There are countless reasons the White City is a charming, fascinating and downright quirky place to live. So we compiled a list of 24 of our favourite tell-tale signs you’ve lived in Arequipa.
1. The rubbish trucks brighten up your day by playing ‘Under the Sea’ (or other amazing songs!). When you go back home, rubbish collection day loses all its magic.
2. You want to start wearing a badge saying ‘I’m not a tourist, I live here!’ in Plaza de Armas when everyone tries to sell you Colca Canyon tours, herd you into their restaurant, or sell you sunglasses.
3. You’re friends with ‘Pare Man’ (the happiest man in Arequipa – and a local celebrity!), who helps tourists cross the street outside Santa Catalina Monastery.
He may have even given you a high five or sung for you. You probably have a photo with him on your phone.
4. Inka Cola and chicha morada become your favourite (or least favourite) drinks, and you’re always amazed at how many uses there are for corn.
5. You’ve walked down a street clearly owned by stray dogs and either wanted to adopt them or feared for your life!
6. Reality TV takes on a whole new meaning with ‘Esto es Guerra’ (This is War), and you had to redefine your idea of bad acting after seeing a Peruvian tele novella.
7. The view of the volcanos makes you proud, and you’ve stared hypnotically at El Misti during the amazing sunset.
8. You’ve realised that however good a driver you are, you need special skills to navigate the streets of Arequipa without causing an accident.
9. People being an hour late seems perfectly normal because of ‘Peruvian time’.
10. Finding a seat on the combi has become an Olympic sport. Getting the front seat next to the driver means you’ve won. Having to spoon a stranger for an hour-long journey means you’ve lost.
11. You’ve been tempted to take pictures with the ladies with lambs in traditional clothes in Plaza de Armas. But then you realise that would be a ‘tourist’ thing to do, so you walk by wondering how your photo would have looked.
12. You’ve heard bus conductors shouting “Villa Fontana, Villa Paraiso, metro, metro, baja, vamos” so much that you can still hear it in your head right now.
13. You’ve wondered why all shops selling the same things are
right next to each other. Instead of using real street names, you talk about ‘dentist street’, ‘optician street’, ‘electronics street’ and even ‘funeral street’.
14. When you get to your home country, you’re disappointed by the avocados and
tomatoes and you’re sad that fresh juice doesn’t taste as good.
15. You have said (many times) “I’m not going to Circus tonight”. Five hours later, you were dancing wildly in Circus nightclub.
16. You think you’ve tanned but you’re actually just covered in dust.
17. You have newfound confidence in your salsa skills and you lost your inhibitions about hitting the dancefloor. You also forgot what a dance tune sounds like without the Latino mix.
18. You wake up every day happily knowing it will be sunny (apart from in the rainy season!) but secretly miss having actual seasons.
19. You keep crossing the road so you can walk in the shade and you never leave the house without your sunglasses.
20. You get lomo saltado cravings at lunchtime and salchipapa cravings after a night out (and ceviche cravings at least once a week).
21. Your bartering skills are second to none, so you get annoyed when a taxi driver tries to charge you 7 soles for what you know full well is a 5 soles journey.
22. You carry around rubbish for about 20 minutes looking for a bin, and wonder how the city is so clean.
23. You get reverse culture shock from how expensive everything is at home compared to Peru.
24. You recommend Arequipa to everyone as a beautiful and
amazing city to visit and get annoyed if people don’t include it on their
itinerary because it’s so awesome!
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