Living in South America/Peru – Part 2 (7/11/2009 – 7/31/2009)
Living in South America/Peru – Part 2 (7/11/2009 – ?) Content
July 13, 2009
Hi everyone! I found out recently that some people were unable to see entries in my Living in South America section after the 6/22 entry. I think it might have something to do with the version of IE they are on or a setting about how much content a page can have on a web site. Anyway I have decided to resolve this by creating a Living in South America Part 2 starting with today’s entry.
At least for awhile you won’t have to scroll down so far to read my latest. I had a great weekend again. On Saturday I went to the Pisco Festival at the Parque
de Amistad (Friendship Park) in Surco with my friend Steve and his brother Anthony. Apparently the entire
month of July has been set aside to celebrate their national alchohol, Pisco.
For those who haven’t tried it, it is a brandy made from grapes grown here in
the southern regions of Peru. The alcohol content is very high and it reminds me of some of the better Tequilas that I have had.
The National Drink made from Pisco is the Pisco Sour which if made poorly tastes a lot like a bad Margarita. But, when it is made well with a good Pisco it is delicious.
Of course there is a whole range of drinks made from Pisco some of which are quite colorful with some very exotic names. There were a lot of booths set up by the various manufacturers offering samples of their Pisco. I think if a person wanted they could have copped quite a little buzz just from hitting all the booths and sampling the wide variety of Piscos that each had to offer.
Yours truly was a good boy though and I only tried 4 or 5 of the different brands.
Now they have followed the route of the Tequila makers and have flavored Pisco of every imaginable kind. There
was going to be entertainment in the evening bands and assorted other acts but we didn’t stay for those events. The park itself is very nice. They have sculpted shrubs all over the place in a variety if fantastical shapes.
There are a lot of food vendors there offering everything from a light snack
to a full lunch. We had a nice little lunch while we were there. Steve and Antonio had the Cebiche (excellent according to them) and I had the nuggets of Pollo.
Of course there are all kinds of things for the kids to do and a nice little
lake in the center with ducks and very colorful carp to feed. There is also a
train that runs the entire perimeter of the park that the entire family can ride.
It sure looked like everyone was having a good time. Of course there was no sun
on this day. Afterwards I returned to the apartment and enjoyed a nice restful
evening watching a movie and eating popcorn. Something are the same everywhere.
Sunday I was invited to go to Chosica with Steve and his family and this time
we actually made the trip. Chosica is a town to the East of Lima, approximately
an hour’s drive or a little more by car. Antonio came over and picked me up and
took me to their house where we waited for everyone to arrive. They have a large
van and there were seven of us going for the day. It was Steve, his Mom Jaita,
Jose Manuel, his brother Antonio, his friend Ruben and their nephew Alex along
with me. The ride there took a few unexpected twists and I got a tour of parts
of Lima unexpectedly.
Antonio took the wrong exit and we ended up in one of the far suburbs where there are a lot of manufacturing and distribution centers. It took us awhile to get
back on the expressway and headed in the right direction again. One of the interesting things we saw on the way there were the kite sellers on the side of the road.
