Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vacaciones con la Familia Part I

Mom, Sam and I in Arequipa - Volcano Misti in the background
The fam in front of a church outside of Arequipa

What remains of the cuy I had for dinner

I spent Christmas this year with Mom and by brother here in Peru. They came down for a visit to celebrate both Christmas and my Mom's birthday (I was going to say my Mom's 70th birthday but she'd get pissed off at me so I'll just say we celebrated her birthday. For the record, I hope I look as good and get around as good as my mom when I'm 70 – if I even make it that far).

Everyone in my town of Rio Grande was asking if the fam was going to make it down to The Big RG but it's hot as hell there right now and I wanted to check out a different corner of this beautiful country. Originally, we had planned on visiting Huaraz, a mountain town with spectacular views of the Cordillera Blanca - high, snow-capped peaks which are being melted away by global warming at an alarming rate (insert your bullshit political view here). Unfortunately there were protests and civil unrest about mining operations a few weeks before. The riots had calmed down a bit but threatened to start back up again. As interesting as that sounded to me, the last place I needed to take my family on vacation was to see a bunch of pissed off, rock-hurling youths from a bus that was caught in the middle of the commotion. So, we went for Plan B (you always have to have a Plan B in Peru – or anywhere for that matter). Plan B wasn't so bad. First to Arequipa and then to Puno/Lake Titicaca then back to Lima to celebrate Christmas.

Arequipa – For some strange reason Mom and Sam weren't down for a 15 hour bus ride from Lima to Arequipa (even though it's a nice bus) so we flew. Flights are not that much more than the bus so it made sense on such a short time frame. Arequipa is a great city. Old colonial buildings build out of white volcanic rock called sillar, lots of history, and nice vistas of dormant and active volcanoes. There, we took a pretty touristy double-decker bus ride to check out the city and its surroundings. There, I rocked the shit out of some rocoto relleno (stuffed Peruvian chili peppers) and ate my first cuy chactado (fried guinea pig). Imagine eating your little childhood friend Sparkles, skinned, battered, fried and served in its entirety (head, eyeballs, teeth, claws and all) with a side of mixed vegetables. Tasted a little like rattlesnake, which tastes like gamey chicken, with just as many bones. Apparently cuyes are very high in protein, low in cholesterol (until deep fried) and reproduce like their rabbit cousins.

No comments:

Post a Comment