Tanta, day 1 in Peru, downtown:
Before arriving in Peru I had no idea how I would be eating and what kind of food my volunteer program would provide. Thus I packed several Lara bars to prepare for the worse. It turns out they weren't really necessary. I'm staying in a 3 star hotel, rather than a home stay like I was originally brought to believe, which has a full spread for breakfast which includes: rolls, cheese, ham, eggs, bacon, yogurt, fruit, nuts, dried fruit, olives, alfajores (peruvian cookie), juice, and coffee.
As for lunch, things get a little grim here. We're strongly encouraged to eat what the children at the school eat, and while it's not necessarily bad, it's very humble food...it also makes me sick. Not sure if the stomach issues are a result of plates still being slightly wet or the food being to greasy, but the last 3 stays I kept to rice only, and even then my stomach doesn't feel perfect. I had my program director by bananas as well so I can have fruit along with the rice, but I'm thinking I'm not going to want to see a banana or rice for a very long time when I return to New York. I'm also already dreaming about eating lots of salad upon my return.
Dinner is good, however, if I eat directly from the options my program gives I end up having lots of American/Italian food. The food is decent, but I'm in Peru, I want to eat Peruvian dishes. The program allows us to chose from 3 different restaurants (2 are Italian, 1 is a chicken place, "Peruvian" Chicken-but it's really only roasted chicken) and the rest of the week we eat at the hotel. Hotel options are more of the same with pasta and chicken dishes.
Since there is only 1 other volunteer aside from myself our team leader has been pretty flexible regarding where we can eat. Sunday I ate at the hotel, Monday we selected one of the optional restaurants-Donatella, Tuesday also from the hotel-
Donatello, had spinach ravioli this night:
and by Wednesday we wanted Peruvian so we went out to Tanta and our leader agreed to pay! Same restaurant from the first day I was in Lima, but different location. I tried the Pisco sour and Causa with avocado and crabs.
Causa, layered potato dish:
Thursday was a night out with our team leader at Larcomar, a mall built into the cliffs in the Miraflores area of Lima (again not one of the original restaurants on our list).
Larcomar at ground level:
We went to Cafe Cafe, which was decent but over priced for the quality. I had the seasfood tuca tuca. Lots of seafood ontop of grilled black beans and rice.
Last night we went to Astrid and Gaston, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. It was an amazing experience and so reasonably priced for the service and spatular food. Details will come in a later post.
Saturday and Sunday are free days which I've spent exploring Lima by foot and bike and trying to get in some physical activity which I've missed over the last week.
Lots of parks and lots of group activities:
I went from an intense week of hiking to carb overload and a quick pilates session in my room each morning. It's been a great experience but between stomach issues this week, an itch to return to lab, a desire to see loved ones, a breakfast of greek yogurt or oatmeal with peanut butter, and a large cup of american coffee, I'm ready to come home.
I was so excited to see these today, I know, I'm such an American, but I miss it and this was just what I needed today!
Plus Pink Berry is so much cheaper here than in the US, expensive by Peruvian standards probably but for the US dollar, it was pocket change!
I had half coco (coconut) and half granada (pomegranate) with waffle cone, mango, strawberries, and almonds:
As I was living and passed by starbucks they were giving out free samples, ah, again, just what I needed!! Gulped it down before I took the picture.
Much more to come!