Friday, April 18, 2008

Peru Day 2

Another great day in Peru. We slept in after a fun night at a couple of the local watering holes where we were introduced to the pisco sour, one of Peru´s favorite drinks. It´s made with pisco (which comes from grapes), egg white and bitters and the two-fer-ones were hard to pass up. And in chatting up that bartender we learned of a respected cuy place in town.

But before I get to the cuy I´ll get back on track. This morning we went back to the mercado central (market) to pick up some food to take with us on a lengthy hike. Got some bananas, oranges, almonds and walnuts and started hiking uphill to some of the Inca ruins that lay just outside of Cusco. It was a pretty rigorous hike of about 10km at 12,000 feet, almost all uphill. We held up pretty well, but needed frequent rests during the steeper parts. The ruins were okay, but mostly we enjoyed getting out for a hike that took us away from the crowds and offered some great views of the city. At the end of the hike we grabbed a local bus back into town and were pretty tired after the hiking, but it was a good warm-up for the 4 tougher days we have coming starting Sunday.

Got in a nap back at the hotel and for dinner tonight we went to the cuy place. I´ll post photos when I get back stateside, but picture if you will a whole guinea pig, slow roasted over a spit and served on a plate, stretched out head to toe. The waiter instructed me to use my hands, so I dug in and pulled a leg off. It was fairly greasy and did not bear a lot of meat. Tasted fairly gamey, maybe like rabbit (which I think I have only had in a stew). I was glad I had it, but probably would not order it again. I decided that if I were to have either cuy or chicha again, I would choose the chicha. You remember the chicha from yesterday´s post. It´s the corn booze that is fermented along with the saliva of the Peruvian woman who makes it. The alcohol content is fairly low, and it definitely has a smell of corn and was fairly sweet. It was actually pretty good, though one was enough.

The highlight of tonight´s dinner was actually the yucca with salsa. They took yucca and fried it, I think. It looked like chunks of pineapple, maybe, but was more dry and flaky and really delicious. On top of it I put some salsa, the best salsa I have ever had. It looked really simple - just diced chunks of pepper and onion, but there must have been some pixie dust in there, too. I have considered trying to make my own salsa before, but now I feel like if I were to make my own I would only be fruitlessly trying to achieve that which I had tonight.

Tomorrow we will take it pretty easy, maybe do a little shopping. We meet at 6pm tomorrow night with our guide for the trek. There will be a group of 12 of us going with the guides - 2 from Japan, 2 from Ireland, 6 from Canada, and Mikko and I. Sunday morning we leave at 6am, so it´ll be an early night tomorrow.

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