RPCV Returns to Peru      (continued from p. 11)

waiter at the Hotel de Turistas for 30 years, quite a long time ago. This hotel was part of several run by the government and was always the best in town with very superior service. Somehow this headwaiter had recognized Lucho who offered him some books he had about being a waiter. Lucho then said he had been watching all the waiters and that certain ones had made mistakes. He urged him to come and get the books to improve his staff. I didn't mention that he's now in his late 70's and doesn't hear well anymore. Here he was watching all of them and making mental notes. Another note is that Rosalia ordered some kind of a soup made out of a cow's stomach and seemed to enjoy it.

The changes in the city were not all good. It has always been a large place, 2nd in Peru behind Lima, but in the last ten years a flood of

people have come down from smaller towns hoping to get work but causing tremendous competition for that scarce commodity. Most of the people we visited had jobs, but the pay was miniscule due to the competition - a buyers' market. With it the amount of people and traffic has increased greatly in the last 13 years since I was last there, and there's honking, congestion, and sad to say, air pollution. Misti cannot be seen so clearly as before. It seemed like 9 out of 10 cars were Dae Woo's converted to taxis which did mean that they were very cheap for tourists as well as locals, but a negative presence for the city.

Another friend, Victor Paredes, explained that it doesn't help to retire after 30 years as the law demands since it's impossible to get by on the tiny government pension - you just have to go out and find another job. What is so strik

ing is that everyone works very hard without expecting to get very far up the ladder, and yet they remain good natured, friendly, and philosophical. When you know Peruvians for a little while they can really make you feel as if you're a part of their family.

Another day we went out to an old mill in Sabandia, in the countryside which had recently been restored and is running.. An alpaca grazed on the grass. It was so peaceful sitting there in the old, old stone building, listening to the water and watching a farmer herd up his cows to go in to the barn. He ran quickly and lightly as many men here are able to, but the moment seemed frozen in time, as sometimes happens on afternoons in the Andes. Cool shade, hot sun, deep blue sky, a kind of peace  - the present blends perfectly into a hundred memories of  past afternoons in the Sierra.

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