On our last day in Peru, Jean and I decided to walk around the city and do some last minute shopping. We came to this store that Profe took us during our first couple of days in Cusco, trying to get some hand-made, real alpaca sweaters. Luckily, I found a very nice sweater and I wanted to buy it. The owner’s daughter told me that the sweater cost 250 soles, and I started hesitating because of the price. “This is so expensive,” I told Jean. Indeed, the sweaters that we bought in other markets cost around 35 soles, and we were told that they were all made from alpaca. “This is baby alpaca, and it is made by my mother,” the daughter added. I turned to Jean, and she said that the sweater was comfortable and the young lady looked sincere. After a few minutes of silence in the store, I asked whether it could be cheaper, and she said that she could sell the sweater for 200 soles. I walked around the store and saw another nice sweater, and the lady told me that it cost 60 soles. “¿Por qué este suéter es más barato que otro suéter?” I asked. “Because this one is machine made and it is made from alpaca. That one is made from baby alpaca.” The daughter answered my question without any hesitation, and she did not seem to lie to us. At last, we decided to fully trust the lady, and both of us invested in some sweaters. When the owner of the store, the mother of the lady, finally came in, her daughter told her about our purchase at the store. She was smiling to us and she kept saying “gracias” to us. When we told her that it was our last day in Cusco, she decided to give us some small products as presents.
As we walked out of the store, I was moved into tears. I felt loved by the storeowners, who were just two ordinary people living Cusco. Instead of mixing alpaca and baby alpaca and making money out of it, they were able to be honest to Jean and me, who were just two tourists spending their last day in Cusco. I really appreciate their sincerity, and during the past three weeks in Cusco, I have seen many sincere people, including the two waitresses at Kushkafe. Cusco is a city with many tourists, and in order to make money, a lot of the businesspeople are not honest to the buyers. However, there are still many local people willing to be friends with the tourists, provide them the best products and give them the best service. Although sometimes I have to speak Spanglish to explain myself, I think that love and passion are beyond language and ethnicity, and they make me want to go back to Cusco and visit my lovely friends. At the same time, I also feel loved and supported by other people in our group. Without them, my experience in Peru would be entirely different. As I was on my way to the airport, I realized that this trip consisted of not only Machu Picchu, but also love and passion, as the person from the Choco Museo told us.