Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mak'in Bacon But Not Selling Much

Bacon is a magical word that perks up my ears in a heartbeat. Sure, there are those naysayers who will say bacon will cause irregular heartbeats, but life is short. Reading the Gringo Tree newsletter on Saturday morning, I spotted a post that did get my heart to beat faster. A Bacon Festival! This is like my version of manna from heaven.

Unfortunately, the address was not precise; Avenida de 3 Noviembre is a long street. One would need to be familiar with Galeria Otorongo specifically in order to be able to find it. Thinking we could depend on the tourism office for directions, when we arrived the lights were on but no one was there. Asking dozens of people including military personal we passed on the street and police officers, we were offered multiple incorrect directions. Finally, a young street performer asked if we needed assistance and he directed us correctly; this was his route as well.  

Situated on a lovely expansive square, Galeria Otorongo was apparent as soon as it was in sight. There were dozens of people milling around, some staffing a BBQ, while others were handing out samples, trying to sell their products, and others sampling the goods. As soon as we were closing in, an older woman approached us with sample of their specialty smoked bacon and homemade sausage. To me there is no such thing as bad bacon. Although the bacon was tasty, it was not exceptional, especially for $19 a pound. Spices were the key to the sausage, it was delectable, but this too priced in the double digits per pound was out of the question. 

The bargain of the day and the most popular item was the snack-pak they offered. It consisted of a mini-BLT, a sausage ‘lollipop’, and a piece of chocolate covered bacon for $1.50. Okay, we shelled out the $3 for two thinking we would save it for later in the day. Not to be so, presented to us in a Styrofoam bowl without a cover, it was not portable. Sacrificing, we ate it on the spot, but my bread went into the trash much to the chagrin of all local pigeons. 

Being on the lower side of the river meant a trek of 95 steps. If this does not work off the bacon, I am not sure what will.
Interestingly, here as in the other long climbs along the river, decoration adorns the sidewalls along the way. It allows one to stop, pause to enjoy the artwork, and catch your breath before moving on up. Here, however, there is a difference. Rather than painted art, mosaics cover the walls. When you reach the top, the reward is a painted whale, which is entertaining. Yet, on the other side, is a magnificent Galapagos turtle that is truly extraordinary. 

From here we walked to a couple of museums that are on our list to visit, but found that they close early on Saturdays and are not open at all on Sunday. Pumapungo Arqueological Park was open, but again there was a real chance of rain; it makes it difficult traipsing among the ruins in wet grass, dirt, and slippery hills.

We wandered through the park again where the Museum of
Modern Art is located. There flowering trees in bloom; Ron wanted to take photos. A little old lady appeared from one of the businesses across from the park and started feeding the pigeons. There must have been hundreds of birds arriving from parts unknown to enjoy the food fest she offered. When she was done, they took off en masse. All I could think of was Tippi Hedren and Birds by Alfred Hitchcock

Later, we went to our favorite coffee roaster and café, Nucallacta, for a cup of java.

By the time we walked home again taking our time and looking over some shops, it was already late afternoon. How the day flies by.

I have to show you one of our potatoes. When we were in the
Mercado, we asked if they had sweet potatoes. The vendor showed us these red ones and we bought a few. The inside was a bit surprising. They were delicious, but nothing like yams or sweet potatoes as we know them.

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