Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!

A quick Google search assures me that the French use ‘être une bonne pâte’ (to be a good dough, more or less literally) as a vaguely colloquial equivalent of ‘a decent chap’ (or female equivalent, no doubt. But we know that I could spend hours of agonising over register and gender-neutrality, and actually I’m just […]

L’anglaise et la mer

I grew up on an island. A reasonably sized island, a country, where we eat fish but don’t necessarily live by the coast. (Indeed, even when I was taken to the ‘seaside’ as a child, it was often the Blackpool-Southport area, where the tide goes out so far that you can’t even catch a glimpse […]

Cultural Confusion in Cusco (or, 10 things that aren’t quite Peruvian)

10. The Peace Boat(s). We saw them wandering around Machu Picchu first, hundreds (or at least, it felt like it) of Japanese tourists, all in white gloves, oversized sunglasses and broad brimmed hats, and with a brightly coloured sticker on their chest with a picture of a cruise ship and the words ‘Peace Boat’. Their […]

20 things that happen on buses in Peru

I know, 20 seems a lot, doesn’t it? But the thing is, I’ve spent a lot of time on buses here. Of the last 48 hours, over 30 involved me sat on a bus (I know, I know: when I told the woman at the travel agency that I’ve arranged my time here in Huancayo […]

Ten things that happen when you go to a show in Peru

I know, I know… It’s been a while, so long that I’m now in a different country… But I blame South American internet, and too much time exploring and eating cake to write about it. Anyway, I’m back (at least for now!) and here with yet more observations of the oddities of life. You see, […]

Chocolate Chuquiasqeña

5th March 2014, Sucre, Bolivia I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. What happened to the cake? What happened to Fridays? Well, I don’t really know. I guess La Paz is a wonderful city for street food (keep your eyes peeled for a future post on the many kinds of pastry you come […]

Ten crazy things about Carnaval: Bolivian style!

In the UK, about the craziest we get in the run-up to Lent is a few pancakes with a bit of lemon, sugar, Nutella or, if you’re my mother, salt (weirdy Lithuanian!). And then we get on with moaning about the sudden appearance of Easter bunnies and cream eggs for about six weeks. But not […]

Ten weird things that happened in Chile

So, here’s the thing. I am and always have been a little bit scared of random patriotism. I blame my dad, since when we used to watch sports on TV, he’d make me root for the athlete/ team from the country I’d never heard of, and we’d desperately hope that Britain would drop the baton, […]

Ten things you notice at the supermarket in La Paz

This may not sound like the most promising of blog topics. But trust me, everything over here is a little bit crazy, and so going to buy some food can become a bit of an adventure. Especially when you go with certain ingredients in mind… 10. As soon as you walk in the door (or […]

Alasitas, artesanías and api

As anyone who’s ever met me or read anything on this blog probably knows, I love markets. Any kind of markets: food, craft, Christmas… And La Paz, with it’s streets behind the plaza San Francisco full of stalls selling alpaca jumpers, alpaca gloves, alpaca hats, small fluffy alpacas (seeing a theme here?) etc is amazing […]