Tourists and Their Awful Alpaca Sweaters

A Peruvian friend of mine was telling me why he’s fed up with Cusco.

“Too many tourists wearing horrible alpaca sweaters,” he said.
And I have to admit…that analysis does pretty much sum up Cusco.
Now, to be clear, this wasn’t a man who was resentful of Peru or anything like that. He loved the country and the countryside, and he was looking to raise some funds for building a hotel in the sacred valley.
I laughed his comment away, but at the same time, it did kind of stick with me.
What’s with all those alpaca sweaters that people buy?  Tourists come to Peru, stay in Cusco for a week, yet throughout their entire time in the city, they’re wearing an Alpaca sweater that they bought on their first day.
Why do they do that?
I guess it’s the same phenomenon that causes people to buy Mickey Mouse ears when you get to Disneyland.  When I went to Disneyland I was smarter.  I just dragged my wife into a Disney store, took her picture while wearing the hat, and then posted that to Facebook without ever buying anything (it’s the magic of film my friends, you can create a false reality).
For those of you who have been to Peru and bought one of those awful gray/white alpaca sweaters like the one shown in the image above…tell me truthfully, when was the last time you wore it?
Half those sweaters are probably donated to Goodwill upon the tourists return to the US, and from there they’re probably all sent back down to Peru…thus the cycle continues forever.
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