If you are bored by minutia, stop reading now. This post is dedicated to the minutia of daily life living in different country than the one I was born and raised in.
I know that it has been quite a long time since I posted anything to my blog, but I do have a good reason. I have been getting a lot done on my novel. I will make no promisees as to when I will be publishing, but have made more progress in the last two months than I have since my writing got derailed May 2018.
As the headline for this article hints at, this post is all about things that I have found interesting while inside my apartment. Mainly this revolves around food. Living in Airbnbs in various countries, exposes me to a different sort of daily minutia.
The apartment is large and very comfortable, and I tend to shuffle around warmly dressed. Though the weather here is temperate, I have a ground floor apartment, which stays nice and cool. The bathroom has a huge skylight, which means that the bathroom is always toasty for shower time. It is cool enough most days, in the kitchen where I do my work, that I wear a hoodie and socks.
I moved the kitchen table to the wall to use as a desk, and brought a small table in from the patio for a dining table. The patio is a very small courtyard area, that has the washing machine and the gas bottles for cooking and the water heater. I don’t like to sit out there, so the table is more useful inside. While Arequipa doesn’t have a lot of touristy things to do, it is very nice to live here. I spend most days working at my computer. Besides working on my novel and keeping in touch with my friends around the world, I spend several hours a day studying Spanish.
Of course, one thing that takes up a lot of my time and energy is food. The supermarket is a nice walk from here. I usually walk over to the local park and walk for a while before heading over to the supermarket. Despite all the taxis waiting outside the supermarket, I prefer to walk home with my bags, so I only buy what will fit into my reusable bags. It is about the same amount that will fit into one of the little hand baskets that most grocery stores have.
Shopping when you don’t have a good command of the language can be very interesting. I frequently get home with things that aren’t quite what I expected to get. I have found that if you want a lime you buy a lime, but if you want a lemon, you buy a Tahitian lime. Coco, is coconut, not chocolate. But all in all I have been pleased with the surprises.
I am not always pleased with my purchases right off the bat. I sometimes have to think about how to make do with what I got home with. Like the wine above, which was as sweet as Mogen David. Knowing that something with 11% alcohol wasn’t going to freeze solid, I put a glass of it in the freezer and made sort of a granita out of it. It was very good. That is how I used the whole bottle, and am now thinking about getting another one.
I really don’t know why, but I seem to have started eating like a cadet again. Ramen is even cheaper here than in the US. I was eating so much of it, I bought some big soup mugs just for Ramen. (Mugs cost 71 cents USD each. I got four.) I also have been eating a lot of sandwiches. Plain sandwich ham is called Jamon Americano. They don’t have American cheese. Sandwiches here are typically made with mozzarella or edam. Notice below that the black octagons indicate what foods taste best.
Since being here I have spent $7.77 per day on food, and other $2.19 per day on beer, wine, and Pisco. Any prices you see on packages in the photos you need to dived the local money by three to get USD. At the store there are always ladies running around with trays of cooked meats. They carry the tray on one arm and a basket with some of the product ready to purchase on the other. I am a real sucker for them. The ladies work very hard to make me understand what they are saying. Mainly they want me to know if the meat is chicken or pork, and if it needs to be cooked before eating. I have found that the meats I have to cook are the tastiest.
I have been told that Peru has the largest number of UFO sightings of any country in the world. I just have one thing to say about that, “Well … Pisco!” There are many different types of Pisco. I just get what is on sale. So far they have all been good.
When I was first living in South America, I was very impressed by the street vendors and the ladies at the big farmers markets, when they tied plastic bags. They tied the bags in such a way that even the very tiny bags of sauce didn’t leak.
After having watched enough women tying the bags, in three different countries, I finally tried doing it myself. I had bought a roll of food bags at the market when I first got here, because the Ziplocs were too expensive. I was so please with learning how to do it, I showed a friend my technique during a video call to the States.
You put the food into the bag, and smooth out as much air as you want to, before turning the top down a little. Then you take both corners of the folded top and spin the food around. this gives you two points of twisted bag to tie together. When I am storing salad, I make sure to catch air in the bag so that the greens don’t get crushed. You end up with a bag that is air and water tight. I tied to find a a video showing how this is done, but I couldn’t find one. There were lots about how do do it with heat, but not just the spin method.
When I do finally get motivated to move away from the computer and go for a walk, I wear heavy walking shoes. The sidewalks here are far better than they were in Colombia, but you still need to protect your feet well.
Well, that is all from inside the apartment. In a later post I will have the photos from my more recent walks. I really should go out walking more, but there are only so many hours in the day. Writing and studying take up a lot of time todos los dias.