Isabel and Meri


I was in Peru hiking and spent the first day in Lima walking around. An attractive, shabbily dressed woman approached me who proposed being my guide for a city tour. She had a portfolio of pictures of her with other tourists and her name was Isabel.

As we talked another woman came up and told me that she, too, was a tour guide. Here name was Meri Monica and she wore a funny black bowler hat.

The three of us talked, and while there was an undercurrent of competition, I think we three were each satisfied to have something to be doing. The two women did not seem to know each other. It became a bit awkward, and I asked if they wanted coffee or some food, and we could practice our English and Spanish together (and I would buy).

We sat outside at a restaurant, and an odd dynamic emerged. Major competition for my attention. On the one hand was the professionalism and obvious integrity of the second woman, Meri. She wanted to talk history, architecture, etc.

But Isabel told me of her life, which was a sad story of abuse from her husband, poverty, and lost opportunities. She started crying several times; quite genuinely it seemed to me. When her food was delivered (quite a lot of food) she got in an argument with the waiter and sent it back.

All this was interspersed with a very effective come-on to me. I found myself wanting to take her tour and sort of wished that Meri would get lost.

Next thing I knew the owner of the restaurant was motioning me to come in, and advised me that she was some sort of “malo” person. He then walked out and got in a shouting match with her, apparently then telling her to leave.

She left, motioning to meet me later in the plaza. By then I was worried about various scams, and headed the other direction. I didn’t see her again. I ran into Meri a few blocks away and did end up taking an afternoon taxi tour of greater Lima which included an eye opening trip to her poverty stricken neighborhood within the enormous sprawl of barrios that is greater Lima.


Oh, friend, I am very hopeful that you remember me. Talking about my job, you know that I am offering tourist packette, tickets plane, inca trail, etc… I win a small PORCENTAJE for each sell, in these weeks, I have been having a little sell….But, you know that also I am offering my service of tourist guide…For this side, I can get a little more of money…..But, I have city tour just a few times

Really, I might get many city tours all the time, but, for some INESCRUPULOSA PEOPLE from my country…many tourist could be afraid and don’t accept any city tour…….

I don’t want to talk you about it, but, maybe you remember the crazy girl that INTERRUMPIÃ our conversation and was telling us some terrible story of her life, afterwards she did a horrible show in the restaurant where we were eating…Then, some typical musicians were playing some good songs, after they asked for you some money and you gave them some so the crazy girl also asked for you money…After, she continued talking about her terrible life…Really, she was bothering us a lot….So, when, she went to the bathroom I told you that I didn’t know nothing about that crazy girl…Finally, we decided to separate and let that girl go…

Afterwards we met again in front of the SANTA INQUISITION MUSEUM and started the city tour…..I am sorry, but, I am talking you about that girl, because of that some months ago, a TELEVISION INVESTIGATION PROGRAM did a report about some bad people that offering to the tourist drugs, alcohol, sexo, etc….In the main square, and the true is that in that report the crazy girl who bothered us, was in that report…In other words, she is PROSTITUTE, for it and for many cases alike to it, I don’t have many city tours, because many tourist might no trust of my work.

Really, I am upset, because of my sells…Now, I am selling very a little and you know that studying English is expensive and also, I have to pay my basic necessities….For it, I want to ask for you small help. If you can recommend me to some tourist to do city tours, You know that I am honest and I only want to work more….PLEASE, try to understand me……In addition to I know a lot things about history, geographic, national reality, social problems, etc.