This summer we won't be sending the kids to camp and hitting the beach. Instead, on June 26th, Scott, Melanie, Lucas and Sydney depart for a 2 month adventure in Peru where we'll immerse ourselves in peruvian culture, volunteer to help those less privileged, hike the Inca Trail and live in the jungle. Follow our blog for regular updates, pictures and videos from all 4 of us.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Black Market

A few weeks back we picked up an alternative map of Cusco called the "non touristic map".  One of the items on it is a place called Baratillo.  The description is "second hand market (buy northface, Adidas, jask wolfskin, zara at very cheap prices."  It goes on to provide a warning "keep in mind this place is not 100% safe" so of course now I feel absolutely obligated to check it out!  Plus, Melanie has developed a slightly unhealthy infatuation with North Face products.

Anyway, our excursion to the market was planned for Saturday.  We first stopped for lunch.  Melanie recently found the only bagel place in Cusco, which is run by an Israeli and fellow MOT (oddly enough he also runs a sushi restaurant).  After bagels and milkshakes, Melanie strapped on her money belt, we hid all our valuables, grabbed the kids by the hand and headed off to the black market.  

After about a 10 minute walk we come to an area packed with peruvians.  There are tents covering the entire street for about 3 blocks selling anything you could imagine...used phones, chargers, toilets, and tons of old clothes.  We spend the first 20 minutes just walking around browsing and getting our bearings (we're the only white people in the whole place)...and then the real shopping started!  We duck down some alleyway into an actual building with 3 floors of vendors selling name brand shoes and apparel.  On the surface, it looks like high end stuff, but the prices suggest otherwise.  We start negotiating for a North Face jacket for Melanie...we start at 58 soles (~$20), but get it down to 51 soles pretty quick.  We find another North Face fleece for Luke for 40 soles and some North Face hiking pants for me for another 50 soles.  We even found a vest for sydney for only 8 soles.  

All told we spent about $50!  All the items look legit on the surface, but the labels are in all chinese so guessing that they're completely matter because we're feeling confident that we not only braved the cusco black market, but are now looking extra sharp decked out in all our fake north face gear!

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