Our adventure in Arequipa, Perú, has ended, and so I would like to sum up our experience there in a few words (pocas palabras).
Rocoto Relleno — Possibly the most common dish in Arequipa, this spicy stuffed pepper is delicious.
San Camino Market — The largest market in the center of town is a great place to find bargains and cheap produce.
Purple Corn Juice (Chicha) — Served everywhere.
Alpaca Yarn — Perú is famous for this soft yarn.
Ceviche — Though Arequipa is two hours from the coast, this fresh fish that is marinated (or “cooked”) in lemon and/or lime juice is a staple.
Traffic — Arequipa has grown rapidly in the last 10 years, and the roads are not well equiped to handle the increase in traffic.
Papaya and Mango — My two favorite local fruits, and I will miss them.
Sun — Shines virtually every day this time of year.
Cheese Ice Cream — Yum!
Inka Terraces — Farming the Inka way is still commonly done thanks to the many terraces left behind by this native community.
Potatoes — There are seemingly dozens of varities.
Combis — Vans and buses packed with commuters that clog the streets.
Aji — The national spice of Perú, and in different varieties.
Plaza de Armas — The central square and park.
Drinkable Yogurt — Many varieties and in large containers, however low-fat and low-sugar versions are scarce.
Walking — Without exaggeration I walked well more than 100 miles a month while there.
Menu del Día — The daily lunch menu of soup, entre, and beverage, all for as little as $2.
Vicuñas — The smallest of the camel family, these beautiful animals yield the most expensive yarn in the world.
Inka Cola — It’s yellow and tastes like cream soda, but it’s the most popular soda in Arequipa.
Catholic Church Buildings — They are all over town, including monasteries, parishes, and the grand cathedral that anchors the central square.
Bottled Water — That’s all I drank for two months after my early bought with Montezuma’s Revenge.
Pigeons — All over town.
Vea — Kind of like a mini Walmart, and my favorite grocery store.
Taxis — They dominate the streets.
Cheese — Several local and tasty varieties.
Slow Internet — Enough said.
Cornbread — Deliciosa!
Narrow Sidewalks — Always an adventure, but I won’t miss them.
Maca — This root vegetable that may only be found in Perú is purported to be a wonder food.
Club International — This sporting and exercise facility close to the center of town sits on about 5 acres right next to the river and it has just about everything you can imagine.
Coca — The leaves from which cocaine is made is all over town and used in teas, snacks, etc. … I would have loved to try it, but didn’t want to risk failing a job-related drug test back home.
Misti — One of the volcanoes that tower over Arequipa, it is your constant companion while there.
Buñuelos — A Peruvian donut drizzled in honey, need I say more?