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Fried Fish, Bull Fighting, Beer, and Sharp Objects

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Monday, March 9, 2009

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.


  1. Marco I would love it if you posted some classic Peruvian recipes!


  2. Anonymous Says:
  3. Marco you have quite a talent for taking photos, I don't know why you didn't do it more while you were in the states. Anyway, glad your having such a great time, it makes me want to come down and hang out for a while. Keep it up!


  4. Hey gina I will be posting some peruvian recipes here this week I have just been trying to get the photos first.

    Thanks for the kind words dalton. I heard about the Vikings Big Sky win, thats good to hear

  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. just the mental image of you hiding from a bull makes my day. the pix are amazing as usual. I'm glad that you are having a great time. i can assure you that we have having fun here just not a much as you are. miss you like always!


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