There were hundreds of them stretched out along the highway. We passed through
several towns and some farmland on the way there, some of it was beautiful and
some of it showed the extreme poverty that exists here in Peru. One of the nice
towns that we passed through was Choclacayo. I had read some articles about this
town previously talking about what a nice place it was to live. From what I saw
as we passed through, I must agree. The town was beautiful with clean streets
and a beautiful central Plaza. The buildings seemed to be well maintained and
more importantly, the sun was shining. Arriving
in Chosica, Jaita took us to the club where she was a member (you have to be a lawyer to be a member) and we took a quick look at the grounds. There were lots of families picnicking, playing volleyball and soccer. It was a nice place but we were all hungry and everyone was anxious to get to a good place for food
and some fun. We drove up the side of a mountain on the outskirts of town to
another little village where we stopped at the main square (actually the only square) and bought some fruit and other goodies from the vendors surrounding the square. I finally got to try one of those strange looking fruits I see in the Grocery store (sorry I don’t remember the name) and it was soooo good. The inside of the fruit look like white cotton candy and it was very sweet and delicious. I will make sure that any of
you who come to visit try some. Piling back in the car we drove back a little ways to a place called “El Tinajon” to eat and enjoy the afternoon. El Tinajon is kind of like a resort area. There is a hotel there in which you can stay, a pool area, a large stage where entertainment plays, a playground
for the kids, Ping Pong Tables, Foosball, Sapo (I will explain this in a bit) and a very large outdoor eating area. The group had decided on this place because they served food cooked in the Pachacama style. That is cooked under the ground surrounded by hot rocks and coals. Regardless of what you ordered there was plenty of food
served at very reasonable rates. I had a Ricoto Relleno for an appetizer and the Polllo Suprema as my main course and was unable to finish all of it. After eating I wandered around the compound taking some photos and checking the place out. When I returned, Jose Manuel challenged me to a game of Sapo which after I learned the rules reminded me a lot
of the “Washers” we play in the Midwest. Each player gets five coins (not really money) and tosses them at the wooden structure in an attempt to get the coins to fall into the holes on top for a wide variety of points. Also on this structure is a bronze frog (el sapo) with his mouth open. If you get a coin to go into the frog’s mouth you get 5000 points and automatically win the game. Believe me it’s not as easy as it looks when you first start playing. It was great fun
though. Antonio, Ruben and Alex went off and played Ping Pong, we also listened
while a band played a good selection of Peruvian music and we also sat around
the table and talked for awhile. I got to practice my limited Spanish a lot since
Steve was the only person there who spoke English. Naturally there were many
question like, do you lock your doors in the US? Do you loan things to your neighbors?
How much does this and that cost plus much much more? They were also interested
in the difference between Southern Illinois and Philadelphia. Needless to say
they kept Steve busy translating and gave me a headache trying to recognize all
the Spanish words I could. It was a great day though and I enjoyed spending the
time with Steve’s family and friends very much. For
a final note I just wanted to add to the “you never know what you will see in Barranco” section
of my life. Here are a couple of photos I took in the last few days. I think
I posted the man in the wall photo on one of my previous trips but don’t remember.
Anyway he is still there and doing well. Also, what a novel way to advertise the latest Harry Potter Movie; attach posters of the move to back of bicycles
and have people ride around in the middle of the street with them. It’s sure
to get your attention, I will say that. Well I hope all of you enjoyed your weekends
as much as I did. Have a great week.
Good news everyone, my good friend haitham discovered what the problem was with my entries after 6/22 and fixed it. You can now go back to the “Living in South America (5/1/2009- 7/10/2009)” and read those if you want. I’m still working on getting the photos to blow up the way they used to. Later everyone.
I went for another of my long walks yesterday, traveling all the way into Miraflores and back. Naturally the parasailors were out despite the fact that it was a cloudy day. I snapped a few quick pics of them after I finished my lunch at Larcomar. I stopped there for a quick bite as a little treat to myself and to see if there were any new stores.
Also I wanted to see if a much advertised show of artifacts from Sipan had started yet. It had not so I didn’t spend a lot of time at the Mall. On the way back
through Barranco I walked by the Historical Old Church and was amazed to see the front doors open and workmen coming and going. In all of my visits here and all of my walks by this church I have never seen the inside of it. This church was built on this spot to commemorate the spot where Barranco was founded. The story goes that there was a boat of fishermen who had become lost in the fog along the coast. When all seemed lost they saw a shining light beckoning them to safety. Once they landed safely the light disappeared and climbing the cliff side they could not find any reason for the light. A cross now stands on this spot where the light was seen and the church was built next to it. Thus began the life of the small fishing village of Barranco. It’s an interesting story and I thought you might enjoy it. I took a few photos of the interior with the permission of the workmen and I thought those who have visited me and seen the church might enjoy them. In addition I think I have figured out the problm with the photos not blowing
up when you click on them. You should be able to expand the ones in this entry.
Have a great day everyone.
