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Day 26, 27, & 28 - Coastal Callao, Doña Pepa, & The Slut Palace

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Friday, July 31, 2009 0 comments

It has been a long week here in Lima and while I had a great time with all of my days off, the vacation has really messed with my week. Let me just start off by saying that the 28th was really laid back and chill for me. I did not go to any social gatherings nor did I attend any of the many festivities that were going on in and around Lima, all I did was visit my grandmother, eat some great chicken tamales, and slept.

I did go out with Zdenka and her female friends to supposedly party, however all we ended up doing was riding in taxi after taxi since they could not decide on a place. We eventually ended up in Miraflores in a bar near the Calle de Pizzas (very anti-climatic). I don't remember the name of the bar but it plays 80's music and has a very relaxed atmosphere. Anyways after having spent 3 hours traversing several of Limas most popular districts all I wanted was to have a damn beer and call it a night. I gave the waitress a $20 bill only to have her come back and tell me that it was fake so obviously they would not accept it. I knew this was a lie since I had just gotten that bill from an ATM machine. These guys thought that they could get away with swapping my 20 for one of their fake ones and pull a fast one over gringo, NO DICE! THAT WAS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG! I went to the bartender who was this ugly short asian dude who in response to my claims took me to what was their state-of-the-art money fraud detector (a UV lamp). With what I assume was my original $20 he should me the differences between an authentic bill and the fake they tried to pass off as mine. Apparently the only difference were a few worn spots on the supposedly fake bill. I argued and insulted his intelligence for the next 10 minutes until I boldly accused him of trying to steal from me. He did not like that and suggested that if I did not like being stolen from that I was more than welcome to drink in another bar, what a jerk!

Realizing that I wasn't going to get anywhere without any hard evidence I dropped the argument and retreated back to our table where I drank my beers in resentment. In a show of good faith or just plain guilty conscience the bartender (shorty) only charged me for one of the two beers.

How exactly does one end such a night? By sleeping on his girlfriends coach only to wake 2 hours later to stumble home through the rain at 7 am on a Wednesday!

The photo above was taken in Callao near the military academy Leoncio Prado (a place where parents send their children who are uncontrollable/undisciplined punks), where my brother Dumenico attended against his will for 3 years. NOTE: After his initial institutionalization (similar to what happens to prisoners) Dumenico did not want to leave and discovered that the school that had placed restrictions on his freedom had become a new home and family to him.

This above picture is of a famous Peruvian treat: the Doña Pepa. It is a heavily embellished nuget like desert that is in my opinion to sweet for my taste buds to handle. I will post some other pictures of it later.

And finally the photo below is a picture that was taken in response to my father. He would always joke about how the word "slot" when pronounced by a spanish speaking person sounded like "slut". When I saw this I knew I had to take a picture of it. Please note that i did doctor or "photoshop" the photo.

Some of you will obviously fail to find the humor if any at all in this photo, in anticipation to this there isn't really much that can be said nor will I try to justify/defend my actions. You had to be there.

Day 24, 25 - Primary Colors, & Chifa

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, July 28, 2009 0 comments

After a night of dancing, drinking, and early morning (5am) pollo a la brasa. I decided to take it easy Sunday. I slept in till about noon and then met up with my girlfriend Zdenka and her friends in Breña. They were supposedly going to make Ceviche but none of them really wanted to cook or knew how to for that matter so we ended up doing the next best thing, eating out.

We went to a restaurant in Breña called the Choza Nautica, a seafood restaurant which I will be writing a review about it soon. The food was great and we all had a good time. The weather was awful it almost reminded me of the weather back home in Portland, Oregon.

The photo below was taken at Zdenka's house where there was these little dishs that had all these little tiny wet balls (that doesn't sound right) of different colors. Apparently they are for growing plants? You buy them in these little packages and they start off as tiny little plastic seeds that when introduced to a little H2O they become what you see below. I am not really sure how they work but they are cool looking.

So days after a hard days work when I am too tired to want to make dinner I head down to the corner and buy what I consider Peruvian fast food, Chifa. The place down the street from my home is always packed in the evenings till late at night with locals feasting on Arroz Chaufa (fried rice) or Aeropuerto (which is just stir fried noodles mixed with arroz chaufa). The best part about this place is you get to watch the cook prepare your meal right in front of you in this huge wok, no need to worry about the cook spitting into your dish.

