Saturday, June 4, 2016

No personal space

Although there is a lot that I am going to miss about Peru, one thing I will not miss is being constantly bombarded by salespeople. I have noticed that when these people want to sell you something, they have no regard for your or their own personal space. It makes me very uncomfortable when random people come up to me and try to sell things that I don’t want, especially because that is not what I am used to in the United States. One day, Alanna and I were walking through Cuzco and within a span of two minutes, at least 5 different women asked us if we wanted a massage. They didn’t just ask, though. They each would come up to us and try to hand us their cards and we would have to walk around them just to get by. I remember other nights when it was children trying to sell things. I love kids and so I always felt so bad when they would ask me to buy things and I would say no. The worst part was when they would keep following you and then put on sad faces to make you feel even worse. They are right up in your face and you have no choice but to see their disappointed puppy eyes. It’s the worst! And it’s not just when walking down the street, either. There has been several times that I was eating lunch or dinner out and our table would get approached. Two of those times, it was by freelance instrument players who would come into the restaurant you’re already eating at, force you to listen to their music, then ask for tips (while you’re in the middle of eating!). First of all, I didn’t ask you to play. Also, I don’t like the music because it is loud and I am trying to talk to the people I’m with. So no, I don’t want to tip you, but I feel bad not tipping. It’s the worst. Other times, such as when we ate outside at Valeriana, we would constantly be approached by other people selling things (paintings, pots, jewelry, etc.). It is bad enough being approached and followed while walking through town, but having to stop your meal and conversation to tell everyone “No, gracias” got really annoying. Even when we did go into the stores, the salespeople were very aggressive. They would touch you and try to show you all their cool things, again with no regard for personal space. Towards the end of the trip, I learned to just ignore people completely and keep walking without even looking at them. Still, this issue of personal space and how the salespeople seem to have none is one that I noticed throughout our time in Cuzco.

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