We only need to be in Cusco for about an hour before we realise that everyone who’s anyone has got a llama sweater (typically both made from the finest llama fluff and also elegantly patterned with little knit llamas). We must have one. Or five.
After several days into our home stay at Arcopata (aka Arcoparty), our fellow housemates deem us deserving of a trip to the infamous Alpaca Lady, who appears to be the official outfitter of all Arcopata residents. She’s a delightful woman, whose real name I never do learn, but mounting suspicious
suggest that her true name is actually just “Alpaca Lady”. She greets us with a kiss and many excited exclamations of “happy, happy Cusco!” We take the opportunity to fully kit ourselves out in sweaters, socks, hats, duffel bags… all featuring the magnificent and ever-graceful llama.
Wild llamas and alpacas along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
For all other llama related needs, we are directed to the San Pedro markets, just outside the main plaza, where you can get fruit smoothies, blankets, unrefrigerated cheese, keychains, jewelry, cow’s eyes, and, most importantly, llama paraphernalia. Though the llama gear here lacks the charm of the Alpaca Lady’s, the markets are closer and prove a reasonable back-up in emergency llama situations (ie. both llama sweaters you already own are dirty, you don’t have time to do the washing before meeting your friends for drinks, and you don’t want to look like a complete idiot– as one does when wearing anything without llamas on it).
The unofficial slogan of Peru: if it’s not llama, it’s not right.