Vegetarian in Peru

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Internship Peru with Michael Ladd

Michael Ladd in Peru

Michael Ladd at his dream place, a land of mystery and rich culture—Perú.

My family here is extremely kind.  My host parents are always telling me that they want me to feel comfortable in their home and that their house is also my house.  As always, the food is an interesting situation because Peruvians eat meat very frequently, or at least it seems to be so.  Therefore, I have been eating a great deal of cereals such as quinoa, vena and rice, tofu (soy meat), potatoes and things of that sort.  All across the Andes the potato finds its way to the table for most meals.  This is largely because, as it turns out, the Incas were very skilled in agriculture and they developed more than 3,000 types of potatoes.  These and quinoa and kiwicha are important parts of the diets of Cusqueñas because they’re all-in-one meals.  You can get just about everything you need from any of these three Inca staples.  I know, you’re probably blown away, right?  It’s okay if you’re not as excited as I was when I learned of these miracle foods.

moray, Peru inca argiculture

This is Moray, the place was constructed by the Incas to serve as an agricultural laboratory. Each level in this laboratory has a distinct microclimate.

Corpus Cristi Festival. 

People walk from every district in Cusco carrying their Saints and Virgins to the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas.  The farthest district from the Cathedral is San Jerónimo and they walk for many hours to arrive there.  A typical dish served during Corpus  is “chiri uchu” which consists of: guinea pig, corn cake, cocha yuyu (a type of algae), fish eggs, steak, cheese, and a sort of salsa.  In restaurants and in the streets as well, guinea pig was being sold.  I’m vegetarian and, therefore, have not tried this traditional dish, but I’m okay with that. I still enjoyed a concert during festival to listen, hangout, and celebrate.

corpus cristi festival, Peru

People walk carrying their Saints and Virgins to the Cathedral.

michael in his Peruvian dance group

I was fortunate enough to participate in one of these dances titled “Unay Carnaval.”

Andes tasty drink, cicha

I went to Saqusaywayman to see the celebration of Inti Raymi, or Party of the Sun in English.  It was a huge and amazing production and I didn’t have to pay to get in!  One other cool thing is that I ran into a guy, Rolando, from Quillabamba who arrived with me in Cusco about a month ago.  I didn’t think I’d ever see him again.  It was a great surprise.  We made the climb up to Saqusaywayman and watched Inti Raymi together.  After we chilled in a market and chatted over a chicha de quinoa, which is one of the tastiest drinks I have ever tried.

Inti Raymi, or Party of the Sun

Celebration of Inti Raymi, or Party of the Sun taken place at Saqusaywayman, Peru.

chica de quiona, Peru

While “chicha” is most commonly associated with maize, the word is used in the Andes for almost any homemade fermented drink, and many different grains or fruits are used to make "chicha" in different region.

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