Home Videos Safety concerns and General Tips when traveling to Peru

Safety concerns and General Tips when traveling to Peru

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Transcript

Safety concerns and General Tips when traveling to Peru

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Hey everyone!
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Thank you so much for joining me here today at Stef’s Peru Travel Tips.
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I’m Stef and it’s been a really long time since I’ve made a video so I’m kind of nervous
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and I have my notebook here that I’m going to read off of in case I forget anything and
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I hope that that doesn’t annoy you guys or seem very obvious but I’m going to try to
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do my best to remember this information.
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So, let’s get started with this video.
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Today’s video is going to be about safety concerns when traveling to Peru and around
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maybe someone in the middle of this video or the end, I will have some general safety
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tips that you can use when coming to Peru.
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But you might also be able to apply them as well when you travel to other foreign countries.
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So, let’s get started.
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A lot of tourists generally have safety concerns when traveling to Peru or specific foreign
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countries either because they have seen things on the news such as riots or other forms of
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civil unrest or they have read up on crime in the country that they are planning on visiting
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or maybe they know natives from that country or foreigners who have traveled there that
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have had bad experiences.
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So I know that it can be easy to get discouraged about traveling to a country when you have
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so much negative information coming in, and at least in my experience, I feel like Peruvians
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are very proud of their country and their culture and they know that Peru has a lot
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to offer but at the same time, at least for me, I feel like a lot of people in Lima live
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in a constant state of fear.
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They’re always scared that they’re going to get mugged or that something bad is going
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to happen to them when they leave their homes or even just being at home.
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So, what I want to do in this video is try to present to you the information that you
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need so that you are aware of what could possibly happen while you travel here but I, um, don’t
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want you to get discouraged from traveling to any foreign countries just because it’s
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“too dangerous.”
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I think in general, there is always danger present anywhere you go and I just think that
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the main thing that you have to do when you go anywhere is just keep an eye out and just
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try to be as safe as possible.
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So, here we go!
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This video is a little difficult for me to talk about because I have to be as objective
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as I can be but at the same time it is my personal video blog so I am going to be to
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a certain degree subjective and I just hope that all of you can respect me and my opinion
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and you know, I welcome your opinions as well so just be sure to write down whatever it
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is, um, that you would like to mention at the bottom of this video in the comments section.
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So, let’s go!
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The U.S. Department of State has ranked Peru as critical for crime and we actually have
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one of the highest crime rates here in Latin America.
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So that’s not really good to know but it’s not that bad.
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I mean, it all depends on what goes on when you come here.
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So some common crimes here are: pickpocketing, purse snatching, smash and grab robberies.
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A smash and grab robbery is basically when you are in your car and someone comes up to
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the car or wherever you’re in in the vehicle and they break the window.
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They grab your purse or your bag or whatever you have there in that moment and they just
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run away with it or drive off or whatever.
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They also have express kidnappings which is basically when they pick you up off the street
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and they take you to an ATM and make you withdraw all of your money and they force you to give
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them whatever you have on you and sometimes they even take you all the way home so that
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they can just take whatever else that you have before they finally let you go.
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And then there’s also carjackings and burglaries as well.
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I’m sorry if this is really loud but my grandmother has decided to cook while I am making this
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so, there’s going to be noise.
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So why are foreigners easy targets?
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Well, foreigners are perceived as as generally being wealthier than the local population.
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You guys generally tend to have items on you or cash on you so, you know, we think that
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you’re loaded basically.
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Common items stolen are: smartphones, cameras, ipads or tablets, wallets and laptops.
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So as you can see, small electronic devices are generally stolen besides wallets.
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For those of you that don’t know the history of Peru.
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I don’t know a whole lot about it myself because I didn’t live here and I wasn’t raise here
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so I didn’t have to study this but I did try to do some research in order to make this
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video and basically Peru has had a pretty rough history, as most countries have.
