Monday, November 23, 2015

Peru 2014 Day 3: June 25th- Great Seafood’s no Myth

Peru 2014 Index

I started the day by getting in trouble at breakfast, which was totally not my fault.

The Spanish translation of “Sliced Bread,” proudly labeled on the loaf’s packaging was “Pan de Molde.”

It is apparently bad form to begin the day with a series of “moldy bread” jokes.

The tradition of them shopping in well stocked, but un-big-goofy-white-guy-friendly places while Anabelle and I watched Looney Tunes took a stronger foothold in the morning.

Rosa and Abuelita returned, bringing supplies that proved a point about the United States and the metric system.  Pretty much the only metric usage that has taken hold in this country is the two liter soda bottle.  In Peru, and presumably other places where they understand how insanely illogical the “English” system is, they have soda in every metric sized bottle BUT two liters.  The one place we’ve adopted the better system, we still do it wrong.

We took a bus down to the ocean.  This was a momentous day since Rosa spent a great deal of time at the La Punta beaches growing up and was eager to share it with her child.  It was also a momentous day because we learned about a mode of transportation that could be more terrifying than Peruvian Cab rides.

Some of the buses were called combis.  Nice name, but they were only converted minivans with extra seats shoved in. I didn’t have a prayer of wedging into one of those, forcing us to wait for a transport big enough to fit me.  Once boarded, the four of us were taken to the ocean, often with three buses alongside each other jockeying for position on the two lane road.  Peru was trying to institute forced use of bus stops, but most passengers still hailed the buses like a New York cab by getting the attention of the person who hung out the door screaming in Spanish.

For those of you with linguistic skills that match mine, “the person who hung out the door screaming in Spanish” is not the literal translation of their official title: Cobradores.

We arrived in time for lunch. Rosa and Abuelita used their “Ceviche Sense” to select the proper choice out of the myriad storefront seafood restaurants - Cachalote.

Rosa had a Jalea Mixta (fried mixed seafood), while Abuelita enjoyed an Arroz Mixto (seafood mixed with rice).
 I had Arroz con Ebirah. (Perhaps not the proper title, but the shrimp in my rice were easily large enough to give Godzilla a good fight.)

Anabelle couldn’t find what she liked on the menu. This led us to discovering how incredible service can be in Peru.  The waitress asked what she liked and basically prepared an “Anabelle Special.”  Crabs and Yucca may sound simple, but aside from the generous helping of fried root vegetable, there were three full crabs.  The waitress immediately came over when she saw Anabelle (and I) struggling with the shells and cracked them all open for her.  In doing so, she earned herself a well above the Peruvian national average tip when we finished our giant and excellent portions.

To get a closer look at the ocean, and colonies of the crabs Anabelle had devoured in their natural habitat, we strolled down a boardwalkish path.  The wooden trail went along the shore to an overlook restaurant perched on an outcropping.

Gulls, pelicans and some sea raptor soared above us.  I tried finding out more about the birds of prey, but my limited Spanish coupled with the guard’s limited knowledge of taxonomy led to answers that distilled down to, “They’re birds.”

Rosa explained they referred to the ocean’s appearance at that time of year as being, “Sick.” Translation:  Instead of the brilliant blue Pacific it usually is, its grey/green coloration and consistency matched the Atlantic as seen from New Jersey all year round.

Leaving the sea edge we passed through a skate park until Rosa started making a series of unintelligible, excited and nostalgic noises.

We found a small pack of Donofrio carts.  Peru is highly proud of its national brands.  This is the reason Coke bought Inca Kola. Peru was the only country in the western hemisphere that Coke couldn’t claim being the number one brand in.  The soda giant had to purchase the local favorite to get completion on a technicality.  Donofrio was the Ice cream of choice there, and the carts, stores and freezers were everywhere.  The carts looked like the illegitimate love child of beer cooler and a tricycle.

We purchased some frozen wares, and also some other unintelligible, excited and nostalgic noise producing snacks from the cart next to it, Barquillos. Picture a slightly flakier, but empty, cannoli tube.

Passing through a seminary neighborhood brought us back to the town square, where we sat at a bus stop for a while. Many buses came, but the wait was due to us needing a vehicle I could fit in.

Back home, we played a bit while waiting for Conchito, the woman who used to cut Rosa’s hair when she was a kid.  Anabelle was taller than Concho, but Conchito's arrival made it clear she was deserving of the “ito” designation on her name to differentiate the two.

Did I mention not blending in well in Peru?

Rosa got herself a nicely nostalgic haircut. 

There were two solutions to visiting areas where it wouldn’t be safe to bring the Super Deluxe Magic Camera or high end SmartPhone to take pictures.  The first was to bring our old cheapo digital camera.

There was one flaw in this solution:
Occasionally, the full battery charge, and/or all the pictures, would spontaneously vanish from the camera.

This is why all the ocean pictures posted today are “recreations” taken on subsequent days of the trip. 
(No actual locations were harmed.)

Our other solution was using disposable cameras. 
That would work about equally well.

There was a long involved debate in Spanish with the small gas water heater, but finally the first shower conga could happen.

The rest of the evening was spent organizing, Looney Tunesing, and arguing with the air mattress.

The batteries in the inflator didn’t have enough power to push against the backpressure of the mostly full, but not quite full enough, queen sized inflatable floor bed Rosa and I shared.

Eventually I exhaled into it for a while to fill it up, leading to enough light headedness to insure a good night’s sleep.

Click To Continue.

No comments: