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Mingling with the Locals
Enough Stairs For A Lifetime

Cusco and Arequipa are scenic towns, each having a central town square. The places are literally crawling with vendors, peddlers, and a few beggars. We were constantly approached by people trying to sell us things--most of which was junk. Their saving grace is that they are at least trying to make a living by working an not by begging. Many locals will pose for photos in their native garb and are sometimes accompanied by llamas or alpacas. One of these critters tried to eat the button off my shirt. The towns are also inundated by various types of police, all in different uniforms. There are national police, local police, traffic police and tourist police. I don not know whether the latter are protecting us from the locals or vice versa. The vast majority of the cars are all taxis. Do not trust signs on restaurants advertising credit cards. In one of them, even though the decals were on the door. To rub salt in the wounds, the scoundrel then tried to short change me. I caught him at it and loudly expressed my displeasure. Guess how much tip he got!

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