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Ready to start telling some tales

Padre y hija, visiting in the Plaza de Armas, Lima.

Having blogged about the run-up to mine and Sophie's trip to Peru, and having done no posting since we left in June, I feel like perhaps some reportage is owed to you, dear reader. As I explained to Alejandro at PeruFood, besides being overwhelmed with work upon my return, I was kind of "peru-ed out." (He said he didn't understand what I meant.)

But we're all better now. So, over the next few weeks, as time permits, I'll start posting some vignettes of our experience. Meanwhile, allow me to enumerate some highlights of the trip:

Week 1

We spent at my aunt's house in the Pueblo Libre neighborhood of Lima, mostly spent eating, cabbing around the city and generally getting to know the megalopolis that is Lima.

Quick observations:

Beauty is in the nostrils of the beholder.
Week 2
We flew to Cusco, made it as far as Pisaq, but were sick as dogs the whole time, thanks to Atahualpa's revenge, or, altitude sickness. After three days, we retreated back to sea level and salvaged the week by heading south along the desert coast, hitting Pisco, the Islas Ballestas, Ica, Huacachina and Nasca.

Quick observations:

Surfer grrl. Sophie tries her foot at snowboarding near Huacachina.
Weeks 3 and 4
We hung in Lima some more, making sure to catch most every game in the World Cup finals and then took an impromptu trip to Iquitos and the Ceiba Tops lodge, about an hour or so downstream. A sweaty but amazing time was had by all!

Quick observations:

Two creatures who greatly enjoy sleeping. (Not the best image quality, but undoubtedly my favorite picture from the trip!)
Stay tuned for stories, pictures and video!

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Peruvian fountain of youth?

Rebeca Roa Alva at her 107th birthday. Photo courtesy of Trome.

I've told some of you that my dear old abuelita credited her old age (she lived to 95-ish) to onions and strong drink ("cebolla y trago"). But here's a woman who's considerably older, and whose recipe for long life is very Andean. The 107-year-old, quechua-speaking Rebeca Roa Alva eats lima beans, quinoa, kiwicha and amaranth and chews coca on a daily basis.
BTW, Alejandro, who runs two blogs, Peru Food and LAX-LIM, has become my favorite blogger of late. If I can pin him down for an interview and get him to reveal his true identity, I'll be sure to do a write up on his growing enterprise.

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Brother, can you spare some coastline?

Vice Admiral José Alba Arnez, commander of the Bolivian Navy. Photo by Simon Romero.

The New York Times recently added a little color to the age-old story of the Bolivian Navy, who, since the late 1800s has been limited in its range of operations to the 12,500-foot high Lake Titicaca.
Read Bolivia Reaches for a Slice of the Coast That Got Away (until it gets archived).
Even before reading this article, I leaned toward the view expressed by many Bolivians -- that their umbilical cord to the sea was taken unjustly by Chile.

I could see if Bolivia had been left with even a few miles of usable coast. Then they would have been free to pariticpate in maritime trade, like most everyone else. Then any arguments today about the Chilean landgrab would be mostly academic and mostly fueled by wounded pride. But considering Bolivia's pathetic economic situation (it is the poorest country in South America, probably for many reasons, not just this) and the fact that Chile has around 4,000 miles of coast, it seems downright shitty (to use the diplomatic parlance) that Chile is only now condescending to consider Bolivia's plight.

But, hey, I live in the country that strongarmed vast tracts of land from Mexico in the 1800s and has never expressed any regrets. So, perhaps that was just the way they did business back then...

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