Trujillo in a Weekend

The city of Trujillo, an easy hour flight north of Lima, is a great weekend destination. Trujillo is called the city of eternal spring. In the depth of Lima winter, I went looking for some spring. Flying up on a Friday evening, the pickup from the airport was easily done by the hotel located on the central square. The airport is located 20 minutes from the city and you even pass one of the tourist sites on the way in — Chan Chan — before passing a modern mall and convention center.

The archaeological site of the Huaca of the Moon and the Sun is a mere 20 minutes outside of the city so easily visited. The new site called “El Brujo”, is only 63 kilometers to the north but due to the road conditions, it takes 80 minutes. I’d recommend going to these two sites in one day, with lunch in the coastal town of Huanchaco, eat at Big Ben.

Then go for a walk along the Huanchaco malecon (boardwalk – sidewalk) and take your selfies with the reed boats, “caballitos de totora” — reed horsies, so called because the fishermen ride astride the boats, instead of sitting in them. Back in Trujillo, enjoy, on Saturday evenings, the free marinera (a type of dance) performances in the main square, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Join in! Then walk down to one of the famous restaurants for dinner. The photo of the Waldorf salad is from the famous restaurant with the balcony, El Celler de Cler.

On Sunday mornings, the main square is blocked off and the town dignitaries walk about in a procession. This is a good time to get photos of the square. Later, go to Chan Chan.

When you buy pottery reproduction souvenirs, make sure that the item is stamped as a reproduction so that you aren’t accused of buying cultural patrimony. The reproductions are some of the highest quality I’ve seen, as souvenirs go.

Then back to Huanchaco for lunch. The whole malecon is shoulder to shoulder with restaurants. Try the special “aji de gallina” of this area, made with crab. Or stick to ceviche which will be some of the best you’ve had.

Then, catch your flight back to Lima.

The Best Things About Expat Life in Lima – Or, It’s Always Avocado Season

In celebration of Peru’s independence days, “fiestas patrias,” (July 28 is independence day and July 29 is a holiday for the armed forces and police), here is my posting about what I think is great about living in Lima. As I did for some of the other places I have lived, I have already written about what I don’t like about living in Lima. Before living in Lima, I had visited more than five times as a tourist. The first time was immortalized in this blog posting. Now that I’ve been here for more than a food-frenzied weekend, the following things are what I like about living here.

The food scene: The restaurants. It seems like every week, there is a new restaurant opening, and thanks in great part to Gaston Acurio, the culinary scene has become part of the national identity. There are fancy-foamy-intellectual dining establishments, fast food franchises, family-run restaurants, neighborhood favorites, and hole-in-the-wall secrets.

The immigrants: This is one of the reasons that the food scene in Lima is great. Thanks to the Chinese (Chifa is a normal word here for a Chinese food and restaurant, and it is as ingrained in the local food choices as hamburgers), the Japanese (Nikkei is the word used for both the food style and the Japanese Peruvians — this month celebrating 120 years in Peru), the Italians, the Lebanese, and all the other immigrants who have been been contributing to the deliciousness in Lima. Thank you to the newest (those two Thai restaurant owners, those Pakistani and Indian guys, that American with the chocolate shop, and those three Swedish ladies, that Mexican guy, and the Venezuelans, and all of those others whom I have yet to discover… I’m looking at you, shawarma palace!). Plus, many of the Peruvians are domestic immigrants — from somewhere else in the country (bringing things like their delicious cheeses… which I’m told is called “country cheese”).

The Palta Fuerte (the palta fuerte is too delicate and buttery to be exported, I’m guessing): It is always avocado season. When buying an avocado, the vendor will ask the day and time that you plan to eat it so that they can sell you one that will be ripe at the precise moment that you plan to enjoy it. “Palta” is the word for avocado in Peruvian Spanish. No one in Peru says “aquacate” even if they may know what you are talking about. At a restaurant, you can ask for a side of palta and it’s totally normal, like asking for butter (but better).

