Sunday, June 21, 2015

Adios, Lima!

Writing a travel blog from Peru is much more difficult than writing from Spain.  Since I barely understand the magic of the interweb, figuring out wifi connections from remote locations is almost more than I can manage anyway, and now that I've reached an altitude of eleven thousand feet, my poor brain is oxygen starved and finding words is... well, it's... wait, what was I saying?  Just standing up to plug in my laptop caused my heart to start pounding!  I'm in Cusco now, where there is less than half the oxygen than I was getting in Lima, so please forgive my fuzzy thoughts.  The photo above is from the historic center plaza of Lima, which we visited yesterday.  It reminds me of Spain.   

On our last full day in Lima, we left the comfort of the Miraflores district, and traveled into the heart of Lima.  Our first stop was the National Museum.  The imposing archetechture of the building seemed scary, and not very welcoming.  

Once inside, we were told that only a single floor of the giant building was open due to construction, so we navigaged the poured concrete structure to the sixth floor to realize that the exhibition was photography to document the violence and loss of life from the Shining Path that started in the 1980's.  Since all the text was in Spanish, all we could do was see rooms of giant graphic photos of death and despair.  We didn't stay very long.  

Fortunatly, our next stop was more uplifting.  We really enjoyed the Museo Larco, which is a collection of pre-columbian pottery that represents the cultural history of Peru.  

It was beautiful!  The walls and gardens we covered in blooming vines, and giant cacti.  

Not only was this museum filled with flowers and friendly people, there was a couryard with benches, free computers with the internet in a cozy library, and refreshing drinks.  

The museum has very well organized display rooms, with interesting knowledge bombs in several languages, but we were also allowed to walk through the entire collection, which is more than fourty thousand peices!

Most of the pieces depicted animals, and ranged over thousands of years of ceramic art. 

Some were humans...




and an entire display room dedicated to erotic art!

There were also elaborate metal works of gold and silver.  

After enjoying lunch at the museum restaurant, a short walk to visit another closed museum, and a visit to a local bar for coffee and more pisco sours, we were ready to head to the old part of town and enjoy the festivities in honour of the solstis.  

There were troups of high school aged people dancing in elaborate costumes all over the square and hundreds of people there to see the show.  

We took another exhilerating cab ride back to our neighborhood, and said good bye to our favorite streets by feasting on french fries and hot dogs smoothered in ketchup, mustard, and mayonaise, and drank fresh squeezed pineapple juice from a street vendor.  We didn't get a belly ache, either!

We took one last leisurly strool through the Kennedy Park, to see the cats which mix freely with the park goers.  There were cats in the trees, cats on the sidewalk, cats sitting with teenagers kissing on park benches - cat's everywhere!  

Lima was a wonderful city to visit!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lima, Peru!

Hola, Lima!  Yesterday was our fist day in Peru, and after planning and preparing for this trip for so many months, I kept having moments of realization throughout the day when I would look around at the beautiful Miraflores District and think - we are really here, at last!  Our big trip is underway, and everything has gone so much more smooth than I could have hoped for.  Even though our flight was delayed in Atlanta, and our arrival was pushed back to after one in the morning, our driver was there to meet us at the airport, and we began our adventure with a breakneck speed drive along the deserted coastal road to our hotel.   

We even think the door to our hotel is cool, so just imagine how amazed we are at the rest of the lovely sights.  

Obviously, we were tired on day one, so we didn't mind having a leisurely breakfast on the patio, and taking in the sounds of the morning city.   

The hotel manager's wife loves plants.  I love plants.  The giant hummingbirds that came to visit love the plants too.  

Breakfast includes Coca tea, which isn't legal at home.  I had a cup so I could see what all the fuss is about.  I didn't notice anything.  This morning I may have to drink two!

There were protesters outside the grocery store we visited to pick up some laundry detergent.  

I'm speed blogging since everyone is waiting on me!  

We realized that this was the first time Brandon has been to the Pacific ocean.  

Pisco sours at lunch, and some sort of purple beverage made from corn.  This is the problem with speed blogging - there's no time remember!  I'm lucky to be able to post anything at all, I know, since the wifi has been unreliable.  But, I had such fun keeping a travel journal on our trip to Spain, I really wanted to at least share my photos and take a few notes so I can remember our trip.  

The dish on the right was called Tacu Tacu Negro (sp?), which is rice and bean cooked with squid ink and topped with calamari and shrimp.  It was delicious, believe it or not.  Everything was delicious.  Our hotel manager recommended the restaurant, and when we arrived there was a short line.  We were encourage to wait it out, especially since they brought out drink samples and food samples while we waited.  When it came time to order our food, a nice lady at the next table came over to ask us if we needed any help with the Spanish menu, and used her excellent English speaking skills to help us order.  How nice is that?!  Everyone has been very friendly.  

We tried ceveche (sp?), which is raw fish in lime juice with corn and onions and a side of sweet potato.  Also surprisingly good!

The shrubbery has flowers!

We ended day one with a walk to the beach, and listened to the rough waves on the stones.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tiny Eggs, Big Crows

Do you ever sing that song from Sesame Street when you see one of the things that doesn't look like the other?  One of these strawberries is not like the others - because it's an egg!  A tiny egg from one of the little white chickens I had in a box in the dining room.  Can you believe they are already old enough to lay eggs?!  

The five little white hens, and three little white roosters, live at my parents house, so mom sent me the photo above when she got the first few little eggs.  I think they will eventually get larger, but right now they are extra cute.  

Mom suggested I crack the egg into a separate dish instead of straight into the bowl of scrambled eggs I was making, just in case it had "something weird" about it, since this was the hen's first one.  I'm not sure what that "something" could be, and I'm pretty sure I never want to know, but it was fun to see the tiny yolk compared to the others.  It was perfect, just small.  

I got a little carried away taking pictures of egg yolks.  

They really remind me of frog eggs when all together in a bowl.  The little one is near the top right corner.

The white hens are pretty nondescript, and don't make much of an impression as individuals.  

But I'm very impressed with the appearance of the roosters.  The contrast of the blood red comb and wattles with the brilliant white feathers is great.  The little bit of bald skin below their ears is yellowish green.   I think they are Leghorns. 

The white roosters are much smaller than mom's big rooster, on the right side of the photo, but they do not have a small crow.  Instead, they have a high pitched scream, that I'm sure can be heard at great distances.  Oh boy, do they love to crow!  The big rooster has a classic cock-a-doodle-do, which seams to get the job done just fine, so I'm not sure why the white roosters have to be so shrill.  Thank goodness they live with my parents, right?  You are welcome, Mom and Dad.  
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