America’, driving a boogie and sandboarding (which I had never done !!) and next week I will go to the Altiplano at more than 4000 m.s.n.m. where I will have another completely different landscape. So varied and beautiful is my country.

The ‘Oasis of America’: Huacachina. Ica, Perú. 2017

 

Part of my travel experience includes diversity, but something I was very proud was that I knew my country very well before my first experience abroad. I did not go to see the Eiffel Tower or went to Miami shopping without knowing the island of Taquile in Puno, eating ‘sopa seca’ (dry soup) in Chincha, having ‘soroche’ in Cuzco or spending a summer in Huanchaco, Trujillo.

‘Totora’ boats in Huanchacho. Trujillo, Perú. 2017

We may have difficulties in our society, disagree on political issues, complain of bad traffic and disagree with social differences, but at the end of the day, if we hear ‘El Cóndor Pasa’ (typical abroad) or see a Peruvian flag when traveling, we get what we have from ‘cholo’, ‘criollo’, ‘serrano’ or ‘charapa’ and feel proud wherever we are.

My first time in Cuzco: Machu Picchu. Cuzco, Perú. 2017

I am super proud of my country, its people and the culture it has to offer to the whole world. Every foreigner who comes to Peru is surprised by the friendliness of his people, the wonder of its landscapes, its millenary culture and of course what is today very much in vogue, Peruvian gastronomy. I am proud of being Peruvian and I am happy about it.

In red and white I say, HAPPY DAY PERU!

Ari ♥