Friday morning and I am getting ready for the weekend. Yesterday I had a nice lunch at a restaurant called Mama Olla in Miraflores with Ben (the editor of LiP) and his wife Zulma. They are a great fun couple and I enjoyed the time with them very much. The food at the restaurant was delicious although a little pricy by Peruvian standards in my book. It’s located on the street called Tarta which
has a story of its own. Apparently in the days of the Shining Path, they bombed a few buildings on this street. Now it has been restored, closed to traffic and a monument built to commemorate the loss of lives in the incident. We discussed ideas for future articles; they thanked me for my contributions to date and discussed some activities for future dates. Zulma had to leave and go to work whereas Ben stuck around and we talked a bit about their future plans. Afterwards Ben showed me a few stores in the area where I could buy the office supplies I need and a couple more places that sell art supplies. I am considering taking up painting again down here. So you can look for the hot new Peruvian Artist on the scene Rodrigo Dodimante. They say he is very reclusive and no one ever gets to actually meet him. LOL Today I will be writing, working on photos and working on a couple of articlesz I have started. Then it’s off to the gym and maybe dinner out tonight.
I have some good plans for the weekend so far. Saturday we are going to another Pisco Festival and then to a play, “The Beginning” in the evening. I will be writing an article on the Pisco Festivals and will do a review of the play for LiP. Sunday Steve and Antonio will drive me up to Marcahuasi to take photos for an article I want to write on the area. This plateau has stone formations that have been carved by the wind and rain over millennia which take on forms of animals, people’s faces and other fantastical shapes. If that doesn’t work out I need to return to Chosica and Choclacayo to get more photos for another article I am writing. I hope the rain has stopped and the Sun shines for your weekend.
Have a great one everybody.
It’s another rainy day here in Lima and a perfect morning to update this journal.
I had a very nice weekend again and I hope that all of you did also. Saturday I went to another
Pisco Festival. Apparently there will be Festivals celebrating the national drink
of Peru for the entire month. There were a lot more people at this one and many more vendors selling not only Pisco but food and other Peruvian made goods. It was on a different Plaza in Surco this time in an older part of that district. There was a beautiful old church on the Plaza as well
as the city hall. The park was nice and well groomed. The crowd sauntered through the exhibits sampling
the Pisco and eating a nice lunch. We also stopped for a lunch and had a nice hot soup as it was a little chilly on Saturday. I didn’t sample any of the Piscos on this day as they were the same brands that had been displaying at the one I went to on the previous Saturday. There will be another festival next weekend here in the main square in Barranco with food, entertainment and artists displaying their wares. I will spend a lot more time at it and will write an article for LiP on the entire experience. Later in the evening I went to a new play at the theater here in Barranco. The play
was called “El Teatro del Gran Mundo or The Beginning” and was a comedy. I have to admit that I loved this play. You did not need to understand Spanish, although mine is getting better, to get the comedy in this performance. The play was a hilarious romp through the history of theater since the first theater performance.
They took scenes from various famous plays throughout history and placed a comedic bent on them. It had the audience including me chuckling and laughing throughout the whole show. Some of the scenes were from Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus Rex, Cabaret, the Italian Opera Rigoletto, Noah and the Arc, Respira (a modern Peruvian play), a Chekov play and many many more. The actors and Director were the same as the ones from “Tu O Yo” which I had seen about a month ago. Once again they were excellent and
I left very impressed with the talent of these young thespians. I was at the
play as a guest of the theater to do a review for LiP. Needless to say they will
be getting a good one. Sunday I was hoping to go to Marcahuasi but those plans fell through. I also heard that they were
going to have a big parade in Miraflores and since I wanted to walk over and
browse through some shops for painting supplies, yes I am thinking of taking up my oil painting again, I decided I would stay and watch the parade also. Well
all of that turned out to be a bust. There was no parade or if there was
I couldn’t find it and all the shops I had seen a few days earlier that sell the supplies I need were closed. I didn’t want to waste the walk over, it takes
me a little over an hour, I decided to have
a nice lunch and enjoy Parque Kennedy. I had my lunch at El Tigre, a nice little restaurant that borders on the park and offers a good view of all the things
that are going on there. I kept the lunch light by ordering a couple of appetizers, a tamal and some toquenos with an avocado dip. The artists were out displaying
their work for sale. I must admit that there are some very talented artists here in Peru and their work is simply amazing. Parque Kennedy is a nice place to spend a couple of hours people watching. There is always something going on there. They have a nice children’s play area and you can hear the screams of delight as they play on the swings, climb the monkey bars and slide down the sliding boards while their parents watch anxiously. Amateur musicians sitting on the benches practice their music, lovers walk arm in arm oblicious of their surroundings, food vendors
scattered throughout the park selling delicious treats are only a few of the things you can enjoy seeing and doing here. So despite my disappointment at not seeing the parade or getting to the shops I still had a wonderful afternoon in Miraflores. Monday I spent indoors mostly because of the rain. A quick trip to the market and another one to the Internet Café to check E-mails was all I managed.
