Everyone dies. Not everyone truly lives. -William Wallace "Braveheart"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Exploring Barranco

We woke up early and went downstairs for breakfast which was simple, but delicious: eggs any way, toast with marmalade and fresh squeezed OJ.  I don't know what it is about being in another country but everything seems to look better, smell better, and taste better.  The sky looks bluer, the smell of street food fills the air, and the eggs and plain toast taste like a meaty omelet and croissant.  You often wonder if people from that country would experience the same orgasm of the senses back in your ho hum home town.

Alejandro was excited to be back in his home country

After our simple breakfast we ventured out to explore Barranco stopping at every little cafe and street vendor to introduce my mom and her boyfriend to a new edible sensation: Chicha Morada, Meat-Filled Tamales, Sweet Tamales... As we were eating our way through Barranco we ran into a group of school kids on a field trip.  They were trying to speak English to one another and didn't realize I was eavesdropping on their conversation.  When one of the girls asked "How are you?" I turned around and said "I'm doing good.  How are you?" All of a sudden I had 20 girls screaming and crowding around us.  I guess they didn't realize we spoke English and now they were eager to practice with us.  Alejandro told me to teach them something so I said something in English and they would all repeat in unison.  It kind of made me feel this power rush I had never felt before.

After my first English class we were hungry so we set out to find something to eat which isn't hard to do in Peru as there are people at every door eagerly waiting to drag you into their restaurant.  You don't have to find food...It finds you.  Well, as we were being bombarded by vendors we heard the magic words "FREE PISCO SOUR!" So we followed this gentleman up a narrow flight of stairs, and another, and another until we were on this rooftop overlooking the ocean crashing against the cliffs.  It was breathtaking.  We ordered a Cebiche de Corvina and Rollado de Mariscos.

There were a few things that happened in Peru that Alejandro and I forgot to mention/warn Mom about...never leave home without your own personal stash of toilette paper, don't give one kid a dollar bill when there are 50 more looking on, and do not eat the pretty red rocoto pepper that looks like a bell pepper.  This thing is like a bell pepper on steroids and is almost as hot as a habanero. Well there happened to be such a pepper sitting decoratively atop the Cebiche.  All of a sudden Mom looked as though she was about to pass out. "Oh my gosh..." she gasped "What have I done?! What did I just eat?!" I felt bad that we forgot to tell her but then at the same time...that's how I found out about it.

After lunch Mom experienced another first...her first taxi ride in Peru.  Taxi rides in Peru are not for the faint at heart.  They are for the thrill-seekers and are downright dangerous.  In fact, I've often wondered why people harp on the whole "don't drink the water" spiel when it's the taxi rides that are lethal.  I'll take the runs any day over being maimed by an oncoming vehicle.  We put Mom front and center to get a good view of the action...okay so the rest of us knew better than to sit up front.  Well, it hadn't been 5 min and we plowed into the guy in front of us.  I was actually thrilled.  It is a great treat to actually hit someone in a taxi because as crazy as they drive it seems like it rarely happens.  I tried explaining to Mom our great fortune and that it was incredibly good luck that we got into an accident our first ride, but she was not amused.

We eventually made it to Miraflores in one piece and promised Mom that we would walk the rest of the day.  We walked around the shops and tried to find the girl who made the best pisco sours EVER but her little cart was no longer there and when we asked around they said she closed down months ago :-( After shopping we actually convinced Mom to get in another taxi and we went to Alejandro's parents house in Los Sauces for dinner.

When we got there they had thrown a surprise welcome party for us.  They had 2 beautiful bouquets of flowers for Mom and I and 2 cakes.  In the center of the room there was a long table and chairs all decorated with chair covers and sashes and a tablecloth.  It was SO SWEET!  Alejandro informed me that his whole family was coming.  Rosa, Alejandro's sister, had made a feast fit for a king: Sangria, Cocktail de Algarobina, and Chicha to drink an Meata, Ensalada de Choclo, and Arroz Chaufa for dinner.

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