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Take Two – London

“I can’t believe we met you once, a year ago, and now you’re here,” Suzanna said.

“Ha, yup.” I replied as we walked through the airport together. Can you spot the theme of our last month on the road? 

It was true. We met Suzanna and Simon on the Inca Trail in Peru on the first leg of our around-the-world trip.

Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru, adventure travel

Our group about to descend to Machu Picchu. Simon and Suz are in the back row all the way to the left.

They did the hike to Machu Picchu as part one of their honeymoon. Part two included some quality beach time in Cuba. (You read that right—a beach honeymoon in Cuba. It’s certainly a strange thought for those of us who think Castro, communism, and embargo and forget that Cuba is also a Caribbean island.)

When Suzanna and Simon came to visit New York this past summer, I caught Nellu describing our friendship weirdly to strangers: “We were on their honeymoon,” he told them. It’s true. We were.

Nellu Mazilu

The cake the chef made for Simon & Suz on the Inca Trail for their honeymoon. Photo by Nellu Mazilu.

Over the year since we met Simon and Suz, we bonded via Facebook over our shared experience, a love of travel, and an interest in photography and design. When we headed through London the first time for a long layover in last February, Suzanna casually suggested the next time we were in town, we should give her a shout. We, of course, did.

I can best describe Suzanna and Simon as the type of people who are so good-natured and generous that they will offer to let two people they met in person once, a year ago, stay in their house AND THEN drive to the airport at 10pm on a school night to pick those people up. Those people of course were us.

I’ve been in love with London for as long as I could remember. It was my first European city. The first two times I went, the weather was uncharacteristically wonderful. I spent two weeks there during my post-college month abroad. But it was funny going back with Nellu. He kept asking me where things were and if it was the same.

We did the Tower of London and visited the Tate Modern.

Yeoman, Tower of London. Nellu Mazilu

A Yeoman at the Tower of London. Photo by Nellu Mazilu

We saw Damien Hirst’s comprehensive exhibition. I know that critics have mixed remarks for Hirst and his commercialization of modern art but his show was my favorite of all the exhibits we had seen around the world. And it’s not just because of the diamonds. One of his pieces was a commentary on smoking entitled, “The Acquired Inability to Escape.” Brilliant.

We walked back and forth over the bridges that cross the Thames to say we covered them all.

Nellu Mazilu, Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge, London. Photo by Nellu Mazilu

And Nellu took pictures of Cleopatra’s Needle, apparently a sister to the one which resides in New York’s Central Park. (Nellu is utterly infatuated with these obelisks. I am trying not to read too much into it.)

Cleopatra's Needle, London, Nellu Mazilu, obelisk

Cleopatra’s Needle in London. Photo by Nellu Mazilu

Suzanna wanted to do a big night out while we were in town. So we met them, a few of their friends, and Suz’s brother Mirko at this great restaurant, Madison, for dinner and sunset views of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Nellu Mazilu, St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England, UK

(L-R) Mirko, Simon, Suzanna, Nellu, me and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Photo by Nellu Mazilu.

We then proceeded to go to a few more bars and then to a club. I can’t remember the last time I’d been to an untz untz club. I was feeling a little under-dressed in my traveler’s clothes but I didn’t let that get in the way of our hilarious button-popping night.

When we got back to their house, Nellu and Suzanna traded traditional, old-country moonshine. Suzanna is Slovakian and had a bottle of slivovica. Nellu, had his Romanian, țuică (pronounced: swee-ka).  This is the point in the night that I probably should have said, “No I’ve had enough.” But I’ve never fully mastered that skill. Per usual,  I kindly accepted the slivovica, shooting it quickly. I can still recall the burning sensation it left through my throat and nasal cavity. It was familiar, much like the feeling of drinking țuică. (I have to be careful about bad mouthing țuică because Nellu has a strict policy that he only shares his stash with people who appreciate it.)

The next morning, Simon knocked on our door inquiring whether we had any interest in brunch.

“If you don’t mind, I would love to lay here and die for a little longer,” I said doing my best attempt at gracious, while not moving my head from the pillow.

We had a moving day ahead of us. We wanted to spend a week in London but we didn’t want to over stay our welcome with friends. So we divided our time between Suzanna and Simon and our friends from home, Eric and Emma.