Arroz Chaufa is the probably the fastest dish served there and most popular. When I order my rice I like to go easy on the MSG, yeah its the bowl of white powder to left of the other bowl of white powder (salt, silly) in the photo, and if that isn't enough sodium to cram into your arteries there is the generous portion of soy sauce. Say what you will but when all these wonderful and potentially lethal (over time) ingredients come together they create something so special and wonderful words can't even begin to describe it.

Felices Fiestas Patrias!!!

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza 0 comments

Happy 28th Peru! Today Peru celebrates its 188th anniversary since the country declared it's independence from the Spanish. Below is the national anthem of Peru which has been modified over the years.

The following video is from a famous Peruvian singer Eva Ayllon. The song is what most would consider a patriotic song. The video was put together by the Peruvian Army.

Review of Comidas Criollas

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Sunday, July 26, 2009 0 comments

So last week after walking from the Paraguayan consulate in Miraflores (next to the Marriott hotel) to Chorrillos I came across this restaurant. Comidas Criollas is located on Av. Huaylas in Chorrillos near the Municipalidad de Chorrillos (city hall). The restaurant is small and cozy looking with no front door makes it very inviting. The daily specials (menu) are posted at the entrance on a white board and consists of a starter dish, the main entree, and refresco (a drink made by boiling fruit or herbs in water and then adding suger, simple enough right). The entire menu costs you only S./5 (soles), roughly $1.50 and is more than enough to feed a burning hunger. At first sight it looks like any other neighborhood restaurant but where Comidas Criollas really shines is in the quality of their food.

photographed below is their starter dish, crema de rocoto. Usually the starter will consist of two options a salad dish or soup, just like in the States right. The two other dishes are as follows: fried chicken w/ russian salad and Carapulcra (dried potato stew w/chicken).

The fried chicken was well prepared, golden brown and crispy just the way I like it. The Russian salad consists of diced beet, green bean, potato, and green peas, topped with fresh homemade mayo.

The second dish, Carapulcra is a traditional dish of the Andes region made of rehydrated dried potatoes (papa seca), aji, peanuts, and rice. Carapulcra is a very hearty stew that is prepared in terracota pots to give it a rich and earthy flavor. In these winter days nothing is better than a nice warm plate of Carapulcra. I haven't eaten this dish much in my life but I was impressed with its preparation and flavor.

Overall I would definately recommend this restaurant if you ever find yourself in Chorrillos. The service is effecient and quick. The food is great and the price is inexpensive for the quality of food that is served. I will definately be eating there again soon. My only complaint about the place is that the menu is available in the later afternoon, so if you want to take advantage of it I would recommend eating their from noon til 2pm.

Day 23 - Siesta in the streets

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza 0 comments

The great thing about my job is that it has me running around Lima and week long which takes me to places I have never seen before. I have lived in Lima on and off since I was 11 and I am still amazed at the shear size of the city. Saturday I went to the district of La Victoria to work in La Parada (Av. Aviacion) which is a fairly large street market. The streets here are packed daily with thousands of people shopping and selling within a 10 block distance. One thing that should be noted is that La Parada can be somewhat dangerous if you are not aware of your surroundings. The place has been known for it's theives that seem to blend into the general public. Now the only reason why I even discuss this is because of the sheer volume of people that frequent this street it is easier for theives to rob people wither your in a car or just walking on foot.

View Larger Map

These guys below are sewing huge banners like the ones you see on the sides of buildings

The photos below were taken from Thursday when I visited the mercado Caqueta in San Martin de Porres. The main streets of this market are currently undergoing construction and new sidewalks and streets are going to be made.

Day 22 - Huaral farming

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza 0 comments

It has been a while since I have traveled outside of Lima (roughly about 3 months). For whatever reason I was so distracted that I almost forgot to take pictures for the day and so this was probably the best picture that I took. I took this photo while traveling about 100 mph down the Panamericana Norte. It was taken in the outskirts of Huaral, a rural town along the northern coast. There are tons of these farms along the highway growing everything from cotton to asparagus.

