Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Halfway through the line for tickets

Inside the festival

Bread area

Tent with food for sale (and free samples!)

Chef cooking paella

Spicy octopus with potato

Spinach risotto

Ceviche sushi

Aji de gallina ravioli

Dim sum

Seafood and vegetable dish served with cancha (roasted corn)

This Wednesday and Thursday, we went into Miraflores and stayed overnight. I'll talk in detail about my adventures later, of course, but it was a lot of fun. My cough disappeared before I left (woohoo!), so I typed up this post then, but I didn't have enough time to upload all the pictures before I left. (They ended up taking 3 to 4 hours to upload, so everyone better appreciate them.) Then halfway through Thursday, I ate something that made me very sick to my stomach. I got home at about 8 pm and was camped out by the bathroom the whole night. Point is, I thought it was a good time to update this.

I just looked back at my blog and realized that I'm several weeks behind in recounting the volunteer excursions. I thought I had already written to explain those events, but apparently I forgot. I'll start with what happened longest ago, then work my way until the most recent events. So here goes.

Three weeks ago, on Wednesday September 9th, we went into downtown Lima for the Mistura food festival. Peru is known for having some of the best food in Latin America, so the Mistura food festival is a world-renowned event. The first day it opened, which I think was a Monday, there were 17,000 people there.

We went into Lima early Wednesday morning to buy tickets. All of the online tickets were sold out, but there was still a limited number available starting at 10 am each morning. By the time we got into Lima at 9:30 (2 hours by combi) and found the Plaza Vea where tickets were sold, there was a huge unmoving line of people. The line wrapped all the way around a plaza, then doubled back on itself. When I saw the line, I suggested that we do something else because I thought there was no way we'd get through the line before they ran out of tickets. Luckily, we decided to wait. They finally started selling tickets at 10 am, and the line had already increased by 50% by that time.

We finally got through the line and bought our tickets at 11:30, with plenty of drama over people cutting in line, trying to get us to buy tickets for them, and a lady who kept leaving the line and returning every 20 minutes with more people. And the ticket was only 20 soles ($7)!

The festival itself was incredible. It was a huge open area surrounded by hundreds of the best restaurants in Peru. To try the food, you bought either a half or full plate ticket, and then used the ticket at whatever restaurant you wanted. Two other volunteers and I each bought 3 tickets for half plates of food, and then shared them among ourselves, so I got to try 9 different dishes. Most of them were classical Peruvian dishes, but with a twist. It was all really good, but the best was probably a spinach and cilantro risotto with chicken, spicy octopus with potato, and aceviche (Peruvian/Japanese fusion sushi made with ceviche). Other dishes I tried were aji de gallina (traditional Peruvian sauce) ravioli, dim sum, and Spanish paella.

We also found a huge area of vendors giving free samples of their food. I got to try so many different candies, cheeses, drinks, and more. I bought a box of organic Peruvian tea and an alfajor there, which wasn't as good as the homemade ones I get in Huaycan. And there was also a huge area featuring pisco (a type of Peruvian liquor), so I got to try about 8 different free samples of pisco, plus one person gave us pisco sours.

It was another activity centered around food, but I really enjoyed the trip. The food was phenomenal, and the festival was an awesome opportunity. I doubt I'll be able to go to another world-renowned food festival for only $7.

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