Arequipa part 2 - Guinea Pig
Arequipa Travel Blog› entry 49 of 93 › view all entries
We had one more night in Arequipa. Arriving back into town at 2pm, we realised we'd left the battery charger for the camera back in Cusco, so in a bad mood we headed into town for some food and coffee. We found a 'gringo-alley', a beautiful pedestrianised alley lined with cafe-restaurants and choc-full of people beckoning you in.
After lunch we had a look around some of the side streets and markets. Arequipa is a very attractive town, and somewhere that would have been well worth staying another day. It's known as the 'white city' of Peru, with many of the buildings made from an off-white volcanic stone. Some of the group went to check out the monastery, the frozen mummy and the cathedral.
We went out for dinner that night to try the local delicacy, guinea pig. I've never owned or been fond of guinea pigs, so the idea of eating one didn't trouble me. What is slightly disturbing is that it comes out deep-fried (with chips, naturally), splayed on your plate as if it was killed at the business-end of a star jump. The head, tail and claws are left on too, so it's fair to say that it looks like it died in distress. The claws on mine were wrapped around the edges of the plate, conveniently anchoring it for me to get to the good stuff through the frazzled skin. A grossed out Em on the other hand would not even try a bite of this local delicacy, adamanent that it would be wrong to the memory of Toby, her childhood guinea pig. I found that the meat itself is quite nice (closer to rabbit than chicken) but it does take a lot of effort and perseverance to get any sizeable chunks from it.
Halfway through dinner Ysabel, our group leader, dropped the bombshell that flights over the Nazca lines (our next stop) had doubled in price. So rather than the US $40 that we were expecting, we were being stung for US $80 for a 20 minute flight and rising fuel prices were to blame. Surely oil prices hadn't doubled in a six-month period? Unfortunately, this gave a sour taste on the night. It also highlights many of the frustrations that I felt travelling through Peru, as it strives to show off it's stunning scenery and features, there is a dollar-hungry culture that makes you feel like you're constantly being ripped-off.