The Time I Couldn’t Get Chicken

Monday, March 16, 2014

Hola from the skies over Peru! We are currently en route from Cusco to Lima, scheduled to land at 11:25 AM. Traveling today has been something else, but before I tell that story, let’s recap yesterday.

It was so nice to wake up well rested and NOT hungover! I woke up around 7 AM for some coffee and reading, and by 8 AM we were at the market, filling our bellies with arroz con huevo y salchicha (Collin and Kevin also got a side of fried chicken because YOLO). One we finished and paid, we split up to do some shopping before we had to leave to make it to the 11:15 AM futbol match.

I tried to haggle. I really did. But I just got laughed at. They need the money more than I do, anyway.

Once we had stocked up on souvenirs and alpaca sweaters, we dropped our things off at the hostel to set off on the hour long walk to the stadium. On the way, we found a few bakeries that I wanted to go back to after the game, as well as a piñateria!

Surrounding the stadium, there were a LOT of police, but no people. Collin asked several officers where we could buy tickets to the game, but each one told him that the game wasn’t open to the public. The only reason we can think of is that, because there have been so many fights at games, the was a punishment. Still, it was a huge bummer, and we now needed to come up with a plan for our last day in Cusco.

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After much back and forth, we decided to take a taxi to Moray to see their crop-circle-esque architecture and potentially take a bike trip from there to Maras. We went to Plaza de Armas to grab a taxi, only to find that the roads were closed off for a parade. Men, women, girls, and boys in traditional attire danced and sang their way around the plaza. It wassail to see, but so many of the people in the parade looked like they did NOT want to bother, and some of the women singing had voices that sounded like dog whistles. We were glad when the streets re-opened and we could haggle for our cab ride to Moray.

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After speaking to several drivers who refused to take us or wanted to charge us over S/.100 for a one-way trip, we finally found a guy who would take us for S/.70. We hopped in and set off on the hour long car ride. After passing many cows, donkeys, chicharrones stands, and gravel roads, we finally made it to Moray. It is exactly as advertised – crop circles.

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We walked the path around the perimeter, then did a bit of offloading to hike the lesser-known formations. We climbed down into a few and potentially scorned more sacred Incan gods. Collin got in some good parkour/high jump practice, potentially cracking his shin bone in the process. We did not find any #buriedtreasure, but are convinced there was some down there that we could have dug out with the proper tools (i.e. the nail in Kevin’s backpack that had been confiscated at the Lima airport).

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I was convinced that we were never going to find a ride home from Moray, and that we would die there, but it was actually really easy! We paid a taxi driver S/.5 each to take us to a bus stop (he picked up several people who rode in the trunk as we drove on), and about 10 minutes later a bus swung by and dropped us off near our hostel for only S/.10 each. We didn’t go straight back to the hostel, though, because we were dropped off in the middle of a festival! There was a man with bleached hair making fun of foreigners, a food tent, casino games, and more!

Having not had lunch at 3:30 PM, our first stop was the food tent, where we each paid S/.13 for a food ticket and S/.2.5 for a dessert ticket. Now, here’s where things got dicey. All I wanted was pollo, but there was no pollo to be found at this tent. Peru is famous for chicken… BUT THERE WAS NO CHICKEN. I was devastated. I tried to explain my predicament to the vendors, but without Collin’s Spanish, I was useless. I ended up with some sort of seafood soup full of shrimp, which was absolutely disgusting. Instead, my lunch was the chocolate cake I got with my dessert ticket, which was delicious. Kevin and Collin loved their lunches; I am just obviously not cut out for food festivals since I only eat one type of meat.

As dessert for my chocolate cake, I got ice cream, and for post-dessert, we all got fresh churros. It was a great day.

On our way out, we stopped into an artisan market in a back alley (*~hipster~*). They really know all the tricks to suck tourists in! After purchasing several souvenirs, Kevin and Collin continued their tourist journey to some nearby bookstores while I went back to the hostel to shower, rest up, and wait for Lile and Emily to return from Aguas Calientes so we could get dinner.

8:30 came and went and there was still no sign of our Australian friends, so we said fuck it and went out to find a Chfa restaurant. Chifa is like the Peruvian version of Chinese food, which basically means that this time our soup appetizer had wontons in it, and Collin and I got fried chicken with our fried rice. We also got… limonata!!! Foamy meringue on top and everything, it was exactly what we hoped for. Collin ordered 1 jarra and I ordered 1/2 jarra, expecting a glass or something. Well, turns out a jarra is a pitcher. We had fun.

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Everything was delicious, and we left uncomfortably full. Despite our best intentions to go out, we passed out almost immediately after we got back to the hospital. What can I say, we’re wild.

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