Monday, December 7, 2015

Peru 2014 Day 5: June 27- Oceanside Restaurant Heaven

Peru 2014 Index

Abuelita started her morning rounds at the pharmacy and market before we regained consciousness. Anabelle expressed concern over breakfast that the crabs living near the beach we intended to visit might take revenge for her eating their companions.  Yes, paranoia positively gallops in my family. 

Only the three of us left the apartment that day to walk the path Rosa had often taken to “her” beach.  I was surprised to find the square near the local small docks filled with food, dancing and merrymaking. 
This is because I missed the section of all the signs advertising the Ceviche Festival on Saturday stated that there was also a St. Peter’s Festival on this day.  I can’t fall back on my usual “suck at languages” excuse for this one, as I had no problem figuring out the upcoming planned piscine party, I just missed half the signs’ content.   Latin America definitely excels at putting the festive in festival.  Having a full dance floor with costumed demonstrations in the center of the food tables would have beat out most gatherings of the same kind up here.  Adding a full band playing and dancing on one of the tiny tour boats to entertain party goers on the nearby water craft was going that extra mile.

There were a fair amount of statues, and cannons on display as we started our walk in earnest.  This was due to the large fortress and key naval base on that section of the coast. There was a bit of body part confusion for Anabelle.  Since she has my genes, it wasn’t the typical Naval/Navel transposition.  No, that would have been easy, and lacking in the large number of booger jokes we both made on the trip when she admitted she thought we were saying, “Nasal Base.”
The walking trip took us from Callao through Chuquito and finally to the beach Rosa spent many days at in La Punta. The beaches there are stone, not sand.  Learning to walk on a pile of rock tumbler outputs was not something that came naturally to me.  We grabbed a few souvenir stones, making sure to choose an extra interesting one for Geologist Uncle Dave.

Anabelle had her water shoes on to wade into the rocky surf. That meant I was right alongside her (though barefoot) for protection. Growing up swimming in only a lake means I shall never break out of my belief that a rogue wave, giant squid or evil mer-person is going to drag my child out to sea.  (There’s that family paranoia again.) The fact that my lack of experience on the shifting smoothed stones meant Rosa could have easily run down the beach to Anabelle well before I could have made the three steps to close the distance between us was not up for consideration.

I managed to get nailed by one of those rogue waves while attempting an artsy fartsy photo of a barnacle on the rocks.  On the other hand, subsequent nailings were while being distracted by the multiple gulls and pelicans flying and swimming about, or when I was learning my Up the Lake built experience at stone skipping utterly failed me when the water was moving. 

Anabelle also managed to get nailed by multiple waves…because it’s fun. 

The waves carried many of the small stones comprising the beach with them, peppering our legs with each nailing.  However, it was infinitely preferably to finding sand in every piece of clothing and bodily orifice, which is the case with ocean beaches I’ve visited up here.

Following a brief bit of drip drying, we walked down along other beaches past the giant and fancy old vacation houses originally built by the Ghosts of Peru Past. We were aiming toward the neighborhood where Anabelle had her custom lunch a few days before, and found ourselves in the parking lot of the Navy Club.  There the attendant showered us with an unstoppable torrent of flattery.  Unstoppable, at least, until he realized we had no car, then he completely ignored us.

The club had a restaurant up on the roof appropriately called El Mirador.  (That means “the lookout” for the Españolaish impaired like myself.)  The place had semi-recently been opened to the non-navyish members of society, and I was concerned it might be too fancy and/or expensive for landlubbers like us.  This wasn’t the case, while slightly more ocean dipped than most of the clientele, we weren’t dressed any different, and the food was priced the same as other local places.  Yes, Rosa and Anabelle, you told me so.

Explaining eating healthy in a country where just eating is a problem for many caused some difficulties.  Yet another lesson I should have paid more attention to in later days.

We placed our orders through Rosa, as ordering on my own I would have been lucky to convey I wanted the item cooked on a plate and not just tossed over the balcony.  She clearly specified I couldn’t have the choclo (freaky big and awesome Peruvian corn) because it was covered in butter. (Darn!)  She also asked them to leave off the cheese, and put the cream sauce of my dish on the side. 
While the waitress confirmed my fish wasn’t fried, she neglected to mention it was coated in about a half inch of breading.  Deciding it was time for a judicious use of “leave me alone I’m on vacation” I dipped it into the cream sauce and savored a spectacular lunch.  Anabelle enjoyed her’s just as much by stealing almost all of Rosa’s crab tequeños
(flaky stuffed breadsticks) which were delicious enough to warrant ordering a second plate. Rosa had an equally delightful meal once she replaced of her purloined provisions with some of Anabelle’s fried calamari
(um…fried calamari.)

After lunch we planned to walk down the pier for more ocean views.  We couldn’t as the pier was exclusively for the Naval Academy that takes up much of La Punta.  This may explain it being an increased level of spotless above the highly clean rest of Peru, and being virtually crime free. 
There was even talk of the possibility of bringing the SmartPhone on our return, if we could keep it hidden for the trip there.  No, I was not yet confident enough of a traveler to pull that one off, explaining why there's so many food pictures on this trip. With our limited photographic equipment, "still lifes" were the only sure things we could focus on.

We continued down the beach…

Or up the beach? 

I have no idea which direction we were going. Let’s just call it along the beach before the narrative slows down any further.

We continued along the beach to the area we’d eaten the other day.  Following an obligatory stop at the Donofrio cart, we crossed a section with much larger rocks and waves.  This brought us back to the restaurant on the outcropping (also called El Mirador) to retake the lost crab pictures.

We took a walkway atop a barrier protecting Cachalote and the other eateries on its strip from the raging sea.  There were several small boys repeatedly standing, jumping and playing on top of the walls on either side of the barrier top normally used to keep unsuspecting folks from pitching off the walkway into the briny depths.  The kids’ goal was geared to giving me a coronary, forcing a decision to take the steps down from the barrier and check out some street vendor tables along restaurant row.

We returned to the square we caught the bus in last time…because that’s where the buses come – duh.

Rosa and Abuelita needed another market trip that night.  Small refrigerators coupled with an abundance of awesome fresh stuff available made market trips frequent in those parts. Once again, my status as “grande gringo tonto obvio” made for more Anabelle and Daddy time.  I introduced her to more Looney Tunes, and she introduced me to Jetpack Joyride on the SmartPhone. 

I had originally thought it was yet another overly difficult pointless side-scroller.  She explained how the missions worked. The addition of short term goals to my old hands and brain turned it into a highly challenging, but fun, pointless side-scroller, and insured another shared addiction with my daughter. I’ve always been better with detailed, specific goals rather than broad, general ones.  That’s why I stink at regular Risk and kick butt at Castle Risk.

Rosa and Abuelita came back to our thunderous cheers.  Instead of the marketplace, they went to the other supermarket…the one with a Bembos! 


After dinner, resting and Anabelle’s bed time, once again the blog chain went into effect.  To make sure I’d have time to document this trip, I dug through all the Disney pictures from the previous year to make sure those posts would be ready.

I hope you all appreciate the sleep I give up to write these.

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