There is something in these two countries, Peru and Mexico. No, not just that, there is something in this continent. True, that it is one big stretch of land from North Mexico to South of Chile, right to the end of where humans still live on extreme lands. Never there can be so much of madness, sheer amazing beautiful madness in one stretch of land. The land is known as Latin America.
Mexico and Peru are far away from each other but yet feel closer to me than any two neighbors. Well, then again neighbors are not known to be the best of friends. We have multiple examples around the world to prove that. I fell in love with Peru a long time back, but my love for Mexico is new. So, you know it feels a little more exciting here in Mexico. When I first came here last year in 2018, I was not even sure if I would stay for more than a few days. Well, here I am a year later on our first group tour to Mexico and beyond for over two weeks.
Over the years in the continent of South America, it has felt more like home than even sometimes in India, the country which is home. Lima, in Peru, is a constant parallel to Mumbai and maybe someday Ciudad de Mexico, or CDMX as it is known, would be the second spot for me in this continent. I keep saying continent, so let me clear this out. Mexico is geographically in North America, and before even we come to the South, there are at least 6 – 7 countries that are a part of Central America, which technically is not a continent. The entire land, however, from Mexico to Chile feels so similar that I choose to call it one land, one continent.
Che Guevera had set course to travel around South America, and further north, where there spoke one language, had many similar customs, and yet there were so many different countries, so many borders. He had thought of uniting all the countries. That did not happen, and never will, but in my mind, I am at times confused with where exactly I am on the continent. Peru feels like Mexico feels like Peru on so many different occasions that sometimes I just let the food decide which is what. Peru has Ceviche and Grilled Chicken houses everywhere, Mexico has Tacos and other regional food around. So for me when in doubt I just find food to let me know. But then the whole culture of food is so similar in both these countries.
Someone mentioned that in Peru, when you ask an average teenager, “what you want to become in your life?”, the chances are the reply would be, “A chef”. I am sure in Mexico it would be the same. With so much of freshness in food from the streets to the chic restaurants. The basic standard of food in these two countries is high.
Then there are the drinks. Pisco in Peru and Mezcal (not just tequila) in Mexico. The cocktails that are made out of these two spirits are some of the best I have had around the planet. There is the beer but that’s a common thing.
What really strikes the chord in these two countries, above food and drinks and the rich heritage with the Incas in Peru and the Maya in Mexico, are the people and the way they treat outsiders. Both countries have their share of big-ticket tourist destinations, with Machu Pichu in Peru and Chichinitza Pyramids in Mexico, but in the end, what is the big take away is the kindness of the people. The kindness and the way they are with tourists. Yes, it’s a little bit commercial, but it feels that both the countries have been there and done that.
Like tourism has already reached a ceiling and now it’s just a constant plateau. A flat good feeling within between peaks of wow! That’s what it feels when I write from this bar in San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico. It just feels wow! It is such a pleasure to be here. Here in Mexico or there in Peru!