Memorial Day

Trip Start Mar 04, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, May 29, 2004

The other day I sat down to eat and realized that I do not often describe my meals in these entries. So, a typical day starts with breakfast at 7am. Breakfast usually consists of coffee, freshly squeezed juice, bread with cheese or blackberry marmalade and a plate of rice. Sometimes, at around 11am, we'll have more bread and aromatic water (more or less tea with local medicinal plants and such). For lunch its usually rice and a vegetable or beans. Potatoes are a regular plate and so are eggs, corn on the cob with cheese. The cheese is a white cheese that is made directly from the milk and really does not have much flavor. Dinner starts with soup. Chicken broth with potatoes, onions, garlic and grains. The second plate is rice topped with salad and a vegetable medley. The salad is made of tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, swiss chard and oil and vinegar. On sundays, meat! If its a special occasion, guinea pig or rabbit is served but chicken is most common. Trout is popular as well but not in my area. I had trout last Sunday up North and it was terrific. Trout is my favorite plate down here in Ecuador. It is a whole trout fried and served with rice, avocado, fried potatoes and aji, a hot sauce similiar to salsa. That sums up a typical week for me as for as the menu is concerned. Speaking of food, guinea pig is by far the most popular meat dish in Ecuador. In my region, these rodents demand a hefty price. Each one costs between $8 - $10. In the North the price is between $3 - $5. This past weekend, my entrepenuer-minded community contact sold off a bunch of his squeaky rat-like creatures and used the money to buy cheap in his home town Ambatto. He took me alond for the trip on the night bus. We arrived at 5 am on a Sunday, he bought 120 cuyes at $4 each and we returned on the night bus Tuesday. A lot of people do the same every Wednesday and Saturday (market days) but the price never goes down or up. With capitol, this is a gold mine!! I felt like there was something illegal going on as I awake in the seedy bus station early in the morning. While I felt like I was in some guinea pig smuggling scheme, it is really a legal opportunity to double your money if you have time and patience. The same applies for almost all produce bought in the North and sold in the South. So if you don't mind the fat smelly person drooling on your shoulder during the 6 hour bumpy night bus roller coaster ride, there are riches to be made in on the Ecuadorian midnight run!

Here is my new address for those that feel the need to send my wonderful gifts and good eats!

Matt Koerner
Casilla 01-01-2025
Cuenca, Azuay
Ecuador, South America
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