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But our history, um, the country has just now been able to stabilize very recently.
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So it started going through a period of militarism in the 50s or 40s or something.
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Around there this militarism started and it just continued on for a couple of decades,
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for a few decades and then there was an emergence of these terrorists, domestic terrorist groups
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or insurgent groups.
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And we also had inflation, plus hyperinflation in the 80s so it’s been really rough.
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The last major terrorist attack that Peru had was in 2002 when there was a bomb left
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in a shopping center that’s right in front of the American Embassy.
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So that was the last major attack in 2002 and it’s 2014 so that was just 12 years ago.
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So the country has not really had a whole lot of time to really have a period of just
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like, peace, you know?
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We still, um, had to deal with terrorism up until the early 2000s and in the 90s is when
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the whole economy started stabilizing because there was seriously, crazy hyperinflation,
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where people could barely buy anything because it was just, the prices were ridiculous and
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a lot of people actually did leave the country for that reason as well because life here
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was really scary, you know?
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It was incredibly difficult to buy things and there was the whole terrorism thing.
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You just never knew if on your way to work something was going to happen to you or something.
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A building was going to be blown up or a bus was going to explode.
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So it was really tough for the people who were living here then.
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That’s basically the general gist of it because I don’t want to go into too much detail because
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I don’t want to possibly get anything wrong here.
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So, I don’t want haters to be like “hey!
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You told the story wrong” or something.
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I don’t know.
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So, some general tips for when you come to Peru are number one, don’t exchange a lot
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of money at the airport because the exchange rate in the airport is REALLY really terrible.
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I believe when my aunt came here in February of 2014, the exchange rate within the airport
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was 2.5 soles, the Peruvian currency, 2.5 soles per dollar and outside of the airport,
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in a bank or something, it was 2.8.
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So it’s a really big difference when you’re exchanging high amounts of money.
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Tip number two is that you use a dispatch taxi or as we call it here in Peru, a “taxi
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seguro,” which is basically just a, a number that you call and that you reserve a taxi
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for a certain time.
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They go pick you up and then the taxi driver and the company communicates via a radio or
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something and it’s just.
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It’s more for you just to be safe because, I don’t want to get too into this right now
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but you can get mugged if you take a taxi outside of the airport.
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How can I explain this to you very quickly?
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Within the airport there are some taxis that you can take and these are usually overpriced,
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but they are safe taxis and you can take those taxis.
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Outside of the airport there’s also other local taxis and these are the street taxis.
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And if you happen to take a street taxi, you know, something could POSSIBLY happen to you
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if you decide to take that kind of taxi because it’s not something that’s 100% sure.
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It’s just a regular person on the street picking you up in a car that probably has a “taxi”
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sign and you don’t really know if you can trust them or not.
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If they’re actually going to take you to your destination or if they’re going to take you
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somewhere else to mugged, so, I recommend that at least for your first visit in Peru.
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If you don’t know the area, you definitely should try to use a dispatch taxi or reserve
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a taxi beforehand because, um, it’s for your safety.
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Number three is that you place your suitcases in the trunk of the car and any small bags
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you may be carrying with you or book bags or whatever.
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If you carry it with you in the car then, I suggest that you put it somewhere where
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it can’t be seen.
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Try to keep it out of sight because people do get mugged outside of the airport when
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they’re leaving because they have their suitcases in the seats with them or their bags in the
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seats with them and then they’ll get their bags taken.
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Tip number four is that you should always try to be reserved and that’s because you
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don’t want to tell strangers too much personal information about you because they could be
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sizing you up to see if you’re a good potential victim for them.
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So just be careful when you mention things to the taxi driver, police officers and maybe
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customs officials because you just never know if they’re going to let someone else know
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that you’re about to come along that way they can steal your things from you.
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So, just try to keep things limited or even make up a story.
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I once had a friend that came down here and he actually told the taxi driver that he was
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an FBI agent and he said things like “yeah, I have a gun but I can’t show you right now
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or whatever.
