This has probably been the most utilized phrase of the trip for me, thanks to the various markets we’ve visited as well as the street venders. If you took too long of a glance at someone’s table or perhaps asked the price of something, next thing you know, they’ve put a hat on your head, you have a llama in your hands, and a necklace or other various jewelry items on. This is barely an exaggeration, as we’ve all hopefully learned how to better navigate the markets and barter for prices by now. However, it is very easy to fall into the trap of looking too long and having a saleswoman tell you how great everything is and how she'll offer a great price, "just for you!"
Outside of markets, just about everywhere in Cuzco will have you passing by men and women selling paintings, hats, gloves, llama keychains and more. A walk to the central plaza will include no fewer than 5-10 “No, gracias” responses, and after getting one early on (because who can say no?), you’ll learn to turn down women dressed in traditional clothing who take pictures with you and their lambs for tips.
One interesting case was when a few of us were eating empanadas at a local café in the evening and a girl in a school uniform who was probably in elementary school came up and tried to sell us pens with llamas on top and various finger puppets, not backing down when Profe told her how he already owned plenty. She ended up coming back a total of 5 or 6 times, always right after the waiter went back inside, with various goods to sell and didn’t give up until the moment we left. This is not a rare case at all in Cuzco—after school and finishing homework, so many kids come out to try and sell to tourists, which is something that would never fly in the United States.
I have to admire the tenacity of all these venders, and the first few days especially, it was very hard to not feel guilty when trying to walk quickly past on your way to wherever you were headed and avoid having to say “no, gracias” many more times. All of us have gotten better at this over the past week and a half in Cuzco, which is definitely a plus as there’s no end in site to constantly being sold to!