The juice (plus fruit and produce in general): the lemonade (they offer it made with pureed lemongrass at most places), the passion fruit, the orange juice, the blackberry juice. Plus, the pineapples are delicious and the mangoes have a season (like Edwardian socialites). The Edward mango is especially yummy as it has fewer fibers.

The chocolate: Go to El Cacaotal. That is my one must-do for visitors, for newbies, for chocolate haters… now serving hot chocolate and coffee!

The cultural offerings and activities: cooking classes, chocolate tasting lessons, Cordon Bleu courses, surfing classes, dance schools, wine tasting lessons, the circus, theater productions, gyms, yoga, concerts, archery sessions, wine and paint classes, museums, open studio nights, expos, marathons, fairs, farmers markets, and almost any other activity that you can imagine in a metropolis (there is always something to do). Even comicon.

The walkability: they even have ciclovia. Yes, you can walk here. There are sidewalks, parks, and hiking trails.

The neighborhoods: I like that there are actual neighborhoods, farmers markets, barrios, districts, parks, malls (mega ultra modern and local “centro commerciales”), and the coast (its own microcosm).

The positive attitude toward expats/foreigners: Generally, as a foreigner, I don’t feel hate or suspicion from the locals. The Peruvians are,  generally, pro-American culture, and certainly pro-European culture. While most Peruvians don’t approach/talk to foreigners, they also don’t harass them and follow them around (as would happen in other countries where I have lived)… It’s funny, the little things one appreciates. As a foreigner, one can have a life here without being a circus act.

The security: I am completely amazed to see people out jogging, with headphones on, at night. Granted this is along the more patrolled streets but I am still amazed. Utterly. Amazed. Every. Single. Day. Really. Still. Ah-maze-ed.

The view of the ocean: Yes. It’s amazing. Beaches too. If one likes sand.

The public toilets: Almost all grocery stores and malls have public toilets. One has to remember to not flush the toilet paper, but, at least they have toilet paper, although, not always in the actual stall — so get it beforehand.

Delivery: Like in Bogota, almost anything can be delivered.

The taxi prices: $2 for a basic short ride of a few miles. Sometimes $7 for an hour’s ride.

Help: there is always someone to carry the groceries, the taxi drivers help with luggage, the doormen help with stuff, and domestic help is a normal part of life here. I’ll write more about that in a separate posting. Aside from the domestic cleaners, there are nannies, gardeners, drivers, porters, dog walkers, DJs, caterers, dishwashers, movers… you name it. I have an “event tech” whom I hire for parties. I may change that title to “event engineer” as engineer seems to be the new generic term for “trained” (I was chatting with a taxi driver who told me that he used to be a “production engineer” — he potted yogurt in a lab. He chose to drive a taxi because the yogurt potting only paid $670 per month, double the minimum wage, but he makes double that as a taxi driver, even though he works double the hours. But, at least, he is his own boss).

The prices for dental care: as with most things, one can pay lots of money for dental care, but one can also get good dental care for $17 (cleaning and checkup). But, if one wants to pay $170, one can. Many of the dentists have trained in other countries and their certifications in those countries may not be valid here.

The prices in general: from picture framing to groceries, to clothing alterations, to the above mentioned items.

And, did I mention the palta?

Han Solo Season in Lima

I once saw a meme about “Han Solo season” in which some equine looking ladies dress in boots, dark jeans, and puffy down jackets.

This season also happens in Lima every winter. As I may have mentioned before, the Peruvians follow dress code carefully for formal events, and this seems to carry over to casual fashion too. As soon as winter comes around (in June when the temperature plummets below 60 F (16 C), the down jackets come out.

I know that I haven’t gone native yet because there is no down jacket in my wardrobe. But, now that I think 16 C is “freezing,” the pull of a down jacket is getting stronger… buy down jacket, I will.