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Blah, blah, blah” and the guy actually believed him and he just kept up this little game.
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This little conversation because you just never know who you can trust so maybe you
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can do that as well.
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Maybe make up an entertaining story to tell your friends.
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later on or something.
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Tip number five is that I recommend that you not carry your passport around with you everywhere
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and that’s just because if you lose it, it’s going to be a pain in the neck to have to
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get a new one, especially if you’re going to be leaving soon.
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So what I recommend you to do is to leave your passport in some sort of locked safe
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in the hotel where you’re staying at and carry around a photocopy of your passport and the
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pages that contain the visa maybe if you needed a visa to come here.
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And a copy of the immigration form that you signed upon entry and also if you have another
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form of identification such as a driver’s license, you should try to carry that around
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as well along with a photocopy of your passport, visa and other stuff.
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Tip number six is that you try to keep a low profile.
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Do not carry around flashy jewelry or loads of money with you, you know?
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Expensive electronics.
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Just keep it simple here, you know?
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Because that definitely draws attention to you and I think that’s a little common sense.
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You don’t want people to be looking at you.
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You want people to think that you’re a part of the local population.
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Even if you are a foreigner.
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There are lots of foreigners that live here as well but they’re pretty relaxed.
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They wear a regular t-shirt and pants and whatever so don’t come in here wearing like,
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super nice name brand stuff or whatever because people look at that.
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And they’re going to think you have lots of stuff on you so it just…you’re making yourself
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a potential target.
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Tip number seven is that I recommend you avoid walking in “dangerous” districts, especially
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at night.
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Try to walk along well lit streets wherever you go and um, yeah, just try to be careful
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because it can be pretty scary or intimidating when you’re in a dangerous district and it
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just looks, not very pleasing to the eye and there are sketchy people walking around so
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just try to avoid those areas if possible.
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Tip number eight, in case you happen to find yourself in an area that is not very welcoming,
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do NOT act afraid or frightened because you totally just look like you don’t belong and
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obviously people are going to pick up on that.
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so just try to be alert, don’t act paranoid.
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Tip number nine is that I recommend that you pay attention to people who are paying extra
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attention to you and to be careful about group of children that run up to you because kids
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try to use that to their advantage sometimes.
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Just because they’re kids, you know, you think “oh, they’re little!
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They’re innocent” and whatever but that’s not always the case.
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I mean, these kids will come up to you and they will just take your wallet off you or
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whatever else you have on you without you even noticing it and sometimes they can even
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attack you because there are little bands or gangs of children that do mug people so
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you have to be careful with that.
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Tip number ten and I think this goes without saying but do not get drunk if you go out
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to bars and clubs and try to stay with people you know.
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This actually leads me into tip number eleven which is to try to always travel with a group
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of people.
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Remember that there is safety in numbers.
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You don’t want to be caught alone.
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It’s always much safer when you’re with people.
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Tip number twelve is that you hold your camera firmly by the straps if you have a semi-professional
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camera or another type of camera that goes around your neck because people will easily
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just, yank that from you if you don’t have that around your neck or if you’re not holding
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it tightly.
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And if you’re not using it then try to put it away when not in use.
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I know that a lot of people who have semi-professional cameras or professional cameras they put it
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in little special camera bags and I think that that’s all good and well but I personally
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prefer to use this little book bag thing that’s like this.
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And it just goes around my body this way so whenever I’m not using my camera, I just put
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it in my bag and I walk around and I feel like this way it’s much more secure for me.
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It’s much more difficult for a thief to yank my camera from me if I have it in this as
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opposed to having it in a little camera bag that I’m holding or carrying around.
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Tip number thirteen is that you do not leave your belongings in the restaurant, on the
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restaurant table or just away from you, you know?
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If you are going to the bathroom, then I suggest that you take your purse with you.
