Food/Roads, travel and Cuenca
Trip Start Jun 07, 2009
46Trip End Ongoing
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While still in Vilcabamba, prior to this side trip adventure, I knew I had to share a bit about the food here.
If you're hungry, you might want to read this later!
Someone from the US asked us how we liked the food. Wow. It's great to be able to reflect on that. It's different from the US. If I expected US type food, I would be sorely disappointed. But, because I enjoy the adventure, including tasting it, it has been really interesting.
Our breakfasts (desayuno) are a delight. Starts with some sort of fruit juice. I can't be specific here, because I haven't learned the names of all the incredible fruits. All that I know is that every morning and many lunches, there is wonderful fresh juice. Sometimes it's mixed. Passion fruit, Naranjillo, raspberries, bananas, babaco, pineapple, apple. Always yummy.
For lunch out we usually go for the menu of the day. It's around $2 and rarely disappoints. Starts with fruit juice or tea, followed by soup. Ah--this category could take a whole day! Basically it's clear stuff with pieces of vegetables in it, or "cream" with a small chunk of vegetable (like a 1 inch slice of corn on the cob). or piece of meat. That's where the adventure comes in! Sometimes it's a piece of pork, or chunk of beef. Maybe it's a chicken neck, or even a foot!
Bruce and I were eating and he scooped out something from the bottom of the wonderful soup. "What's that?" I hesitantly queried. "I think it's a chicken knee!" He answered without blinking.
I almost choked on my soup.
Dinners may be soup (tomatoe, squash, potato) or a splurge for lasagna or mousaka, maybe a stew. It's all so very yummy. Most often repeated line by me is: " This is soooo good!"
Desserts may be a scoop of yogurt, cake not like the US, or one strawberry in a little sweet stuff. In Cuenca we visited the famous Eucalyptus Cafe where we had coffee and "chocolate cake". It was some nearly flourless decadent slab of melt-in-your-mouth to-die-for chocolate thing. I sighed and told Bruce that I officially changed my story. Before I came here, I didn't care for chocolate, but now that we are here: I understand the love affair. It's not as sweet here, and the flavors are...well, really wonderful.
Coffee: They serve it here 2 ways: Cafe Americano which sends out hot water and an elixir you mix with hot milk to your liking. Sort of an instant cafe a lait. Or, they bring out a pot of coffee and you mix it with the hot milk. I'm in heaven. I like my coffee 4 year old style. A cup of hot milk and a sprinkle of coffee. Ah, now that's the way to enjoy it. Bruce has his strong enough to stand the spoon up with sweetener. He charges pretty good in the morning--until the hammock calls.
Well, not just any roads, but the Pan American Highway that has been under construction for the past 2 years between Cuenca and Loja--about a 5 hour bus ride.
I think it employs a lot of folks. You travel up these mountains for about an hour, then descend for about 1/2 hour, only to go up another huge mountain for another hour or so and down the other side.
Travelers said the roads were good here in Ecuador until 1982 when the first El Nino hit. The roads were washed out and things have never been the same. Last year they had El Nino type rains for months and it's expected this year as well...
Travel is interesting here to say the least.
You can take buses everywhere. Taxis are available--usually costs between 1-2 US dollars...
Little Taxis cram 4 people into them but only cost $1.50 for 40 minute drive. I'm getting used to the fast drivers who really know how to drive and cruise quickly up and down mountains, passing slower drivers and giving the folks in the backseat a smashing side to side sliding ride the whole way! My adrenals get a work out!
Coming up: Trip to Cuenca
Lots of love, Jenice
Where I stayed
Hotel Milan, Cuenca Ecuador