Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Travel lessons from a frutas ensalada

My favourite place to get breakfast in Cochabamba is the Mercardo de Comida, full of great cheap food, bustling with people, delicious smells and the sound of the stall owners trying to entice you to try their sopas.

I must have tried almost every frutas ensalada vendor in the market by now, for those who fancy making the journey its on calle  25 de Mayo between Sucre and Jordan.

Here are a few shots of the breaky!

Everyone has their own preferences, I prefer durazno yogurt (peach flavour, excuse the spelling) I like to get a lot of the helatina (the red jelly stuff) and most of all I hate it when the vendor tries to bulk my ensalada out with too much papaya and bananna. However, as the most feared ensalada critic in town, most of them know better than to try that shit on me by now. The best stalls are the ones on the far left of the market with proper seating areas.

Where am I going with this though, I guess the thing about staying in one place for a while - at least a month - is that you take the time to find these kinds of spots and places you love. You make friends with more of the locals, you get to explore little surrounding villages which you might not ordinarily visit on the typical trail - like our Sunday Chicha trip to a nearby village called Tarata.

Chicha is an alcoholic (2-3%) drink made from maize, it is fermented and served directly from the big earthenwear urns shown above and its a kind of straw yellow colour. At first I didn't really like the taste, as it could be described as a little sour, like a cloudy cider, but there seems to be a correlation between the amount you consume and the enjoyment you derive from each sip! Usually when you go to one of these Chicherias you're given a big jug of Chicha, along with one coconut shell, which you top up and pass around the table to share. Its very different to drinking wine or beer, I felt warm, relaxed and sociable after we'd had a few glasses.

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