It rained all day and last night it rained more and even harder. So imagine my
surprise to get up this morning to find a partially flooded apartment. Apparently
this amount of rainfall at once is very rare for Lima and the flat roofs are just not built to handle it. I have a sky light in my hall way and water was leaking through is like a little waterfall. So today I have spent most of the day mopping the floor to keep the leak under control. They also came and fixed my internet connection today, thank goodness. If I had to play one more hand of Solitaire on the computer I was going to go insane. They will be here to fix the leaks to the roof tomorrow. At least for now the rain has stopped. This week will be spent as many of my others; writing, taking photos, going for walks and
hitting the gym as often as I can. Next weekend is the big one. It will be Peru’s
Independence Day and there are many activities planned for the weekend. I know
that I will be going to a party Friday evening for the LiP Staff, going to the
small Festival here in Barranco on Saturday and trying to find a parade or fireworks
display to see on Sunday. As always, have a good week everyone.
The rest of the week was filled with pretty routine stuff. The one thing that is of special note is that
LAN Airlines was having a special 50% off airfare for destinations inside Peru.
The deal was that you had to make the reservations and pay for them between 7/21 and 7/23 for flights between 8/24 and 12/29 with a 4 day minimum stay involving a Saturday night. I jumped all over the deal and got tickets to Tumbes, a beach town in the extreme northern part of Peru, for 8/26 – 8/30 and Cajamarca, a town in the mountains to the west of Lima, for 11/7 – 11/11. The total cost was $136 USD. How cool
is that. Now I just have to make my plans for Quito and I will be all set for the rest of this year. You can get some great deals on airfare here in Peru but the trick is you have to be here. You cannot pay for them online with a credit card. You have to print out a voucher of sorts and take it to any number of spots here like the Metro and pay at the cashier. Also you only have about 7 hours to make the payment after you print the voucher. I have some nice plans for the weekend once again. There is the party for the Living
in Peru staff at Donatellos tonight, then the Pisco Festival here in Barranco on Saturday and Sunday I am still looking for a parade or some fireworks to see. If that falls through then I will just go for another long walk on Sunday to explore
another section of the city. I was wrong about the Independence Day celebrations being this weekend. They are July 28 and 29 and like our July 4th almost everything will be shut down so the people can celebrate. So I imagine that I might have better luck seeing a parade on Tuesday or Wednesday. The Pisco Festival here looks like it is going to put all the others to shame. I walked by the square last night where they were setting up for the event and it looks like it is going to be massive.
Two announcements for those who do not already know; my good friends Robert and Lisa had a new baby girl this week and my other great friends Chris and Ashley are officially pregnant.
Life goes on! Congratulations to both couples, I love you guys and wish you all
the best life has to offer. Another quick one, my wonderful friends Haitham and
Erin are moving into their new home. Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership.
Just let me know which room is mine. LOL
Have a great weekend everyone.
I hope the sun is shining, a warm breeze is blowing and fun is everywhere you
look. It’s a few hours later than the last few paragraphs that I entered. I went for a little
walk and got a lot of nice photos and decided to paste as many of them as possible into this entry. Some of them are of the set up going on in the main square for the Festival this weekend.
There are also some pictures of some goods being sold at this event. I took some pictures of the ones that were interesting to me today. Of note are the ones of rugs or wall hangings woven so that they have a 3D effect. They are very beautiful.
Also those who have visited me will know of my interest in the “Red Palace” on
the main drag here in Barranco. You could tell it was a beautiful building at
one time and it just broke my heart to see it in its deteriorating condition.
