what happens in cusco stays in cusco

At least it does if you don’t speak Spanish. On the other hand, if you do, here is an official document from the local Tourism Police about what happened to me there. They just e-mailed it to me and, even with the aid of Google Translate, I can't figure it out. I don't think I need to know, but I'll post it here sans comprehension as a cautionary tale for any Spanish-speaking readers who might be considering leaving behind electronic equipment in the back of an illegal taxi in the middle of Peru.*

Incidentally, regarding Machu Picchu: even though an unsustainable number of tourists are allowed to visit there each year, if you get the opportunity, you should add to the problem and go. It’s so large you still get a lot of great views, especially if you do Wayna Picchu. I highly recommend reading Last Days of the Inca before you visit, and it’s a great book anyway if Unbelievably Sad History is your thing.

* Of course I feel stupid for having done this, although I do so many absent-minded things when I travel that I would be lying if claimed to be greatly surprised by any lapses at this point.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

6 thoughts on “what happens in cusco stays in cusco”

  1. It looks like they are going to try to detain the driver to question him under oath about whether or not he’s working for an illegal taxi company, I think, and to clarify the facts of the case more generally. But my Spanish is rusty, and my Spanish legalese non-existent.


  2. Well, in the fourteen hours between him mysteriously turning his phone off and him showing up with my bag, we had paid someone to take us to the airport and ask around to figure out his real identity, gotten the police involved, and gone with the police to where he lived a couple of times. (You haven’t lived until you’ve been crammed in the middle of the backseat of a small jeep with four Peruvian police officers and rear-ended on the highway by a guy in a car so beat up the driver’s side window is literally some duct tape and saran wrap.) So the presumption of the tourism police was that he had been tipped off and told to return it.


  3. Yeah, he was wearing the badge of an authorized taxi employee but apparently wasn’t. He certainly charged us more than an official taxi would have cost, which of course we only learned later. Another wrinkle revealed over the course of the day was that he was already on the radar the police for something else, although we weren’t told what.


  4. This document brings me back to my Law School days…

    First part of the document describes the theft and that they figured out that the owner of the cell phone was Lior Avi de Varela Bismark. It says that they got an email from you describing that the driver (Ricardo) had returned the missing bag to your hostel and that he “even asked you to sign a document.” The document claims that he provided information that was “not entirely believable.”

    The second part of the document says what the court is planning to do. They declare Bismark to be the main suspect of your bag’s theft and to be the driver of the Toyota car. They also want him to show up in court. If he doesn’t show up within the next 30 days, they will issue a warrant for his arrest. Lastly, they want to find out if the Toyota car belongs to a transportation company and whether it is fully licensed.

    Hope this helps.


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