When I think of women in Peru, especially in the Andes, I think of ladies in bowler hats, flowing skirts, psychedelic design blankets tied at the shoulder as carry-alls [aguayas].
This is not a perfect place, and I won't live here for all of my whole life because I think it has more to offer me than America. It has many aspects, the culture, that make it far superior to America today; but it's not enough to look at women in funny hats to make this a place to live. What it has of real attraction is women who have 19th century values to a large extent, values so alien today to many American women that returning home is ever more unlikely for me. There is Modernity, which I love very much, and there is the current rule of the Freak Show that turns my stomach and turns my mind from home to other, better lands and people, Peru being one of those places, Peruvians being some of those better people. We could in America have it all, but not with the attitude so many today carry around like weapons. America has much to relearn, and some of it, important things, to learn from Peruvian ladies in funny hats.
A bit of history about the funny hats:
The bowler hat was devised in 1849 by the London hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler to fulfil an order placed by the firm of hatters Lock & Co. of St James's.
The bowler, not the cowboy hat or sombrero, was the most popular hat in the American West, prompting Lucius Beebe to call it "the hat that won the West." Both cowboys and railroad workers preferred the hat because it wouldn't blow off easily in strong wind, or when sticking one's head out the window of a speeding train. It was worn by both lawmen and outlaws, including Bat Masterson, Butch Cassidy, Black Bart, and Billy the Kid. It is in America the hat came to be commonly known as the "Derby".
The bowler, called a bombín inSpanish, has been worn by Quechua and Aymara women since the 1920s, when it was introduced to Bolivia by British railway workers. For many years, a factory in Italy manufactured the hats for the Bolivian market, but they are now made locally.
A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:
Occasional-Walker-D-W/dp/ 0987761501/ref=sr_1_1?s=books& ie=UTF8&qid=1331063095&sr=1-1
And here are some reviews and comments on said book: