Lots of good veggies don't grow at higher altitudes or they're not very popular I guess. Walking around markets you always see half rotten, semi-dried up, overripe or extremely blemished veggies. Tried to make some pasta the other day and had a hard time finding 2 bell peppers that were not scorched up and a bit rotten, tomatoes in the same pathetic shape. The only things that seem to keep well are onions and garlic. If you're a chef, or love crisp, fresh, crunchy vegetables, the markets here can be very disappointing in their offer. I should also add the lack of variety. The only veggies you can buy are: potatoes, tomatoes, onions, spicy peppers, giant squash sold by the slice, and that's it. Think about this next time you go to your local produce market. You (we) are lucky bastards.
Another reason why we've been eating so many carbs is that meat is often unsafe here. Having to choose between a boring safe meal and risking explosive diarrhea, we often go with the safe meal. We do eat meat, but only from places that seem to have some sort of idea of sanitary conditions. The meat in markets is hanging out in the doorstep, never refrigerated, sometimes a dog or a cat chills out right next to a slab of meat, flies sit on it freely, people walk by and touch it, cars drive by and cover it in their smog. Not to mention the stench of meat sitting outside for hours. Seeing this with our own eyes, we are very cautious what we eat and never eat meat sandwiches from street vendors. So far, we've been really lucky and never got sick.
In the photo below, I made pasta with tomato sauce and sauteed vegetables and we ate it on our own private patio at the hostel Las Olas in Copacabana. Paired with a cold Bolivian brew, some soft music from Anne's laptop and this magic sunset, our quaint dinner was a success, despite the over-boiled pasta.