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¡Cuy! or Cuzco, Day 3

A Peruvian delicacy...

This morning we took the Peru Rail train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. It was fun to ride the train, but it was slow (mostly single track) and the trip took about 3 hours. From Ollantaytambo we shared a tourist van back to Cuzco in the rain.

Beth Ann wasn´t feeling well and spent the afternoon resting. For lunch, Tom, Melvin, Allen, and I headed to a nearby restaurant (La Quinta Eulalia) that Cesar had recommended. This restaurant has been around since 1941, and while slightly touristy, it´s safe to say we probably wouldn´t have found it without Cesar´s guidance. For an appetizer we ordered ¨maiz con queso¨, a corn and cheese dish. Tom went with his go-to ¨chicken a la plancha¨, Melvin opted for ribs, and Allen and I ordered ¨cuy al horno¨ (roasted guinea pig). The cuy arrived in a distinctly recognizable form, spread-eagled on the plate. His little hands and feet were missing, but his head and body were intact (including kidneys and teeth). I had expected a gamey taste, possible similar to rabbit, but the cuy was not like anything I had previously eaten. Unlike the detached ¨food-ness¨ of a chicken breast or sirloin cut, the ¨animal-ness¨ of the cuy is continually apparent in the little body, legs, and arms. I did my best to finish most of my meal, but ultimately I concluded that guinea pig was not for me. Allen, on the other hand, did a bang-up job on his cuy, reducing it to bones. Another highlight of lunch was trying two new beers – Cusquena Red Lager and Quara. Cusquena Red Lager was pretty decent (not sure what makes it red, exactly). Quara was a strike-out – a citrusy, fruity tasting drink – possibly the Zima of Peru?

In the evening, Melvin and Tom started feeling under the weather. We started to suspect that perhaps the trek food or water may have been tainted, and that my travel-hardened stomach and Allen´s iron constitution had given us immunity. In any event, Allen and I decided to tempt fate further by visiting a small, nearby comedor for dinner. The soup was okay. I ordered fish; it was thoroughly forgettable. I think Allen had chicken.

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