the incas didnt have horses: they had the llama. the incas didnt have cattle: they had the cuy (guinea pig). the llama almost entirely lost its place (as a pack animal) when the spanish arrived where the cuy mostly didnt. it is a tough, greasy meat but is widely considered a delicacy and the peruvians were always trying to honor me by preparing it for me. doña mira had to buy since she lost all of hers, some sixty, to disease (and probably a lazy son). we returned with bags full for the fiesta to the virgin of carmen.
a volleyball tournament in a small village in the mountains of peru was the feminine diversion (my friends, city girls, got clobbered by the tough village girls) that preceded a small peruvian rodeo, the masculine entertainment. they took down the nets, blocked off the small square and while the crowd watched from the balconies let a bull loose among the men who, drinking 192 proof alcohol and chewing coca leaves, tried to impress each other.
i spent my lunch hours resting in the shade of this small farm. they let me go into their fields and cut the shucked corn stalks so judas could lunch, too. the daughter sat behind me asking me questions and then for help as she found i knew the answers to her math homework. when i rose to leave i saw that she had done all the sums first on her arms and legs: scrap paper. when she knew she had the right answer they went down clean on the assignment paper.
peru invented the tricycle: motorized and manual...or at least thats what they told me. even if i pointed to the name on their tricycle and said, that's hindi...this was made by an india company, they insisted the peruvians were first. the tricycles are ubiquitous enough and the peruvian proud enough that i normally just conceded. in this border town with bolivia certain trucks would stop to unpack their cargo onto a long line of tricycle carts who would then run the merchandise across the border: being private and small quantities they were not subject to exportation taxes. the empty truck would then cross the bridge tax free and reload on the other side where the tricycles were waiting. in desaguadero they were legion and walking in the street meant trying not to get run down.