Foodie Friday: Perrito Caliente

Sure, yesterday was thanksgiving and we made  it back to the States in time to celebrate but featuring turkey just doesn’t seem right to us, given that it is virtually impossible to find anywhere south of the border.  Instead, in honor of Turkey Day, we figured we’d offer our readers a taste of another USA treat.  One we know and love that just hasn’t been the same south of the border: the hot dog.

There is an expression sometimes uttered in Washington, that the two things you never want to see made: sausages and  laws.  I don’t disagree.  So we’ll skip the creation process of these encased little snacks and instead focus on the different varieties we’ve tasted.

Guatemala- the rather tasteless cheveres scared us a bit and we generally shied away.  Only available after dark on the street they always smelled a bit foul and the fixins were never particularly appetizing.

3734740979 44c0e6d4d5 Foodie Friday: Perrito CalienteColombia- we had our first taste of the South American version of the hot dog, where it was actually called a perrito caliente (little hot dog).  It was smothered in smashed up plantain or potato chips, doused with an army of sauces and covered with onions.  The chips were really what separated it from the NYC variety, that and that in Colombia the one we had was microwaved instead of flame cooked or boiled in water. 3949885923 62dbdf411a Foodie Friday: Perrito Caliente

Brazil- I don’t remember what they called it, but we ate it at a stand in Cuiaba. It was on a toasted bun with cheese, ham, hot dog, lettuce, ketchup, mayo, crunchie fries and tomato.  It was by far the greasiest piece of meat we’ve eaten in our entire lives.  We felt sick afterwards.3870087593 77517160c9 Foodie Friday: Perrito Caliente

Bolivia- Instead of just a hot dog, Bolivia is a fan of salchipapas (also common in Peru), cut up hot dog on french fries.  The hot dog isn’t the highlight, but with all that grease on one plate, it can’t taste bad.  Plus, they always had ketchup.  Yum.

Argentina- had in my opinion, the most fun with the hot dog called a Super Pancho4034185137 0c52779308 Foodie Friday: Perrito CalienteIn these the dog was usually about a foot long, if not longer, and didn’t come close to fitting inside the bun.  The number of sauces piled on top (ketchup, mustard, mayo, golf sauce) is rather unsettling and these are almost never sold in street side stands and instead are sold in small Super Pancho shops.  The best part is that like Colombia and Brazil, crunchy potato sticks are put all over the top.

4063394777 8d340721bf Foodie Friday: Perrito CalienteChile- very similar to Argentina except that the sauces we tried were all… unsettling.  Also called a pancho, and the one we tried in Santiago, well we did have video, but trust us you wouldn’t want to see it.

In truth though, nothing comes close to a good Sabrett or Hebrew National dog from a NYC vendor, covered in ketchup (a rarity anywhere but the USA) mustard, onions, relish, and maybe some onions and if you’re really lucky some chili sauce.  In fact, just thinking about the late night dogs we used to get in college from Manouch has me salivating.  Washington, D.C.’s specialty is the half-smoke, a plump and short spicy beef dog served on a plain bun or better yet at Ben’s served smothered in chili.  Since we 4137113207 0c42252cee Foodie Friday: Perrito Calientehaven’t been up to New York (or even Washington, DC) in awhile we had to ask a friend to fine one to enjoy for us…it wasn’t too difficult to convince him to do it though.

(Jill’s Editors Note: Danny was raised by a New Yorker, so he’s completely biased. This post is clearly wrong.  He has left our the best hot dog on the planet- the Chicago Char-Dog.  A char-broiled beef delight covered in ketchup, mustard, onions and kosher dill slices served on a poppy seed bun. Hmm… it just makes my mouth water. Anyone know where I can get one of these on the east coast before mid-december?)

Report Card #1

So  now we’re home in the states for a week so we’ll take this opportunity to take stock of how we’ve done so far and what it is we need to change.  Overall, it looks like our preparation has paid off.  We’ve rarely been without something we’ve needed and have never been completely unprepared.  Since leaving the US we have not met another backpacker with smaller packs than we have (we do have the added benefit of being able to share a few things) but we have met many with things we wish we did have.