Well, the good news is that they have collected funds and have started restoration
on the building. I think it will be stunning when they are finished. I have no
idea what it will be used as but I am hoping it will be a museum or art gallery. I
also took a picture of my favorite snack at Espigne de Oro; it’s my Café Americano and a Tarteletta de Fresa. Returning home I took my favorite path and took some pictures that might be if interest. I took
a little side street I had never been on before and ended up behind the old historical church so I snapped some pictures of it from behind and took and interesting one of an old window in the ruined roof. It also appeared that they were setting
up for a wedding in front of the façade so I snapped a picture of that really quick. Another of my favorite things to see on my walks is this very old urn, made in 1690. You can actually see the mark on the urn. What amazes me is that it is being used as a pot for a plant. I also snapped a quick photo of my favorite place on the walk. It is a small terrace built on the back of some Apartment
buildings and the view is beautiful from there day or night. I hope you enjoy
the photos, later everyone.
I had another weekend filled with fun and excitement. I hope all of you did also.
Friday evening was the LiP Staff dinner party and it was a great event. The restaurant, Donatello,
went all out to make us feel welcome and prepared a great dinner for us. There were about 20 people in attendance and Most of you know that I am terrible with
names so I will only mention the few I remember from the evening. Carsten, the owner of LiP held the event to show his appreciation for his staff’s hard work in the past year and to show appreciation
to the writers who are his regular contributors. Ben the editor was in attendance as well as Larry another writer whose work I admire. In addition I finally got to meet
Isabel who translates the news articles from Spanish to English; Moots, a young man who will be writing most of the business articles and many others whose names
I simply do not remember. Everyone was in a great mood and besides the delicious food the conversation was lively and interesting. Thank goodness it was mostly in English. LOL We had about 10 – 15 different kinds of Pizza and Pasta Dishes
to eat and everything I had was very delicious. Carsten introduced me to his
favorite Pisco which was very good and he and I toasted a few times that evening.
It was really a lot of fun and lasted until close to midnight when I caught a
cab and headed for home. Saturday was the beginning of the Pisco and Artisan Festival here in Barranco’s main Plaza.
It was another great event and easily the largest and best of all the festivals I attended in July. Barranco really went all out to attract some of the best Pisco Vendors
and magnificent artisans from all over Peru. The Piscos I sampled were wonderful and reminded me of the excellent Tequilas I enjoy back in the United States. My favorite was the one that Carsten introduced me to at the party Friday night, Pisco Italia. The pisco vendors and entertainment were all set up in front of the old historical church “La Ermita” down by the Bridge of Sighs. The crowd was large but not so big that you couldn’t enjoy the event. I imagine that the chilly weather and Lima’s version of rain kept some people away in the evenings. The music was nice, a mixture of good Latin dance music and traditional Peruvian folk music. The set up here looked very nice with the church in the background
and the crowd was very well behaved despite all the imbibing going on. On
the central plaza up by the new church they had set up booths for the various artisans who were there to display and sell their goods. It was very impressive with some of the best samples of Peruvian skills that I have seen at an event like this. There were clothes
of all types, purses and shoes, furniture hand carved using some beautiful woods, woven wall hangings, Jewelry of all types, stuffed animals made of Alpaca wool, hand woven rugs, and the most amazing ceramics I have ever seen. It’s lucky I didn’t have a lot of money with me or I would have had to hire a truck to carry all the stuff I would have bought back to the apartment. As it was I barely managed to escape without purchasing anything. There had to have been between
75 and 100 vendors there selling their goods. Lots of the people selling their wares were dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing representing the area they were from. Several of the stands represented charity organizations where they were selling goods made by handicapped persons who were being taught a useful trade. Those were the hardest to pass up.
