After about two months of traveling through the sacred valley of Peru, and up to the northern beaches, I have a story to tell. We flew into Lima, and after sampling some Civiche there for a few days travelled to the sacred valley through Piura airport. At a very high altitude, this airport and the surrounding mountains required some coca tea (which helps with altitude sickness.) We met and stayed with some amazing couchsurfing hosts while hopping in cheap breezy busses that brought us from one farm-encapsulated town to another. We did all this traveling mostly through the never-ending green fuzzy snake of the sacred valley. Huge mountains all around, colorful people, and simple hearty food. Lots of chicken stews and rice, civiche of tuna with lime, and fresh coconuts. I also love the sauces that are made from cheese and potato, or peanut and hot peppers. I learned a few local specialities from my hosts and a couple restaurants, but mainly as always from eating. Highlights of the trip include: Hiking up to Manchu Pichu, eating delicious potatoes that were preserved through a rotting process then re-hydrated, and finding a funky sushi restaurant with two dudes on the beach and the freshest tuna imaginable.
The second time I visited Peru this past year 2017, I stayed there a bit longer, this time about five months. I settled into the same lifestyle I had before when I was living in beautiful little Pisac. The town is nestled in the sacred valley, just over the mountain from Cuzco. There were a lot of beautiful people here, and high mountain villages at around 4,500 meters or 13,500 feet, above the clouds. Eve is studying wild potatoes in the mountains through a fullbright scholarship, so of course I followed her. This time around I focussed on meditation and martial arts. Among much good ceviche, potato stews, chicken soups, quinoa soups, chicha morada, causa, chicha frutillada, chili rellenos, thousands of potato and root vegetable species, exotic fruits, fresh alpaca and lamb, high altitude lake algae pearls, and many other culinary wonders was: the patchamankas. A patchamanka is where you take hundreds of potatoes, whole cut up lamb, alpaca, and other meat and marinade, and you layer it with stones superheated by a fire, then cover it with hay, leaves, and dirt for many hours. When you break it open, they take the food out, then serve it to hundreds of people tired from a day's work on the side of a mountain, of course with chicha (fermented corn beer) huacatay sauce (a magical herb with peanuts, and chilis) and blocks of fresh farmers cheese. I had the honor to participate and learn this technique of cooking BBQ.