Two days after my failed attempt to find Salchipapas, I headed out again in search of the legendary treat. I decided that it would be best if I headed straight to the area around Mercado 9 de Octubre, thinking that with the concentration of food venders near the market, that my luck would be good. After walking up and down several streets for a while, my hunger had eroded my desire to find the Salchipapas. I headed into the market to the level where there are a bunch of stalls with whole roast pig, and got a plate. It was the first time I had sat down to eat at one of the Mercado’s.
Everything is piled on one plate. First a layer of hominy, then the pig and potatoes. Next is a salad, followed by a chip of crispy skin. They give you a bowl of dressing so that you can decide how much you would like.
Leaving the market, I felt sort of funny that I hadn’t bought anything to take home, but I was planning after having found my lunch, I would head over the Supermaxi to buy some groceries. I was just about outside, when I remembered that I had seen some mangos at one of the stalls, as i was looking for lunch. I doubled back and found the small yellow and red ones I like so much. I figured that if I just got three it wouldn’t add to much to my grocery load.
I try to do my grocery shopping several times a week, so that each load isn’t too heavy. The Supermaxi I go to is on the other side of the river, so I have to haul my shopping back up those stairs. Remember the stairs? If not check them out in this post: Cuenca: September 18-19, 2018
Navigating around town is pretty easy. Like Honolulu, where you navigate by mountain, sea, Diamondhead, and Eva, here it is toward the bigger mountains, away from the bigger mountains, up hill, and down hill. I headed downhill from the market, so that I could cross the river. As I was walking, I saw a young woman carrying a bowl of Salchipapas! She obviously found it disconcerting when I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed at them. In my broken Spanish, I managed ask her where she had got them, and she seemed relived that I was just a crazy tourist. Thanking her I headed down the street looking into each doorway, since I didn’t see a street vendor’s stand on the sidewalk.
I almost gave up, thinking that perhaps I hadn’t understood her, before I saw the shop. I was full from my pig lunch, but after having looked for the Salchipapas for so long, I wasn’t about to give them a pass.
I felt a little strange, walking down the street carrying a bowl of fries carefully in both hands, while my shopping bag bobbed on my elbow, with the weight of the fruit, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. When I got to a cross street I looked down and saw an unoccupied window ledge, which looked wide enough to accommodate me for Lunch Part Two.
As I sat eating my treat, with the provided plastic cocktail fork, I remembered walking down the street in Felixstowe, England looking for a place to eat my whitebait. Eyeing the plastic fork, I wondered why they didn’t use the wooden ones like in England. That of course, made me inspect the plastic fork to see if were one of the biodegradable ones. I couldn’t tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they it was. I guess my enjoyment of the Salchipapas was apparent, since I got a big grin from a passing business man, who was dressed in a very sharp suit.
One reason, I had started looking for a place to sit when I did, was that I had seen a trash bin near the corner where I turned. As I was putting the fork and napkin into the bowl getting ready to walk back to the bin, I looked across the street and realized that I had found again the pizza joint, where I had my first huge slice of pizza. Now I know where to go back to.
Once I had deposited my trash in the bin, I continued downhill. Having in essence eaten two lunches, I found myself too tired to go to the other side of the river, and decided to walk down to Calle Larga, and buy some bread before going home. I had every intension of resting and heading out again to get my groceries, but that didn’t happen.
At the bakery Pan del Dia, on Calle Larga, I found a bag of slightly misshapen rolls for a dollar. As I was walking out, a couple, who looked anglo were watching me with big smiles. I held up the bag and announced, “All this for a dollar.” It was only then that I remembered that I shouldn’t assume that all blondes speak english. After all, very few people assume that I am a foreigner, until I open my mouth. It took a bit more effort, to make myself clear, after realizing that their english was as limited as my Spanish. I was sure I was successful when the husband said, “You have enough for all week.”
One more quick stop at a street vendor, scored me another packet of glazed peanuts.