Eric and I went to college together but we’re better friends from the years we all lived in New York right after school. He’s the type of friend that was always a witness to the shenanigans but could never be implicated in a court of law. Eric was one of the first to leave the city, taking a job in London way before everyone started to head for the suburbs. He met and married the lovely Emma a few years later and the two bought a house just outside of the city.

Which brings me to my first thought that morning, “Oh my god, Eric and Emma are going to think we’re a mess.”

In our last month on the road, I’m sure we looked like the vagabonds we were.  And now, I would have to call Eric and ask him if he could meet us at the train station an hour later than we’d planned because the inexcusably, grown-up me was too hung over to get her act together.

Eric didn’t flinch at our delay.

A few hours later, we met Eric and Emma at the train station and they drove us to their home.

We sat in the sun for a while in the backyard and talked. Nellu and I can be a runaway train of a conversation when we get started with travel stories but Eric and Emma didn’t seem to mind. Then Eric made us such a proper grown-up dinner: steak, rice and vegetables. I was so impressed and proud.

Seeing college friends all grown up is an interesting study in psychological anthropology, especially when you’ve 1) missed out on transition from kid to adult and 2) you’ve put your own adultificaiton on hold to travel around the world for a year. But it was rewarding to reconnect.

Since I had never gotten a chance to get to know Emma well, I relished the time we got to talk. And I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun talking to someone. You may remember from a past post, I finally learned that our foreign friends, while speaking English excellently, didn’t understand me when I spoke too quickly. But Emma, as a native English speaker and city dweller, also spoke lightning-fast. Our conversation went at a breakneck speed. It was the talking equivalent of ping-pong game and we covered hours worth of material in minutes.

A few things I learned from our conversations:

1) The English don’t all have bad teeth—Emma could be a tooth model—and they think it’s odd that Americans think they do.

2) Even though the U.K. has a national healthcare system, people don’t get yearly physicals or other types of preventative procedures.

London was the first place that I started to remember what home was like. The city and its people are rushed, maybe even a little stressed. But it has an energy that I know I crave. And even though it rains a lot, I could live there in a heartbeat.

The Truth About Pudding  — Endinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland

The view from our apartment in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“I think Louise is pregnant,” Nellu declared, glancing at his computer.

“Really?” I asked, rushing over to peer over his shoulder. Yup, Louise was pregnant alright, really pregnant.

We also met Louise and her husband Craig on our hike to Machu Picchu. Nellu bonded with Craig over jokes unacceptable for some (most) audiences, quotes from Chappelle’s Show, and a slight obsession with the neon-yellow, bubble-gum flavored Inca Cola. Louise and I bonded over the fact that we’d essentially married the same man.

Inca Trail, Peru, Nellu Mazilu

Craig & Louise staying warm in our camp dining tent.

By the time we met up with them a year later in their hometown Edinburgh, Scotland, Louise was eight months pregnant. They’d tried to keep the news off Facebook but in the weeks before we arrived, a friend tagged Louise (and consequently, her belly) in several pictures. So in our minds, she went from not pregnant to super pregnant overnight.

But the baby’s impeding arrival and some pretty hearty rain didn’t stop them from meeting up with us at Edinburgh Castle after Craig got out of work.

We had gone to the Scotch Whiskey Experience before we met up with them that day. I tried not to taste too much because I didn’t want to be drunk when we met up with them (Not that they would mind. They wouldn’t. But I didn’t want to rub our ability to day drink in their faces. But the liquid warmth helped to combat the rain.)

Nellu Mazilu, whiskey, Whiskey Experience, Scotland, Edinburgh

So much whiskey, so little time. Photo by Nellu Mazilu

It’s funny going to a place like Edinburgh Castle with friends. We teased them that they must have done it a thousand times but apparently they hadn’t been since high school. I tried to think of some of the places we’d take friends when they come to visit New York.

The wind and rain whipped around us but our friends were troopers.

Afterwards, we went to a bar down the street where they introduced us to haggis.

Bobby's Bar, haggis, scottie dog, Edinburgh, Scotland, bar, haggis, Nellu Mazilu

Bobby’s Bar has a back story of its own but it’s also the first place Nellu tried haggis. Photo by Nellu.

