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Life Lessons in Peru...

Julia Boggio works in London as an advertising copywriter, but she takes every opportunity she can to travel. This story was submitted to Journeywoman after an eventful and 'lesson - learning' five month trip through South America. Since Julia's hoping that other women will learn from her mistakes, she writes...



On my last night in Piura, Peru (very close to the border between Peru and Ecuador) , I sat in a small bus station reading my paperback, "Sophie's Choice." With my tired body sprawled on the hard chair like a soggy red pepper, I glanced up periodically to check on my horde of possessions piled against the wall. Vendors of goods (useless to an independent traveler) repeatedly strolled by me, interrupting my concentration. "A toilet plunger, senorita?" "Perhaps a squeegee?" "Pokemon balloon?"

He touched me...

The other waiting passengers, the number of which ebbed and mounted with each departing bus, sat watching the station's TV screen. Since I had been travelling for almost 24-hours without much sleep, reading was the only thing keeping me awake. Thankfully, I was at a good part -- I couldn't even hear the vendors, the song of melodramatic acting, the screaming ticket salesmen, or...

Tap.

I felt a light touch on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw an older mestizo man wearing glasses, dressed in a crisp white shirt and dark trousers. Bushy, graying eyebrows shaded his dark eyes. He appeared harmless, almost kind, but as a woman travelling alone, I immediately suspected his motives. Did he just want to touch me? Would he try to touch me again?

Noticing his every movement, I watched him place his hand on the back of my seat and, with arthritic slowness, bend towards the ground. I warily returned to my book.

Tap tap.

I looked at him again. In his sun-worn hand, he held a shiny coin. "Is this yours?" he asked me.


I was fooled...

Whew! I thought. He was just picking up the coin. No, I shook my head and smiled with relief. The man stood up and started shuffling away. Feeling badly for suspecting him of sexual indecency, I said cheerfully, "It's yours now".

Stopping, he said, "I'm sorry?"

"It's yours now", I repeated.

A faint smile hovering at the corner of his lips, he nodded at me and left the station.

Twenty minutes later I got thirsty which is when I realized my daypack was gone.


More...

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