Our supplies have treated us well but we are swapping a few things out that don’t seem to be standing up to the wear and tear we put them through or just aren’t quite perfect enough for our uses.  Mostly this has to do with our  wardrobe…we’ve put several reviews up this week and several more are coming.  Once we’re done with all our trips to REI and repacking our bags we’ll update our gear page and link to the reviews we’ve written.

As for budget, which is what we are most concerned with on a daily basis, we’re spending less than we budgeted but a bit more than  we had hoped to spend.  All in all though we’re not in such a bad position.  Reminder, these numbers are updated each time we finish a country on the $$$ tab.

CountryDaysFoodLodgingActivityTransMisc*Daily Avg
Mex & C. Amr.111$17.76$10.33$23.31$20.50$7.35$79.25
Mexico29$13.71$9.57$21.64$31.80$6.50$83.22
Guatemala36$19.37$10.17$28.18$7.69$6.79$72.20
Belize4$22.17$0.00$7.75$51.35$14.42$95.69
Honduras20$18.44$11.23$27.47$22.96$4.12$84.22
Nicaragua7$19.21$9.31$13.76$7.94$3.03$53.25
Costa Rica10$18.88$15.28$12.60$11.60$6.25$64.61
Panama5$19.10$12.00$28.50$18.64$7.00$85.24

MEXICO:  Our first country so we weren’t so savey yet.  Having said that, we didn’t so do badly.  We did some expensive activities, several of which we would not pay so much for now.  Overnight buses and couchsurfing helped to keep lodging low but those same buses made for some high transportation costs.

GUATEMALA: This is a very cheap country.  We could have lived there very inexpensively, especially given how long we spent there.  Spanish school is the sole reason for this being as expensive as it was.   Additionally, living with a host family proved to be far more expensive than had we lived alone.

BELIZE:  Only went here to visit some family and had a wonderful time staying at their fancy (free lodging) house.  Getting there and back from Honduras, by boat, proved to be a very expensive endeavor.

HONDURAS:  Another cheap country, but we spoiled the budget here by getting PADI certified.  How dare us!  Add to that the expense of transportation to some isolated villages in La Moskitia and the island of Utilia and this country looks more expensive than it really  was.

NICARAGUA:  Not really any cheaper than Guatemala and Honduras, but as we didn’t have any major adventures here we were more on target with our spending.  That being said, this spending still represents a few small splurges.

COSTA RICA:  Really proved to be too expensive for us to do many of the things we had hoped to do…so we visited some monkey infested beaches (mostly free) instead and continued onto Panama earlier than we intended.

PANAMA:  Home to our most expensive hotel room, two overnight (low lodging costs, high transportation costs) bus rides, and finally some awesome whitewater…oh, and a canal!

Central America Summary

Central America has been wonderful, but after almost 4 months (including Mexico) we’re itching to move on. By the time you read this we’ll be in the USA for a mini break. Yay!:) The timing and finances worked out so that we’d be able to take a week or so in the States before heading to South America. Fortunately for us it coincided with the 4th of July (my favorite holiday) and the wedding of our friends Aaron and Alexis. Sometimes the stars just align like that!

Anyway, we’re really looking forward to South America. (Really we just need to verify if the toilets do indeed swirl the other direction!).  We’ve met so many incredible people, other travelers, expats and locals each of whom has helped us adapt to life on the road. We’re pro card players at this point and play a mean game of 500. icon smile Central America Summary

We’re definitely looking forward to another continent and exploring new regions, hopefully with some different food (if I eat rice and beans one more time, arg!).  Our first stop will be Colombia and we plan to move south and east across the continent.  Send us tips if you have them!

