We’ve been pretty off the grid lately, but finally popped into an internet café to send out a brief update. We’re currently in Cajamarca, a city nestled in the mountains of northern Peru. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to the past few days.
Monday afternoon, ZZ’s sister in law Susanna cooked us possibly the best meal ever. It’s called tallerines verdes and is basically the Peruvian answer to pesto but better, and topped with a huge hunk of sizzling steak. I don’t know if you’ve seen the portions in South America, but the fact that we asked for seconds is kind of a big deal.
On Monday night, we took an evening flight to Chiclayo with ZZ. Chiclayo is a one hour flight directly north of Lima on the coast where ZZ’s brother Jorge lives. While Chiclayo is much smaller and friendlier feeling than Lima, the same lack of driving rules applies. It’s wacky.
We stayed at Jorge’s house for two nights—the house is open with few walls separating the space, so it felt like one giant sleepover. AND WE ATE GUINEA PIG! It’s called Cuy in Peru, we think it’s probably because guinea pigs squeak like CUY CUY CUY. It was surprisingly delicioso. We did however wake up the next morning with a mysterious black coating on our tongues. It was weird, we’ll spare you from the pictures.
On Tuesday, we rode with ZZ and a few of her cousins to a religious site called Motupe. It consists of a winding path/ staircase up the mountain with vendors on each side selling religious trinkets, sweets and touristy tchotchkes. The cross at the top of the mountain is said to have healing powers, and many Peruvians make the pilgrimage every year. ZZ climbs Motupe every time she returns to Peru. This time she bought candles and some religious ornaments to say prayers over and bless at the mountaintop. On the way down, Lauren slipped down the stairs (surprise surprise). Luckily no one and no equipment was hurt. I don’t think the Peruvians will ever let her live that one down. It was incredible to see ZZ and her family partake in such a spiritual experience together.
The next morning we piled into a van to start off our road trip with ZZ and six family members to Cajamarca. We drove through what felt like ten different climates-- desert, farmlands, highlands, forests, mountains. We pulled over in some beautiful mountain villages, and even got to check out the incredible views from the outdoor toilet of a rest stop! The ride was so fun, we listened to music, danced, napped-- it began to feel like we were a part of the family. Six hours later we finally made it to Cajamarca. We both decided immediately that we love it here. Especially the natural hot springs called Los Baños del Inca, which are filtered and channeled into private hot tubs at a whopping 2 soles (75 cents) per half hour. Afterwards we hung out in the city center with our new friends Edgar and Niels and had our first beer in what seems like years accompanied by chips ahoy and pringles. Sometimes you just need a little something to remind your stomach of home.
Today we did some Peruvian tourist activities, which included visiting Las Ventanillas del Otuzco, driving an hour up in the mountains to visit a zoo that was closed due to rain, driving back down the mountain, eating a huge lunch, and relaxing with integrity.
Tomorrow we leave for the pueblo of Nueva Arica early in the morning to attend the baptism of ZZ's nephew. After that we head off to ZZ's home village of Niepos for El Dia de los Difuntos. We'll be without internet again for the next few days, so it may be a while until our next update. Hopefully this is enough to keep you all satisfied for the time being! Peace out until next time.