The Realities of Daily Life in Lima

5w0Le4c3gUB-osQE6MMgGGbOfjezYOM8Nad9KXoQUfHW67HHlzLLjh0GcfyK7b_WAu4MVraRef6mzVW2-Amql6Eyn0FLuIJ9hK6xVcsyQOoOl6JD4PSyUQbrzoMx--339vnks78wXrKc50ifZlOBvKnJSQYSS-GFXzdCSNoS9CPbOejGM_pdZqPzWl-oBSYppia6BoEdD4w4-wk_KKm1W4BZOl1FHcmHaving now lived in Lima past the honeymoon phase, I thought I’d write about some of the “realities” of life here as a foreigner (as I did about Dhaka and Bogota. An aside: I continue my search for the perfect “chaleco”.). Most of the daily annoyances that I go through are due to my own personal peeves, but, as the song says, I yam what I jam.

  • Indirect communication: that is the modus operandi here. As a direct person, I sometimes get tired of the indirect route. I like to ask upfront and not have to guess what is being asked. To the locals, being up front is rude. The twain shall never meet.
  • Formality: The Limenos are formal people. They like things to be formal. It ties in with being “respectful” which I think might be more important to them than being “nice.” They like to dress formally. They like formal. Have I made it clear? If you can add more gold and more formality, the better.
  • Class: Yes, they have classes here. Yes, there’s racism. This is not unique to Lima. I still find it annoying to watch people treating others differently simply based on where they live, or their accent, or what job they have. (Let me get off my soapbox… aaaaagh…)
  • Time: There is the standard comment that people are “late” for everything. If the invitation says 8 p.m., then people will show up at 9:30. But, time, in another sense that I find culturally different, is that Peruvians are night owls. Therefore many things are not open until 10 a.m. and some businesses aren’t even open for lunch on Sundays until 2 p.m.! Also, many restaurants close for a few hours in the middle of the day. Sometimes I like to eat dinner at 5:30 p.m., and there are very few dinner restaurants open at that time.
  • Paying upfront/business deadlines: I recently had a reminder of this cultural lesson. I like to pay for things upfront so when I had something custom made at a tailor shop, I paid upfront. This was wrong because it meant that the shop no longer had any incentive to get the job done or get it done in a timely manner. To top if off, when I got the item, it was not done properly.
  • Making a scene: Peruvians, due to their preference for indirect communication, do not like it when people make a scene. I told the tailor (see above) that I thought he had terrible service, that I did not want to hear his excuses, and that I would not recommend him to others. This was a scene. But, the tricky part here is… that they were embarrassed for me that I lost my cool. Not embarrassed for themselves for their sucky service. So it’s a no-win situation. One has to simply use the “withhold payment” method (see above) to ensure that you get what you paid for (or will pay for.).
  • Calling: Peruvians love to use the telephone. They call to double check that the email went through, they call to make sure that what one ordered online is actually what one wants, they call to tell one that things are not going to be ready on time, they call to tell one that things are ready on time, they call, call, call, call… and call. Eventually, you will too.
  • The weather: In winter, there is no sun. I’m not sure one gets used to it. One gets through it. This may be one of the things that is unique about Lima (maybe also San Francisco, Seattle…)
  • The air pollution and food poisoning: The air is bad. It’s clammy and almost everyone gets colds related to the clammy air or suffers from other lung related issues. It’s worse closer to the coast. Food poisoning or “intestinal” issues are sort of surprising considering the reputation of the Lima as a foodie city. But, it happens, and it’s not special to Lima. And it happens to the locals too.
  • Security: Yes, it’s a big city of nine million. (The photo is actually from a place south of Lima, but I like the security measure for one’s purse. Or is it for the chair?) What I miss most is being able to wear a backpack in peace. If you wear a backpack on your back, and you walk in a crowd, you will most likely find that the outermost pockets have been picked. That’s just the way it is. It might not happen. But it might. Also, when paying by credit card, don’t let the card leave your sight. Most restaurants will bring the machine to you, but once in a while, you will need to go to the machine (usually at the bar or cashier).
  • Traffic: Every city seems to want to win the “worst traffic” award. Lima too. Yes, the traffic is bad. It is what it is. I still think that the traffic in Dhaka wins for badness. It is rare in Lima that you will sit in one place for 90 minutes, swarmed by 500,000 bicycle rickshaws, all while being eaten by mosquitoes. In Lima, as the locals say, “se mueve” or “it moves” — which is true. The traffic is bad in Lima, but it does actually move, even if it’s only at five miles per hour. Glad that I could end this on a positive note.

