The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Saint Augustine
Arequipa, Peru
An Ideal Stopover for an Altitude Adjustment

Whenever I think about the cities I’ve most enjoyed visiting, my fondest memories are of those cities where I experienced a kind act performed by one of the locals. Like most of the other cities I’ve visited, each of my favorite cities had historic buildings, outstanding vistas and exciting nearby adventures, but more than anything else, it is the people that make me smile when I recall my visit. That's also the case with Arequipa, Peru.

Before leaving my hostel on the early October morning, I pulled on a lightweight fleece jacket to ward off the late spring chill. Warmed by the rising temperatures later in the morning, I removed my fleece and tied it around my waist by the sleeves – not a pretty sight but I didn’t have room in my shoulder bag. After buying a ticket from one of several tour company representatives roaming around Plaza de Armas, I decided to walk to the nearby Serpost (post office) to send a card to my grandsons back in the United States.

When I returned to the bus, I realized my fleece was no longer tied around my waist. With trips to high altitudes of Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon and an Inca Trail hike ahead of me, I needed the fleece. Only five minutes remained before the tour bus was scheduled to depart, so I hurriedly retraced my steps all the way into the post office in search of the missing fleece. I even noted what people were wearing along way suspecting that someone may have found the lost fleece and decide to try it on for size.

With no sign of the blue fleece, I resigned myself to buying a new one or toughing it for the rest of the trip without one critical layer needed for warmth in the high Peruvian altitude. As I rushed back to the bus, I saw it. Not on the back of a local, crushed in the gutter or lying in the middle of the sidewalk. There it was, carefully folded and lying on top of one of the metal newspaper dispensing boxes. I breathed a deep sigh of relief as I retrieved the fleece and looked around for someone to thank. Of course, everyone on the bustling street had things to do and places to go and no one seemed to notice as I stood there hugging my fleece.

With a full heart and a big smile on my face, I climbed back onto the bus just before the doors closed. Thanks to a kind Arequipeño, the tour would be a great success.
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