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Thread: Peru....

  1. #1
    BradS's Avatar
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    Peru....

    I'll be visiting Peru for two and a half weeks. I'll be travelling with asmall group of people who all know each other but, none of whom I've ever met (except one). They're all...eh, how shall I say..."very thrifty" so, we'll be travelling by bus once we get there.

    We'll be working in a small village near Ica the first week but, this time, we'll actually get a week to do some sight seeing. (They went last year and only stayed for a week of work and didn't do any touring). The second week, we'll be visiting Arequipa, Cusco, and Lima for two or three days each. We'll take a day to see Machu-Picchu of course and the usual Cathedrals, etc...

    What else? Anything special in any of these three cities I should definitely make an effort to see? or to avoid?



    I'm vascillating (as usuall) between taking the Nikons and a handful of lenses or the Crown Graphic and a couple hands full of film holders. Leaning toward the Crown Graphic today...Nikons would be color print film. Crown would be Tri-X 320TXP. (discuss.)

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    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Beware thieves, Peru has tourist Police to help protect tourists but you need to be very vigilant. Very friendly people, beware altitude sicness in Cusco, see what your doctor can help with before you go. Film is hard to find.

    Ian

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    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Beware thieves, Peru has tourist Police to help protect tourists but you need to be very vigilant. Very friendly people, beware altitude sicness in Cusco, see what your doctor can help with before you go. Film is hard to find.

    Ian
    Thanks Ian. I keep hearing warnings about thieves and petty street crime...is it really that bad? Is it any worse than, say, Quito, Ecuador? Or Rome? (or, Los Angeles for that matter?) Or, is it kinda the same? I've travelled a bit and even lived on the street for a while myself...so, I'm not usually a victim of the usual stuff that happens in the big dirty city...but keep getting warned about Peru and Lima in particular...just don't know what to think.

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    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    Ica is near the Nazca lines (remember Chariot of the Gods?) and they are well worth seeing, but best from the air. From Ica you can bus to Arequipa (The White City) which is arguably the most beautiful city in Peru. The volcano "Misty" is visible from Arequipa. From Arequipa you can bus to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. There is a floating village there that the tourist boats will take you to. (There are some gift stores selling small statues, most of them pornographic, which unfortunately my 13 year old daughter discovered). There is a train running between Puno and Cuzco and I highly recommend the trip. It's high up in the Andes and passes through beautiful countryside and small villages. Cuzco has some other Inca or Pre-inca sites besides Machu Pichu (which alone is worth the trip) that are well worth visiting. Lima is a nice city. The Plaza Central (lots of photo ops there) and the Gold Museum are not to be missed, but there are many things to do and see. Miraflores, where I used to live, is a suburb of Lima with some very nice restaurants. The buildings in downtown Lima and other old parts have some fantastic balconies worth a few pics.
    Ian is right about the thieves, but if you're careful you won't be bothered. I lived there for two years, and only once did someone try to rob me. Tried to take my wristwatch. Don't wear jewelery and keep your wallet and passport in your front pocket, not the back.
    There are a lot of nice "pensiones" in Lima, sort of bed and breakfasts, and I recommend them.
    Ian is also right about the altitude sickness ("seroche"), but it doesn't affect everyone the same. Smokers seem to deal with it better than non-smokers, probably because their lungs are used to a lack of oxygen. You can get pills for it, but I think they're mostly sugar. The natives chew coca leaves, so coca tea might help (no more of a hit than our tea, legal and available everywhere). Mainly don't exert yourself too much if the altitude starts to bother you.
    If you want to see the Amazon, you can take a bus to Pucallpa, a days drive from Lima, longer on the bus. However it's a great trip across the Andes.
    Take a Spanish phrase dictionary and learn how to pronounce the words before you go. Spanish is very phonetic - if you see it written you can pronounce it, once you learn the simple rules. Don't drink the water (the beer is good, but watch out for the Pisco, the local white lightening). Have a Pisco Sour though, it's the national drink.
    It's been 10 years since I last visited, and I'd love to go back. Have fun!
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

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    BradS's Avatar
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    Thanks JohnnyWalker.

    We're staying in Miraflores a couple of days at the front end of the trip and possibly on the way out too. I'll be looking for a good breakfast restaurant....I like good coffee in the morning...not that freeze dried stuff. Any recommendations?

    The train from Puno to Cusco sounds wonderful. Right now, the itenerary shows us taking a bus from Arequipa to Cusco...I'll ask how firm that part of the plan is.

    I speak a little street spanish and have been to ecuador a couple of times. So, I completely understand what you mean about "learn some spanish".

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    The "instant" coffee I remember from Peru was a very thick liquid served in a small jug. You got a jug of hot water at the same time, and you mixed the two to your liking. Don't do what I did the first time and drink the thick stuff - you'll be wired all day long. I don't know the origin of the thick stuff, but I preferred to think it was brewed.
    Sorry, I don't remember the names of the pensiones, but a google search might work. I don't think you could go wrong with any of the pensiones in Miraflores, as it's kind of a high end district.
    The centre of Miraflores is on Avenida Arequipa and a great place to have ice cream, cakes, meals, a beer, or just hang out.
    The trains are scenic and relaxing. The buses are scenic but far from relaxing! Seriously, the train trip is just great. I took my kids on it when they visited me there and they still remember it.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

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    Peru hiking

    We did some of the Inca trail and used Cuzco as our base for day trips. I never felt unsafe walking in town or in the environs. I used a Bessa R4 with a couple of lenses, as I wanted something relatively small and unobtrusive. No matter what you do, you look like a tourist and stand out in a crowd. Most of the people I was with had digital p&s cameras, only one fellow had a big Nikon slr (with only a single zoom) and even he didn't feel that he was being targeted.

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    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I should add we didn't feel unsafe, or rather I didn't But we had been staying with a senior diplomat in Chile who handled visa's etc for Peru her Embassy and she had first hand experience of dealing with the aftermath of street robberies etc. Unofficial taxis are particularly unsafe in Lima.

    Ian

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    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    Times and places sure change. When I lived there 25 years ago the Shining Path guerrillas were very active and there were army and police armed with machine guns on every corner in Lima. But not much crime, at least not violent crime. Between the guerrillas and the coca trade, traveling in some areas in the countryside could be very dangerous. Lima and the bigger cities like Arequipa were pretty safe (not to say you didn't have to exercise reasonable caution), although the Shining Path did set off the odd bomb (mostly in front of police stations) just to let everyone know they were there. As in most big cities, some parts of town had more crime than others.
    Most of my work was in the Amazon basin. No Shining Path, but you did have to stay off the Amazon river at night, as thats when the drug boats made their runs to Columbia. All of the taxis in Lima were "unofficial" but safe.
    I went back for a month about 10 years ago. The Shining Path was pretty much defeated and the machine guns and the army had disappeared from the streets of Lima and the country looked more prosperous, even in the neglected Amazon area. I would have stayed longer just to get the feel of the place again, but my client didn't travel well and I had to take him home.
    I'd love to go back some day, but it probably won't happen. In any case, I'll be anxious to hear your impression of the country when you get back. Of all the countries I've worked in, Peru ranks right at the top of my favourites.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

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    arigram's Avatar
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    My brother stayed a month in Peru in September.
    He told me that he was very aware of thieves and had a general concern about crime, especially since he stayed with a family in one of the not so great parts of Lima. He also found that often people wouldn't want to be photographed and a couple even became somewhat aggressive.
    But, in general, he had a great time, he found the people friendly and interesting and he explored many fascinated places. I have successfully instilled the film-is-superior propaganda into him and so he brought many beautiful negatives with a Nikon F90X.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




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