Thursday, September 10, 2009

Peru Part 1: Lots of Planes and a Guniea Pig

I had barely been in Colombia two days when I packed a backpack with a few sets of clothes and headed for the airport to catch a plane to Peru. Angelica and I mainly wanted to see what everyone wants to see in Peru: Machu Picchu. There weren't any direct flights, though, so we had to fly from Bogota to Lima, then Lima to Cusco.

On the flight to Cusco the clouds were so thick that we couldn't land. We flew in circles for an hour or so waiting for the weather to clear, then returned to Lima. We got a free lunch for our trouble, but we also got another good size layover.

I figured it was a good time for me to plunge into the local fare. This is a tamale but much different than those I can get in Springfield. This was salty and had raisins in addition to the chicken inside. The dark purple drink is called chicha morada. It is made from purple corn and who knows what else. It was super sweet and so rich that I couldn't drink more than half a glass.

Later on I bought this little bag of gum drops. I thought it was interesting that purple corn was listed as one of the fruit flavors.

Our second attempt at landing in Cusco was a success. Here you can see the lonely little airstrip.

That first taxi ride from the airport in a new country has become a source of excitement for me. It's like a free tour of the city.

The Cusco Cathedral. There were several grand churches in a fairly small area. Even a couple of schools I saw had high stone walls and other imposing attributes.

We were super tired from the long hours of traveling. As much as I wanted to get out and see everything right away, nap time was necessary. By the time we had our showers and everything, it was dark outside.

Cusco is super touristy. There was a band playing some local sounding music on a little stage nearby. I wouldn't be surprised if a band played there every day.

This donkey statue stands in front of a school. It even has books strapped to its back. I told Angelica it reminded me of Pinocchio. I don't know if it is meant to be a reference or not.

Cusco started to get more interesting as we walked down the side streets. Cusco's main square is tourist territory. A large percentage of the restaurants were pizza places or other food obviously aimed at foreigners. In addition to that, many of the restaurants have touts with menus out front who got to be very annoying. I was much happier down the streets that seemed to be for the locals. Everything was cheaper, authentic, and no one was shoving things in my face to buy.

This beat up Pikachu slot machine stop just inside a barber shop. I couldn't figure out how to get it to work, and it seemed to be missing a few buttons.

There were several little arcades and internet cafes with kids playing games. I guess these places are a ton more popular when the average kid can't afford to buy a home system. We stopped in at a quaint little arcade. There were about ten machines smashed together in a little room. The owner sat in one corner and watched a tiny tv while several kids played. Many of the cabinets were fighting games. All of them were old.

The tokens looked homemade.

At the end of the night we stopped at one of the touristy places called Bar Cusco. Here are a couple of local things, a Cusqueña beer and a pisco sour.

This place had a few "traditional" things on the menu, so we went for those. I had "Oven made Guinea Pig, pepper souffle with potatoes and creola sauce" for 49 soles. I'm pretty sure it was the most expensive thing on the menu. Angelica had some alpaca meat.

The little guy looked ready to strike so I quickly gave him a little taste of the Bush Doctrine.

Was this a meal or an anatomy class? All of its teeth were still in its little mouth, and its claws were still on its little hands. I had to peel back its skin to get to the food part. The meat was chickeny (you probably could've guessed that, right?). The waitress said I was supposed to eat it with my hands, but I thought staying just in fork range of it was a better plan. When I had finished picking at it I asked for it to be taken away immediately. I didn't need it staring me in the face for a single minute longer.


  1. Sounds like you didn't like it

  2. the photo with the multicolor buildings is gorgeous. Did you happen to see any of the Nazca lines while you were flying over Peru?? Or too cloudy, maybe?? It must be like doing a cultural 180 compared to being in Japan, right??? in short. I am soooooo jealous of that amazing dinner and your trip. yep.

  3. Another adventure! I think the teeth and claws would have sealed the deal for me. Looks like you had fun!

  4. Sam: The taste was fine, I just had trouble getting past the very graphic presentation.

    Bridget: I just read a bit about the Nazca lines. I am wishing I could have seen them but I think maybe they are in a different part of the country. The culture is quite different. It's a nice change of pace.