Peruvians and Bolivians seem to share a masochistic indifference to heat. Many times my gringo friends and I found ourselves squeezed into the back of a minibus stripped down to our t-shirts and shorts and dripping with sweat, wondering why on earth nobody was opening a window, or why the locals grimly refused to remove the outer of their 6 layers of woolly jumpers.
For a while I wondered if it was genetic – less hair or a strange body thermometer or something like that – but I find genetic explanations for behaviour are almost always complete tripe, so I put it down to some sort of cultural difference. Is removing a jumper in some way shameful? Is taking off your hat an insult to your neighbour?
Well, no. What I think it comes down to is logistics. To remove a heavy woolly jumper is just difficult, especially so if the space you’re working with is a minibus originally designed to ship kids to school, not to mention the various sacks of potatoes and yams and the limbs and babies that are taking up every conceivable and inconceivable space.
Still, they could at least open the window.