Anyways, we made it to Huancayo, more or less in one piece, around 6 o'clock in the morning before anything that resembled a coffee shop was open. We were all pretty exhausted and our hands and toes were tingling from the lack of oxygen running through our veins. We needed some coca. So after wandering around the slowly awakening city we found a bakery, ordered some fresh pastries and 6 cups of coca tea. Coca - in its leaf form - is the well known, sure-fire, remedy for the head ache, nausea, and numbness associated with altitude sickness.
Next, we tackled the city market which was an adventure and definate cultural experience. It was also probably my favorite experience of the trip. The market takes up blocks and blocks of the city and is a center where people gather from surrounding towns and villages to sell their produce - fruits, vegetables, grains, breads, cheeses, and of course meat and fish - all of which are exposed to the hot, muggy air of the marketplace and which produce a most unpleasant smell which permeates every street of the city. While the market was not the sweet smelling, fresh, clean supermarket or whole foods coop, it is so incredibly real that I found it so beautiful. Being in the middle of a real commercial center, it is fascinating to imagine that the things that you find in supermarkets and big chain stores find their origins right here in the streets of Huancayo. Even the meat market has an aire of beauty - people bustle around the hanging carcases, the pig heads, and the various pieces of animals choosing carefully which piece of meat they will purchase to bring home to their families. It's so interesting because they are so aware
of what is going on. Meat is not the pre-cooked, plastic wrapped food item in the grocery store freezer - it is the flesh of an animal and there is no getting around it. Also- this is not mass, factory produced meat but farm raised meat that the very people who are selling it have bread and raised as a way to make a living.
I will refrain from posting pictures of dead animals but here is a good picture of a rice trader. Right next to the pile of toilet paper for sale which was so prevalent in every tienda in the market.. yet was strangely so absent in all of the restrooms in the city.
Here is a picture of the fruit section where we got to choose all of the kinds of fruits we wanted to create a delicious fruit smoothie! Right next to this section was the cheese section leading right into the meat section.. not my favorite mix of items.
A little difficult to see i guess but one stand is to the left with a lady with her fruit on display and Elly walking toward the stand to make a fresh juice.
The next day we went to Cochas which is a small town outside of the city. We took a combi... of
course... brought a picnic of fresh foods from the market, and set off for this little village.
Here is the view from the top of the hill where we had our picnic.
And right before we had to run through the village to catch the last combi of the day heading back to Huancayo.
I know not many pictures of people.. but next weekend is Cusco and Machu Picchu!! So I will take lots of pictures of the whole group.