Friday, July 31, 2015

Bring Out The Potatoes (Food in Bolivia)

I didn't know what to expect from Bolivian cuisine. There wasn't a lot of familiar fastfood chains when I wandered around the streets of La Paz. It took me a while to find an ATM that accepts my card so that I could get more Bolivianos. I was hungry and I picked up the delicious scent of friend chicken. Sold!

Pollos Copacabana

With my hand gestures and limited Spanish, I ordered a meal set with a sad chicken leg, sad plantains, soda and some fries. It was a sad meal for BOB 27. That dang fried chicken scent!

Sad chicken meal.

We stopped at Mercato Lanza during the walking tour. has a lot of stalls that serve fruit salad, fruit juices, fruit shakes and fruit sandwiches. There were also stalls that serves meals but we didn't go there. I learned that Bolivia grew 600 different types of potatoes. For someone like me who loves

Fruits fruits fruits

Upon recommendation, I got my own, combination of fruits and yogurt. For BOB 8, that is one cheap happiness!

That is one huge snack for BOB 8

There was a crowth gathered around the square, watching the ongoing football game. There was no Bolivian team in the game, but everyone was apt to watch.

Vendors were all over the square. The scent of fried potatoes called out to me. I bought this fried potato snack (BOB 3) and pretended to watch the game. I was just observing people. This is a cheap and delicious snack. It tasted like Lay's.

Cheap version of Lay's

After I got tired of pretending to watch the game, I went back to Mercato Lanza to check the other food stalls. I planned to sleep early, so I wouldn't have to go out in the cold to get dinner. I selected a stall and ordered the recommended avocado sandwich.

Avocado is one of my favorite fruits. I always anticipate the avocado season in the Philippines and stop myself from devouring a bunch of avocados in one sitting. The avocado sandwich costs BOB 5 and it is a huge sandwich, with cheese, onions, tomatoes and greens. It tasted a lot like guacamole. If you want a cheap meal, go to Mercato Lanza.

I was craving for more avocado, even after that filling snack. I seated myself in another stall (to give business to others) and ordered an avocado shake.

They only had one size, and they put their shake in these huge glasses. Cost BOB 6.

La Paz was fun because of Mercato Lanza. 
Uyuni is a different story though.

The best meal I had in Uyuni was the breakfast from my hostel: Hostel Oro Blanco

Eggs, granola, fruit and hot coffee in a pot!

I've read that the internet in Bolivia is a joke. That didn't stop me from validating if it was really a joke. I chose a touristy restaurant in Uyuni who boasts their wifi service.

Wifi code

The wifi was a joke. Confeeeeermed. And they had the guts to impose a wifi-limit rule. 10 minutes! Huwat!

The mushroom soup came from a can - I could tell

This chicken and fries were tasteless. The potatoes looked cooked but not fully cooked. the inside was still tough.

That was a sad lunch for 55. I kinda regretted ordering the chicken and fries. I could cook better fries at home.

At dinner, I chose another restaurant. When I opened the menu, it has the same menu like that wifi-fail-restaurant. I played it safe and ordered spaghetting for BOB 25. Good decision.

Spagetti that tasted like BOB 25

Breakfast during my 3-day tour of the Salt Flats was delicious because we got hungry. Everything is good when you are hungry.

Eating with frozen fingers

Hot soup was served. It quickly became warm because of the weather.

I really like that hot thermos there.
Biscuits and coffee and tea for snacks

Some chicken, pasta and boilet potatoes. They all tasted the same.

For my dinner during my last night in Uyuni, I ordered a simple cheese omelet with some fries. The fries were undercooked again.

Oh well. Bolivian cuisine wasn't exactly stellar but it offered food that I could eat. At least may laman ang tiyan. As to the beauty of the Salt Flats, it surpassed my expectations. The Salt Flats was definitely one of the main highlights of my trip.

It was another cold and early morning for my flight from Uyuni to La Paz. Not a lot of action in Uyuni airport, didn't expect any. It is small so you could be there an hour before your flight.  

It was a long day of flying back to Los Angeles:

  • A flight from Uyuni to La Paz via Amaszonas. 
  • An 8-hour layover in La Paz airport
  • An afternoon flight from La Paz to Lima via Lan Airlines
  • Another 8-hour layover in Lima aiport
  • A redeye flight from Lima to Los Angeles via Lan Airlines

To begin with, I was already wiped out even after a night's rest in the boring town of Uyuni. When I landed in La Paz airport, I took advantage of the sleeping quarters there. I still had a lot of Bolivianos on hand. I willingly flushed down 400 BOB for 3 hours worth of sleep. It was so worth it.

That's another day of no-shower. Almost no-sleep. And no wifi.

When the plane touched down in LAX, I was glad for the warmth, and the wifi.

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