Eating Llama in Humahuaca

Humahuaca Travel Blog

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Last night I ate a Llama. Despite the fact that I have yet to see a llama in South America (sheep, donkeys, horses, cows, dogs, and goats are numerous but not llamas) we were told that it was a local Humahuacan delicacy and that we had to try it. Marie-Claude and I, along with two guys from our hostel (Kevin from France and Andrew from Conneticut), went to a very nice restaurant where the booths were lined with fleece and the tables and lampshades constructed from cactus. The others were keen to try the Llama and each ordered a different variation. I was still feeling a bit queasy in my stomach and decided to try the quinoa and vegetable soup instead. I think I made the right decision. The soup was tasty and it was nice to eat a meal that contained more vegetables than meat. It has been difficult for me to eat enough vegetables here in South America because the majority of restaurant meals consist of meat and potatoes, white bread, cheese, and desserts. In the market one can find vegetables but they are very expensive (Argentina is experiencing problems with inflation and the price of vegetables has increased 17% in the last 8 months) and are often pockmarked and halfrotten.
 
The llama was well presented and looked appetizing but the meat was tough and stringy and left a strange after taste in oneĀ“s mouth. Marie Claude, who had been the most enthusiastic campaigner for llama was unable to finish hers. Everybody was glad to have tried llama but nobody was planning on ordering it again any time soon.
 
Marie-Claude and I arrived in Humahuaca last night after spending two very enjoyable evenings in Salta. As we near the Bolivian border there is a distinct shift in the local culture. The bus we took from San Salvador de Jujuy to Humahuaca was not a clean uncrowded bus from the south. There were more passengers than seats and the fabric of the chairs was worn from use. Humahuaca is not an urban town. The supermarkets of Salta have been replaced by small corner stores where all of the merchandise is behind the counter and children frolic with lambs in the street. This morning, we sat in the sun drinking fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee and listened to the hymns of the church choir drift across the town. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning. We had many plans for the day but they all melted away to a lazy day of handwashing and walking around the town. We tried to go horseback riding but the farm was deserted excepted for an old dog lounging in the sun. Tomorrow, we plan to visit Purmamarca (and the seven coloured mountain) and the Salina Grandes. Then, Marie Claude will return to Salta and start her journey south and I will finally head north and make the plunge into Bolivia. 
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Humahuaca
photo by: Paulovic