Did I try it? Hell no. I only added normal people food like red meat and watermelon back onto my menu. There was no chance that I would try what Wikipedia describes as ” a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours.”  But of course, Nellu was dying to try it.

Which brings me to a very serious discrepancy between our cultures—pudding. Pudding in the U.K. and Ireland isn’t pudding…well at least not the Bill Cosby-endorsed J–E–L–L–O version most of us in the States grew up asking for. Pudding on this side of the ocean, according to our friends, is a mixture of food that is often encased (sometimes in a sausage casing) and then cut up and served in cross sections.

When our friend Suzanna ordered sticky toffee pudding at the restaurant in London, I thought to myself,  “Um, your pudding looks like cake.” Sticky toffee pudding is one type of non-Jello pudding I can get behind.

sticky toffee pudding, pudding, crazy food, blood pudding, black pudding

This picture of sticky toffee pudding was actually taken in Ireland.

What I absolutely can NOT get behind is the Scottish black pudding aka blood pudding. It’s also called blood pudding because its made with blood. No joke. From Visit Scotland website: “…this mixture of congealed pigs’ blood, fat, oats, barley and a special blend of spices stuffed in a length of intestine, is popular at B & B’s up and down the country.” Yup. That would take me decades to get my mind around. But of course, Nellu wanted to try this as well.

He got the chance at breakfast the next morning. Apparently, blood budding is often included in a traditional Scottish breakfast spread. Nellu’s reaction: “It’s not what I expected. But it’s good. It was a little dry.” Nellu tells me now, he thinks it’s like eggs—sometimes they make it runnier than other times. Cough, gag. Yup. That’s never going to happen.

Nellu Mazilu, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Nellu is still standing after his traditional Scottish breakfast including black pudding. Craig, Louise, me. Nellu. Photo by Nellu Mazilu

Louise gave birth to their son Daniel a few weeks later. He’s got his mom’s good looks and his dad’s sense of humor.

It’s a Small World with Big Cities — Cork

(I am going to skip through our stay in Dublin, which was lovely, but the heart of this story is our friends. So on to our friends…)

We met Patrick and Nicola in Rio de Janeiro. Our hosts Lance and David at Casa Cool Beans threw a party teaching their guests how to make the Brazilian national cocktail, caipirinhas.

I had gone downstairs to get something from our room. When I returned, Nellu introduced Patrick and Nicola. “They’re from Cork,” he said.

“Really?” I replied, asking them, “Do you know Aoife?” Nellu had asked the same question just minutes earlier.

Aoife is one of my closest girlfriends from college. After trying out a few cities, she settled with her husband, Barry, in Cork, Ireland. I had always gotten the impression that it was a small bucolic village but apparently it’s a sprawling city with a greater urban area population of nearly 200,000 people. So no, they didn’t know Aoife.

But Nicola and Patrick were cool and we ended up hanging out with them quite a bit in Rio. They’re the type of people who are just fun. I always felt like we’d known them for much longer than we actually have. They were around our age, which is unusual among travelers. They were ending their extended-month, world adventure just as we were starting ours. After Rio, they would head home.

Arcos da Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Nellu Mazilu

Nightlife begins to emerge under the Arcos da Lapa in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Nellu Mazilu.

Our last night in the Marvelous City, we met Nicola and Patrick in Lapa—the district known for its samba clubs, bars and outdoor party—and ended up drinking with them into the wee hours of the morning before hopping on, what turned out to be, a more than 40-hour back to back bus adventure. We were having too good of a time to go home. (Sure, you don’t want to embark on a trip like that with a killer hangover, but you don’t want to be completely sober for all of it either. )

Lapa

Nellu, Patrick, Nicola and me in Lapa.

Spending our last week on the road visiting Nicole and Patrick and Aoife and Barry was the perfect way to end our trip. Old friends and new. Two worlds coming together. The symmetry. The symbolism. It was perfect.

Aoife and Barry, meanwhile, had gotten married while we were in Japan. It was the first time I missed a close friend’s wedding. It was one of the few times on the road that I felt homesick. But I often missed my girlfriends.

Nellu is an excellent travel companion and partner-in-crime but getting an extra word out of him is often impossible. Many of our “conversations” went/go like this:

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Nothing.”