When we arrived in the Lima over in Puente Piedra to the north, we decided to eat at this restaurant that served practically everything you could think of. I don't tend to care for places like this because it tends to usually be an indication of how good the food is. Not really sure what to order I decided to go with the safe bet and chose Aji de Gallina, which is a typical peruvian dish from the sierra. Originally this dish was made without the use of queso fresco in the sauce and the andians would prepare it in a style similar to Pachamanca (is a tradicional dish where a hole is dug in the ground and is made into a baking pit where the food, a various assortment of beef, chicken, pork, corn, potatos, and veggies are slow cooked over hot stones and covered with dirt and grass.) The dish turned out pretty good I must admit.

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Day 21 - Texas?

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Friday, July 24, 2009 0 comments

Tell me what you think? I found this piece of stone in El Mercado Caqueta in San Martin de Porres yesterday. I thought it looked awfully like the state of Texas so naturally I knew I had a winner for the picture of the day.

I will post some photos later of the market in Caqueta which is currently undergoing a serious facelift.

Day 20 - Crema de Rocoto

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, July 23, 2009 0 comments

Dying of hunger and hydration after what was probably a 8 mile walk yesterday I stumbled across this restaurant called Sabor Criollo located in Chorrillos on Av. Huaylas (now renamed to Los Defensores del Morro). The menu was inexpensive at only s./5 and the food was excellent, but more on that in another article.

The photo below is of a starter dish that I ordered called Crema de Rocoto which looks similar to Papa a la Huancaina or Ocopa. The cream sauce that is poured onto the yellow potatos is made from rocoto peppers, queso fresco, soda crackers, olive oil, and a little bit of salt.

Day 19 - Male or Female?

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, July 22, 2009 0 comments

I was walking around in Barranco when I almost stepped on this little guy. The funny thing is that it was the first time that I had actually even seen a snail in the wild before. An interesting fact about snails is that they belong to the phylum Mollusca which is the same phylum that squid belong to.

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Day 17 & 18 - Plaza Bolognesi and Mother Nature's Solar Panel

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Monday, July 20, 2009 0 comments

I captured this photo on Monday when I was in Huachipa visiting a private recycling plant. I was there to purchase recycled plastic when I saw this small farm at the property. There were these big plants that looked kinda like banana plants and they had huge green shiny leaves. This close-up was taken to showoff the texture of the plant as well as capture the raindrops that were collected.

For those of you who don't know where Huachipa is, the city itself is located west of Lima. To get there the quickest way to take the Carretera Central which you can catch by taking the Panamericana Highway. The small city is located about roughly 20 minutes from Lima and about another 20 minutes from Chaclacayo.

Every weekend I walk along the Av. Grau to visit my girlfriend and I always walk by the Plaza Bolognesi which has well over 200 years of history. It is located smack dab in the heart of Lima, from here you can get to any other part of the city relatively fast. Traffic can be a bit of a problem at night and during the rush hours of the morning.

Day 16 - Mercado Central

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Saturday, July 18, 2009 0 comments

I went downtown today to visit the mercado central in the center of Lima. This place is located near the Av. Abancay. Here is a map below showing where its located.

View Larger Map

This market is huge and it's usually packed full of people shopping for items ranging from toys to kitchenware. During the afternoon til about 9:30pm the streets are filled with shoppers, vendors, salesmen/women, and carretas (the guys who carry merchandise from the supply trucks to the shops). Since Fiestas Patrias (28th of July/Independence Day) is coming up soon all the stores are selling flags and other patriotic paraphanilia. In fact, in some districts there are laws that require all citizens to show their pride and patriotism by displaying the Peruvian flag on their business establishment or dwelling. Failure to do so could mean a ludicrous fine for being antipatriotic, however these antique laws just like the ones in the States are rarely if ever carried out. The picture taken below is of a women and her child who were sitting on the side of the street selling snacks like roasted candied peanuts and chifles (salted plantain chips).

Here are some other photos that were taken that show off the mercado central.

Busy, busy, busy week what with all the madness and rush around trying to get these new plastic injection molds ready for production. It never seems to fail that when you think everything is going well someone throws a wrench into the machine. The above picture was captured just outside of Ventanilla which is a district of Callao in the northern outskirts of Lima. This little wooden sanctuary was at the base of this cliff and it had this lone old tree. The way the sunset was hitting the rocks really brought out the color in the entire picture. This scene was located at a Repsol (spain owned) gas station and was taken right before the ignition cable came loose (too bad we didn't know that at the time). So yeah beautiful sunset and few clouds in the sky set the perfect mood for push starting a medium size cargo truck.

Yup you guessed it another day traversing the highways. With little in terms of photography subject matter I figured I'd try my hand at motion photography. In the past I had given it a shot a few times but just couldn't get the hang of it. In order to take a good photo that conveys a sense of motion you have to slow down your shutter speed, 15 sec. in this case. Then you need to auto-focus on your moving target and then pan through with the target as it passes you. I figured since I was shooting in Black and White that I would push up the iso to 800 to give more contrast. This photo of the combi wizzing by came out pretty good. The photo really gives that sense of motion and the combi comes out clear and somewhat sharp. These guys really fly down the highway in a mad attempt to beat out rival combi companies for passengers. It's a dangerous game they play, which isn't surprising that these guys could careless about the safety of their passengers.

Invisible Flash Technology

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Friday, July 17, 2009 0 comments

So I was surfing the net today and I came across this cool article on about an invisible flash camera that uses UV and infrared rays to capture what normal flash does. This camera was created by two computer scientists from NY University.

Apparently while the technology allows for some really sharp photos it has a few flaws in the system. The most notable one being a weird color balance issue which makes the photo look like it was taken with nightvision. They have managed to work around this problem by taking a second photo with out using the IR/UV flash and then using computer software merge the two photos together. The other notable problem is that some sources don't show up in the photo when using the IR/UV flash because they absorb UV and IR rays.

It seems the technology is still in the works but sounds rather interesting since if perfected would reduce all the red eye and glare issues that arise in photography.

Here is the link for anyone who is interested in reading more about it.....LINK.....

Day 13 - Sleepy Cat in Pro

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, July 15, 2009 0 comments

I was working with Dad in Pro today in the search to find polypropylene for the business when I saw this cat that was sleeping inside of this box. We were talking to a friend and the cat would periodically pop its sleepy head out to look around. I don't know about you but I found it pretty damn hilarious so I had to take a picture of the little guy. Unfortunately this was the best photo I took of the cat.

I know what your thinking... Real interesting stuff Marco (sarcasm)

Day 12 - Av. Santa Anita

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, July 14, 2009 0 comments

I am so happy because I finally fixed my damn tripod. My father had brought it from the States when he was last there but unfortunately it was missing a very important screw. Luckily in Peru you can find just about anything and just about anything can be fixed. Yesterday I went to the Malvinas in el Cercado de Lima (city center of Lima) to buy a screw that would be long enough to fight my tripod. Today I tested it out and it worked like a charm. The photo below was taken from the rooftop of my home this evening using the tripod. It's a timed exposure, roughly about 10 seconds at f/8 (aperture). This was taken on Av. Santa Anita in Chorrillos.

So Sunday was a fairly uneventful day given the fact that Saturday night I spent it drinking and dancing with my girlfriend and some friends of mine in Barranco & Lince. We partied in Rustica (not my favorite of places, but the drinks are reasonably priced) which was pretty fun until I was harrassed by one the security guards.

Try to picture this if you will. Here I was, this poor buzzed guy just minding my own business trying to take two full Chops (they are these huge 1L mugs filled with beer ofcourse) to our table when out of nowhere comes this huge dude in a suit and tie. He tries to pull me to one side and actually grabs me which, I was not a fan of by the way. I asked what the problem was and he asked me where I was going with my newly purchased beers? weird question when your inside a bar/club. I told him I was following some friends to our new table. He asked me where that was but unfortuantely for me I didn't know exactly where that was, so I told him "that I didn't know and that I was following my friends there".

By this time the guy was getting pretty impatient with me and just kept asking me over and over again where my table was, this really started to piss me off so I told him he should stop talking and try listening since he obviously didn't here me the first time. Finally after 5 minutes of ridiculous back and forth nonsense, my girlfriend shows and with two other guards and some wait staff. They all asked what the problem was and before you know it what was once an arguement between two became a huge orgy of a argument. I finally got fed up and handed the two chops to the idiot of a guard and told him to take them to the table. This must have really pissed him off because he looked like he wanted to beat the crap of me ( he probably could have too). Finally some manager type comes along and escorts us to our table and the whole thing was finally ended in a very anti-climatic way.

