Arequipa: A Gringa’s Mirage – Part 3

After a post St. Patrick’s Day recovery session that included coffee, scrambled eggs and yet another hot shower, Stacey and I had to face the reality of returning to Puno later that night.  Before leaving this lovely mirage though, we were lucky enough to be able to meet up with a colleague from Pro Mujer to drive around the outskirts of the city.

More pets for lunch

First on the agenda was a Peruvian lunch at a place outside of town called Cau Cau.  Even though we were on a mission this weekend to eat and enjoy all of the non-Peruvian food we could get our hands on, we still had the right amount of social tact to not inform our gracious Peruvian hosts of this plan.  Plus, you’re all but guaranteed a positive fooding experience when you dine with locals so I was actually looking forward to this experience.

There were of course the usual suspects, potatoes and rice, but also a few newcomers.  First up was cuy chactado, which is fried guinea pig.  As if eating meat and eating an animal that is traditionally a pet were bad enough, I think animal lovers would have had an additional heart attack just from the presentation of the furry little rodent.  The poor thing is served with its limbs completely outstretched and its head still attached.  It actually looks like its smiling!  Then you start eating it by ripping its legs off and taking it from there.

At least he died happy!

Moving along to the less violent portion of our meal we had pavo (duck), which I didn’t care for as it was a bit too tough for my liking, chiccharron de cerdo (crispy pork), a delicious scalloped potato medley and rocoto relleno.  Sadly, I didn’t try the rocoto relleno, which is a spicy pepper emptied and filled with a mixture of meat, cheese and vegetables, because I’m still traumatized after emptying the entire contents of my nose and mouth one night at dinner when I engorged on a pizza littered with them.  It’s still too soon for me.  To finish the meal we all shared an oversized glass of chicha, the alcoholic version of chicha morada which is a drink made from a type of purple corn that is indigenous to this region of the world.

Outskirts of Arequipa

For the rest of the afternoon, we drove around to various look-out points to catch some magnificent views of the volcanoes surrounding Arequipa, El Misti being the most distinctive one.

View of El Misti from Yanahuara

In Yanahuara, we took a break from our little trek to indulge in biñuelos, a scrumptious fried dough covered in honey.

Yummy biñuelos!

Later, at a lookout at the Libertador hotel, feeling I needed to inject the “silly” factor into our day, decided after a casual suggestion from one of our friends, to insert myself into a giant chomba de chicha with the following results…

First entry strategy failed
Feet-first entry is looking promising
Happy travels folks!

Overall, the trip to Arequipa was a much need break from what was becoming a very dull and routine existence in Puno.  On the bus ride back to Puno I started going over my travel plans for the upcoming months and decided that Arequipa would be my main stop on the way back through Perú after having traveled through Ecuador and Colombia.  Until then Arequipa!


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