Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Search for Peanut Butter

It's 8:45 PM.  I just survived the hike up from the bottom of the world's second-deepest canyon, swarms of sinister midges, and a 6-hour bus ride back to Arequipa.  I'm sunburnt, my legs ache with every step, and for the past 24-odd hours my stomach has been trying to tear itself in two.  In short, it's time for a bed and some PB&J.

We enter the grocery store and find some PB without too much trouble.  But there's a problem.  Between us we have 30 soles, just enough for the hostel.  Against my worser wishes, we decided to hold off on the PB and leave the store in search of a place to change some cash.  We find one in short order, but they're out of soles!  They say they'll have some in an hour.  So we decide to go to an internet cafe to buy some time.

When we return to the square, the money-changer is closed!  So much for an hour.  But we won't be foiled.  We find an ATM, withdraw some soles, and walk back to the grocery store, only to come to a horrible realization - it's closed!

Dejected, demoralized, and in desperate need of some pepto bismol, I return to the hostel.  Once inside, I have a stroke of inspiration.  I rush to the guest fridge and begin to search.  On the second to bottom shelf, all the way in the back, amongst countless half-empty bottles of yogurt drinks, I find a single, mostly eaten jar of Peter Pan PB, and some strawberry jam.

Who do they belong to?  I don't care.  If they show up I'll pay them 20 soles for one simple, delicious sandwich.  Besides, it was in the refrigerator, and anybody who knew what Peter Pan was wouldn't put it in the fridge.

Update: It's several days later, and in Cuzco I finally found some local, organic peanut butter (At Gato's Market in Plaza de Armas).  Yay.

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