After a few hours we left that joint and headed to Voce which is a pretty swanky club in Lince on Av. Petit Thours. The place charges a S./20 cover which is fine I guess. The drinks are actually quite expensive for what you get. The same beer in Rustica costs S./7 more making it fairly uneconomic in comparison. The dance floor is fairly big but that doesn't really mean anything in Lima since by 12am - 2am the dance floors are usually so packed you can barely move. We hung out at Voce for a while and the headed out around 3am.

The next morning I woke around 11am, still in a bit of a fog from the night before. My father and I hungry headed out to Lurin a town located just south of Lima near the Pachacamac ruins. According to my father Lurin has some of the best chicarron in Lima, even though I find the chicarron in Chancay to be better. Along the way I happened to come across some horses that were grazing along the side of the road. There is a place right next to the Pantanos de villa which is located by Av. Huaylas right before it merges with the Panamericana Sur (south). There you can go horseback riding along the beach for a reasonable price (I can't remember how much exactly). I do remember it being a lot of fun the last time I did it with my friends and family.

The above picture was taken yesterday when I was driving down Av. Sucre in Magdalena del Mar yesterday when I drove by this huge church/monestary, not really sure which but I really grabbed my attention. I chose black and white because I thought it would make a more dramatic photo. The colors were to washed out which is why I chose to take the photo in B&W.

Day 8 & 9 - Downtown Lima and Stained Glass Skylight

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Saturday, July 11, 2009 0 comments

Okay so the first picture was taken today (day 9) while I was working in downtown Lima this morning at 9am. It was cold (surprisingly), wet, dark, and slippery as hell. All the dirt and dust that is home to this coastal city instantly turns to a dark mud that covers everything! I honestly had the hardest time walking without slipping and losing my balance from time to time, I even saw a young lady lose her footing and slide right into the arms of an unsuspecting older woman. It's like a freaking ice skating ring out here.

ANYWAYS...I happened to come across this blocked off street in the mercado central where it was painted. The combination of wet cement and the bright neon white & yellow just caught my eye.

The above picture was from yesterday which, unfortunately I did not have time to post because partying usually comes first before blogging. Instead I posted it quickly to my Flickr account just so that I would make the 12am deadline for that day. The picture was actually taken in the living room of my father's home. That's right my father had a stained glass dome installed when he was constructing his home back in 2003. It's pretty awesome actually since it tends to be a great conversation starter when friends come over. The picture was taken in the evening hours which is why the rest of the shot is dark and allows the colors of the stained glass to really stand out.

Day 7 - Yuquita...mmmm!

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, July 9, 2009 0 comments

There is something about fried food that reminds me of the good ole US of A. Luckily Peruvians love fried food just as much as Americans. The photo above is of a fried dough called Yuquita and it is sold on the streets all over Lima. Nothing says cardiac arrest better than the semi-sweet taste of fried dough.

The flavor is very similar if not the same as the elephant ears I love to eat in the States, without the cinnamon and sugar of course. At S./1.4o (soles), yuquita being a street sold food is a little spendy than other snacks sold. Heck you can get a Churro for about S./.50 and its pretty much the same thing only in a more phallic form complete with its warm cream filling...come to think about it there is probably a good reason why I don't eat much of those.

Yuquita might not be considered the gastronomic representative of Peruvian food but when on the move and in need of boosting blood sugar levels it sure does the trick.

Day 6 - Guard Duty in San Martin de Porres

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, July 8, 2009 2 comments

I found this rental cop today in San Martin just chilling outside this factory that produced some kind of highly toxic chemicals. I found it quite amusing to see this guy just sitting in his plastic chair reading a tabloid. It got even better when he began to take a quick nap...on the job, no big deal right.

Honestly you see these "watchyman's" (as Peruvians like to call them) all over the place. In front of local marketplaces, factories, clubs, restaurants, casinos, banks (AKA: the PNP when their not on duty), parks, serenazgo's (which in my opinion are the biggest pains), and just about anywhere possibly conceivable.

