Speaking the universal language of smiles
by Mackies Fermin
Meeting locals has always been something that I look forward to when I travel in places I’ve never been to before. When I went to Cusco, Peru, I was excited but nervous at the same time. I was traveling alone and was not prepared. It was bad enough that my Spanish was rusty. Then I had to find out that people in the highlands mostly speak Quechua. I was worried I wouldn’t get to make new friends in this trip. But it turns out, all my worries were not necessary. The locals were friendly. It didn’t matter if we spoke the same language. One smile was enough for you to know that you’ve made a friend.
I joined a couple of local tours organized by Peru for Less and ended up with travelers from other parts of the globe. There was this group of Chinese-Australian ladies whom I’ve hanged out with for the entire trip. They were really beautiful; skin white as porcelain and bodies like a supermodel. They were taller than me, and everywhere we go, they were head turners. They were really nice too. Each place we went, people would ask to take their picture. So I was like thinking, how would I make friends here if people don’t even notice me because of the crowd I’m with? And right there and then, someone approached me and asked if I wanted to hang out with them that night. I said yes and these locals showed me what it was like to have fun as a Peruvian. I got to eat home-cooked dishes. I drank cold bottles of Cusquena. I got to dance in clubs playing Latino music. And I got to explore Cusco on foot at night. It was peaceful; so different from the bustling place it is during day time. The whole experience was unforgettable.
I can’t wait to go back to Cusco and visit my friends there!