Police assisting the protesters.
Travel Dates 22nd-23rd March 2010.
Click on any picture to see a larger version.
This post mentions food a lot. That's not really surprising; all travellers are interested in the different cuisines they encounter but diabetics like me are especially interested. For example, this was breakfast on the LAN flight from Buenos Aires to Lima. It looked almost identical after I ate.
Luckily I always prepare a snack in advance; this time I had nuts and raisins in my carry-on.
Peru will improve.
I keep telling myself that. My first couple of days in Lima were mainly intended to overcome jet-lag before I see the “real” Peru – Nazca, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cusco and Machu Picchu . Lima was never on my “must see” list.
Just as well. As a city it is both overwhelming and underwhelming. Overwhelming traffic, pollution, police presence and noise, underwhelming in it's Centro Historico and tourist attractions. Maybe I'm just jaded after Mexico, but I found both Mexico City and the smaller towns of Yucatan, such as Valladolid and Merida, more interesting in that respect. I certainly made the effort to wander around today, my feet are starting to complain already, but it was a bit ho-hum. So I came home and had a snooze. I think the town has served its purpose and I am ready to move on tomorrow.
I just deleted my report on the hostel I stayed at in Lima. After some difficulties and a long discussion, via interpreter, with the manager he was kind enough to let me stay free. So I'll stick to my side of the agreement and name no names. I can be rather persuasive when I get angry...
However, I suspect that my attempt to experiment with hostels may be short-lived. I am booked in hostels again in Cusco and Aguas Calientes but I think I'll try hotels for the next few towns.
I tried the local food for lunch today; two courses for 7 sols. It was interesting. I love fish, but I am afraid ceviche left me cold, to coin a phrase. It is fish cold-cooked by marination in citrus. I'll try anything once, some even twice to be sure. So far I have only a short list of “never agains”, including Scottish haggis, Georgian boiled peanuts in the shell, Quebecois poutaine (a heart attack in one dish for a diabetic) and overcooked tiny squid. Now I can add ceviche to the list. It is in the dish to the right in the first picture. Incidentally, that was lunch after I finished. The portion that is missing is some rather tasty deep-fried battered fillet of fish.
If you stay away from the tourist traps eating out can be cheap here. I was lazy for dinner on both nights. I was still hankering for a good steak, so I had “Lomo” on the first night. It is the loin of beef, a slightly different cut to any we get at home. Similar, but not identical, to rib-eye.
At last I had a wonderful piece of steak and I'm not even in Argentina. It was so good I tried it en-brochette tonight in a different restaurant. Mmmm....Both meals included a glass of surprisingly good Peruvian house red wine and cost less than 40 sols or under $15. I say “surprisingly” because they were cheap house wines, not because they were Peruvian.
I also saw many street vendors of food but all were too high in carbohydrates for me. The most popular dish was a combination of part of a boiled corn-cob (with enormous over-sized kernels), a potato dumpling and a peeled boiled egg with a choice of salsa or similar sauces. Another popular take-away from vendors in street carts is pre-cooked sliced roast meat, it may have been pork, with vegetables in a bun. The meat is quickly re-heated on a hot-plate and the hot-plate juices are mixed with a spicy brown sauce and boiled on the hot-plate before pouring over the meat on the bun.
While I was adding to the economy by having my shoes cleaned there was a lot of noise behind me in the Plaza del Mayo. I have no idea what the protest was about, but the march snaked on for a long time with various groups waving flags. They were flanked by police in full riot gear over the full distance. I didn't see anyone arrested. The final assembly was somewhere in the distance and I decided lunch was more important. So was discretion.
One for the blokes. Sometimes an overbearing police presence may not be such a bad thing...