For the most part their job is just to intimidate and discourage any possible outside threat (theives). In my many years in Peru I have rarely ever seen these guys in action. Most of the time they spend most of their day walking around in their full security/military attire and blow on their whistles (which I find annoying as hell).

Peñas of Lima

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza 0 comments

If you can recall about a week ago I wrote an article about a Peña (a club that hosts folkloric music shows) in Barranco that I visited well I recently came across some more information on several other Peñas located in the city of Lima. Here is a list with their addresses:

Asociación Cultural Brisas del Titicaca
Walkuski 168, Lima Cercado.
Tel.: (511) 332-1901.

De Rompe y Raja
Manuel Segura 127, Barranco.
Tel.: (511) 247-3271.

Del Carajo
Catalino Mirando 158, Barranco
Tel.: (511) 241-8904

Don Jijuna
Plaza Butters 291, Barranco.
Tel.: (511) 247-2242.

Don Porfirio
Manuel Segura 115, Barranco.
Tel.: (511) 477-3119.

El Caballero de Fina Estampa
Av. Del Ejército 800, Santa Cruz, Miraflores.
Tel.: (511) 441-0552.

El Eslabón
Av. Aviación 3390, San Borja.
Tel.: (511) 476-2419.

El Plebeyo
Jr. Succha 247, Breña.
Tel.: (511) 330-9235.

El Rastro Canto Bar
Berlín 536, Miraflores.
Tel.: (511) 242-1022.

La Candelaria
Av. Bolognesi 292, Barranco.
Tel.: (511) 247-2941.

Las Guitarras
Jr. Manuel Segura 295, Barranco.
Tel.: (511) 247-3924.

Pedro De Osma, cuadra 1, esquina con Castilla, Barranco.
Tel.: (511) 477-1311

Av. del Ejército 657, Miraflores.
Tel.: (511) 441-4465.

Tradiciones Peruanas
Av. José de la Torre Ugarte s/n. (Boulevard del Retablo), Comas. Tel.: (511) 536-6072.

Now I haven't been to many of these Peñas but I have certainly read and heard good things about many of them. The Peru Guide has some descriptions and more detailed info about some of the Peñas.

Day 5 - Aji y Limon

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, July 7, 2009 0 comments

Today I was in the kitchen trying find something to silence my growling stomach and prevent it from eating itself, when I saw the lone Aji Amarillo and Limon (Lime) sitting on the kitchen counter. The colors really caught my eye and I knew that I had to take a picture of it to share with the world.

What you might not know is that these two items are key ingredients in many Peruvian dishes. The Aji Amarillo is a native chili pepper that has been used for many centuries in Peruvian kitchens. The Aji comes in various forms and vibrant colors. Some of the most commonly used Aji's are: Panca (a dark red Aji), Amarillo, & Limo (various colors and very spicy). Aji Amarillo is widely used to make the famous peruvian dish Papa a la Huancaina, which has always been a favorite of mine.

Limon as it is called in Peru is used a lot in seafood dishes which along the coast are quite popular given the proximity to the sea. Ceviche a popular favorite in Lima is eaten regularly and its the Limon that helps to marinate and cook the raw fish in the dish. Aside from seafood, limon is also used to add flavor to soups like Caldo de Gallina which is another favorite among Peruvians. Caldo de Gallina is spanish for chicken noodle soup, the only difference is that they add yellow potato (native to Peru and very hard to find in the States), cilantro, scallions (AKA: chinese onions), and hard boiled eggs. It is a fairly hearty soup in my opinion and is great on those rare cold days in Lima.

Day 4 - Tacna!

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Monday, July 6, 2009 1 comments

While waiting in afternoon traffic on the Panamericana Highway I saw this bus and it's painted letters caught my eye. The city of Lima is overrun with what I can only assume are thousands upon thousands of combi's and buses, excluding all of the taxi's, colectivo's, & mototaxi's. One thing is for sure it is easy to catch a ride in just about any part of the city, except when there is a paro de auto (halt of transit service).

The paro de auto usually comes about when the government decides to pass new traffic laws or more commonly raise the fine rates on traffic tickets. Fortunately paros don't happen very often so it's rarely an inconvenience.

