I’m Thankful For the Boiling Water

I’m thankful for the boiling water. Because of it, I was able to try choclo on our recent trip to Peru. I’m not sure I would have chanced it otherwise, and I really wanted to try it. It was really good.

Choclo, of course, is a variety of large kernel white corn commonly served as a street food in Peru. It’s just cooked and has a little salt sprinkled on it, often with a little chuck of cheese that doesn’t really melt much stuffed in the husk.

These were everywhere in Peru, but usually were being sold out of a bag by a little old woman. It was only a vegetable and was cooked, usually markers of safety, but I’m always wary when you don’t see the food cooked. All that has to happen is someone rinses the corn in cold water after cooking and we can be back into food poisoning territory again.

That’s no good on a long trip.

Luckily, as we were coming back to the bus from one of the Inca sites we visited, we saw a little old woman who was actually boiling them in front of us. I could see it had just been cooked, and hadn’t been rinsed with any cold water. Thus, I could trust it. I’m so glad I did too. It was delicious. There are so many varieties of vegetables that I think I know, like corn and potatoes, common in Peru that are so different from the ones I know here in the United States. It’s really cool to get to try a few and see the differences.

Wouldn’t have been able to trust it if that woman hadn’t been boiling it right there. So glad for that. It was a cool thing to be able to try.

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A Surprise Addiction From Peru

I picked up an interesting addiction while in Peru. Inca Kola.

Apparently this soft drink is a big deal in Peru, though it was apparently invented by a British immigrant as opposed to someone of Peruvian origin. It’s everywhere though, and apparently gives many of the US based soft drinks a good amount of competition (though it’s now apparently some kind of joint venture with a Peruvian company and Coke), kind of a national pride thing if you will.

Not everyone from outside digs it. Many non-Peruvians I talked to hated it. It’s flavored with  lemon verbena, but tastes to me like cheap bubble gum. I loved it, grabbing it wherever I could.

Might be difficult to find in the future. It’s not sold much here. Don’t know what I’m going to do. Do I like it enough to try to pay to have it shipped in?

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Things To See In The Plaza de Armas In Cusco

There are many things one can see in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. The Plaza de Armas in Cusco is a large square near another smaller square. There’s a cathedral and a church (yes, both), but that isn’t what I want to talk about. Any guidebook will tell you about that. We have other things to see.

For example, you can see endless people offering you massages in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Endless. Sometimes three or more people in a row, each asking you if you want to buy a massage just after you told the person standing in front of them no. However, if you aren’t interested in seeing the endless people selling massages, you can always see the numerous people trying to sell you tours to Machu Picchu, or the dozens of people trying to sell you sketches and other artworks out of a large leather binder.

Yes, you can see all these things and more in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Supposedly there’s some kind of historical stuff interesting there, but clearly the massages, tour sales, and wall art to buy takes precedence.


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My Wife’s Secret Trick To Balancing The Egg

When you visit the equator museum outside Quito in Ecuador, one of the activities involves balancing an egg on the head of a nail. Apparently, this can be done exactly on the equator because if the yolk settles right nothing will pull it off center. It still isn’t easy to do, though my wife found a trick.

You see, as she was attempting to get it balanced, it fell. Smack right down on the pavement, splatting everywhere. Given the intensity of the sun at that moment, it started to cook a bit pretty much right away. However, I did notice that the splatted egg was completely balanced.

It also answered the questions multiple attempters asked regarding whether or not the eggs were real and/or raw as claimed.

There’s my wife’s trick. Mind you, she actually spent the time to do it right and did really manage to get it to balance on the head of the nail as you were supposed to. None of the rest of the tour group stuck it out that long, including me. We only had so much time for the tour and with another group waiting for the egg station, I figured it best to throw in the towel.

Even on the equator, balancing that egg isn’t easy.

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What Was That All About?

Imagine you’re on a vacation in Cusco, Peru. Imagine you book a city tour on the side of your main tour through your tour company. Not with your tour company specifically, but through another company that your tour company works with. Imagine that they are supposed to pick you up at your hotel and take you to the cathedral and several historic Inca sites.

Now imagine that the small bus shows up. Two people are on it. Imagine that the guide who met you doesn’t mention what is going on. Imagine the bus goes all round the neighborhood of your hotel in Cusco for the next hour picking up people as the guide hops on and off the bus, running to the next stop to have people ready. Imagine that this guide never does say anything about what is going on or how this all is going to work.

Imagine after an hour the small bus finally pulls up to let you off outside the cathedral…which is five blocks from your hotel. Imagine that no one else on the bus is actually on your tour. In fact, this guide isn’t your guide. The entire bus of people other than those picked up at your hotel are there for a different tour. The guide is a guide for that tour, not yours. Your guide has been waiting at the cathedral five blocks from your hotel and has in fact started your tour a half hour beforehand. Imagine how you could have been on time for your tour if you’d simply walked the five blocks from your hotel and ignored the provided transportation, if only someone had told you.

Imagine that the small bus had passed the cathedral twice during that hour picking up all those other people.

Wouldn’t you be wondering what all that was about? Wouldn’t you wonder what the heck that other tour company was doing? Even if your tour was great once you were on it, wouldn’t that small bus ride be a bit weird?

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Those That Betray Their Brethren

On my recent trip to Ecuador/Peru, I found myself considering those that betray their brethren. For example, we have Mr. Peanut, a peanut that advertises people to buy other peanuts to eat.

Similarly, we have Starkist’s Charlie the Tuna.

We also have this:

This is a statue of a guinea pig that is attempting to draw in travelers from the road in the Sacred Valley in Peru to buy and eat guinea pigs.

Odd how many different mascots for food advocate buying their brethren for consumption. A bit creepy even.

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The Long Awaited Explanation

Remember how I promised you I’d eventually explain what I was doing with all the banana animated gifs? Yeah, I’ve been on vacation in Ecuador and Peru and needed a bunch of quick posts I could schedule ahead of time. Animated gifs ones are always good for that.

Why bananas? Heck, why anything?

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