After we got back to Lima from Cuzco, Alejandro asked me if I would like to go up to the Northern coast of Peru. So with that, we hopped on a third bus and headed north 8 hrs to Trujillo. We had seen these cool little straw boats in a museum we had been to, so when I saw them bobbing up and down in the water I couldn't resist the urge to try my hand at one. Alejandro asked around, and talked to the local fishermen in the hopes of finding a place where we could rent one, but they all looked at us like we were insane. They were like "you want to ride around on our fishing boat!?" We finally found a couple confused fishermen who were willing to make a few bucks by lending us their boat. It was hard! They make it look so easy. They actually stand up on that thing and row with a giant piece of bamboo over these waves and everything and I could barely sit on it without toppling over. After our boating adventure we ate the best ceviche I've ever had...okay so it was the ONLY ceviche I've ever had, but it was GOOOOD! Not to mention beautifully presented.
Excuse me can we take your fishing boat out for a joy ride?
Just got back from a mini trip with Alejandro to North Carolina. When he has to go out of town for meetings we like to make a little adventure of it. Last year he had to go up to Kentucky for a meeting and we went to Ruby Falls, Lincoln's birthplace, and the Jack Daniel's Distillery along the way. This time we went horseback riding in the Leatherwood Mountains. I took horseback riding lessons for a year when I was 10, but it had been awhile since I had gotten back in the saddle and Alejandro had NEVER been on a horse, so we had to fix that. We rode for 2 hours in the mountains. It was beautiful! Alejandro's horse was Steam Roller and mine was Joey. Steam Roller kept farting in poor Joey's face every time we went up a hill and Joey kept biting him in the butt.
One of my favorite cities in Peru is Barranco. To me, Barranco has more historical flavor than the more popular neighboring district of Miraflores. If you ask the locals they will tell you to go to Lacomar in Miraflores to shop. Lacomar is an impressive outdoor shopping center in the heart of Miraflores, but it is decidedly American in feel, hence the reason the local Peruvians love it, because they see Peruvian all the time. To them Peruvian is the everyday...they can't understand why you are so excited to go to the hole-in-the-wall across the street that they have been going to for years versus going to a shiny new megamall in the heart of a big city. The architecture in Barranco is spectacular, very Spanish. Local artisans line the stone walkway that meanders down toward the shore below peddling handmade jewelry and other crafts. Local musicians serenade you by a beautiful park filled with beautiful fountains and statues.
Alejandro's parents actually got married in Barranco at this church and Alejandro went to seminary school a few buildings from that.
This is at one of the Chifa (Chinese) restaurants in Lima. All of this food was about $4.00 and I'm talking drinks and everything! You can eat like a king in Peru for a couple bucks and the food is not only abundant, but it's DELICIOUS! Every time we go to an overpriced restaurant in Atlanta and our $50 dinner is brought out and we mistake it for a complimentary appetizer we look at each other, sigh, and think "Man I miss Peru."
Being such a food enthusiast, I was curious what the food would be like in Peru. You may think me closed-minded, but I was thinking it would be similar to Mexican food. Alejandro told me the one type of food I wouldn't find in Peru was Mexican food.
The first night we went out for dinner in Lima I asked Alejandro to take me somewhere that had authentic Peruvian food and he took me to this hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant I was confused and I little disappointed to say the least. It would be like going to Italy, asking a local to take you somewhere with authentic Italian food and them taking you to a burger joint. You would think "I can get this back home" but you, like me, would be wrong. The Chinese food in Peru has a completely different flavor!
In fact, Peru was full of culinary suprises around every corner...literally! You wake up to the sound of a man on a bicycle toting a wagon full of the freshest fruits and vegetables you have ever seen, as you walk through the streets you pass vendors peddling, giant ears of corn, tamales, fresh baked breads, hole-in-the-walls with food presented in a way that you would have thought you had spent $40 a plate.
Here are my suggestions for things you must try in Peru:
2. Seco de Carne
3. Lomo Saltado
5. Aji de Gallina (Alejandro's Favorite)
6. Papas a la Huancaina
(if you go to Cusco; Note: it can be a bit pricy, but I suggest you go to a restaurant that knows how to prepare it. Otherwise you will end up gnawing on a charred cuy chew toy that has no meat on it like I did :-)
8. If you want to eat something else different try Corazon de Vaca (Cow Heart) you can get it at an anticucho stand on the side of the street, but I didn't care for that too much. I DID, however, like it at this sandwich place called Pavo's in Lima, which brings me to the next thing you must try...
9. Subs - they are like a meal between two pieces of bread, different from anything you can find in the states
10. Alcoholic Drinks: Pisco Sour & Cocktail de Algarobina
Non-alcoholic: Chicha Morada & Jugo de Maracuya
11. Also, grab a Granadilla fruit from a local market
(crack it open and slurp out the juicy seeds. Not the most beautiful fruit in the world, but definately one of the tastiest)
So, it turns out that the last two weeks in April are Semana Santa in Peru and everything is booked and/or extremely expensive. :-( We are having to postpone it a whole month now! Our flight from Lima to Iquitos, which is 1 hr 40 min went from $80 to $500......ONE WAY! Unless you are Peruvian. Then, apparently all you have to pay is $69....I wonder if I could pass for a Peruvian. If I attempt to pass myself off as a Peruvian I will have to be a mute Peruvian because as soon as I open my mouth they will KNOW something is off....HOLA Y'ALL!