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I mean, a lot of restaurants nowadays, especially the, not more expensive ones but the ones
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that are relatively expensive ones, they have these little straps or hooks where you can
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put your bags or purses or whatever you have and that’s all nice, you know, it prevents
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people from just taking your purse without you noticing.
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It’s a little difficult to get it out of those things but what I recommend is that if you
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have your phone or other small little objects, you definitely want to take that with you
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when you go to the bathroom and just be careful not to leave them in the bathroom.
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Tip number fourteen is that you try to be careful when handling money because people
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will sometimes try to cheat you out of money.
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They will try to give you false bills or bills and coins that are really worn down.
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So if they are just really worn, I would just tell the person that’s handing me the money
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to give me a nicer looking bill as opposed to what they’re trying to give me in that
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moment.
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And yeah, you’ve just got to be careful.
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I’m going to make other videos on taxi taking tips and public transportation tips and also
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money tips.
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So I’ll have more information on those things in videos to come but for now these are my
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general tips and I hope that they help you somewhat when you come down here and um, or
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if you’re traveling to another country.
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Maybe these could prove to be useful so that’s it for my general tips I believe.
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And right now I’m just going to give you guys my personal experience with crime in Peru.
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I haven’t really dealt with any seriously crazy stuff.
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I mean, um, I remember when I first go here.
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My aunt let me use this really old little cheap phone that she had and it was really
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worn out but it was just, you know, a phone that I needed to use so that I could make
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any calls that I needed to and it was so beat up that I seriously didn’t think anyone would
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want to steal this phone because it was a REALLY really old model and I just thought,
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you know, who on Earth could possibly want this phone?
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Well one day, I’m leaving work and I put the phone in my little book bag mesh pocket that’s
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on the outside so for those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s something like this.
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These kinds of pockets and I put it in that little mesh pocket and I got off a few blocks
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later and at this bridge where it’s “dangerous” and I started walking and two or three blocks
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later when I wanted to see what time it was and I reached back for my phone and it wasn’t
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there.
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So I took my book bag off and I looked and the mesh pocket actually had a slit in it.
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Someone had taken the phone from me at some point without me realizing it.
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And I thought that was so weird because I didn’t feel the slightest thing.
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So that was my experience with that.
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Another time was when I went to Mistura, which is a food fair or festival thing that we have
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usually in September.
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This started maybe seven years ago and yeah, in Mistura, a guy came up to me and asked
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me if I could take his picture and I was with my aunt and my cousin so I said “yeah, sure”
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and I took his picture and I, you know, me being the nice person that I am, I said “Oh,
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do you want me to take another one?” and the guy was like “No, no, no.
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It’s okay” and he left.
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Well that day I was wearing those pants that had those fake pockets that you can’t put
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anything in and I had a sweater that had a front pocket.
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So I had my phone hanging out of that pocket somewhat and then a few minutes later when
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I went to try to watch this little musical thing, show, going on and I wanted to take
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pictures of it and I reached for my phone, it wasn’t there.
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And this was right after I took that man’s picture.
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So I don’t know if at some point, somehow, between the time I gave him back his phone
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or his camera or whatever and he said bye, I don’t know what but I don’t know if he took
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it off me then or if it fell out or what but I am assuming that he probably stole it from
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me so that’s what happened there.
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Those are the major incidents that I’ve had.
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There’s also been once where, twice I believe, when I was on the bus and a “choro,” a choro
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is what we call a thief, a street thief or whatever and a choro came up to the bus and
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I think he stole the bus conductor’s money or something.
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The bus conductor is the person that takes the money from the passengers so yeah, he
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like, ran up to the bus when it had just stopped to pick up a passenger and he took something
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from the bus conductor and he ran off.
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And another time was when I was on the bus and again, that “dangerous” area where the
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bridge is, um, and yeah, a guy came on the bus pretending like he was going to get on
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and he actually reached for this woman’s purse, snatched it and ran off.
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So, that’s what I’ve experienced as far as crime here in Peru.
