Although 23.9% (2014) of the population (mainly Indians in rural areas) live below the poverty line, most Peruvians are nationalistic and speak of their country with love and pride. Many are suspicious and critical of the government, police and politics, as corruption and scandals are rampant. But that is not what makes their beloved state Peru. It is the country’s rich natural resources and strong history as the centre of ancient pre-Inca cultures, the Inca empire and the Spanish colony that fuel their nationalist sentiments.
You will often come across the term gringo, which originally referred to all white people who did not speak Spanish. Today, many people use it only to refer to Americans or people who look American, but it is not usually an insult. Peruvians will not hesitate to greet you with “¡Hola, gringo! “to greet you, especially if you are blonde.
As in many South American countries, efficiency or punctuality is not one of Peru’s many qualities. Let yourself go and don’t expect everything to happen exactly on time or as planned. Bear in mind that outside the main tourist areas, people often do not speak English and, when they try to help you, may give incorrect or inaccurate advice.
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