Buenas noches, ladies & gents.
IMMEDIATE NEWS: A) My language partner received a delayed (aka lost in the mail) acceptance letter to continue his studies in Turkish overseas last week, so he has now moved to pursue that and will not be coming back before I leave Peru. I’m super excited for him, but really sad to lose him at the same time! B) CONGRATULATIONS to some amigos back home, Laura & Collin, on the birth of their first child, the beautiful Ellie! I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!
Now then. As you may or may have noticed (and or may/may not have cared) I haven’t really updated much this week. I have an official schedule now, as I think I mentioned, and so spent Monday-Wednesday going to those classes & feeling them out. My film class, which I was originally excited about, could be very sketchy. The first movie we watched was, in my opinion, eye-twitch inducing thanks to some really unlikeable characters, and the professor interrupted almost everyone who spoke during the mandatory discussion afterwards to either correct grammar, diction, or just tell them they were wrong or redundant. So…that’ll be fun. The other new class I ended up in, however (Ethnography of ethnicity/minorities) is CRAZY interesting with a really dynamic professor. I love it already and it relates to my senior thesis (you know, that thing I really need to start working on?) so I’m pumped for that class and happy I ended up in it after all, after initially rejecting it for its late time. There are also some classmates in there I’m hoping to convert into friends, as they seem interesting and funny.
I do usually have a class Thursday, but there was some sort of holiday this weekend so my professor just went ahead and cut that class. Not mad. I kind of wish I’d known beforehand though, because then I could’ve utilized my 4-day weekend to do some traveling…Peru isn’t exactly a small country, so I can’t really get to all of the cool places I want to see in short weekends!
So what HAVE I been doing, then? Well, not much that would interest most of you. I decided I wanted to take down some serious homework, because the lists of readings I’m getting for my classes are MASSIVE, and I’m proud to say I have somewhat accomplished that. Made it through 3 readings, but there are still so many more…sigh. (Part of the problem is that some professors don’t assign dates. They just say “read this before the first exam” so it’s hard to work out a schedule and make myself STICK to it.) To motivate myself, I’ve been breaking up the readings by watching episodes of a seriously awesome show, Around the World in 80 Plates hosted by Bravo. The show is already over (I think it happened this summer?) but I missed it, so I’ve been watching recently and must say I LOVE it. The premise is that a group of chefs travel all over the world, doing little races to win money, special ingredients, and other forms of help which they then utilize to take over local restaurants and remake local foods for natives/regulars. Teams are different every time. The snarky fights, as with all reality shows, are annoying, but I loooooove travel shows, especially when they have a focus on food-and I always love watching chefs come up with ingenious meals anyway. It’s like magic.
Annnnnyway. This morning I had the apartment all to myself, as Laura was out (I later discovered she went to some sort of Catholic “healing” ceremony and now swears she can walk almost perfectly…..? Okay. Sure, I’ll buy it.) and Jimena has the weekend off. So I spent the morning lounging/doing my readings, and once I finished a particular one I decided to take a break and explore the nearby district of San Isidro a little.
San Isidro juts up right against Miraflores and is another wealthy, pretty-darn-safe district. When I go to the university via micro in the mornings, I always pass down a particular lane full of fancy clothing stores and restaurants, so today I wanted to get a closer look. So, I walked around for a few hours, went in a few stores…didn’t end up buying anything, but then, I don’t exactly need any clothes either, so that was probably alright. 😉 Also whilst walking around I stumbled into the Parque Olivar, which I’d read somewhere that I should visit, which turned out to be a beautiful, huuuge tranquil park smack in the middle of the district full of gnarly, knobbly old trees and a very pretty pond. Unlike the Miraflores parks filled with dogs and cats, this one was adorned with pigeons, and was quite a bit less noisy.
On my way back I had a particular sweet shop I wanted to visit, but I also wanted to see a few more streets in Miraflores I hadn’t gotten around to yet, so I shuffled a less-direct route on the way back. Also, had to pick up the laundry on the way…and, dearest pocos followers, do you know what happened?
I previously wrote about a not-so-authentic Arabic restaurant I tried out recently. Well, I’ve seen 3 more restaurants since then I wanted to try, the most notable being a very small café called Ali Baba not far from my apartment. I’ve not made it there yet, but tonight when passing to go to the cleaners’, an employee handed me a flier. I looked at him and realized he was nooot Peruvian, so I asked him if he spoke Arabic…turns out he and his brother own the place, and they’re from Palestine! I was SUPER excited (hopefully this means the food is legit!!!) and so we chatted for a little bit in garbled Arabic and Spanish…yes, it was really confusing to try to switch, but luckily they speak both as well. Anyway, they told me to come back any time, and gave me a free pisco shot which was surprisingly DELICIOUS. It tasted very sweet-I haven’t had an actual pisco sour yet but from teeny chocolates with a little inside, I know they have a verrrry harsh taste, like whiskey–not my thing. Anyway, I’m hoping to go there for dinner tomorrow and see if they’ve stuck true to their roots…and if I can practice my Arabic more. 😀
SO I should probably wrap this up. After that affair, I wanted something sweet. (Okay, I’d already had a small chocolate bar from a really popular brand here called Sublime…and a chicha morada, which may or may not be my new favorite drink EVER. But anyway.) My original plan for the day had been to try some Lúcuma (wait a minute for explanation) from a well known gelato store called Laritza D’s in San Isidro, but later I had decided I wanted to try an alfajor (caramel-filled sandwich cookie from Spanish influence) or a piece of one of the delicious, super-rich cakes/cheesecakes that seem to abound here. But I accidentally passed the patisserie, so instead I stopped by a bookstore/café combo close to my apartment called El Virrey…which, turns out, is supplied the food & drinks by none other than Laritza D‘s. So gelato it was!
I got two scoops in a cup for 7.5 soles, or about $2.86. Not bad, friends, not bad. One flavor was strawberry-to be safe-which was CRAZY fruity and sweet tasting. Honestly, it seemed so poignant and sugary that I thought it was more like a sorbet. It had no strawberry chunks, but was still delicious. Just…a little hard on the teeth due to the high sugar content. However, I was glad to have it accompany my Lúcuma gelato. Lúcuma, kiddos, is a fruit found in the Amazon whose flavor is very popular in desserts here in Perú. I’d heard it makes for an excellent gelato-and so it did.
I have to say though, I was NOT expecting the flavor it had! It was literally like a combination of caramel and a latté…and this from a fruit?! It was sweet, but not sharply so like the strawberry-very mild. And each bite left an after effect similar to peanut butter-it almost leaves your mouth dry and coats your tongue. But I really liked it! Very, very mellow. Definitely a must-try at least once. 🙂
Wow. I seriously manage to write a lot for someone who did a whole lot of nothing this weekend…sorry about that!
In any case, off to do some more homework…aka, watch more Around the World in 80 Plates! 😀