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Road Tripping to Ica, Pisco, and Paracas

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, March 31, 2009 1 comments

So last Thursday I went for a little trip down to the city of Ica located south of Lima, about roughly a 3 hours away. I had not been there in such a long time that I thought that it would be fun to go and visit.

After arriving late to Ica my father and I grabbed a hotel and called it a night. The next day we drove around town to take some pictures and then headed over the La Huacachina, an oasis in the middle of the desert just minutes away from Ica. Check out these videos: Link 1 and Link 2

La Huacachina is an oasis which is has been converted into a resort with various hotels and restaurants. There is a lot to do in this small resort like 4 wheeling, sandboarding, swimming, or just enjoying the beautiful scenery. After a short stay we decided to head towards Paracas and Pisco which if you all remember was the scene of the horrific earthquake that took place a few years ago. The cities till this day are still reconstructing after the earthquake left roughly 90 percent of the buildings destroyed.

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Today the Peruvian soccer team takes on the Chilean soccer team in an attempt to gain a spot in the next world cup. At least that's what it appears to be on the surface, however beneath this popular past-time lies a match that defines over a hundred years of strong emotions and feelings between the two countries. If you find yourself confused at this point than I suggest some further reading to get a better gist of the situation.

The game is only 30 minutes away and I am excited to see how Peru performs given their poor previous performances. After a night of dancing and debauchery I wait on the couch restlessly for the game to start while trying to recover from a headache that echoes of last night in my head. Oh well, when will I learn.

Well the game is about so I am off to sport my country. Arriba Peru!

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Traveling Down South to Chincha

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Friday, March 20, 2009 0 comments

I apologize if it´s been awhile since my last post, I have been busy working with my father learning about the family business which unfortunately makes carrying a camera difficult if not impossible at times.

I would like to take the time to congratulation the Portland State Men´s Basketball Team for their second victory at the Big Sky Conference and wish them the best of luck at teh big dance. Go VIKS!

That being said, A few weeks back I travelled with my father to a town called Chincha located about roughly 2 hours south of Lima. Travelling along the Panamerican South Highway the view is of Peru´s beautiful coast with palms and rolling sand dune hills, its quite a site on a nice summer day. We were heading down to Chincha to drop off some merchandise at the local markets and then do some site seeing.

These houses below are vacant. Apparently what happens is that people buy the land and build these little rudamentry buildings on them but don´t actually live in them.

After having dropped off all the merchandise (plastic products for those of you wondering) We decided to take a rest in the town square watching the locals go about their daily routines. It was all fairly standard procedure until the sound of roaring metal and screeching tires came crashing together acompanied by a symphony of shattered glass that echoed and filled the streets, a momentary silence that lasted but only a second. A truck had collided with an old car in the intersection of the town square. Local bystanders flooded the scene to survey the damage. In a few minutes it was all over the drivers both went their seperate ways and fortunately no one was injured.

These children took an interest in my camera but began to fight so I did what any responsible person in that situation would do, nothing except take several candid pictures of course. They sure did come out good. The kids were fine, boys will be boys and all.

As the day grew short we left the town of Chincha only to stop momentarily at a local winery. The southern coast of Peru has been well known for over a hundred years for its vinyards and wine distillaries. Anyways, Dad bought a few bottles of wine and I took a few pictures and we were on our way again.

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Palta Rellena de Pollo (chicken filled avocado)

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, March 12, 2009 0 comments

This is one of my favorite dishes, its simple, quick and easy to make. For those of you who are meat-intolerant eaters this dish can easily be altered by replacing the chicken with an assortment of diced vegetables like green beans, chick peas, and carrots. Here is the recipe for those of you who want to take a crack at this dish.


2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut in half

1 lime

2 chicken breasts, fulled cooked and shredded

2 carrots, cooked and diced

1 cup of cooked corn kernels

4 tbsp. of mayo

1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley



1 hard boiled egg, sliced


Take the avocado halves and squeeze the lime juice over them, add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the chicken, carrots, corn, and parsley together with the mayo and season with pepper and salt to taste.

Take the mixture place in the center of the avocado halve. Place the hard boiled egg slice atop the avocado.

That's it, it´s that simple. Enjoy!

