All three of us awoke after having weird nightmares, an unpleasant side effect of finally getting the required amount of sleep for human functioning.
The morning was filled with playing with dollies, some laundry, reading comics, watching TV and them tickling Abuelita while I made sure her Justice League figures were in the right order.
That means the day was already well into the good column before we did anything.
Pardo’s Pollo ala Brasa had moved back into “the best” territory after a slouch on Rosa’s previous solo visit. A trip to the mall to sample it with me was required.
Due to the extra tiny cab, which in Peru is saying something, I had to sit in the front.
With the techno Latin versions of “Oh Susannah,” “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain,” and “Auld Lang Syne” playing on the radio, the whole lane shifting, car dodging experience felt like a video game, preventing me from having a total panic.
On the way we passed the (I kid you not) “Linda Horney Day Care Center.” I didn’t know Tyrone F.’s daughter moved to South America.
We exited in front of the mall, and took the cross walk, passing an individual with the most thankless job in the world: A Peruvian Traffic Cop.
He’d wave the cars to go, and people would run all around him, then he’d motion for pedestrian traffic, and find himself dodging vehicles. He looked so sad.
Sitting at Pardo’s, we were entertained by the sounds of the Eighties. “Roxanne,” “Vogue” and “Living on a Prayer” all played. Anabelle headbanged to the Bon Jovi song, proving that even though she is genetically Peruvian, she’s a Jersey Girl.
For the second time of Anabelle and Rosa’s trip, a loud breaking plate garnered applause.
Weird- but at least this time, Anabelle didn't drop it.
The waiter’s name was Jesus, and good Catholics that my daughter and myself are, there was a near constant stream of, “Have you found Jesus?” jokes throughout the meal.
Pardo’s is pretty much a sports bar, which means most screens were tuned to soccer. Luckily for me, there is another sport big down there that I'm a fan of:
A bunch of regular and kickboxing bouts played throughout the meal. Woo!
After lunch we entered the mall proper, stopping for churros. That's one of our main family pastimes. In fact, “Ooh Churros!” may be our family motto. Tasty tubular treats in hand, we entered Sodimac.
Anabelle’s description of the store: “Like Home Depot but not smelly.”
Then it was over to Tottus, to bask in the horrors of Happyland. Anabelle bought a dog tag out of a machine there for two soles. Apparently the mall version was Happyland North, a slightly less scary version than the local branch.
There were pianos here and there in the mall for shoppers to play if the whim caught them. I say again, it was a much more festive culture than we were used to at home.
It was more honest too. The super trendy looking clothes store was called “The Cult.” We didn't go in for fear of initiation rituals.
I got to ride in the front of the cab on the way home again…oh yay. There was a grate separating the driver from us, but given his driving style, I suspect it was a roll cage. I had to make sure to not rest my arm on the door, because the window was open and I didn't want to elbow the other vehicles.
We planned to walk to Plaza Grau down by the docks using the street that passed the armed Pink Panther graffiti. However, Rosa sighted some people that made her decide we needed to not take that street. A city is a city.
We looked at the many statues of Grau, a hero known for defending the port against Chile, and also strolled down “Anchor Way.” The stroll became a little bit creepier when Rosa explained the anchors were all that was left of the ships in the harbor when a tsunami hit.
We got some local avian wildlife photos of pelicans and attempted some of neurotic seagulls. Anabelle tracked down a small brown bird she thought was cool looking, until I explained that, yes, there are brown pigeons. She then wanted to delete the picture.
We didn’t buy any fake poop or possibly still living shells from the local vendors, but Anabelle did get a beautiful little dolphin sculpture for one sol.
That’s half the price of the dog tags she bought earlier, for those of you with no attention span. Inflation is a harsh reality of the Happyland economy.
We had planned to take a boat tour to some local island to view sea lions and possibly dolphins and other marine life. Then Anabelle got a look at the John Pinnete trademark “Nay Nay Ferries,” and put the kibosh on those plans.
She was polite enough to listen to my “Empire Strikes Back walker origin story” when we saw the giant cargo loaders, before running from the ferries.
Since it was the afternoon on the weekend, the market crowds were down to “big goofy gringo safe” levels. It was a crazy indoor maze, filled with little shops stuck every which where. The set up was much like the Inca Market, but instead of souvenirs, the shops sold normal things:
Food, clothes, shoes, toys, kitchen supplies, underwear.
Often in combinations one wouldn’t expect.
I'm not exactly sure how anyone could make a shopping list for that environment, but it may contribute to everyone’s acceptance of “Peruvian Standard Time” for meetings and social events.
Back outside in the sun and breathable air, kids were playing a knock over the bottles/ soccer hybrid. There was also a living statue focusing far more on the “living” than “statue” part by constantly doing a salsa. Judging by the toys, Ladybug was really big there. We got Anabelle a knock-off Pirate Fairy version of Silvermist to be the doctor for her other Disney dolls.
Perfectly logical choice.
Out of the market there was more space, meaning the kids were playing a full blown soccer game in the street. We were able to pass the Armed Pink Panther Graffiti this time, even though the street looked the same to me.
This is why I don’t live in a Peruvian city, among other reasons.
“Yo tengo agua, por favor.”
When we got home, we found a show on about the top ten celebrity tragedies. Thanks to the Latin music required on every channel, it wasn’t too depressing. Especially since we followed it up with Los Vengadores Dos. Even superheroes sound manlier in Spanish.
Unlike the gold lined conquistador churches in Lima and Cuzco, the local Callao church could have passed for a converted truck garage, if it wasn't for all of the beautiful statues and other religious displays in the place.
The priest was extremely teeny, even by Peruvian, standards. I didn’t see him sit down behind the altar after communion, and thought he’d left.
At home, during our normal light dinner (eggs for Anabelle and sandwich for me), a 4.8 earthquake hit in Lima. Rosa was the only one who felt it, and if she didn’t go “WHOAH!” expecting us to freak out, we wouldn't have noticed anything. The more surprising event of the evening was Anabelle’s discovery that she liked “booger fruit.”
We looked at some Disney pictures together, and then Rosa and I booked the Atlantic City trip for the end of the summer. Yes, we reviewed a past vacation and set up a future vacation while on a current vacation. You’d think we enjoy each other’s company or something.
They went to sleep, and I did a little more Disney post editing, and then read. I tried reading some Gödel, Escher Bach while actually listening to Bach. Don’t get too impressed. I think the last time I read it; I listened to Lita Ford and the effect was the same. My reading and listening run independently, I guess.
While I read, there was much screaming,dog fighting, and other normal nighttime sounds that didn’t wake up my Peruvian family.
I found Anabelle had fallen asleep in my spot while reading with Rosa. Not wanting to disturb the cuteness, and more importantly, not wanting to launch my wife off of the air mattress and into the armoire with the weight shift if I replaced Anabelle, I slept in her bed.
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