Monday, December 14, 2015

Peru 2014 Day 6: June 28- Slow Day but Ended Late

Peru 2014 Index

Breakfast, or any meal at home, was interesting because of what may have been a near total lack of dairy cattle in the country.  Milk came in oversized juice bags.  Whatever was added to keep it fresh during transport from who knows where added an unusual flavor.  We threw away a couple of containers that “went bad” before figuring this out.  It’s the subtle differences that make international travel confusing.

Rosa and Abuelita started the day with another, “Not safe for you,” trip to the market and Library to get post cards.  That confused me until I learned my Spanish sucked. Actually, I knew that. What I learned was “Libreria” meant “stationary store.” Anabelle and I amused ourselves briefly with some more Looney Tunes.  We also played a few rounds of Go Fish and Old Maid. Don’t worry; we used Star Wars playing cards to insure pop culture geekiness remained a part of our activities.

Before they returned, we looked through the Universal Studios photos on the computer. Due to the folder containing the reduced and reviewed series of pictures for printing mysteriously vanishing, we’ll be lucky to get a Disney Album before we go back to see the effects of Queen Elsa completing her plan for World Domination.

Once they came back; all of us walked a couple of blocks down to Zully, one of many little “hole in the wall” type restaurants.  Even before flying down, Rosa had been promising to take us to a place with a Menu.  I didn’t see the attraction as:
A) I though all restaurants had menus, otherwise the guessing would get tedious.
B) I wouldn’t be able to read the menu anyway.

Turns out, I’m an idiot. (I know…big shock.)  A Menu (pronounced men-OO, not MEN-you, and normally having a rogue punctuation mark over the “u” that I can’t find in the font I like to use) means there are set, premade courses available for a single price. We all had excellent combinations of different meats and rice, made “sin sal” for Captain Cardiac here. The Inca Kola we ordered came in a one liter glass bottle.  It was an old school Peruvian lunch all the way.

Stuffed with Menu, we went to check out the Ceviche Festival over by the pier.  It was closing up, and the band was playing a disco song, strongly counteracting the “old school Peruvianness” of our day.   We hung around for a bit to look at the ocean sights, specifically the animated flock of pelicans and the guy fishing with only a line and hook, no pole.

Looking down on the water over a wall, we noticed some snails on the rocks the surf was breaking on.  We also noticed…

I’ve got no other explanation for what they were.   They were definitely alive, and shaped like hand sized black tadpoles.  However, tadpoles don’t live in salt water, and can’t climb and move about on land. It was also the wrong environment for mudskippers, and they lacked bug eyes anyway. The only thing they remotely resembled was the initial phase of the Smog Monster.  On the other side of the Pacific Ocean we were looking at was Japan; they well could have been baby Kaiju.

The trip of the day was to the Gran Mercado Inka. (Big Inca Market…like you needed help with that one.)  a series of interconnected stores for locally made items.  First we had to head home for a pit stop and Menu leftover drop.  Back in the apartment, we thought the bagged milk had really gone sour.  We learned instead the smell came from snails.  I was trying to figure out how we didn’t notice them following us home from the ocean as I thought we walked pretty quickly.  It turned out that when we split up after lunch, Abuelita went to another market to buy one of Rosa’s favorite foods.  Following that revelation, Rosa was no longer allowed to make a face when I ate…

Well, pretty much anything.

There was no space on the bus going directly to La Marina, the street the market was on.  We thought about changing buses, but the cost would be much closer to the cost of a cab ride than a single fare would.  Plus, it would require finding two separate buses that I could actually fit into. 

We took the cab.

Interestingly, though the stores were all independent, many had identical merchandise - identical except for the price, that is. My guess is price varied not only shop to shop, but also day to day, and based on ethnicity of the shopper.  I wisely kept my big, fat, non-blending mouth shut, discounting the occasional “oof” when I hit my head on some low hanging object that was well above normal, safe, Peruvian navigation height. 

