La Paz – attack of the Brazil nuts

After Isla del Sol, it’s back to La Paz for a few days. We had originally planned on a quick trip to Sorata, but we feel we’ve been running around for a while now and decide to enjoy La Paz for a bit longer instead. This time, we’re at the Hostal Provenzal, in a prime location just above Oliver’s Travels. Perfect.

Although we’ve got nothing planned for the next couple of days, we’ve got plenty to keep us occupied – blogs to write, emails to send, a bike ride to book, pharmaceuticals to buy, bank visits to be made, accommodation to be reserved…it almost feels like we’re back in the real world for a moment!

The four corners - La Paz

That evening, we decide to treat ourselves to a nice meal at the steak restaurant round the corner. We opt for the set menu for two – nachos, a meat platter of chicken, llama, chorizo, steak, ribs, blood sausage and hamburger, chips, salad, dessert, coffee, a bottle of wine and a shot of tequila each, all for £25. Which is expensive by Bolivian standards but still great value for all that food!! Well the meal was absolutely delicious.  The ribs in particular were great. Of course, the steak was nothing compared to what we have tasted in Argentina but there was certainly nothing to complain about.

Then dessert came. Chocolate ice cream. Yum.

I had eaten little more than half a teaspoon before Rich pointed out that it looked like it had nuts in and we had better check whether they were Brazils (I’m allergic). By the time the waiter came back from the kitchen, I already knew his answer. My throat had that familiar itch to it and my lips were tingling. Oh dear.

When you’re only allergic to Brazil nuts, it’s a pretty easy allergy to deal with in the UK. Peanuts, hazlenuts, almonds – these nuts are common in British food. Brazil nuts are not. In South America, the story is very different. You see women on street corners selling nothing but Brazil nuts and they seem to sneak it into all kinds of food when you are not looking. This was actually my second Brazil nut incident since being in South America, although the first time I narrowly avoided actually eating the nut.

For the next hour, I was in agony as the Brazil nut worked its way through my system. I can only describe it as like the worst indigestion you can possibly imagine, accompanied by being very hot and then feeling sick. I’ve not had an attack for years, but it’s the worst that I remember. We spent the next day scouring pharmacies for one of those epipen things, but all we were offered was vials of pure adrenalin. Hmmm, not sure about that one, I think I’ll just check my food more carefully.

Random street scene

Anyway, after all the drama, the rest of our stay passed without incident, and that Saturday, Judgement Day according to some nut in America, we set off to ride the World’s Most Dangerous Road.

Dog of the week