“You’re clearly doing something. It’s so sketchy when you say you’re doing nothing.”

Silence.

I was due for some quality girl time and made up for a lot of it with Aoife. Our first day there, we sat in the backyard in the sunshine for hours. Once again, our visit happened during the first stretch of beautiful-great-to-be-alive sunny days. (Our friends would tell us that these would likely be the only sunny days they would see all year.)

Aoife and I have some serious history together but because of the ocean between us, Nellu and I had never actually met Barry in person.

The first time we (the girls) met him on Skype, I remember being taken aback by his relatively thick Irish accent. This is a pretty ridiculous idea because of course Barry had an Irish accent. He was born, raised, and lived most of his life in Ireland. But when you picture people in your head, they don’t get a speaking role, hence the disconnect. (One interesting sidebar: Barry says the phrase “do you know” as one word, “juno.” And peppers those “junos” throughout sentences the way many American girls do with the word “like.” It’s quite fantastic.)

Over the week we were there, we got to know Barry and his accent pretty well. Despite being relative strangers, he graciously welcomed us into his home with his pregnant wife.

Nellu Mazilu, Cork County, Ireland

Barry and Aoife. Photo by Nellu.

Oh, did I mention, that Aoife was about six months pregnant by the time we saw her? A lot can happen when you’re bouncing around the world. This additional detail would get in the way of my big plans to consume many bottles of wine over hours of extended conversation. But Barry made sure that our visit to Cork included a proper pub crawl with several properly poured pints of Murphy’s Irish Stout. (Murphy’s is brewed in Cork. Guinness is brewed in Dublin. Drinking Guinness in Cork is just rude.)

Aoife and Barry also introduced us to Eurovision, a bizarrely awesome song competition between the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. It’s like American Idol (without the American part) for the European Union. (I recognize that American Idol began as Pop Idol in the U.K.) Countries like the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, and Italy get a free ride to the finals because they pay for it. There is some tremendously bad singing, costumes and stunts even in the final round. Entrants perform the same song through each round of the competition, which means you’ll have the really awful ones memorized by the end. And apparently everyone in Europe watches it.

Baku, Azerbaijan hosted this particularly year and the programming featured plenty of tourism promotional spots proclaiming, “Azerbaijan: Land of the sun!” and land of a few more elements.

All of Ireland seemed to be rooting for or against the twins it sent to the competition:

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And apparently this happened:

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The winner of Eurovision 2012, however, was Loreen from Sweden. Warning! This song will get stuck in your head, causing you to buy the track on iTunes. It’s there. I own it.

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Seriously America, we need to get in on this.

(Nellu has just brought up the insightful point that “America” in Eurovision wouldn’t make sense. It would have to be Worldvision or something. Natovision, anyone?)

We picked up right where we left off with Nicola and Patrick, staying up joking and drinking into the wee hours of the morning, again. We ended up crashing at their place a couple of times during our stay in Cork. It worked out great because I don’t think Aoife knew quite what do with us.

And there’s just something to be said about travel friends. They understand this weird, awesome, intense, life-changing adventure in ways even your close friends just can’t. Nicola was also the only person we met who loves little Jimmy McMillan as much as Nellu and I do.

Nicola and Patrick had been home for just about a year and they were still getting settled back into their old lives and working on their next steps. I am sure our visits with them helped our transition back home a lot more than we realized.

I had started to reboot our old lives when we were in Cork.  When I tried to add money to my pre-paid cellphone account, I discovered, not only was the account disabled, but they gave my number away. This was my first cellphone number. A 917 number. Did they even give those out anymore!? I had it for more than a decade. It got me through my early days in New York and my the beginnings of my relationship with Nellu. How could they just give it away?

I called my old number and some guy picked up. I wanted to scream, “Give me my number back!” But that would have probably ruined his day too. I just said, “Sorry, wrong number,” hung up, and had a productive little cry.  Our old lives were gone, our new lives were unknown. It’s a good thing it was sunny out and we had good friends.

We did do some sightseeing between the pub crawling in Cork. Barry and Aoife took us on a driving tour of the nearby countryside. We also rented a car and headed down to the southern coast of Ireland to towns like Kinsale.

