Sunday, February 29, 2004


Eating Cuy

Woke up with a tongue like a camel’s armpit after last nights’ post hot spring excursion to a disco or few. Needed water and some hangover nourishment ASAP. Climbed in the motorcar (tuktuk), and didn’t ask any questions as we headed off for breakfast. But the ride was taking an awfully long time. We headed off the road into a jungle path which was uncomfortably bumpy - and looked uncomfortably familiar. As we drove up, the realisation hit me. I reluctantly sat down at the ‘restaurant’ table and took a gulp of air. 13 pairs of big liquid brown eyes watched my reaction as I was served with their Saturday treat (and source of livelihood). We each received a meaty leg on rice, the charred, clenched little paw sticking up in the middle like a candle. “Help me!” ventured Wooloo in a rare interjection of English, scratching the table top with his breakfasts’ paw. I tried not to panic as hangover nausea hit me. I’ll just have a drink and relax, I thought. A little boy with a snotty nose brought me a bottle containing an opaque pale yellow beverage (with extra black bits, which I took to be flies). Chicha - a ancient and traditional alcoholic drink distilled from maize. “Don’t drink that” whispered Tito. He needn’t have worried! I feined a smile and nibbled tentatively at the minature leg. 13 pairs of eyes looked away and, blessedly, carried on with their business. The guinea pig (known as ‘cuy’ in Peru) was quite tasty, actually. But you really have to watch all those little bones.

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