Cajamarca, Peru – Coca flour, Inca Kola, and some excavations

A good place to stock up is Cajamarca’s Mi Metro supermarket (S 07°08’58.6’’ W 78°30’31.3’’). Although the car park attendant doesn’t want us to park in the huge and empty parking lot: “The vehicle is too big.” Ridiculous, there is a Dodge RAM in the parking that is bigger than we are, although not higher. And what’s that supposed to mean? For any reason the security man stays stubborn for quite a while. Finally I get out of the truck, slightly enraged, and explain: “I am inconsolable sorry that we are travellers and need to buy grocery.” Slightly enraged 5 ft 10 can be very convincing if you are only 5 ft – with hat. We can get in.
There are funny things to buy. Coca flour for example. Coca is completely legal in Peru. Later I regret I didn’t buy it. I could have baked some stimulating cookies. Or what about a coca bread? But honestly, without chemical treatment it’s just an herb, curing upset stomachs, and it shall help fight cold, hunger, and altitude sickness. Maybe even the Inca Kola is more stimulating. It has nothing in common with the North American tooth killer except the surname, and probably the sugar content. The nuclear yellow colour with bubble gum taste bodes no good. I wouldn’t drink it on gun point.
Cajamarca itself might be interesting for travellers who haven’t seen enough colonial cities since Mexico. But the most important archaeological find in the area is Otuzco, eighth kilometres north of town(S 07°07’35.4’’ W 78°27’25.1’’). Many little niches were carved into the rock, hence the name Ventanillas de Otuzco, little windows of Otuzco. The location probably served as burial place 1,400 years ago. Entrance fee is 5 PEN.

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