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Bugging Out In Peru

17 Nov

Bugs of Cuzco

A few months ago Justin and I started up an old school game of ‘punch-buggy’.  You know, the one where you punch the other person when you see a Volkswagen Bug.  Yeah, we’re very mature like that.

In the States we had an intricate set of rules that included double punches whenever one of us spotted an original bug, and triple punches for a VW van because of the rarity of these particular icons.

Within two or three days of arriving in Peru it was clear our game structure was going to need to change, or we would both be walking around with black and blue arms.  You see, there are original bugs and vans EVERYWHERE.  It’s like all the classic bugs migrated down past the equator and are just kicking it here, enjoying their retirement.

It’s gotten to the point that if we are really paying attention, we’ll see one every few minutes, and sometimes we see 4 or 5 parked on the same block.  It’s remarkable how great of shape most of them are in, and I’d be lying if I said that the idea to buy one and drive through South America hasn’t crossed my mind more than once.

In any case, the amusement factor of punch-buggy has worn off, and it’s time for us to move on to a more challenging game.  Any suggestions?

The Moving Box Bet – Peru

13 Nov

When we were packing up to leave NYC we decided that since everything would be in storage for more than a year, it would be a good idea to number the boxes and create a list that had the numbers, and a basic idea of what was in each box.  If we can manage to remember where we put that list, it should be helpful in terms of unpacking when we return.

Packing sucks.  In an attempt to make it suck a little less, Justin and I made a little wager about the number of boxes we thought we’d end up with when it was all said and done.  We wrote our numbers down, and sealed them in an envelope.

At the time, we couldn’t think of what the winner would get.  Money would be pointless since we share that.  A nice dinner cooked for the winner didn’t seem big enough.

Eventually we decided that it wouldn’t be so much what the winner got, but what the loser had to do.  We threw around a bunch of ideas, but finally settled on one that seemed perfect…

The loser has to eat one strange or unusual item of the winner’s choice in ever country we visit. 

Justin lost.

I’ve been researching all the interesting food items available in Peru – cuy (guinea pig), was high on the list, but so was anticuchos (beef heart on a skewer). Having not run across anything more fascinating, I decided that whatever we came across first would be what he would eat.

The other day we were wandering around Ollantaytambo when we came across a vendor with meat skewers.  We asked the woman tending the grill what each skewer was.

Pollo, carne, anticuchos.

So it was settled.

Justin takes the plunge!

As it turns out, anticuchos is very tender, and rather tasty.  So tasty in fact that we went back for a second skewer for me.


Justin is convinced that I’m going to be trying all these interesting foods along with him, and for now that’s fine, but I suspect that when we get to Southeast Asia he’ll be on his own…

Taking The Long Way in Lima, Peru

7 Nov

Lima bus tickets

We’re not huge museum people, but when we read Jack and Jill’s post about the naughty pottery exhibit at the Museo Larco in Lima, we knew this was something we needed to see.

We’d had a successful venture on public transportation to the Plaza de Armas on Friday, and Lonely Planet gives a good description of the bus we needed to take the Museo Larco, so we set out feeling very confident about our navigational skills.

We should have known better.

The bus system in Lima is…chaotic.  The buses are everywhere, and while there are actual stops, you can also just flag one down and jump on, often it seems they don’t even stop completely.  Some appear to have route maps, others, not so much.  Some are big, like city buses we are used to seeing, and others are just small mini-vans.  The most prominent feature is the man, or woman, who hangs out the door of the bus shouting street names as the driver rockets down the road.

After about a half hour of bus hunting, we couldn’t find the one described in Lonely Planet.  Shocking, I know.  Plan B was to just ask the person screaming out street names if the bus went past the Museo Larco.  Sure enough, we were picked up by a driver who assured us he would go right past it.

As we wound our way through Miraflores, I could tell that we weren’t going in the right direction.  Justin asked the driver again if we would pass the museum, and he assured us that we would, and he would let us know when to get of.  30 minutes later the bus came to a screeching halt and we were told we had arrived.

Um…no. We had arrived in front of a museum, just not the museum.  Apparently there is a street named ‘Larco’ and there is a museum on it, so that’s where we ended up.

Ok then, onto plan C. Try to get another bus, this time asking for both the museum AND the street name (Bolivar).  Once again, we managed to find a bus who said yes, he would be going past there.

30 minutes later we again came to a screeching halt. We were indeed on Bolivar, but not the block we needed.  We started walking, and very quickly came to a dead-end. Turns out, we were on a totally different Bolivar.

At this point, we were nearly ready to just give up and go eat some more arroz con leche, but we really wanted to see these pots.

Our final attempt found us on the correct bus, and at last, nearly 2 1/2 hours after we set out, we arrived at the Museo Larco.

The regular exhibits were lovely, the naughty pottery was as entertaining as promised, and we made sure to get explicit directions, including a bus number, for the way home.

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