Peru was described to us recently as 3 countries within one, the coast, the mountains and the Amazon headwaters. We have only experienced the mountain region and it’s riches. Our impression is that even tho’ it is the toughest of the regions for the people to live, it is thriving. Small towns seem to be engaging in major municipal work projects and we guess the money is coming (via the government) primarily from mining – just from the rich colours in the mountainscapes, one can imagine the rich minerals that lie below.
Biking through we see the other ‘exports’ of the high country, the llamas, the sheep (including merino), cows, water taken from the many lakes for hydro and for drinking water for the huge cities on the coast. We have not seen much active tourism deep in the Andes tho there are hotspots like Machu Pichu and Huaraz, where we are heading. The mountain locals are chilled and friendly, handshakes are warm and gentle and we have not seen agro or much drunken behaviour or felt unsafe at all. We have not seen poverty as you might in Asia.
We are now over halfway through the 4th leg of this traverse. This morning we went into the newly opened Municipal building here in Oyon, to see if there was WIFI and before I knew it I was being interviewed for local radio – so tune in to Radio Oyon to here gringa Jo! Luckily most of the basic question were within my limited Spanish!