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Nothing really horrible, at least directed to me.
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But I have had friends and other people.
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I know two people, one person was expressed kidnapped, but she was okay after that.
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They just made her give them her money and a bunch of other things.
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And, um, she wasn’t raped or anything.
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And then I had another friend that was almost expressed kidnapped, but luckily a man walking
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down the street decided to try to defend her so she was really lucky.
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And then, a friend that also lives in Miraflores, she was, maybe a block and a half or something
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from her home and she lives in a nice, safe area and a guy came up to her and demanded
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that she give him everything she had and she was just in shock and was like “I don’t know
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what you’re talking about.
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I don’t know what you’re talking about” and, um she was calling out for help and people
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around her were not going to help her.
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I guess because they were afraid often times here, at least in Peru, people don’t usually
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want to get involved because they put themselves in danger by getting involved so people don’t
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always lend a hand when you’re being mugged unfortunately.
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That’s not always the case like my friend who was almost express kidnapped.
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That guy definitely defended her against two guys or something and that was really nice
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but that’s not always the case and in this case my friend was calling out for help and
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she saw some people coming and they just kind of stopped like “oh my God!
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What’s going on?”
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They didn’t run up to help.
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And she was calling out for help and then this car came up and the driver was actually
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the thief’s accomplice and the driver was like “Give,”‘ you know, he insulted her and
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he was like “Give him your effing phone you whatever.
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Blah, blah, blah” and yeah, my friend threw the phone away from her and she ran off and
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the thief got in the car and they drove away and that’s in Miraflores which is a very nice
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area here.
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In the beginning of the year when I started making these videos and I was actually in
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Miraflores recording and stuff with a friend, a serenazgo woman came up to me and she told
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me that I should be more careful and that I should put my camera away because there
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were people stealing a lot in the area.
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And she was telling me how yes, it’s usually a group of two, um, a couple of people on
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a bicycle or um, sorry, a motorcycle and one is obviously driving or riding the bike or
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whatever it is and the other person is the thief and the person will just snatch whatever
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you have on you.
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Purse, camera, whatever and they’ll just, you know, ride away.
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So, she told me to be more careful and I definitely put my camera away then because I had just
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bought it and it was really expensive so, yeah.
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So, it can just happen anywhere you go and we have to be really careful.
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Don’t get too confident, but try not to be paranoid or whatever.
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Just be alert.
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Always be alert and keep an eye out.
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That’s it!
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An experience I want to mention is that once when I was in centro de Lima which is downtown
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Lima with a friend eating at KFC, while we were sitting there, I noticed a group of tourists
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coming in and then after a few minutes I went to the bathroom and I happened to see one
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of the tourists there with a Peruvian woman and then I left and sat down and kept talking
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to my friend and then a few minutes later, um, the woman was crying, just balling her
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eyes out and I happened to find out that the Peruvian woman that she was with somehow managed
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to steal a bag off of her.
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She was just confusing the woman with whatever she was asking her and she somehow created
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so much confusion that she was able to steal her bag off of her that had like, all of their
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passports, money and all of their stuff and I felt so bad for her and the worst thing
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about this is that the KFC didn’t even have a surveillance camera.
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The police officers were unfortunately, not much help at all and there was no way to catch
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this woman and I just felt so bad for them because they were going to leave Peru with
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such a negative experience.
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Negative feelings about their time here for the most part probably because that can really
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kill your experience so I hope that these tips and this information can help you guys
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limit your risk for when you come to Peru in case you find yourself in shady areas or
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whatever.
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I hope that this limits your risk for danger and I hope that you are still motivated to
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come here and visit Peru because it does have a lot to offer and it would be a very good
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experience for all of you and thank you so much for watching.
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I want to shout out to my friend Suz, who really pushed me to get back to making these
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videos so thank you so much Suz and thanks so much again for watching.
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And I hope to see you again sometime soon!
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Bye!
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Take care!