 

Another time, I’ll write about the best things about living in Lima.

Secret Eco-Rooms With A View of Gocta Waterfall

fullsizeoutput_1ebNo that you have done Machu Picchu, you want to do the next big thing… Kuelap, the Gocta Waterfall, and so on. Then, the question is where to stay. The secret, secret, place to stay in Gocta… no, not that one… is… Gocta Natura. But only if you like “natural” and bohemian (and no WIFI). This small organization will give you ALL the FEELS. Warm, fuzzy, friendly. Gocta Natura has five cabins in the woods overlooking the waterfall. The price is per person and they employ a gourmet chef. Like I said, ALL. THE. FEELS. You’re gonna love it. If you like rustic, eco-friendly. If not, stay at the famous Gocta Lodge hotel located up the hill behind Gocta Natura. (Note: I have not stayed at either of the Goctas. This is just based on the rave reviews of someone I know who is “in the know”.). To see the waterfall up close, you can ride a horse for part of the hike, as it may be hot and sweaty. Then, once you have seen “the nature,” you get to go back to your peaceful cabin and enjoy gourmet cuisine.

fullsizeoutput_1ecThe closest village to Gocta Waterfall is Cocachimba. It’s got a village green and the village doesn’t seem to consist of more than the buildings surrounding the green. The Gocta Lodge is at the end of the village behind a high wall. To get to the Gocta Natura, you have to walk the path on the way to the waterfall. Cocachimba’s altitude is 4,000 feet above sea level, making this village a better place to sleep if you suffer from altitude sickness. Chachapoyas is at 7,600 feet (2,300 meters) and Kuelap is 10,000 (3,000 meters).

NBQ-zoYyUGKo-Kt9puXvQJLa8hJMnDM0VliVWZtYhqp7DvPBFXproGE46UnE18JMfilsFsfqY7WEt9GhZvu_wnxBSUFu7RY_o9VJLYF_1gZgZPUEf8fFZ3FhxUyTQfLmigOp6tMXuAJPVpiH8UGc9V9MGOnMi4BWRUWSXgmeXs5j4Iiod994erOl0CI7d_A1bUV19uNWUKn4yPVtwNaooyEboBogAbYI liked the drive up to the village of Cocachimba. Amazing views and amazing coffee. All along the road, locals were drying their coffee beans on tarps spread out in front of their houses. At one of the village restaurants, I had a delicious mug of coffee. When I asked what brand they had used, they explained that it was their own coffee, from their own beans, from their own tree. They weren’t showing off.

The photo of the fighting cocks was taken at a spot along the road to Cocachimba that had a spectacular view of Gocta waterfall. When I saw the location of the cages, I wondered why the owner of that house didn’t open a B&B in that location. I would think that tourists are a better source of income… and with fewer feathers?

Sri Lankan Tea Tasting in Lima

qQk6nW440fea5MxqEkOwhv1aIjQu3j9qWyVFGgX9OU6oJ8CHtKhHc7UcrIUoIO0SKuKSmiFrZAYif0OTAGHrTQYUcDh2EkWiGbO8wq4LLfVr8FWTzF0o3oNp5WqF1ylwRZUeU7JCRzjknYDAHTbIE8p6M6MT9cnXIgDs6CMQmdHCDN_-aDoHo3MAPSBefore I took the coffee class, I had already taken a tea tasting class in Barranco at Zaniti (Av. Almte. Miguel Grau 612).

The tea tasting costs 25 soles. The tasting is only Mlesna brand tea, one of the leading brands of tea in the world. This is the only Sri Lankan tea shop in Peru. The teacher was clearly bewitched by her time in Sri Lanka and that shows in her presentation. I have been to tea plantations in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (although, I never got around to writing about that part because I was too interested in other aspects of Sylhet) so I sort of understood her fascination.

