Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Modeling in the third world

Okay, maybe much of Peru isn't the third world. But some of it is. And it's certainly a major tourist destination with Machu Picchu the most popular destination.

And the route to Machu Picchu is well traveled and if you step out of a vehicle it will seem like your running a gauntlet of street hawkers, who besiege you incessantly. But a quieter type of salesmanship comes from the very young children and their mothers. When you first see them you think somewhat naively how nicely they dress in their casual wear. And isn't that quaint and rustic that they just happen to be carrying the cutest little baby lamb or walking the sweetest little baby llama.

On the scale of adorability, they're pushing a 10.

But after you take a few pictures and are asked for a contribution you eventually realize they are dressed for work. And their work is modeling for the tourists. It's certainly worth several sol (the local currency which usually amounts to less than $1 equivalent) to get such picturesque photos.

As you travel the country and see these third world models at every stop, you may begin to wonder, especially in regards to the children--some only two or three years old--about the appropriateness of what they're doing. But if you think about children in your own world, often away from their parents for most of the day, you may question your own beliefs. Moreover, it's their culture, they need the money, and mother and child (I'm assuming that is the relationship) are together much of the day.

So until I know more, it seems like a workable arrangement all around.

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