A Traveller in Peru
Jackson, Sara, Contemporary Review
I hadn't even heard of the Sendero Luminoso until our flight to Peru was booked and paid for. From that moment on every acquaintance had a story to regale us with. Each story was a catalogue of atrocities committed by the Senderos on innocent tourists. Each day the stories grew more gory, more fabulous. We received the worst of them the morning before our departure. This one was bad because it came directly from the Foreign Office, straight from the mouth of a friend of a friend.
The Sendero situation was as bad as it had ever been and was worsening daily. It was affecting tourism badly. The train to Macchu Picchu, Peru's best preserved Inca city, had already been blown up three times that year. Don't travel overland. Take flights everywhere. Only last week a young British couple travelling through Peru had walked into a village for the night. The Senderos happened to be in town. The bloke got cudgeled to death. What happened to the girl the chap was too polite to say. At home, on the other end of the telephone, this story merely irritated me. Typical armchair over-reaction. I could guarantee that when we actually arrived there would be nothing to it. I was more likely to get blown up on the London Underground. Secretly, I despised those older, fatter, lesser tourists who hadn't the nerve to go. The Senderos meant no more to me than all the other unknowns I was about to embrace. After all, it was precisely for adventure that I was leaving London.
Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital rebuilt by the Spanish, was sleepier than even I had expected. We arrived on a Sunday morning to a small, empty colonial town. There was no traffic, only wide cobbled streets still lined by perfect Inca masonry. On the benches round the central square sat huddles of brightly dressed Quecha Indians. Women, rich in their woven blankets, flared skirts and pork-pie hats stood around in groups, each with a baby …
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Publication information: Article title: A Traveller in Peru. Contributors: Jackson, Sara - Author. Magazine title: Contemporary Review. Volume: 262. Issue: 1525 Publication date: February 1993. Page number: 76+. © 1999 Contemporary Review Company Ltd. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.
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