There is one thing I will never forget of this trip throughout Central and South America. The people. There have been some terrible encounters, but in general, I must admit that the kindness of people here is almost heartbreaking, especially as it comes when you least expect it. For any taxi driver that would glady run me over when I cross the street, there are 10 persons who go above and beyong to help me. Should I be surprised by this? I guess I am, coming from a country where generosity towards strangers is decreasing by the minute.
I was waiting for a bus that apparently was never going to arrive somewhere near Leon Vieja, in Nicaragua, trying to get back to town. I had been asking around where I should be waiting for the bus, and minutes after I had been sitting at the supposed bus stop, the man I asked and his son offered me a ride back to town, as it looked like there was going to be no bus. They did not expect anything more than a chat from me.
More nice encounters happened in Costa Rica. I once desperately needed a toilet while waiting for the bus (which was going to come, this time), yet could not find any. A lady who was also waiting and heard me asking came close to me and offered to take me right across the street, at her place. Then on the same day, arriving in San Jose, I had missed my bus stop and got off in a dodgy area. Next thing I knew, a guy who saw me on the bus warned me and stopped a taxi that would safely take me to my hostel. And yet again, always in Costa Rica, I entered the most local pub in Sarchi, and was literally welcomed by the people, who wanted to hear my story and share theirs – ie, one girl was proud to tell me she was pregnant!
Hardly any need to mention Colombians. They are just such loving, kind people who would always want to help.
Yet, the most amazing encounters have been in Peru. I somehow grew accustomed to Peruvians being very shy, to the point that at times they seem rude. I was wrong. For any girl who lazily points a finger towards the right direction, there are so many who are truly kind. I was stuck in San Pedro de Casta, trying to get back to Lima in time for my flight, and there was no transportation in sight. A lady working in a comedor ran around the whole village, asking people to take me back down to the nearest bus stop. And she surely succeded. I waved her good bye from the car, and sent her kisses. I was not expecting such kindness.
Then again, a few days ago here in Cusco I asked at a nearby market for some heucalipto leaves to have some tea for my terribly sore throat. There was none, but I managed to get them at another market. I went to the first market again yesterday and sure enough the lady I had asked recognised me and she came running after me to make sure I would get my leaves – and she would not accept any payment for her trouble. Same with the baker, who would not accept a coin for the breadcrumbs he gave me and which I could not find anywhere else in town.
These people, these short encounters, will always be remembered!