The store is filled with artwork, cups, plates, bags, and many other things to buy. It is a bit like an artists collective as the artists also own and work in the store.

I’d say to go on a South Asia kick and eat at Dhaasu before or after…

 

Donating to Venezuelan Refugees in Peru

gAGCgf4G-Zr7a9eoeHwRAIwP0n0R6G46TAyNaPAY6-YDeZdJq8ufGgLjTBf_JcVkv44PKhzu5PZ0vTswYFAHOc77JyVVcf96oToJssYjtm25kvYXchx77eoRjGoATmdeRVw6xOa4x2oWmlHoVITSi-hfwSWMOUjI7Bh_VhgQfm_UW789gze55H2XNZI recently cleaned out my closet and donated eleven large sacks of clothes and shoes to an NGO that assists Venezuelans in Peru, Union for Venezuelans in Peru. If you want to donate, call the executive director, Martha, 992-824-991, and she will meet you at the Union for Venezuelans in Peru at Avenida Benavides 3082, which is actually located on the Ovalo Higuereta, in Surco. The building is not marked as the Union has not spent money on signage (the employees wore white work shirts with the name of the organization on them). The office is on the third floor but it was not open yet when I made my delivery. The Union for Venezuelans in Peru will also pick up.

When I chatted with Martha, she explained that the refugees are in need of everything as they arrive only with what they can carry in their hands. She said that many are young families. She told us about a family that were happy as they picked up an inflatable mattress. Makes one think.

In the last few years, nearly a million Venezuelan refugees have arrived in Peru. Thirty years ago, Peruvians were fleeing to Venezuela and not the situation is reverse. Peru is currently in the honeymoon phase of this reverse situation and the Peruvians are welcoming the Venezuelans with resident permits and work permits. Many work as taxi drivers, in restaurants, and some sell candy to make a bit of income (I know one shop owner who gives the candy for free the first time around so that the refugee can build a bit of capital — like the Grameen system — although this shop owner will probably not get a Nobel prize. He does it for the humanity of the situation). I have seen Peruvians buy these candies out of an act of charity, much in the vein of “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

mq85phLqAjhl1iHQxC4cx1aN7zgb84xGEJevOLPTPM4-xKS6pK8lDwuoHrH0oT25-SN_OLWQjWGxAzxR0LhpdGbBCoVT2sOEzGZmvywFdL_E1_eUepLKuP-1-ncp2hKTEhrORqjEiEvr26IeH5QYgmR4wZX8WoysG75L-XQ9F4nL2CQFyE-yIdOGdLIn many of the shops and restaurants, the workers are Venezuelans. They have the advantage that they speak the local language. When I was in Port of Spain, many of the workers were Venezuelans (Trinidad is only a few miles off the coast of Venezuela). This proximity means that many Trinis speak Spanish as well. I actually understood the Spanish better than the Trini form of English when in Trinidad.

Here in Lima, due to the influx of Venezuelans, there are more and more Venezuelan eateries. When I lived in Caracas, I developed a taste for arepas and now I can find good ones here as well. I did not get some after the trip to donate clothes. I had enough food for thought.

 

Kuelap – 10,000 Monumental Steps!

RRtWEL4ekhQ5e9hCh89oAcmbuJtmRcHllsNmx3MxzihyObYVd_N94ag6vCdt6jzpjcwkw2ji27uG4aN_9pEBPDYs9OP-CRLE5UpOfS83hJi8lxHUu74V86wWTXqnnFeH6wZmR-nW2strbfEDb_6TIifq4QYzwR2ShwyZxZ7Zjghuwoi4S3jVfHUB52The hot spot to visit in Peru is still Machu Picchu. But, when you have done that, you might want to see the newest hot spot — Kuelap! Cuelap/Kuelap is located up near the town of Chachapoyas in a region called Amazonas, not to be confused with the Amazon river area. Kuelap is older than Machu Picchu and it’s not as majestic but it’s also got a few million fewer visitors (not that it felt that way!). Chachapoyas is up at 8,000 feet so be prepared to suffer for the view.

