Next Generation

Notes from Peru …

By From page A4 | August 28, 2012

It’s all in the pronunciation.

One of the mountains the girls climbed during their time in Peru was Waynu Picchu, which translates in the native Peruvian language of Quechua as “young mountain.” But best pronounce it correctly, Clark and Hill learned.

“According to our guide from the Inca trail, if we pronounced Picchu as ‘pee-chu’ instead of ‘pih-chu,’ then we would be in a world of trouble. Just the slight verbal alternation made the difference between saying ‘young mountain’ and ‘young penis.’ Quite a bad mistake to make.”
On day three of their trek to Machu Picchu, the girls were told dinner would be followed by a thank-you ceremony for the porters who had helped carry everything up the mountain. At that time, a guide told them, they could present the porters with tips.

“Not knowing what was reasonable,” Hill said, “we asked her, and she gave us an estimate. Long story short, Sierra and I, two 18-year-olds traveling the world on a budget, gave that amount. The young couple in our group did the same. The others gave nothing, until, facing Sierra’s death glare, a man put in 50 soles (about 20 bucks) for himself and his wife.

“Sierra was, to say the least, fuming. It seemed so utterly wrong that the porters, who really worked so incredibly hard, would be given such a meager amount of money from the soft tourists whose backpacking equipment they carried over three mountain passes. We talked it over and over in our little tent, before deciding to give 50 more soles in the morning and finally being able to fall asleep.”
The question asked of them by “everyone in the world and their moms”: “You’re 18???”

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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