Peru, Week 2: “They’re like Pokemon – gotta catch ’em all!”
So, everyone is getting stomach illnesses, mostly just from the strange minerals in the water, but Ben actually got a parasite, making this his third in South America. He is on a strict regimen of two antibiotics, Tylenol, Gatorade, and no alcohol, much to his dismay. Then, Saturday morning, we went to the market where there were no other tourists (only real Peruvians) and did exactly what we were told not to do and ate the fruit. There were piles and piles of fruits I couldn’t name. After Itze and Sylvia drank a protein shake made from a very recently deceased frog (it was plucked from a tank in front of us, beaten to death, boiled, and blended with some juice and protein powders), we walked up a fruit aisle and tried three new fruits: a chirimoya (like a sweet white melon), a pepino (apparently from the cucumber family, but more like a bitter cantaloupe), and a lucuma (a powdery fruit I didn’t eat). They all had peels, though, so I assume they’re safe. I also had a fried zucchini-cheese pancake, not as good as kolokithokeftedes, but with a delicious peanut sauce, and a freshfreshfresh orange juice with no water added. Then we went shopping for Traditional Peruvian knit items, and I ended up with a brown alpaca cardigan with a sun god/llama design, an orange purse, and a pair of mittens.
Saturday evening Alice, Peggy, and I headed out to Saga Falabella, the big department store here, to watch Transformers 2 and celebrate the 4th of July. The mall was so crowded it was hard to move, the food lines were long, Alice’s cheeseburger wasn’t “American enough”, we couldn’t find a table, and we didn’t know whether we were in the right line for the movie. It was, however, awesome, and made up for all the unpleasantries of the hours before. Afterwards a bunch of us went to the karaoke bar (called “Texans Bar”, with an America theme) down the street. Turns out we were the only people there and they had to open the bar especially for us, but we still had a good time singing. By ourselves. With the bartender, who slowly and meaningfully wiped the bar with a towel. (Shame, he probably had a nice evening of tv-watching planned.)
This morning we performed our Sunday ritual of going to the grocery store to stock up for the week and then for lunch. Now it’s back to the field, where hopefully we’ll find things…