Anyways getting back on track, being a huge fan of art I am impressed by the combination of colors and texts that are used to "pimp" if you will each bus and combi. What makes it more appealing is that most of the writing on the vehicles is done with what looks like spray paint and what I would assume are handmade templates.

Day 3 - Colonial Lamp

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Sunday, July 5, 2009 0 comments

I found this lamp hanging above a doorway in an alley in Breña and I had to take a picture of it.

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Day 2 - El Tumi

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Saturday, July 4, 2009 0 comments

Well its day 2 of my new photography project and I found this Tumi hanging on the wall and I loved how the yellow color of the wall really brought out the gold color of the Tumi. For those of you who don't yet know the Tumi was a sacrificial knife used by the Incan's in special ceremonies. The knife would be used to sacrifice a llama and their blood would then be offered to the sun god (Inti Raymi - in quechuan). This was practiced during the annual festival of Inti Raymi at the end of the harvest.

This other picture was also chosen in celebration of the 4th of July! Felices Fiestas Patrias!

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Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Friday, July 3, 2009 0 comments

Hey Gang, I have been spending a lot of time on Flickr and have decided to start a new project. The project idea is to take my pocket Canon Powershot camera with me every day to take one picture each day. Starting today I will be posting one picture a day on both my blog and on my Flickr account. I would like to give thanks to Chase Jarvis for providing me with the inspiration to start this new project.

I look forward to all of your input. If you are not a follower of my blog I encourage you to join in a show of support. :)

Here is the very first photo of this project.

This picture was taken in the district San Juan de Lurigancho

I was surfing the net and came across this interesting article about the Chan Chan ruins located in Trujillo. According to the author of En Peru. A mining company a few months back made a proposal to excavate for oil where the ruins are located. In fact, the proposed dig site is located right on top of the ruins.

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear about such things happening in Peru.

La Peña Del Carajo!

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, July 2, 2009 0 comments

So last Saturday I had the house to my self, what with my father in Chicago for the International Plastics Convention. Everything was going great, I was just relaxing in the living room when I get a call from my girlfriend to go to a friend's (Carlos) birthday party. Since nothing else was going on I decided to get off my lazy @$$ and go enjoy the evening.

The birthday bash was planned to take place in a Peña (Peña, a grass-roots community meeting place where popular folklore - usually Nueva Cancion - and other artistic expressions accompanied by food and drink are showcased) called Del Carajo! in Barranco, near Chorrillos where I live. Having never been to a peña before I was quite excited, I had heard and seen so much about them and was really looking forward to it.

After getting lost driving through side streets and dark alleyways that could make the hairs on the back of anyone's neck stand up, I arrive at the peña. It was located in a very narrow and poorly lit street. The sidewalk was full of people from all walks of life and social classes waiting in a large line. Since no one that I knew had arrived yet I was forced to wait in line. Finally my girlfriend (Zdenka) arrives just as the line begins to move. The fee for entrance is S./20 (soles) per person before 11pm and S./3o after. As we approach entrance we are greeted by two huge bamboo doors that open to revel a large tropical interior filled with rows of tables, two seperate bars, a fairly moderate (at first sight) dance floor, and a large stage. We are seated at our reserved table and soon after the birthday boy and all his friends arrive. Beers are purchased and then consumed as the band sets up the sound equipment. 30 minutes later (Midnight) the house is packed with no empty table in sight, then our attention is commanded by the sounds of Criollo music.

Friend, Zdenka, & Carlos

The host, an older woman welcomes the patrons and introduces the band and establishment. Then we are treated to a presentation of the Afro-Peruvian dance, after all that's what a peña is all about. It is truly amazing to watch them dance and move their bodies in ways that most people wish that alcohol could do for them. After the performance we were encouraged to get out on the dance floor as the band played a medley of latin, cumbia, salsa, and criollo music. I can't begin to tell you how great it is to dance to your favorite songs with that live band sound. The only real downside was the dance floor, it got so packed that at times you were stepping on toes and heals left and right, back and forth.

Here are some of the photos from the night:

Carlos's Friends from work

Welcome To Inti Aperture!

A travel blog about living abroad in Lima, Peru and my travels to cities like Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Inti Aperture is a blog about travel, Peruvian food, culture, adventure, jobs, tourism, travel, news, teaching English, photography, and living abroad, making it a perfect resource for the traveling expat.
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