Tropic of Capricorn

Tropic Of Capricorn
The Tropic of Capricorn is one of the five major circles of latitude of a map of the Earth. It is 23° 26′ 22″ south of the Equator.

The Tropic of Capricorn is named because about 2000 years ago the sun was entering the constellation Capricornus on the December solstice. Now the sun appears in the constellation Sagittarius during the December solstice.

But, really, the great thing thing about this line is that it isn´t just an intangible point of reference…it means we are OUT OF THE TROPICS! Since Central Mexico, everytime we dropped in elevation we have been greeted by a high temperatures accompanied by heavy humid air and insects.
Tropic of Capricorn Monument

Now we are pedaling through an early Argentine spring and the weather is beautiful…a rarity for RTS.

Otro Mundo

The air offers very little oxygen, we ride along rivers of salt, pink flamingos rest on the shores, and llamas roam the land. The Magic of Bolivia: it doesn´t feel like another country as much as another world.

You might say we´ve found some backroads here in Bolivia
You might say we´ve found some backroads here in Bolivia
A sliver of salt river singletrack
A sliver of salt river singletrack
Found skulls, and skeletons buried inside the structure.
Found skulls, and skeletons buried inside the structure.
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Cholita Wrestling and the Witches Market

We have been enjoying our time in La Paz. Last night we went to the Titans of the Ring: Cholita Wrestling and saw some Bolivian Style lucha libre, including traditionally dressed women performing piledrivers on guys in oversized children´s costumes. Unfortunately, my camera died before the real “cholita” action began, but here are a few shots of the event.
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We also took a stroll through the famed witch market where they sell llama fetuses, folk rememedies (Sean was offered San Pedro when he asked for something to help him with stomach illness), and “magical” figurines.

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Homebrew, Inca Style: Chicheria

Throughout the andes, women make a homebrew beer known as Chicha. Generally, in the highlands they use corn and sprout the kernels before cooking it, and in the jungles they use various root crops and chew it first to help with fermentation. Here are a few photos of some chicheras (brewers) making a huge batch of chicha for a wedding in a small andean village in the Sacred Valley.

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Top 10: Cuy Pizza & Other Gastronomical Oddities

Over the years we have definitely seen our share of strange foods. Peru seems to top the list so far.

While it has certainly been strange to see Cuy (Guinea Pigs) being eaten as a delicacy here in the Andes, for some reason, a Cuy Pizza strikes me as the most bizarre food I´ve come across.

Cuy Pizza
Cuy Pizza

A few others:

  • 1
    Eskimo Ice CreamAlaska: Eskimo Ice Cream (Akutaq): Whipped fat (traditionally reindeer, seal or whale fat), mixed with sugar, berries, and sometimes ground fish. We saw Crisco used more often when we were traveling through.

  • 2
    Canada: Reindeer & Moose: Both quite delicious. Many folks in the Yukon territory shoot a moose every year and because the animal is so large they have about enough meat to feed a small family for the year.

  • 3
    Mexico: Armadillo: We ended up crashing a night at the bombero station (firefighters station) in Mazatlan. The wives of the firefighters all sent them to work with food for a potluck they were having. One of them was proud to have brought barbequed armadillo. Was quite delicious.

  • 4
    chapulines-seller-2-bMexico: Chapulines (grasshoppers) and mealworms: Walking through a market in a tiny village in the state of Oaxaca, the locals dared the gringo to eat some grasshoppers. Fried in spices they weren´t so bad. Mealworms were also added to the dare, a delicacy to be eaten while the creature is alive (though also sold dried and spiced)
  • 5
    quail+eggsEcuador: Levanta de los Muertos (Raise the Dead): Another blended treat found in the mercado, said to be a cure for a hangover. Starts with alfalfa juice, then some beer or Pony Malta, some sugar, a puree of a fruit called borojo and for the delicious finale: 2 quail eggs shell and all, and a raw chicken egg.
  • 6
    grubEcuador & Peru: Suri: a large, plump grub that is food eaten in the jungle regions along the Amazon Basin. Prefer the mealworm to the suri. Check out the recent issue of WEND for a great story written about a culinary adventure in Iquitos, Peru. Even serve sloth at the markets there.
  • 7
    3253567470_6c9a91408cPeru: Jugo de Rana (Frog Juice): In the market of Arequipa you can get this delicious drink. You first choose a frog, the woman proceeds to smash it dead against the table, skin and disembowel before briefly tossing it in boiling water, then into the blender with maca root powder, some beer, juice, spices. Believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac!
  • 8
    cuyEcuador & Peru: Cuy (Guinea Pig): Not just a pet. It tastes like chicken they say, yet, the flavor resembled fish more than chicken when I tried it. Skinned and served whole, not much meat on the creature, gotta kind of nibble around its cheeks and fingers. And yes, in Cusco, they will put this animal on a pizza for you as well.
  • 9
    Peru: Alpaca Steaks: Taste much like beef. Low in fat and cholesterol. Found really only in the highlands of the Andes or in really touristy places.

  • 10
    cf5Colombia, Ecuador, Peru: Caldo de Gallina: A flavorless soup with a boiled egg and parts of hen bobbing around, sometimes has black meat, ALWAYS has the absolute worst parts: feet, neck, organs. You can also get chicken feet and necks grilled up on the street.
  • Rumor has it that some other delicious treats we have to look forward to: Horse jerky, duck ceviche, deer pate, and beaver. Will keep you posted.