A Little More Tongue?

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Bolivia | 1 comment

Leah and I met a fellow traveler who works in the quickly emerging city of Tarija, Bolivia. So we took the overnight bus from Tupiza, Bolivia to Tarija.

The two cities are only 100 miles apart, but the bus ride took 8 hours. Similar to most roads in Bolivia, there is no asphalt, sometimes we are spoiled with a little gravel, but usually it is a dirt road with large rocks scattered like mines and 1000 foot dropoffs on one, or both sides. We arrived in Tarija at 4am and we were exhausted. So we got a room in the first hotel we saw. Bad idea… dirty walls, windows were broken in the 1 bathroom that 10 rooms shared, loud noises from buses leaving from the station, and even some complimentary gum was stuck to the headboard… easily the dirtiest room we have stayed in this trip, but it was only $10USD, so it was almost worth the money.

Zebras helping kids cross the Street

After a much needed siesta, we were off to explore Tarjia. We walked into the main square and relaxed in the park.  Tarija is a much larger city than Tupiza, and the street markets came alive as soon as the sun went down. People were selling everything from socks and underware to papayas (0.30 usd each). Leah spoted a huge leg of pork! We ran over and talked to the ladies serving it. For 0.70 usd they’d slice off a chunk, put it in a bun and cover it with all the fixings; mayo, ketchup, and hot sauce. No food poisoning yet… but we play Russian roulette everytime we try something like that sandwich.

We met our friend Lars for a drink that night in a nice restaurant off the main square in Tarija. Lars is working for a NGO to start up an orange juice factory in Tarija. The work he does here seemed really rewarding and extremely challenging. The work ethic, strategies for overcoming obstacles, and language barriers are all additional challenges to just making orange juice. His project should last 2 years, the final goal being an orange juice factory that is run completely by Bolivians.

Lars invited us to stay at his home the next night so we stopped over early in the morning to share a coffee. After breakfast, Leah and I planned out our day and we all went to a local restaurant for lunch. Many of the restaurants in Bolivia have a set menu for lunch, and you get what they are making for the day. Its a neat idea, and I like it a lot. With a set menu, the ingredients are fresh and the cook is making one thing, and doing it well. It’s usually a 4 course meal, salad, soup, entree, and desert. The day’s menu is posted on a sign outside so as you walk down the street you can decide which menu looks best to you. Lars has a restaurant he frequents for lunch, so we decided to head there. Lars’ girlfriend recommended I get tongue, since I’d never had it before and she said its very traditional in Bolivia. New experience and traditional… perfect combo. The entire meal was about $6 USD each. It included a salad bar, a quinoa soup, tongue, and flan. The tongue was actually pretty good. It was a little challenging getting past the texture, with every bite I was double guessing myself, making sure I was biting the right tongue. But the flavor was magnificent and the meat was tender. The tongue was followed by some delicious flan. Flan is probably my favorite dessert. For a couple of reasons, the first being its delicious, the second Leah hates it. So every time flan is served I’m guaranteed 2 helpings. Yum. Our meal was great and we headed into the city with full bellies.

Church Murals

I forgot to take pictures at lunch, we were having such a good time talking I never though to take the camera out. But we walked around the city a bit, so here are some pictures from the main sights in the city. Tarija is not a typical tourist destination in Bolivia. It is mostly known for its wineries. More to come on that =)

Castillo Azul de Moises Navajas (the Blue Castle)

We had an amazing experience with Lars and its good to see different perspectives on a country, from people living there. This experience shows us once again that good people are everywhere, and we hope to meet up with Lars again someday!

One Comment

  1. hi

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