Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect before arriving here in Cusco. My ignorance included the width of the streets, traffic patterns, height of native Peruvians, how Cusco-ians view foreigners, Peruvians lifestyle etc. In summary: the streets are extremely narrow and tiny, so the only traffic pattern is chaos, and native Peruvians truly are smaller. To me, what is most interesting is how we are treated/viewed and how the peruanos carry themselves.
When we walk the streets, we are not gawked at; it is a simple glance, a quick recognition, and a swift return to daily life for the Peruvians. However, usually in restaurants, we are treated differently; the camereros talk to us in Spanish and are never rude. The same applies to the men and women who work in stalls at the mercados or on the street. Of course, we are targeted by vendors trying to sell items, which usually are photos of Machu Picchu, llama keychains, hats, and photos.
There seems to be a difference between the younger and older generations. You usually only see older women in the traditional Peruvian garb, and the younger women wear more modern clothes, including jeans and sweaters. The men usually do not wear the traditional clothing, so you find them wearing pants and shirts. What most interests me the most, though, is the fact that the younger generation shows a lot of public displays of affection between young couples. We see them in La Plaza Mayor, which is a very short walk away that occasionally seems longer due to the altitude. Overall, this is a beautiful city that has welcomed us with open arms.