Friday, July 16, 2010

Eating Gourmet in Antigua

There is something to say about having a budget...a tight budget at that. As you can see from Sarah's joy below for the challenge it provides, we had quite fun finding cheap, cultural spots to eat in Antigua, Guatemala.
1. It forces you outside of the tourists zone.
2. It creates a game out of finding the cheapest, best food in a place.
3. It opens up what life is like for the majority of the locals.
4. It can be a bowl of laughs.
5. It creates conversations with locals...especially when documenting the experience with photos.

It is one way that tourism has the ability to transform into travel...stepping out of the ease of life as you know it, and consciously making an effort to be a part of another way of life. Being a part of other's lives. Strangers lives. It's nice to travel in your own hometown too!
Welcome to Pollo Frito Pinulito. Fried Chicken. Mmmm good!
As we got to the little whole in the wall fast food joint, there were no fries, so we had a good 10 minutes to hang out with some guys that were unloading a food supply truck. What kind of food supply truck, you may ask? Good old Wal-Mart. That's right, capitalism and monopolization at it's best! Scary! Very! The guys were happy for a little camera break and to be celebrities for the rubia (blond) tourist (me). We exchanged  stories as the security guard with the automatic rifle listened with smiles and nods.  
With our 15 Quetzales ($1.75) dinner ready to eat, we kindly paid and made our way through the rain back to our high class hostel (no sarcasm here). The smell of fried chicken and fresh French fries wafting our way in the moist air, I couldn't tell if it was rain falling or drool. 
A bright table cloth, solid wood table and chairs and romantic lighting set the mood. 
It was time to eat! Now, the part that I missed documenting was that our greasy paper bags serving as make-shift plates quickly become large, sparkling white ceramic dinner ware. The owner of the hostel saw our savage ways and immediately made an intervention. With real plates and real metal utensils, we truly were living the high life. 
To top off the night of gourmet eating, we didn't stoop by drinking the normal Clos boxed wine. Instead, Gato Negro was on sale for 27 Q (about $3.50), which was even cheaper than the boxed wine! Hurray for sales. Hurray for fancy glass wine bottles. Hurray for creating a new definition for "classy!"

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