IMG-5725Kuelap is nearby and one can take Peru’s first cable car or “teleferico” up to the base of the archaeological site. One takes a bus to the cable car, then the 20 minute cable car ride over the ravine, then a three kilometer walk up flat stone steps. If you have good knees and are relatively fit, you can get up to the citadel and through in a bit over an hour. If you have bad knees, you can also take a horse up to the base of the citadel. If you want to walk all the way up and have bad knees… it can take two hours. There are many rest stops and nice views along the way, but it is an uphill walk. All the way.

TsvrOtm4NpTC1Dk6sFnydn1bvETgtQ6M1uFD9_HzrM-FmvxyBt4QbmarjtVBk3H6jACyyWseUH_dBN2kBa3yOGUqYFaA-AiRiRTr6sgn5wEENqmXWkxK4JxyuDGJErJIABWu5cNX83eIXxkweL3NyOoj0J8P8W0XZ6pPQsYMs01aY5rLEj6OwgVEJVA nice thing about Kuelap is that due to its cultural designation, there are scaffolds and walkways all over so that the cultural heritage won’t get rubbed away by visitors. You can’t even sit down.

IMG-5718But, at the base at the end of the cable car ride, where you buy your tickets, is a cafe, a museum, souvenirs, and lots of walls at just the right height for sitting on. The cafe may have one of the best views around but they don’t seem to advertise that.

IMG-5711There are many things to see in the Chachapoyas area including the famous Gocta Falls, but more about that another time.

 

Resources for Expats Living in Peru

nFl6V4I1gah5iRVNhBl635ZQgWjWPymn6ten2VCNCiQcUM3CdbeKxmMcXGLSGBcofa-C_DrNmj5c2TKT9y6PMIWtdXCaLvcQRSPpmtbGNop_dwqQO1yBqNnuGGQK3Is9exiLBlP_tJd53MyIc4n8A6Z-DzRGbze20oKE2P0U20rGkrdTScZoYUYtArNormally, I would have done lots of googling before moving to a new country but with Peru, I’m playing catchup. Here are some expat sites from a quick trawl on Google:

I’d say the most “famous” is Living in Peru started by a Dane, Carsten Koch: Living in Peru.

Live In Peru: for finding real estate in Peru. The hot spots are Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro, but I’d go for Magdalena La Mar and Lince, if I was looking.

Expat Peru

Internations

Transitions Abroad

Escape Artist

Expat Woman

Expat Focus

Expat Exchange

Life in Peru

Pink Pangea

American in Lima

Matador

Life in the 3rd World

No Sleep Till Peace

The blog of an expat.

 

For concerts: http://conciertosperu.com.pe/agenda-conciertos/ (including free ones  or “gratis” in Spanish)

And because food is one of the major delights of living in Peru (picarones shown below):  Peru Delights

DZgj2cJD-AEJpK1OHdIQprYAUapYoT0tvtKunBFM-vvFei660fRhoedVy1jNhXmgsr2Bnu-sSQNP2ziIUtV2Hn63WHfh9GLcNSZBOdbTavd79JLxyRJP2-7S33FOsBoiRIXYPXykgINiiluhsxjfoxi2rpxv7jEggBe-6AsRrA2Boh9E9XF0_ka5Vh

Dhaasu = Buenazo. Awesome Indian Food in Lima

IR33OySPr3S-PxSsCn7pWpnEQ8f1LMq7ad1geUORh3VqGcc83leQSvag50Lpkoqy4GMnM-pzWiNvHxg7PHKZwJp4SWVxogs1bYGexDSGjNRLHjUbnwYLRNsZeg46bTOTaqRBD6awzJ6yp92laigcu0mkKaJezNijFgBSytGaW2KnD8BuwEdziZd5jNDhaasu=buenazo=awesome! Really, that is the definition of the name (“DAW-ah-sooo” is my best guess). Dhaasu, Av. República de Panamá 245, Barranco (between Avenida el Sol and Salazar). Step down into the eatery located on the side of the BRT Metropolitano line. Open 1-4 and 7-10 on Wednesday-Sunday, closed Monday, and open 7-10 on Tuesdays.

