As I've been in Peru, each week as I go to the grocery store, I try to be more adventurous in my food selections. Yesterday, I felt like the Queen of the world, I just got paid on Friday, I had money, I had a fridge, so I felt that Tottus (the WalMart like store) was my oyster.
As I hovered near the deli counter, trying to determine what actually each package of mystery meat actually was, an intrepid sample lady swooped in and started machine gunning rapid fire Spanish at me. My eyes got wide and I somehow got the gist that she wanted me to try a sample of lunch meat. I didn't quite know what kind it was or any more detail than it was a meat like color with a tinge of orange-colored rind. I sampled the lunch meat with great trepidation. My taste buds kicked into gear and sent good vibrations to my brain.
"Hey brain! This is pretty good stuff!" My buds exclaimed to my brain.
I decided to be adventurous and get some of the meat. I still didn't know what kind it was yet. I know she told me, but she could have told me it was moldy wall paper paste from India and I wouldn't have know the difference. She pointed out that there were no pre-sliced packages of the meat, but the deli worker could slice the hunk of meat for me. Of course the label was torn away so I couldn't even use that as a guide.
"Cuanto questo?" I asked. She responded with some amount. She might as well had marbles coated in a honey glaze for all the good the answer did for me.
Yet, I went ahead and nodded that I wanted some of the still mystery meat.
"Cuanto te quiero? She asked. I panicked. How do you order lunch meat? What are your options? I had heard people order in kilos, so I said with all the authority I could muster, " 1 kilo please." I assumed (yes assumed!) that 1 kilogram was equal to 1 pound. Why do we have different systems anyway? I blame the French. Really. I think that's why the metric system was invented... to annoy the French aristocracy. Or it was something like that from what I remember hearing at Versailles when I was in Paris in May.
She gave it to the deli worker, who started slicing it up. I watched the scale and was trying to figure out the system. I watched the price go up and up and up some more. I thought maybe it was a mistake. I saw the deli worker continue to pile on slice after slice of meat.
How much did I really order? My brain started to revolt.
Finally, I got a package, nicely wrapped in styrofoam and cellophane. My eyes bugged out of my head it seemed. This was a huge package of lunch meat! There was no way I could eat all of it before it went bad. Plus, the other American is a vegatarian so she would be of no help in the lunch meat fiesta.
Then came the real shocker - the cost. s/48 or roughly $18! $18 for lunch meat? There was no way. I slunk off and went to the produce section.
What was I going to do with all this lunch meat?
A million ideas ran through my head as I bagged up tomatoes, apples, and cucumbers. Finally, I hate to admit this, but I was a bad, bad, person. There was no way I could use this lunch meat. I couldn't pay $18 for it. So, I quickly glanced around the cold case of imported Chinese vegetables and left the package of lunch meat next to the section of peas.
Call me a sinner or call me a saint, this is what happened.
When I got home, a quick Google search told me the shocking truth - 1 kilio is equal to 2.2. pounds!
Lesson learned: Just say no to free samples! And, know how to order before agreeing to do so. Or, maybe being vegetarian isn't such a bad idea!