However, at the Market was the one instance where I could have blended. A tour group with unmistakable “U S of A” accents and “why is everything so different?” attitudes, wearing beer t-shirts and camouflage pants exited a bus while we were there. As soon as I saw the vendors sizing me up as part of that gang, I immediately moved closer to my family and mumbled a few minor phrases in Spanish.  As long as I wasn’t blending in general, I wanted to make sure of some specific not blending.

Anabelle picked out a couple of finger puppets.  Based on reading Secret Wars, she picked a black costume Spider-Man.  Based on watching Looney Tunes she picked a Red Riding Hood…TA HAAAAVE!

Rosa was trying to find an oversized (or in the States, normal sized) Peru jacket.  Oddly, while all the shops were independent, and had varied prices, many owners were cross related.  She was finally able to place an order for a delivery due later in the week from the sister of the woman we were buying hats from.  I think we bought the oven mitts in another store.  We walked around a lot.  While jacket hunting, she also found the wood painting she’d seen on her visit the year before and couldn’t find this time around.  We’re big fans of the “random event” method of shopping.

Abuelita sweetly made us pick out presents from her, and I found a black shirt with a cool looking Chavin demon/god thingy that matched the rest of my wardrobe well. At first I thought they didn’t have my size, but this time the scale discrepancies were in my favor, and my size turned out to be two sizes up from what I usually wear. (Thanx Mamita!)

Abuelita’s friend gave Anabelle a little cup and ball game from her shop as a gift - because she was awesome, as was most of Peru when it came to hospitality now that I mention it. Rosa picked out decorative mirrors for herself and my Mom there. 

Just how behind my country is on the “real” football front hit home again when we exited the Market.  The highway sign, which we would use here in the States for such trivial items as traffic conditions or stolen vehicle reports, boldly displayed the current World Cup score.

Another typical (i.e. terrifying) taxi ride took us home, once we found one that had an actual permit to come to our neighborhood.  The seat belt hunt took longer than usual, but I had become expert at anchoring Anabelle in place during the quest. The driver attempted to leave with Abuelita sitting side saddle out of the back seat. Luckily, Anabelle’s fluent, panicked cry of, “Espera!” caught his attention before he inadvertently kidnapped Rosa’s mom.

We walked to Church for the early Saturday night mass, and my timing held up as stellar as always.  Much like it used to be in the “old days” here, weddings happened at regular Masses there.  This couple had been living together thirty three years, but decided to wait until I showed up to get married.  I thought I sucked at blending in before…

And suddenly I’m on line for communion at a Peruvian wedding.

I’m sure the priest noticed I wasn’t dressed for a wedding as he barely came up to my chest. Because he was dipping the host in the wine for the event, he practically got whiplash craning his neck back to see my face.

Oh, and the Gloria was to “Hey Jude.” Rosa said it always is down there.  Fortunately, they left out the “na na na na” part or we’d still be in Church.  Considering the Spanish mass at home used “The Sounds of Silence” for the Our Father (which Rosa was also familiar with) just goes to show that even when it comes to religion, Latin America is musically way cooler than we are.

On the way home, my post 9-11 existence threw me into a panic when a woman darted out of a doorway and left a bag on the corner.  My concern was quickly quelled when I received an explanation that also demonstrated why the streets were so clean.  Because of the abundance of available people needing work, there wasn’t a specific “garbage day.” The trucks patrolled near constantly, with properly protected individuals hopping off the vehicles to grab whatever bags, or litter items were seen.  We also passed some kids with odd threaded poles that would remain a mystery for another time.


OK, it was by no means a Bum bum BUUUUUUUUM!! worthy mystery, but this day was kinda slow and needed an uptick in drama.

We got home for a late, small dinner, still somewhat Menufull.  The local sweet potatoes were delicious and the local avocados were horrifying.  It was tasty and all, but the tropics does scary things when it comes to fruit sizes. I thought the dang thing was a papaya.

The day came to a close with Spanish TV and Disney photo compressing.

Click To Continue.

Peru 2014 Index

No comments: