14 January 2009

Peru - Day 1

We traveled all day on the 12th, going from SLC to Dallas to Miami and finally landing in Lima, Peru at 5:00 a.m. on the 13th. We cleared immigration and customs with no hassle and got back to Doug and Connie's appartment by 6:00 a.m. We slept past noon and then hit the streets . . .

It's summer here in the southern hemisphere, so we weren't walking the streets for long before it was time for an ice cream break. Connie asked the nattily-attired vendor, "Tiene minis?" (which means, "Do you have the little ones?"). He did, and for $0.33 we enjoyed a delicious mini ice cream sandwich (or "aand wich", according to the label).

Things I enjoyed about this experience, apart from the delicious treat, were: the vendor's uniform (including matching cap), and the treat's slogan "Vive El Sabor Peruano" ("Live the Peruvian Flavor"). We're livin' it . . .

Quite non-ironically, the ice cream stop was just an snacking interlude on our journey to enjoy a more substantial snack. A short bus ride ride and a brief walk and we were being seated patio style at Senor Pepe's. Doug ordered three plates of "Picarones" and someone - possibly Pepe - began dunking a sweet potato batter into hot oil, pulling out piping hot rings that were a cross between a churro and a doughnut, but made out of sweet potatoes. They were drenched in a honey syrup and served hot. A winning combination no matter what country you're in.


Next we were off to the Peruvian Indian markets. We'll be spending the next four days high in the Andes mountains at Machu Pichu, but this Lima market was the place to find all of the indigenous wares in one location. We bought such authentic souvenirs of the Peruvian highlanders as t-shirts, a silver chain necklace, and this fantastic nativity set:

We had a small snafu at the market which resulted in me being separated from the rest of the group for about 20 minutes, just at the time when we were planning to leave. I looked for the group for a while with no luck, so then I just sat in the last place we had all been together and played RISK on my iphone. I beat the computer in the RISK game and eventually the group came back around looking for me. We all boarded the bus and headed for the Miraflores district.

The Lima I'm experiencing isn't much like the late-80's mission stories I've heard from the Earls. Apparently the city has modernized rapidly in the past 20 years, creating a sizeable middle class and adding an abundance of the trappings of western culture. The place seems like a snapshot of modern day Mexico City, with American fast food joints on every corner, huge upscale shopping malls, and big box stores and movie theaters. The Miraflores district seems quite affluent; it runs up to the seashore and is home to some beautiful hotels, high-rise apartments, and supporting high-end shopping and restaurants. At this point in our day the restaurants were calling my name and Doug had the perfect place in mind: Valentino's on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.



The food was tremendous. Connie had ravioli stuffed with squash. Angelique had ravioli filled with cheese and proscuitto covered in tomato pomodoro sauce. Justin and Cali both had the filet mignon topped with gorgonzola cheese and butter. Doug had a little bite of everyone's dish, and he picked up the tab. Good man.
I had a delicious duo; a combo plate of grilled scallops and tuna tataki in miso sauce, and a bowl of Peruvian cream corn soup with jumbo shrimp. The soup (pictured below) was so amazing that I sent the bowl around the table and made everyone have a slurp. I also enjoyed a delicous frozen pineapple drink (Cali's lemonade was tops though - wow).
More to come after we arrive in Cusco for the weekend. So far, Peru is greatly exceeding my expectations.

9 comments:

Samantha said...

Okay, so I know I just got back from there, but I wish I were there! I just know how much fun you are having and wish I could experience with you. Glad you got there safe and that you are already blogging about it. Have fun, I can't wait to hear more!

Allison said...

I love your focus on the food....keep it coming. Glad you got scallops. I still remember you asking us to buy them for the Christmas cabin trip. Cali looks so happy to be with her mom and dad. Have a great time. Oh, and tell Cali that I still want her to blog all about this trip so I can get her perspective (which will probably include more of how it felt to be there and less about the culinary fare.) love you both...

Supercords said...

The thunder has officially been stolen from my bus trip...

angie said...

I love your vacation accounts, and especially your focus on the food. although it's kind of funny one of your first meals in peru was italian but that's cool. I'm a super fan of that nativity, although I think you might have to spend some time explaining to people it's peruvian instead of an early white american view of black people.

emily said...

I have a new theory. I have discovered about myself that whenever I go on vacation (or even on a date, for that matter), I judge its awesomeness by how good the food was. There could be a million other things we did or saw or experienced, but eventually, all it really comes back to for me is the food. (I still have vivid memories of that filet mignon I ate at the club with you guys nearly four years ago. Now THAT was a good date.) Perhaps we could be related.

Lindsay said...

Wow! Sounds like an awesome trip so far! And that vendor looks super funny in his uniform. Glad you got a picture of that one! Have a blast and keep the updates coming!

vjc said...

You are a man after my husbands heart. I used to crave tales of beauty and adventure when he would return from his travels, but have learned to love his enthusiastic acounts of the food instead. yeah!!

Speaking of Yeah! Yeah! Cardinals!!

gramyflys said...

Looks like an over-the-top adventure you are having. I have to say that I think you got your healthy obsession with food from your parents. We do love to eat! Mostly, today, we are just thrilled about the Cardinals' win...Dad couldn't stop dancing. He is one happy man. He wanted to talk to you so bad. Cannon called him, so it was fun for him to rehash the game....and the possibilities ahead. He sure would love to be in Tampa with YOU in two weeks...have a fun safe time in Peru and say hi to Connie and Doug for us...

Natalie said...

Sounds like Connie is eating a lot of ravioli!