Thursday, May 29, 2014

Peru: Day Three - Part Two

Day three continues with the tale of the "gringo killer". After the phone theft incident, we boarded a commercial bus for Huancayo. Since the driver was below the passenger level, we were able to sit in the very front of the bus, right up against the windshield. We had to put our backpacks in front of us, so there wasn't an enormous amount of legroom, but the view was amazing.

As we settled into our seats, I pulled out my breakfast tamale. Apparently, Peruvians often eat tamales for breakfast. It seemed a little odd, but I was hungry and still a little shaken from the theft, so I dug right in. Bergs did warn me, however, that there was a large purple olive in the middle of the tamale. She said Peruvians call it "the gringo killer". This concerned me, but I figured that if I ate carefully, I could pull the olive out when I got to it.

I reached the olive and pulled it out. There was a small pool of olive juice in the cavity left behind, but I figured it would be drowned in the flavor of delicious tamale. I was wrong. I took of bite of tamale and olive juice..and very nearly threw up. VERY nearly. Many of you know that I have a weak stomach, but this was bad. I did manage to get the rest of the tamale down, mainly because I had to get rid of the super gross olive taste.

The rest of the somewhere between 6 and 8 hour ride was filled with gorgeous Andean scenery. Well, that and the bus driver risking crazy car passes over double yellow lines. That was sort of terrifying, especially from the top of the bus. But the Andes are gorgeous. Once we got further into the mountains, they were green instead of looking like piles of rocks. This was my favorite spot:

Bergs told me that this was the place that a lot of people start feeling altitude sickness, but I felt just fine. Her theory was that it was because we already live in such a high elevation. Coming into Huancayo, I almost felt like we were driving home to Cache Valley. See?

Once we made it to Huancayo, we made our way to Clariza's house. Clariza was Bergs' pensionista in that area. Clariza had, hanging on her wall, a picture of Bergs that was drawn while she was there.

We left our backpacks at Clariza's and headed into town to shop. There is a wonderful mall of sorts, Casa de Artisano, where people sell things that they have made. I bought scarves for the girls in my family, as well as a stone nativity scene and a beautiful sweater. After that, we wandered about the streets of Huancayo in search of a store that sold really inexpensive ties. We finally found it and Bergs and I purchased some ties. It was quite the exciting journey.

After the shopping, we had dinner at La Lena, where I ordered another delicious chicken dish with fries. Very delicious chicken in Peru.

At the end of the night, we picked up our backpacks and found a hostel to sleep in. This one featured beds that dipped in the middle. We were sort of concerned that the beds were going to eat us...but we survived.

And that's day three!