The English Gentleman is Alive and Well... and Celebrating the Jubilee in Peru

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In the run-up to the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, Brits will be delighted to learn that some new research from Real Peru Holidays shows that there's a corner of South America that still sees them as the perfect gentlemen... and that even includes the footballers.

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Image by Jonas Bengtsson

Most Peruvians have never visited the UK so their image of us is ... a mixture of Premiership football and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

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Even in this Jubilee year, the English tend think of themselves as a nation of binge drinkers and bozos who can’t even keep an Olympic flame alight, but it’s worth remembering that not everyone sees them that way. In fact, a recent study in Peru by Real Peru Holidays found that the English are seen as paragons of good manners, efficiency and punctuality. However, before breaking out a top hat and singing “Land of Hope and Glory,” the research also shows that when Peruvians are asked to name an Englishman, although James Bond gets an honourable mention, the most famous living Englishman is apparently... Wayne Rooney.

What ‘England’ means to Peru
James Bond
Wayne Rooney

When Brits think of holidays in Peru, it seems they think of lost Inca cities perched high in the Andes, or wide jungle rivers winding their way through steamy rainforest. By contrast, Peruvians seem immune to the charms of the Lake District, to shy away from the Yorkshire Dales, and to have no interest in the Norfolk Broads whatsoever. Instead, they seem to focus on a country where - at least in their eyes - people are polite, trains run on time and if people don’t enjoy regular meetings with Premier League footballers, it’s probably because they're too busy hobnobbing with Her Majesty.

What ‘Peru’ means to Brits
Machu Picchu
Amazon Jungle
Paddington Bear
The Andes

So who do they have to thank for this? The director of Real Peru Holidays, Dan Clarke, knows Peru better than most Brits and he says, “Most Peruvians have never travelled to the UK so their image is often made up of what they see on TV, and that makes for a mixture of Premiership football and 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'.” It’s not all about Hugh Grant and Steven Gerrard, however. Much as Brits might lament the punctuality of British trains, Dan explains that “people in Peru tend to be very laid-back about time, and when a Peruvian wants to stress that something needs to be on time they use the phrase la hora inglesa, which means ‘English time’.”

In fact, a few years ago the Peruvian government decided to launch a national campaign to work to “English time,” and on the day of launch the Peruvian Interior Minister was holding a televised press conference with the idea being that the whole nation would synchronise their watches in unison to show their determination to work punctually. He was an hour late.

So as Britain celebrates the Jubilee, maybe they need to stop being so down on themselves, put down their austerity tea, raise a glass of Pimms and also celebrate good manners and punctuality. Probably best if it’s just the one glass though, Wayne.

Real Peru Holidays are the UK specialists for tailor-made holidays and honeymoons in Peru. They bring expert destination knowledge and a real love for Peru to all their customers, from trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, to looking for Paddington in deepest, darkest Lima.

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Dan Clarke
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