Some days, you feel like touring.
And, some days, you just feel like shopping.
As in, souvenir shopping.
For the most part–and through the countless temptations of Japanese cuteness, China cheapness, India, well, I fail, here, SE Asian uniqueness, South African craftsmanship, Patagonia yumminess–I resist the call to buy, to stockpile my pack with tangible tidbits and empty my piggy bank on things versus experiences.
But, here, we succumb.
Comparatively, Peru is a significantly better bargain than its South American neighbors, and being so close to our “go home” date, everything we see would be perfect for him, awesome for her, and each time we let our fingers trail on an alpaca blanket, palms soft against baby alpaca–fear not, baby alpaca is the term for an alpaca’s first shearing, not wee babe thrown up into human attire–we falter.
This morning, we falter big time, especially since our discovery session about town takes us repeatedly by rows and rows of souvenir shops–or, atrappe-trouriste as my mother calls them–and down the pedestrian mall and over the hill to the weekday market, where, lucky us, loads of women sell Peruvian hats and Peruvian sweaters and Peruvian shawls and Pervian legwarmers–oh, for reals, the Quechuan ladies wear these with their short socks and have been rocking this look since long before Jane Fonda and jazzercize–Peruvian everything with more bang for our buck than their sisters on the swanky street.
Oh, how we daydream of this and that for our friends here, those over there, and before long, we have our arms piled high with imaginary gifts.
And, a 25 kg bag limit.
And, no more fun money.
Oh, ho-hum, the realities of backpacking, where every square inch counts for something, the price of going over size and weight almost a plane ticket in of itself.
Our enthusiasm curbed, we pare down our list to the essential and walk the walk again, putting our brains aside and letting our guts do the shopping, heart strings pulling us to this and that direction when a blanket, a shawl, a purse screams our beloveds’ names.
Restraint, what a tease you are, not only for now, but for the months prior where, for had we known how truly regional some of coveted items are, we would have splurged on the mâté straw and the Calafate jam way back then, weight be damned.
Nevertheless, we end up with the cutest of cute items–an über soft baby alpaca sweater for newest baby in Graham’s life, his chunky monkey nephew, Robert Junior Junior.