Eating at a traditional picanteria [YQrtw Day 97 Jul 15]

La Capitana, Arequipa, Peru

Location: Arequipa, Peru

I’m only taking the usual four hours of Spanish lessons this week. This means that I have a really long lunch time.

For today’s lunch, my schoolmate N brought me and her teacher to a picanteria (local restaurant) near where I used to stay.

La Capitana, Arequipa, Peru
La Capitana, Arequipa, Peru

The picanteria felt like it was a long taxi ride away.

On the taxi, the teacher (who’s my age) told us about a bachelorette party her friend had. The friends were thinking of whether they should hire male strippers because the bride-to-be is religious.

The restaurant was packed with people having lunch. There were a mix of people from all walks of life. People in office wear and people in “dressed down” wear all share tables in this midsized restaurant.

Walls of La Capitana
Walls of La Capitana

We shared a jar of chicha, a deep purple drink made of fermented corn. It’s an acquired taste and I prefer Fanta Grape (which I hate) over chicha.

My meal was chicharron which reminded me a lot of 烧肉 which is Chinese roasted pork.

Pork at La Capitana
Pork at La Capitana

After lunch, we walked back to the city center. I dropped off my laundry at one of the laundry places. I have to admit that I have not used a washing machine for the past 3 months. I’ve always washed my laundry by hand.

Laundry here is quite cheap. The place I went to charges 3 soles (S$1.50) per kilogram. My bag of dirty clothes were 2kg.

Visiting the Confucius Institute in Arequipa

I also headed to the Confucius Institute which is just down the road from the hostel.

They had a small museum with very Chinese things.

Small museum at Confucius Institute in Arequipa
Small museum at Confucius Institute in Arequipa

My favorite display was the little porcelain figurines of past emperors and empress. I looked among the mini men to find the only female emperor in Chinese history.

Empress Wu
Empress Wu

Alpaca-seeing at Mundo Alpaca, Arequipa [YQrtw Day 96 Jul 14]

YQ posing with alpaca

Location: Arequipa, Peru

Milk, the baby alpaca I named at Mundo Alpaca.
Milk, the baby alpaca I named at Mundo Alpaca.

One morning when I was walking to school, I saw a large tour bus advertising Mundo Alpaca (Alpaca World). Several days later, I saw a brochure for the place and figured out where the location is and decided to visit.

I had imagined Mundo Alpaca to be a big safari filled with frolicking alpacas. I imagined being able to pet one or two wooly alpacas.

Mundo Alpaca is at the end of Santa Catalina street so it’s really easy to find.

The place consists of a large shop with alpaca-derived products. I didn’t look at any of the clothes because my main mission was ALPACAS!

I found the alpacas at the end of the path. It wasn’t a large safari of alpacas but a midsized pen with alpacas, llamas and even other camelids.

The animals were mostly sitting around doing nothing, except the two baby alpacas which were nibbling at the grass.

The white baby alpaca stopped grazing to look at me (or maybe it was a stare down, I didn’t know enough alpaca body language).

Baby alpaca at Mundo Alpaca
Baby alpaca at Mundo Alpaca
Brown baby alpaca I call Coffee.
Brown baby alpaca I call Coffee.

I didn’t dare pet any of the animals in case they chomp my hands off. There were one or two animals which sat in a dignified way, looking down on me. Others look at me a bit like dumb sheeps (not that I’ve seen any sheeps or their IQ test results).

Llamas or alpacas?
Llamas or alpacas?

I headed into the exhibition area where there were a few bags of alpaca and llama wool. As I read the description of the different animals, I heard a strange grunting outside.

I rushed out and tried to find what was wrong. Then I realized that one of the white large llama was sitting on top of the other brown llama.  It was quite disturbing to see the two animals mating.

Llama sex in the background.
Llama sex in the background.

Very soon, the brown alpaca shook itself, causing the white llama to fall off it. Then the brown llama walked away, leaving the large white llama standing there looking at nothing.

I was tired of Alpaca World really soon and headed off for lunch. At lunch, I had llama steak wrapped in crepe. Oops.

More alpaca photos can be found on my Facebook page. Click on the link for more squee!

Another cute event that happened on Sunday was a parade in the city center. There were men marching in suits. But the most adorable were the little boys leading the marches of their groups.

Adorable boy is leading adorable march.
Adorable boy is leading adorable march.