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Fried Fish, Bull Fighting, Beer, and Sharp Objects

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Monday, March 9, 2009 4 comments

What a crazy week it has been, I have been all over town with my good ole dad learning about the family biz and taking photos for you fine folks. Let me tell you it sure feels good to be here its like coming home, it just feels right and there is no better felling in the world than that. Being back has given me the opportunity to be reunited with the food I love so much, thats right theres no canned, frozen, packaged, dehydrated, sugar-free, fat-free, or microwavable meals here just good old fashion made from scratch Peruvian food. I would almost swear that my week long diarrhetic sessions I have experienced was purely my body trying to accustom itself to real food. Now I´m not saying the US doesn´t have fresh made meals its just that they tend to be few and far and often cost more than we´d like to pay for. It´s truely sad to see meals made from fresh becoming a commodity in a country where saving money in terms of increased profits means resorting to prepackaged meals.

Anyways enough with my crazy rants! This weekend, Sunday to be exact I woke up to sound of the morning news echoing in the background, a sign that my father was awake. It was decided that we would spend the day with family and what better way to do so than with food (I know what your thinking, well tough).

So my father and I head out to one of the many local fish markets in Chorrillos to get some fish to take to grandma´s house. Now I love seafood but I just can´t stand the strong smell of dead fish and saltwater. The great thing about these fish markets is that they have got the largest selection of seafood I have ever seen. As I happily went crazy taking several pictures I was eventually confronted on my way out by a security guard who figured he could take advantage of the naive white man or gringo if you will. There I stood with my camera in my clutches while my father argued with the security guard who was some what surprised to learn that he was my father. The guard tried to exert whatever little authority he had to try and intimidate us with little effect and in the end the guard was sent on his way by my father in what can only be described as a medley of linguistic diplomacy (peruvian for lots of swearing and insults with the occasional threat thrown in for good measure). Our blood pumping strong through our veins we quickly left the market with fish in hand on our way to the far side of town.

We arrived in at my grandmother´s home, a place of history in my family. Lunch involved one large fish, Corvina to be exact, a skillet, some lemon, and a whole lot of oil. Nothing better than Fried Corvina with a little bit of lemon and roccoto on the side to wake the spirits on what was a fairly dreary day. Of course the usuall beverages were at hand, Inca Kola and Coca Cola, because it ain´t lunch with out the soda. Once lunch was over we said our goodbyes and headed off back to the crowded asphault roads of Lima.

During the ride home I had figured we would be heading back home for some R&R but to my surprise I was taken to a place called the Lomas de Villa where a friend of the family own´s a nice piece of land complete with swimming pool and oh yes a bull fighting ring, a standard of most peruvian residences.

We had arrived during a festival that is held in the Lomas de Villa every year to celebrate what is called a Yunza, more on that later. The place was packed on arrival with friends and family all over the place. A very large social gathering at a fairly lavish property where those of status rub shoulders with those who play the part. Careful, inflatted egos run a muck at these such events and one must be careful since to much exposure to such individuals is sure to be bad for your health. All the drama aside this party rocked, big time. I can remember the last time I attended this festival, I had such a wonderful time.

Absolutely the best part of the festival was the bull fighting, of course who doesn´t like to see man pitted against beast in fight for survival and dominance. Hell yeah! Naturally I did not bring my long lense so I was forced to resort to more drastic means of capturing this wonderful event. I was encouraged by friends and family with very little effort on their part to get inside the ring right smack dab in the middle of the action. The adrenaline pumping through my veins as i took shot after shot in rapid succession was truely a thrill all of its own, only to be hightened when the bull jumped the ring near where i was standing. Granted this bull was a definately a younger stud, nothing compared to the rodeo bulls you see in the states, but nevertheless when I saw 1000 lbs of beef with the some serious horns hurdle that 4´5´´ wall and charge in my direction I ran for cover. Safely behind one of the safety wooden walls I hid as that bull came thrashing by. There is something special about being in a dangerous situation and walking away with a euphoric high, all you can do is smile like an idiot while everyone gestures and comments on how dumb you are.

The last event of the night was the Yunza itself, which is a large tree that is planted in the ground after being filled with gifts...hmm wonder why that sounds familiar? People then gather holding hands as they dance around the tree while a big axe is passed around as individuals are given the opportunity to hack away at the tree. Thats right, this isn´t your regular kind of holiday festivity, this one includes the operation of sharp objects while under the influence, YEAH! Now normally one would think that after an entire day of drinking heavily as is custom in these parts, it would be dangerous and irresponsible to do such a thing, well yeah but we do it anyway. To bring futher light to how this fun little pasttime is caried out the object is simple, dance around a tree in a large group (with music of course) while people take turns chopping it until it falls, hopefully not on the large group that just happens to be dancing around it and try to run and grab as many goodies from the tree without sustaining to many bodily injuries from your fellow compatriot. Aww....tradicion.

The night was finally wrapped up by a live band and more drinking since you got to start what ya finished, am i right...huh. Well needless to say we left a little early having spent the entire day all over the city.

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