Big Eats, Big Meats and the Dancing Divine!
by Mick Huerta
(La Paz, Bolivia)
This is a time of devils, archangels and morenos perfecting their steps for the upcoming Carnival Celebration (March 4-8) on the altiplano (high plains) of Bolivia. The parade route winds 7 kilometres through Oruro´s city streets and will require a marathon of 2 1/2 hours of synchronized dancing to complete. At an altitude of 12.159 ft (3.708 m) this is no small feat! These are the Ensayos (the practise sessions) that build stamina in the participants and anticipation in the community at large. It´s truly spectacular the way these dancers with full brass band can stop traffic not to mention all passers-by. It´s only just begun and now this is to happen each and every weekend culminating in the Carnival event itself!
On the way out of town after a full weekend, we looked for something to eat. Just opposite the bus terminal are 6-7 fried chicken kiosks. I asked "When did you fry the pollo?" "This morning, it´s fresh!" came the reply. However it being 4pm, the chicken on display appeared withered and cold. Not appetising and perhaps not even safe. I put the question to each and every vendor, same answer all. By flicker of good fortune, I looked up a cross street. There was a big man standing in front of an enormous smoking grill! A simple sign proclaimed:
What a find! A full variety of meats, ribs and chicken, everything freshly grilled as you watch. The take-away bundles were just a little more expensive (USD$2.50) than the kiosk offerings, however, at "Gordos" each order contains a steaming portion of cheese-rice (a Bolivian specialty), fried plantains and potatoes along with your choice of meats and/or chicken. The owner/cook "Gordo" is from the scorched Southeast of this country and he cooks that sweltering low-land, traditional South American style (churrascuria/rodizio) common to Latin cow country.
Spending time with Gordo is the sort of pleasant surprise we all look for when travelling; good food and warm hospitality being succour for the soul. We four were thrilled; I suspect any trekker would be!
Caro Street between Ave 6 de Agosto & Backovic Street
Calle Caro entre Ave 6 de Agosto y Calle Backovic
Copyright © Mick Huerta 2011. All Rights Reserved.
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