The worst part about our vacation to Cuzco, Peru, last month was tolerating the street vendors who were always pestering us to buy something. Every time we left our hotel or a tour bus or a tourist site, we were bombarded with offers from poorly dressed, weathered looking women or children to buy sweaters, blankets or rugs, all promising that these identical-looking items were handmade and original.
Finding a restaurant without interruption was even worse. For the first time in our lives we knew how Britney Spears must feel being trailed constantly by the paparazzi. Every time we came near a restaurant, waiters would run up to us, three at a time, shoving English-language (how did they know?) menus in our faces and extolling the virtues of sautéed alpaca or fried guinea pig. My husband learned that saying, “No thank you. Maybe later” would bring us some temporary peace, at least until the next vendor saw us coming. I just trudged ahead, head down, annoyed at the continual inconvenience.