Within days of our arrival, before we understood that door-to-door salesmen are the norm here, we opened our door to Alex, the rug guy. We then let him in because he invoked the magical words “Shauna and Max,” the prior occupants of the home. They had told us about Alex and said that he offered good rugs at good prices, so we took a look. It helped that Alex speaks good English, which seems pretty amazing for a guy from the high Andes who goes around the country peddling his rugs. Alex arrived on foot pulling a cart with a bundle of rugs that easily weighed 100 pounds. If we understood correctly, Alex lives south of Lima in the Huancayo Region at an elevation about double ours. So we are barely in the mountains according to Alex.
Alex makes the rugs with the help of others in his village. It appears that the finer weaving is done by men; women knit. He was justifiably proud of his wares and took a lot of time to explain the different offerings. He has items in wools from sheep, young alpaca and alpaca, and showed us examples of each. The young alpaca wool is incredibly soft and we quickly learned that those items are to be used as bedcovers or wall hangings, not rugs. While we loved the idea of a bedspread, both Matt and I are allergic to wool and decided not to take a chance with something we could end up hating. Alex explained the meanings of the designs. Some were traditional Peruvian designs, such as “the Gossiping Women,” which depicts a group of women in traditional dress and hats sitting with clay jugs for sale, and hunting and warrior scenes. Birds, butterflies, cats and frogs are also prevalent in the designs. Alex also designs his own patterns, and was very proud to show us “Women Going to Church,” another one of Jesus that he did for a church, and one depicting a traditional scissors dance. Ultimately Matt and I special ordered a rug that will have condors around the perimeter and other animals on the inside squares. The consummate salesman, Alex left us with the promise to return with our ordered rug (no deposit was requested, which seemed odd) in late November/early December so we could buy Christmas presents and invite other expats over to see his selections. He agreed to the photo because he thought perhaps our friends at home might also like to buy some things from him and gave us his website to share. http://www.freewebs.com/alexeulogio/home.htm. He also suggested that by his return trip our Spanish would be better. Let’s hope he is right on that count!