Nellu Mazilu, Kinsale, Ireland, travel, inspiration

A ledge in Kinsale. Photo by Nellu.

And we drove partially around the Ring of Kerry, which is breathtakingly beautiful. The need to finish it is just one more reason to go back.

Ring of Kerry, lake, boat, Ireland.

A vantage point on the lake on the Ring of Kerry.

On our last full day in town, we swung by the Cork Butter Museum. Why? Well, its kind of a long story. Nellu had gotten a little obsessed with the idea of doing kitchy things. I don’t remember where the trend originated but it was definitely a prevalent theme during our last month or so on the road. (He tells me now that our whole trip was kitchy.) What’s more kitschy than the butter museum? And we learned the story behind Ireland’s most important food export.

Nellu Mazilu, Kerrygold, butter, Cork, Ireland

Butter is an Irish institution. Photo by Nellu.

In the next 48 hours, we’d get on bus to a plane to a shuttle to a hotel to a shuttle to a plane to JFK, where my parents would pick us up for the short ride home to Connecticut. But at that moment, we stood in a museum in Cork contemplating the existence of bog butter.

I was ready to come home when we it came time to come home. Nellu, I think, would have stayed on the road forever if we weren’t running out of money. Toward the end, he kept trying to get me to push back our flight dates and succeeded once.

“You know, we have go home eventually,” I would tell him.

What Dreams May Come

This will be my last post on our adventures from the road. (Although, Nellu has promised a piece of his best pictures from the über kitschy Miniature Wunderland Hamburg.) I’ll keep writing updates on our off-track life, and there a few lessons I’ve learned worth sharing, but it’s time to bring our trip to a close.

I hope that by writing this post and closing the book on this adventure, I will make room for a new one.  I’ve held on a little too tightly because it’s been a dream.

Everyone who has been a part of our adventure, even offering your moral support, thank you for the ride of my life.

I leave you with one of my favorite videos, an inspiration for what may come:

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(Oh, and I hope this next adventure includes a spacious apartment with at least enough space for a cozy guest nook, if not a spare room, so you can all come visit!)

~ Molly

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Our year “abroad”  as I am going to start calling it, cannot happen without the requisite journey metaphors. Hence the title.  To say that we’re lost may be a slight exaggeration but it seems almost appropriate. And this is the story one of the stories of our greatest trek in South America – our hike to Machu Picchu – which lends it self to a certain degree of hype.

Here’s a taste of our adventure:

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Machu Picchu is celebrating its 100th year of rediscovery. While known to indiginous people, the modern world only came upon the archeological site in 1911. This is when a local boy guided an expedition led by Hiram Bingham to the mountain top. It was largely hidden from sight.  In a 1913 article for National Geographic, Bingham wrote, “It is perched on a mountain top in the most inaccessible corner of the most inaccessible section of the Urubamba River. So far as I know, there is no part of the Andes that has been better defended by nature.” It is partly because of its location that the city remains the marvel it is today. “Machu Picchu is not only more extensive than any previously discovered Inca city outside of Cuzco, but it is in a remarkably good state of preservation, and its architecture has not become confused with Spanish efforts to build churches and villas,” he wrote.

You can read Bingham’s original article for National Geograhic here.

Natural Geographic has written several more articles on the site including one on the mysteries archeologists are still working to uncover. The New York Times has also recently sent a team down there for the anniversary which brought back some beautiful pictures and an enviable video of their own.

Here are a few other life is a journey lessons we were reminded of on our own trek to the lost Incan city.

Setting Goals Helps You Reach Them

The hike to Machu Picchu was no walk in the park. Day 2 was pretty challenging especially because of the altitude. If you weren’t used to the elevation (as we weren’t) you had to stop every 30 feet or so to catch your breath. But we had a goal, an attainable goal in fact. And we just had to set it to reach it.

A Little Comedy Can Lighten the Load

One of the things I didn’t capture as well as I would of liked on video was all the fun we had on our trip. I can’t tell you all the times we were laughing outloud for large parts of the trail. The is-it-a-mule/horse/donkey-conversation that consumed some of the guys for most of Day 1 is a comedy routine in itself.