So, drum roll please…. here’s our Central America wrap up:

# of chicken bus rides: too many to count

# of times we went through San Pedro Sula, Honduras: 5

# of natural disasters: 1

# of coup d’etats narrowly escaped:1

Most number of bug bites at one time on one appendage,: La Moskitia, Danny’s foot, approximately 50

Nights spent on overnight bus: 2

Most expensive hotel room: $30 Panama City, Panama

Least expensive hotel room: $7 San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Biggest surprise: The size and scope of Panama City

Favorite Country: Honduras

Volcanoes Hiked: 5

Monkeys encountered: tons! yay! icon smile Central America Summary

Hot springs enjoyed: 3

Items Lost: 2 more baseball hats, Jillian’s bathing suit (in Honduras), one yellow spork

Best Meal: Chicken, Rice and Beans on Ometepe, Nicaragua

Favorite Snack: Chicky’s!!!!

Tica Bus- Central America

We have taken two trips with Ticabus, we will not be taking anymore.

On the first trip, from Honduras to Nicaragua, the ayudante (helper) collected $11 from each passenger for border fees. We were told the fees were $8 to Nicaragua and an additional $3 to exit Honduras. We had already exited Honduras on our own and had never paid to exit so we decided to handle the border ourselves; we paid $7 to Nicaragua and nothing to Honduras. The ayudante pocketed $4 from each passenger and then had the nerve to yell at us for taking too long…we took only two minutes but needed to wait until the officials finished processing all of the bus’s passports.

On the second trip, from Panama to Costa Rica, we left the terminal at 11pm expecting to wake up at the border when it opened. We arrived there two hours early. Why leave at 11pm only to wake everyone up at 5am to wait for two hours? Additionally, as this was an overnight bus we were shocked to find no toilet paper or water in the bathroom. The water problem was particularly surprising as when we woke up at the border we found that all our things (on the overhead shelf and by our feet) had been soaked by water from the A/C. We have taken many overnight buses and all have had a fully functioning bathroom with no flooding inside the bus.

In Central America, there are often no other direct buses between capital cities. When there is competition however, we strongly recommend using it.  Say no to Tica Bus!

Bye Bye Xela

Having trouble writing a post about leaving Guatemala and entering Honduras so I thought I’d put it all into bullet form icon smile Bye Bye Xela

    • Played trivia three times in Xela.
      • First two times won a massage because I knew the bonus question but never got to use the massages. Last time we came in strong second for actually winning but the topic that evening was Guatemala history and it was also the only time Guatemaltecos came to trivia….clearly a fix!
    • Wanted to hike to Laguna Chicobal3553204292 61e9ac19bb Bye Bye Xela
      • Holiest place in the Mayan world, believed to be the center of the world.
      • Inside the crater of a dormant volcano (yes…..another volcano)
      • Lake is considered holy because clouds seem to float into the crater, bounce off the lake and out of the volcano
    • Talked my teacher, Anabella, into going to Laguna Chicobal, she had never been….3+ hours of hiking
    • At the lake I found the only place in all of Guatemala without a million plastic bottles
    • I like the idea of a lake as the holiest place in the world rather than a wall…better view! Mayans are onto something.
    • Clouds seem to be bouncing off of lake…then fog rolls in.

3552442115 eb18b7c9c3 Bye Bye Xela

    • Fog does not bounce off lake.
    • Begin walk downhill to bus.
    • Fog turns to drizzle.
    • Get lost.
    • Drizzle turns to rain.
    • Find our way.
    • My teacher and I get soaked.
    • Get dry during bus ride back to Xela.
    • Get back to Xela ahead of the storms, so they can rain on us again as we walk home from the bus.
    • Get my first haircut since being unemployed…cost, $1.50.

 

  • Leave Xela & go to Antigua.3551154535 c815bac272 Bye Bye Xela
  • Get up at 4am, when drunk people are stumbling home, and wait for shuttle to come pick us up to take us to Copan.
  • Man with station wagon comes instead, claims to be shuttle. I am skeptical but he knows my name.
  • Pick up other people, who we later learn to be Danish, and we meet in the dark before sleeping on each other in this man’s station wagon.
  • Wake up in Honduras. Standard Guatemalan roadside pollution of plastic bottles and potato chip bags is suddenly missing.
  • This must be what Dorothy felt like when she entered Oz.
  • Go to Copan, with the Danes, and have a nice time….more on that in the next post.