The Ugly Face of Tourism

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 A Journal Entry written while traveling in Peru 

 (Ollantaytambo, Peru)

It's so sad looking around me... the little old lady with her sidewalk stand selling little cheese sandwiches, mate, coffee, etc honestly for one sole. Smiling at passerby's. All around are numerous restaurants catering to tourists, large signs written in English, "American Breakfast". These restaurants selling the same little cheese sandwiches and coffee, yet on nicer plates and fancier chairs, for ten times the price. And the mindless tourists looking for the comfort of home. Those tourists who travel for the sites yet never look at the culture and beauty that lies right around those sites. Those who balk at the "uncleanliness" of local food. At the little lady that washes our coffee cups with her little bucket of hot water on the side of her little sidewalk stand instead of in a large commercial mass produced dishwasher. The tourists keep flocking in like sheep to their massive tourists restaurants eating and drinking for ten times the price, throwing their crisp bills at these money hungry tourist restaurants, surrounded by other gringos and closing their eyes to all that surrounds their closed little perfect world within mass tourism. All the while the little old lady catering kindly, honestly, and patiently to anyone that wants to stop and share a story or two or listen to a few tales while eating their cheese sandwiches and drinking hot coffee. Locals and tourists alike, treating all the same, complaining about the cold, scolding us like a sweet grandmother for not finishing the last drop of our "pachi" (hot mashed bean drink) because the last part has all the vitamins... honestly and kindly with her worn and torn shoes, constantly with a honest, sweet smile on her face.

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