L9yxOsHdAnNKOhLG_TmPW3XhzF9J4hb00_pQzGf_Mr5knVtpMyrQv0ZwgDbp7aN1jLneYFpYrIxt4h2DMrI6yciKZWjIgnR25lLstArYXf-2F2FIiyif_esSibmJ2efl1pxOFtJI-MJaEvootxIlH2QFFPTJ7R7KjbLFRinqux5Wf-CYs8Sw2Pgg3nApparently, in Arequipa, there is an Indian guy named Roy who has a restaurant named “India Indian” — just to make clear that the food is Indian. In Peru, the term for Indian food is “comida hindu.” In Lima, there are four restaurants claiming to be this kind of food: Dhaasu opened in just recently (instagram) and will conquer South America with its yumminess; Guru out in La Molina and is run by a Pakistani; Mantra is acceptable if desperation takes you there; and Masala is not worth the desperation. But, now back to talking about awesome!

OBFvLu4EjrV8HUvuSdML8nEb35I8pMXpF9KLSDtuQIFk_WY2bXmyxhisc_VlpmDn43llwLbhCYwhzHg3KEZa0AF6R0QPe2eD-kiemUPRfHb6WQYQBYZMooTeWUQ5SBWUN3ig-yNzTvN-SMEPlM1XWZ8Or3pC6tAQIBODCyJhJO3Fq8xvLueFg-R_NxDhaasu is a hole-in-the-wall or huarique (Peruvian term for a hole-in-the-wall) with eight stools. No tables, no tablecloths, no reservations. Dhaasu translates to “effing awesome” or “buenazo” in Peruvian Spanish. It describes how delicious the food is at this newly opened eatery run by Rish and Camilla. They both speak English and Spanish, the chef has over ten years of experience from cooking in Delhi, and yes, there are vegetarian versions of everything. Currently, the menu is a few types of wrap sandwiches and curries. Those words are pitiful descriptions of the yummy spicy (but not spicy) meat in masala sauce (or curry by another name), the warm and fresh baked flatbread (naan) sandwiches wrapped around tender, marinated, caramelized juicy meat…

… where was I? Oh, yes. Possibly my highest accolade is to compare something to ice cream. The butter chicken is like a meaty ice cream. To be eaten by spoon (or dessert shovel?). In terms of spiciness, Rish has not developed the top level of spiciness. To many people, the food here will seem spicy. It didn’t make me sweat but I did enjoy the deliciousness of the food, even if it wasn’t vindaloo spicy.

SxgZjr6tsSGkvi5Jwsqpzcb1ufRW2FsVXLHiyPLbP6jcAkO7r4T8IF0XPzGFfTuC924G7u0l8bl6QkL5yvf3VB4yjHHY774Ovnnmw-VVP1BCtrzbjlhEiw3Sbw1i0BBHcktE6KApa82Yt_BLfGGRfW5_wvve2EaWvvY4R2jPcWcXPFFRCWh_x63XffRish comes from a family of restaurant owners and Dhaasu is just the beginning of his empire. Dhaasu uses biodegradable containers and utensils for those who feel better knowing this.  I plan to take my own lunchboxes next time and load up.

D-9kNZIvhqFVcABA7hDH_dheve5gLbU6hnhtcmMEGIpuUYe0vWNznkljPSkXzIZX9Zg_0Gd9d6CLtl1IdNAriwr4aoXBiBKl3OW_nCGnDBTRYk5q-dIvfzLa0YA3YbgmpuHKYZ--MwHB6MA4YDyX6x_KcSzGHp4tMCNhJ4jyyR4w54f4d9Q7X5jn7CRish plans to expand, take his tandoor on the road, cater, and can he hurry up already? Speaking of India food, I asked about dosa which is from south India. Rish said that he had a friend who was thinking about this too… Here’s to the rise of the Indian Indian food in Lima!