Some of the artisans were demonstrating the skills necessary to make the things they were selling. Of note were two women who were weaving on looms that have been in use since weaving was first being done by the ancient cultures that made
up this area of South America. It was fascinating to watch and gave you a true appreciation of the amount of time and skill it took to make some of the items being sold here. On Sunday I returned to the festival to do a couple of interviews
for the article I was writing and to enjoy all the artisans work again. Then I went for a nice walk, taking some photos and notes I needed for a two or three part article I am writing called “A Walk Through Barranco” in which I will describe my favorite walk around and the things I have seen that interest me. All in all it was a great weekend and I truly hope that all of you had a nice one too. This week I will be back in my routine of writing, taking pictures, going to the gym and getting stuff done around the apartment. See you on Facebook till my next update.
WOW, I can’t believe I have been in Peru for three months already. Time really does fly when you are having a good time. This past week has been no exception. Naturally I spent time writing and working on photographs I have been taking but other
opportunities also came up. Monday evening I met my friends Fiorella and Jose for Coffee and some wine. We had a great evening talking and laughing and just enjoying each other’s company. Jose’s biking business is doing really well although he has had a serious case of bronchitis for the last three weeks. Thank goodness he is all better now and was finally able to return to work. Fiorella is doing great also and she practiced her English while I tried out the new words in Spanish
I have been learning. We went to three different places, two coffee shops whose
names I do not remember and a restaurant/bar called Patagonia. They were all
nice and the wine, coffee and goodies we sampled were all very tasty. The Patagonia
Restaurant is referred to as “Chollywood” by the locals since many Peruvian TV
and Movie personalities hang out there. We did go to one last place called the “Corner
Tavern” because I had heard it was a good Sports Bar. It was late when we got
there so the place was empty and I wasn’t too impressed. Drink prices were pretty
much the same as they are in the US and although there were wall to wall TV’s
it didn’t seem to have a comfortable atmosphere to it. It was almost 2am by the
time I got home, it’s been a long time since I have been out that long but it
was a lot of fun. Wednesday Steve, family and friend (Jaita, Antonio, Alexcito, Panchito and Ruben) invited me to go to Cieneguilla with them in search of some sun. Well as we reached the top of the mountain pass going into Cieneguilla we could tell there was no sun to be had there. The clouds and fog were so thick you couldn’t see more that a couple of car lengths ahead of you. At this point we decided to turn around and look for something to do in Lima. As luck would have it, as we were driving through an area of Lima I noticed what looked like the ruins of a Huaca I had not seen before. Steve’s Mom informed me that is was indeed a Huaca and asked if I would like to stop. You know me and archaeological ruins, visiting a Huaca always makes me happy. The place was called Huaca Puruchuco and is another of Lima’s many pre Inca sites. This one was occupied by the Inca for a brief period of time though and has a large cemetery where the social elite
of the Inca were buried. Unfortunately by the time we got there it was almost closing time and I just barely had time to run through and get some photos. On the way out we stopped to take a photo
of a llama they had tethered outside the museum. Alexcito decided he wanted a photo of him with the Llama and the Llama was having none of it. The Llama and Alexcito got into a spitting match that was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Unfortunately for Alexcito I got a phot of the Llama taking a shot at him. I definitely need to go back again though and tour the museum on site as well as the cemetery area. Afterwards we enjoyed a dinner of Pollo and Pappas. Thursday I spent the morning writing, taking a short walk, taking some photos and going to the gym. Afterwards Steve, his Mom Jaita, Jose Manuel (Mom’s boyfriend) and Panchito (his Uncle) took me to the Parque de la Reserva close to Lima Center. It is a park full of beautiful water fountains and at night they are lit up with colored lights and at the main fountain a water, light and laser show is performed that has to rival the one done at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It truly was spectacular and beautiful.
All of it done to music ranging from Mozart to the Beatles. Some of the fountains are specifically designed for children of all ages to play in and it was fun watching them try to figure out the timing of the water to avoid getting wet. The park is beautiful and well maintained in itself with Pergolas and seating areas where anyone could spend a leisurely day enjoying it. It’s a very large park and seeing all the fountains and watching the show took almost two and a half hours. Time well spent in my book. Afterwards we drove back into Barranco to take Jaita to see La Ermita (the historical church) and the viewing point behind it. Then back to Miraflores for coffee and a sandwich at the restaurant San Antonio before coming home. I have already envisioned two articles from these little adventures.
I hope your week was as fun as mine and I am looking forward to more adventures