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The first thing that struck me about Peru is how mountainous and dry the landscape is. Maybe I was expecting fields of green. I don’t know. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see this out my window.

The second thing that struck me is that hiking and outdoor activities are huge here. I really appreciate this, especially because little emphasis is placed on sports or the outdoors (besides football) when I travel through many places in Africa.

The third thing that struck me is that people don’t hassle you on the street as much. I am currently in Cusco, the jumping point for all the Machu Picchu treks, and it is very touristy. Locals, of course, try to sell you handcrafts at street corners, but when you say “No, gracias” then they stop asking. Wow.

I came to Peru purely for pleasure. I have to be back in the US for a wedding in early October and decided to take the next 5 weeks to explore and have fun. My goal is to get as much rock climbing and other outdoor activities jammed into my schedule as possible, while also allowing some time to relax and wind down. Despite this goal, I’m sure I’ll still be thinking about technologies and culture and how everything fits in to my career interests. I somehow can’t escape this.

Tomorrow I leave on a 5-day trek that ends in Machu Picchu with a good friend from college. I normally don’t like to do such touristy activities, but there is no other way to get trail permits. I’ll be out of contact for a few days and will update with pictures and stories when I return. Happy trails!