By Crooked Trails Co-founder Christine Mackay
The popularity of Airbnb is that it allows travelers to go local. Sure, it’s exciting to live in someone else’s house for a night or two, but it doesn’t mean anyone is there to show you around or have dinner with you. What if you could have that?
Imagine landing in a super cool colonial city like Cusco, Peru, getting checked into a locally-owned and artistic hostel and then having a local come over and take you to their house for dinner. They do the cooking and shopping, you get to enjoy a typical Peruvian meal and see what a typical family dinner is like in Peru.
Our friend Doris Atauapar is waiting to do just that for you. Doris’ sister Luz will pick you up and take you to Doris’ house where it’s anyone’s guess how many family members and friends will be there. The last time I had dinner with Doris, there were 10 others at the table, and the conversation was lively — even though I only understood half of it, I loved the experience. I felt like I was eavesdropping on their lives and they welcomed it. Several family members spoke limited English and they talked about tourism and politics and the weather like any family in the world.
When I sat at the table there were drinks and a bowl of the ever-popular Peruvian appetizer of cancha, large corn kernels that are dry-roasted and served like the Corn Nuts we know so well in the United States. Next came a soup made of quinoa with potatoes and chicken and various vegetables. Finally came roasted chicken and guinea pig with more potatoes. Eating and talking and laughing and watching the kids run around all felt very familiar, like a big gathering back home.
Having dinner with a local family gives a glimpse behind the doors of the country you are visiting. Interested in having this experience elsewhere when you travel with Crooked Trails? Just let us know. We call it Dinner with Doris in Cusco but it could be Dahl with Balaram in Nepal, or Curry with Sita in India. We want to put you in touch with more locals for small, fun, light-hearted experiences that give you that extra insight into the local culture.
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