Our first bus ride was 2 things: 1. Luxurious and 2. Not in our budget range - in result take away reclining chairs, hosteses and built in entertainment ($70 for 22 Hours) and insert the Local Bus - still comfy enough more like a run down school camp bus, no toilet and I guess how you look at it - no built in entertainment but I was definately more entertained for the 8 hours on this ride than the other! all for the expensive cost of: $4.00 each. Very much more in our budget!
We arrived at the bus station in Cusco with everyone yelling prices, times and places (all in spanish of course) we chose the closest seller, and 2 minutes later we had a ticket to Puno from Cusco, 8 hours - departing in 5 minutes! it all happened so fast! The atual bus was not full - but along the way and stopping in the most random towns it began to fill then empty etc. The local bus is funny - randomly in what seems the middle of nowhere it will slow down and let somone on who is selling food. We had a lady selling huge
loafs of bread, then a lady selling smaller breads, then a lady selling huge wheels of cheese, someone with drinks in plastic bags, and someone with a whole lamb pretty much.
They come on screaming what they have, and walk up and down the aisles twice or so then the bus stops and they get off. Most of the time there was no town in sight and who knows where they even came from!
So the bus was the beggining of our street food consumption. We had bought pringles, museli bars and 2 apples the night before for the 8 hour ride. But after a bottle of red the previous night there went the pringles, the apples where powdery so only one bite worthy and the museli bars where the ones we had on the trek to Machu Picchu (was sooo over them) so when someone is yelling amazing things like 'QUESA' (cheese) and 'CARNE) (meat) in your face - we did what only anyone human would do. We ate.
We started with the bread - pizza oven fire cooked bread it was amazing! then the lady came on with the huge plastic bag of amazing smelling
lamb - my first thoughts was 'we cant eat that' but she seemed to stay longer than the others, and she was next to us and everyone else was getting some and then she handed us some to try and it was all over. The meat was amazing and again cooked over a fire and still really really hot so we figured why not and for $5.00 we had a roast lunch consisting of bread, legs of lamb and 2 roast potatoes each - amazing!
At the start of our local food adventures I must admit - we did have a small celebration of the '9 hour window' for food poisioning passing! but now pretty much all we eat is off the street and we havnt got sick yet! (i do mean yet as it probally is going to happen at some stage)
We have eaten: Cebiche (raw trout pickled in vinegar with onions) from a small cart off the side of the road in Puno, The Puno markets we went nuts and had bbq'd chicken and ptoatoes, unwrapped homeade icy poles, sweet buns, pasties with all kinds of meat and chicken and so much more!
has now come to a stage where we see someone and yell - FIRE LADY! and see what she has, or any smell in a market that smells good we track it down - most recently in La Paz we had an Ice Cream sandwhich from a small eski street vendor - amazing and the most amazing custard buns i have ever had - we have even become street food snobs 'oh she only has cheese ones' about fire cooked hot cheese pockets where the breads amazing and the cheese is still melted - kind of an extreme version of a toasted sandwhich for less than a $1.00.
So i guess until one of us goes down we will continue to eat what ever the street has to offer!
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