Critters of My Travels: India, Peru, and More

I used to travel a lot, and one of the things that’s fun about travelling is seeing the assorted creature features, both domestic and exotic. These critters come from India, Peru, Cambodia, and more.


cow on a traim platform in India

Cows are sacred in Hinduism. That means a few things: 1) no Big Macs at McDonalds, 2) there are random cows wandering around everywhere, and 3) you are expected to get out of the cow’s way, and if you don’t, don’t be surprised if the nearest grandma pushes you out of the way because you’re being a disrespectful doofus.

The picture below is a beach in Goa. During the day, humans get the beach. As it starts to approach sunset, the cows take over. Why not, right?

cows on the beach in Goa
pigs and cows on the side of the road in Jaisalmer

In Jaisalmer, which is out in the desert in Rajasthan, pigs roamed freely right along with the cows, along with a few dogs and chickens. Critters galore! I’m fairly sure that’s the only place I’ve ever seen free-ranging pigs. It makes trying to walk anywhere a bit more challenging, because there are so many critters underfoot.

goat on a slope in Varanasi

This billy goat’s gruff creature feature is in Varanasi. Varanasi is an odd place. It’s on the banks of the Ganges river, which in Hinduism is very holy, but on the practical side, it’s really not clean. This is one of the various ghats leading from the city down to the river, which Mr. Gruff here is navigating just fine. I didn’t take any photos near the ghats where they cremate people, because that would just be inappropriate, but cows were wandering around there, and it was all just a whole lot going on. Actually, India in general feels like a whole lot going on for a westerner. Take the sensory stimulation you’re used to at home and multiply by 1000, and that’s India. It’s quite remarkable.

These pictures from my hotel in Varanasi are out of focus, but the one of the left shows munchkin monkey riding backpack style on mama’s back. They’re very agile little critters, and they’ll quite eagerly snatch food whenever there’s an opportunity.


Ashley riding a donkey in Lindos, Greece

My friend and I were staying on the Greek island Rhodes, and went to check out the acropolis in Lindos. We could have trekked up from where we got off the boat, or we could go donkey-back. The donkey seemed much more interesting. The bag I’m leaning on is from Mountain Equipment Coop, and the MEC logo was actually a great way to spot follow Canadians while travelling. This was the best shoulder bag ever. I was crushed when it was stolen on the beach in Santiago de Cuba. When I went to MEC to get a replacement, they’d come out with a new version that was nowhere near as good. I used that until it disintegrated, at which point MEC had discontinued that bag altogether, depriving people of a chance to own the best shoulder bag ever made.


deep-fried critters at a street stall in Phnom Penh

Part of the striving street food scene in Phnom Penh is deep-fried insects. I’m not sure if the insect-eating started before or during the Khmer Rouge-led genocide, but they’re certainly gung ho on bugs now. I chose not to partake in this particular critter-fest.

foot fish massage in Cambodia

This picture is me getting a fish massage in Siem Reap, Cambodia. And what, you may wonder, is a fish massage? These fishies (I’m not sure what kind they are) like to nibble on dead skin cells, so they eat the outer bits of your feet. It’s tickling and exfoliation all at the same time.


huge lizard in Bangkok

Buddy above is in Bangkok, Thailand. I’m not sure what kind of giant lizard he is, but I like to call him a Komodo dragon.


humboldt penguins on a rocky island in Peru

These photos are from the Islas Ballestas off the coast of Peru. They have Humboldt penguins, which only live in Peru and Chile, and all kinds of other birds. These photos were taken from a boat. We were encouraged to wear hats because of the high risk of bird poopage. ๐Ÿ’ฉ

shaggy llamas grazing on an agricultural terrace in Peru's Sacred Valley

These photos are taken in the Sacred Valley area, not far from Machu Picchu. There are three kinds of similar critters in this area: llamas, alpacas, and vicuรฑas. Vicuรฑas have a distinct look, but I’m too clueless to be able to tell the difference between llamas and alpacas, so they’re all llamas to me. The one thing I do know that “baby alpaca” scarves and such things don’t actually come from baby alpacas; they’re a certain kind of hair from the grown-ups.

shaggy llamas grazing

This shaggy beasty is my favourite.

All pictures ยฉ 2021 Ashley Peterson

48 thoughts on “Critters of My Travels: India, Peru, and More”

  1. Thanks for sharing your travels and critter pics. India is somewhere I’d love to go, but it does feel a little intimidating as like you say, there’s a lot going on!

    1. Its really amazing india has world 2nd largest population and we belive in jio aur jeene do (live and let live) so welcome india its amazing and memoriable for you

  2. Those pigs looked huge. Were they docile? Feral hogs are a problem especially in the Southern US. We were warned at a birding site to leave before dusk due to hogs, which can be aggressive and fatal. We saw them from afar. They are scary huge.

  3. These photos are so amazing, it ends to be kind of a documentary about India ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for sharing! Stay safe and cheers from Portugal, PedroL

  4. I adore monkeys. It’s so hard to imagine cows and pigs roaming freely though, but I do love that people have to shift out the way of the cows. That’s respect right there, and strangely incredibly sweet. Love your photos! xx

  5. Of all the places I’ve never had a desire to go India is probably at the top of the list! You have chosen to visit interesting places and I enjoy hearing about them and seeing your photos (all the while thinking – not for me LOL)

    1. You are probably right, because India being the soul of the earth, i.e patterns in the chaos and its only rare for most bodies who can look within. Totally applies to a western gaze ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. As someone who is visually impaired and uses voice-over on my phone to read posts I very much appreciate that you have photo descriptions Angie describe the stories behind the pictures as well XX

  7. It is for the senses to decide what to look at, what to earn and completely what all to leave, in the case of Indian Subcontinent’s life. Mc’s for all the damn reasons anyways must be abhorred ๐Ÿ˜€ if ever one has to leave world’s forests intact and stopping these corps. to make them grasslands for their clone cattle.

    Nara x

  8. Love your photos, especially the cow on the train platform lol, brilliant! Beautiful Goa beach photo, the way cows enjoy the beach just like people is just great. The sensory wonderland of India was definitely off any scale I’ve experienced so far, such a fascinating contrast.

  9. I can’t believe that there’s places in this world where pigs, cows and monkey’s roam free! ๐Ÿ˜€ How awesome! This is something I’d love to see. I know the locals often find monkey’s a pest, but I’d still find it exciting ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great read!

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