Mule or donkey? Can you tell? Photo by Nellu

Sometimes the Right Pronunciation Makes a Big Difference

If you listen closely in the video, you can hear that I attempt to pronounce Picchu more like “pict-chu.” That’s because if you don’t pronounce it correctly, you’re actually calling the site old penis instead of old mountain.

Things Don’t Always Turn Out the Way You Planned

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got sick on the last day of the hike. Our wake up call was at 3:50am in the morning but by 2am I was wide awake trying to figure out what I had in my first aid kit that could stave off the impending crisis. I managed the last hike and did muster up enough energy to see most of the site as shown to us by our guide but I couldn’t make it up the stairs to the sun temple.

This is how I felt the last day of our hike. Photo by Nellu

But one of my favorite parts of the day was when we were riding the shuttle down to where we had to catch our train because if you turned back to look you got see just how amazing the city on Machu Picchu looks perched all the way up on top of the mountain.

Photo: Nellu

Oh and I was thrilled to find that Nellu got a picture of me that didn’t make me look like a sleeping llama.

Life is Always Better in Person

This video and these stories pale in comparison to the remarkable journey of hiking the Inca Trail and getting to see the city revealed on the top of the mountain Machu Picchu. So the good news is, you’ll just have to do it yourself.

~ Molly

Yes it’s true, Nellu has been talking about chicha since we were still in New York. I think he was first introduced to it while watching one of the adventure eating/drinking shows and thought, “Wow, that’s weird. I definitely want to try that.” He will try anything at least once – the weirder the better. I think Santiago sticks in my mind as the place where chicha’s role in our daily conversation hit a new high because we were staying with two lovely American women who had recently traveled through Peru and Nellu wondered if they had in fact tried it.

Chicha is an alcoholic drink made from fermented corn. Photo: Nellu

What Nellu leaves out of his story is the fact that when – as he put it “a miracle happened” and our bus returning home from the Inca Trail passed right by the chicharia (or place that makes chicha) – I was dying in the back of the bus. As fate would have it, I got sick on the last day of our hike to Machu Picchu. I won’t go into detail but it was the type of brutal sick that travelers often get when exposed to foreign elements in their food and water.  So after getting up before 3am in the morning, hiking 6km to Machu Picchu, trying to eek out every last bit of spirit I had to actually enjoy and see the ruins, then taking a bus to a train to a bus without consuming anything more than two Gatorades and a few crackers, I was happy to be on the way back to our hotel.

Nellu had been an absolutely trooper the whole day, staying by my side to help me with the hike, running to get me water or Gatorade or anything I needed. From time to time he would give me that look that he sometimes gives me when I am sick, he can’t help, and he secretly fears that I may die. It’s that look of sheer despondency that you usually see in movies when someone is in fact dying…from the plague. He gave me the look a lot that day.

So you can imagine my surprise when, as the sun was setting and I was curled up in the fetal position on the back of the bus, I hear, “Hey! Is there any chance we can stop at Mercedes’ chicharia !?!” coming from my worried husband’s mouth.

Part of me wanted to shout back, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” But I didn’t. I knew how much Nellu wanted to try it. And he had come so close so many times. The first night we arrived in Cusco before embarking on the Incan Trail, we even ate at a place called Chicha. But alas, they did not serve the drink. And all through out the hike, there were chicharias on the way where the porters would stop to refresh. It was almost like the chicha was teasing Nellu throughout the whole trip. So being the good wife I am, I said nothing and the bus stopped.

About 5 minutes later, some of our other trail mates returned to the bus after sampling their first taste of chicha and gave a very definitive review, “It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted.”

Usually, I would have been right there with Nellu trying the chicha. I definitely wouldn’t have had a whole glass like he did (he wants me to make sure you know that it was a monster mug and not a small taste like some others had) but I would have tried it. I may not be so adventurous when it comes to food but usually with drinks, I’ll take at least a sip.

And besides, I would have gotten the opportunity to improve my skills at the drinking game “el sapo.” This is essentially the Andes version of Beruit where instead of tossing ping-pong balls into keg cups, you hurl metal coins at a table aiming for the mouth of a small metal frog and rack of points based on your accuracy. The loser buys the next round of chicha.

Here’s a little video of us trying our hand at “el sapo” during our first visit to Mercedes’ chicharia:

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~ Molly

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