The Fish Market of Lima

MV5OWt0RjLjSqNoWHe-zzqeA3ONECsqov1N2X-ZAZQ5dnGwy62_arolE8Fk3F6DMYOUnQjayEp-JI9qCPaVjw1g0Q8ybWS6EWgesjQAbQM2-djHnzc4xfQBq1pZ8D3mIb9kcPJqKdws7VqwZiZydphp2dEEKdS95RJMKtDDta2ksnsD6oMMN4i4IFVVisiting the fish market of Lima made me miss Bourdain. But, I went in his spirit. The Terminal Pescuaro or wholesale fish market is where the restaurant owners shop for the freshest fish of the day. At 4 in the morning. The market is open from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. It’s located out in Villa Maria del Triunfo. As a foreigner, visiting any place that sounds like a drug mule name… in the middle of the night… is not a good idea.

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FgZRK41PctwyElVkQi7HgtsNwcnQgK6huDJLWrW-RKTGKbUjHIRtQ9qElumEVt7aMq723JAtJUebMs_G6Y6OrIAeVDIQTPHKDqcYPBmX61hgbv-M452lsy3LkhFBlFV74SmZorg5mPt7vhGtzwkxYY-WSbXHteUPUyDJx7Cy2LG-PauMtWy9dgvXXmWe arrived at 10 a.m. long after most of the fish was sold. The hall is more of a hangar and it’s a wet market with slush and ice on the floor. Trucks are parked inside and most of the fish is in blue plastic flats, some packed with ice. It’s not pretty and it smells of fish. At 10 a.m., there was still the bustle and hustle of any market, but the fish looked only slightly more exhausted than the fishmongers. Therefore, I did enjoy when one of the fishwives sashayed to me and asked me straight up, “what are you looking for?” (An aside: I kind of like it when sales folk also add a “love” or “my queen” at the end of the pitch). Another salesman jumped in and the sassy fishwife didn’t like it! She pushed him aside and they almost got into fisticuffs.

q3Ufbwsz1UYr66aqN69rAoYqZFii1BFq4nkpd56oHVuzcq6ot9e7bnFx_M7UXKR21dtWf2gYE2u0G5ntyVe3TbeNtTSJob2RWZ_LJ6gPJmlAC6IjJ9MAjZFGGjtyHe8iuCQzW7xisZmIEoN7NLu8rwDLnNT9XSm7_hdCWqlhpsmLQMayzcNbHKbVLiAs we walked around, the fish vendors went about their business and I got touched by a few dead fish along the way. Hence why you might want to wear a raincoat along with your rubber boots. I wore neither so I smelled like fish. Old fish.

When we got around to the end of the market, we saw that there were other items sold at the market as well, including limes and other items for ceviche. Afterwards, we went upstairs to eat fresh fish. When we went upstairs, we were surrounding by sharks. These sharks were ladies who swarmed around us trying to get our business at their food stall. Really pushy ladies. I liked it.

bYbteVRHDykPEdre5R-2rxB7LDZn41yJ8L8RsnlFLcJVMZTFMhqF3yomyPOZ8XJfPnF1LcUEjn7ms1l2t5vfkH9uiq-b1Y0qy6TbJ-J1tD_UwAaRglenYp9M3NP_mqRtTX3EKQCvfCYs5wlLWHfrN0a0KzLF90Tm4hzP8dLcnMDxTvPcYFwsu3lZRrAs the food court was right on top of the fish market, we naively hoped for fresh fish…. We ordered leche de tigre (the lime sauce resulting from making ceviche), chupe (soup), ceviche, and deep fried fish. All of them were fishy and I did not find them edible.

YG7vWJ9yHHlNzaPlmnFNYwiw3kXfV66axevIDe7oRIrz0z8Dh5C8GvnZkoY5VgeV1fm0yX8q0bQuG96352KeRsiD9pFL-MS-b9isLwcJomwHEOzYxvcH2N7Vz7S6nIsiCtNH1Sob-kbY3zqzNZQI7uMdumiELc_6P1sg1XpxYda3plp5JfwNIySnW4Overall, I enjoyed the outing, but I’ll write about where to get fresh fish another time. For now, go fish.