Jan 19, 2009

A Walk Down the Block

I just came back from having lunch. Lunch here is always late, just like everything else is. Late is a way of life here in Peru and I had a meeting at work, so lunch was at 3 pm. I left work and went down the block to a new place (for me, anyway) called Pikalo. Nice inside, but hotter inside than outside. I ordered a cheese burger and an Inka cola. I ended up with a piece of hamburger meat and edam cheese on a bed of really good fries, and two salads. TWO salads? Yup. I looked for the hamburger bun, but there wasn't any. I waited for a bit, just in case they had forgotten to put the bun on the plate - gave them time to bring it, but I guess that's the was Pikalo burgers are served...bunless and with 2 salads. Didn't Hardees have this idea a few years ago? Low carb lunch, I guess, except for the mountain of potatoes underneath the meat.

On my way back to work, I took my time. Walking on the sidewalk in downtown Lima is always so interesting. There are always people who work in the stores out on the walk, hawking their wares like carnival criers. And there are the vendadores amulantes: vendors that have no fixed facility. They usually sell food, candies, and pencils, shine shoes, or sell things like watches and orange juice from a push cart that they take home every night.

Now that it's summertime, there are ice cream sellers all over the place. They have a bicycle that is set up with a big cooler on the front and they sell Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches out of them. Remember the musical truck that they sold ice cream from at home in the states? Here, Donofrio (a subsidiary of Nestle) gives it's ice cream sellers a squawker that sounds like a goose with a plugged nose...for me, anyway. It must be like sweet music to the ears of the children, though, because when the ice cream man peddles his bike up the sidewalk and squawks on his...umm...squawker, the kids turn out in dozens to get a Popsicle. Today, there were three yellow Donofrio squawkers on the corner, competing against 4 red Lamorghini ice cream sellers. They don't get squawkers. All they can do is tap a coin against their cooler lid.

Which brings me to another type of cold goody they are now selling on the street - marcianos. Marcianos are long plastic tubes filled with fruit smoothy and frozen. These are always homemade, and sold from a cooler that they strap around their shoulders. They have no squawker, either, so they yell, "MARCIANOS!" and beat a coin on the top of their cooler lids. There are dozens of these vendors walking up and down the sidewalks.

It's not recommended to buy homemade foods from street vendors. That's a wonderful way to get a gut bug, so I generally pass them up. So many vendors are clustered around the block where I work, not only because of the huge amount of students that we have, but also because Abancay Avenue is a major stop for the city buses that bring people to the central market. So, combine all those vendors screaming, squawking, hawking, and beating coins on their cooler tops with the tooting of bus and taxi horns and the constant buzzing of conversation of people passing by, and you've got a cacophony of noise...

...just another day in downtown Lima...

7 comments:

Margaret Cloud said...

Hi Kathleen, how is your new year so far? I wish it was warm weather here, we are still in the grip of winter, and finally the temp is in the two diget figures, a big 20 degree.

Maggie's Farm said...

Wow, sounds like I could go for one of those marcianos! Hang on...winter is on the way and all that heat will be up here on the top half of the world!

aighmeigh said...

A very nice picture you've painted here.

I feel your pain. It's been 95 here constantly so I try to get my housework done (which is mostly done outside) in the mornings and evenings and just try to cope through mid day. I have taken to snoozing with La Hija during her naps because during mid-day there's just nothing to do other than sleep... it's just toooooo hot!!

Pondside said...

Thanks for the little tour of lunchtime Lima - I loved it. If I could, I'd send you a nice fresh Island breeze.

Harpa J said...

I can see the street - thank you for this lovely vivid picture.

knitting dragonfly said...

That was a nice post, it made me smile. I felt like I was having lunch with you and in Lima for the afternoon.
Vicki

JC said...

Happy New Year Kathleen, O and Celeste. I have to tell you I read of the sick stomachs at your house the other day, but didnt have time to write you. I hope everyone is better today! Someone should know better!?!?!? ha ha. I could take some of your heat right now, I walk the dogs each morning and it is around 30 degrees or less, my hands are feeling very cold and old these days. Everyone here is health (enough) I hope this year treats you three well. All our best, Jill, Alacatraz, Nixie and last, but by far not least..Avery.