Thursday, March 31, 2011

new plans new blog

we finally leave la punta friday, april 1 at noon no fooling.  the agent will be here with our passports and documents to make sure we cast off our moorning line.  next stop san cristobal, galapagos in about 10-12 days.

with the new cruising comes a new blog at  it's still a work in progress but has parting shots of la punta and chucuito.

Friday, March 25, 2011

more from the right side of the bus

more shots from the right side of the bus.  coming home on the local la punta bus, through the mercado area, there's just so much to see

and then we get to chucuito where the buildings are painted bright primary colors

this is just a taste.  there's more to come in the next couple of days when i roam around the streets with my camera and i can have jim as my bodyguard.

only 2 buses and a taxi

triple sanwich vegetariano is one of my mainstays - pan integral, olivas, tomate, lechuga y queso crema - yum
jim's tocino sanwich is in the background

ensalada greca - lechuga, tomate, huevo duro, olivas, feta y artichoke hearts - the best salad i've had since leaving home.

it's not easy being a vegetarian away from home, especially once we got south of mexico.  here in peru everything has pollocarne in it.  sometimes i can ask for it sin carne y pollo but then it might have jabon instead.

today jim struck gold.  we found an argentine butcher near our new favorite restaurant and he came back with chuletas de cerdo, tocino y chorizo (porkchops, bacon and sausage).  we are forever indebted to pilar and micky for telling us about san antonio panadaria where we can eat these scrumptious salads, and it only takes 1 1/2 hours taking 2 buses and a taxi to get there.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

la punta history lesson 101

a little La Punta history.

La Punta is almost entirely surrounded by the Pacific Ocean except where it attaches to Callao. Callao, founded in 1537, is the largest and most important port in Peru. Virtually all goods produced in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina were originally carried over the Andes by mule to Callao, for shipment to Panama, then carried overland for transport to Spain via Cuba. As the gateway to Lima, Callao was frequently attacked by pirates and buccaneers, including Sir Francis Drake who sacked the city in 1578.

Originally La Punta was a fishing community called Pitipiti. San Lorenzo Island sits offshore as a bald land mass, once visited by Charles Darwin in 1835 on his third expedition to South America.

La Punta was also completely destroyed by the devastating earthquake and the tidal wave of 1746. It recovered quickly and by the end of the 19th century was one of the most popular spas in the region. A spacious, open plaza with hotels and summer houses gave it a rustic, but elegant appearance, drawing the Limeñan bourgeoisie to its quiet and peaceful atmosphere. La Punta’s population grew from the tens to the hundreds as the indigenous community mixed with the new-comers and immigrants, mostly Italians and British, who worked on the building of Callao's docks, as well as with the British Steamship Company. With the railway extension in 1894, fishermen’s huts changed into organized streets and mansions. The peninsula became a resort town and home to the rich to enjoy the famous stony beaches and calm waters.

Four new hotels were constructed--the Grand Hotel (which unfortunately burned down in 1914), the Eden Hotel, the Hotel Bristol, and the Hotel International. The British colony held sumptuous parties at the International which started or ended with lively football matches. Peruvian families preferred to holiday at the Bristol, known for its splendid cuisine.

It was the accepted thing to own a summer home in La Punta. In the 1920's, the Hotel Riviera Plaza was the center of La Punta's social life and hosted the first jazz concert in Peru and carnival parties were famous. In the 1930s and 1940s many Italian immigrants settled in La Punta leaving their legacy in the district. In 1940 Callao and La Punta were severely damaged by an earthquake. Shortly after that, other beaches became popular and La Punta's beaches were sold and became deserted. In 1943 the beaches became property of the municipality.

La Punta never fully lost its prestige, but the aristocracy moved on and the middle class remained. Many mansions fell into disrepair and were replaced by modern buildings. Some of the elegant homes are owned by people who can afford to restore and preserve them and there is a development plan to restore some of the other beautiful old mansions.

This long stretch of land is so thin that today, driving into La Punta on either of its two main roads, you can see the ocean from left and right when you look down the blocks. During the summer months La Punta’s beaches, Cantolao, Malecón and Arenillas, are popular with surfers, swimmers and sun lovers. Almost a third of La Punta is occupied by the Peruvian Naval School.

some of the local buildings that have caught my eye...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

more food from minka

causa.  one of the most popular peruvian side dishes you can find.  usually served cold, it's something like a jellyroll of mashed potatoes with a filling like chicken salad.  i've yet to find one without chicken, except last year someone made me one with veggies and it was really good.

another vegetarian option, hurray for me.  found in the food court at minka.  they use some kind of soy protein mix for the meat substitute.

i have no idea what's inside these little bundles but i suspect it's something  like a tamale.

sh*t happens

yes that's jim blowing into a water jug, one of six, to siphon water.  a technique he's really good at.  this has not been one of our better days.  before having our morning tea we discovered one of the potable water tanks that was full was now empty.  porque?  apparently the unlabeled lever in the head got moved so instead of flushing the toilet with sea water we were using our precious filtered water.  so we bypassed the tea and went right over to minka to buy six more jugs to haul back in the taxi, onto the launcha, and onto the boat.  i should mention half of these jugs had no handles.  that made it all the more interesting getting them from the launcha onto the boat with the strong wave action we're having.  so we how have 30 gallons in the tank.  only two more trips back and forth and we're all set.  we're trying to put this in perspective.  it's like using $1 bills for toilet paper, it's expensive and not very satisfying (jim's words).

big waves in the marina

strolling back from dropping off the laundry i decided to walk along the malecon and watch the wave action. the rowing club was out practicing in these skinny little vessels.

there were even a few surfers trying to catch a few in the marina.

view from the dock looking toward the malecon.  the waves normally lap the rocks  much further back.  yesterday the waves were at the sea wall.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

tsunami drill

we've walked past this sign at the end of the dock hundreds of times, but last friday it took on special significance for us.  we didn't know about the tsunami warning until Lady J hailed us from their mooring to tell us to turn on the VHS radio.   we checked the NOAA website and estimated we had about 10 hours to decide what to do.  jim had to meet gonzalo in the morning to look for batteries and when he returned to la punta at 4pm he said it was like a ghost town and they were stopping traffic into the peninsula.  we decided it was a good opportunity to motor out for the evening and check to see what wasn't working on the boat  since Chesapeake's been swinging on the mooring for 10 months.  everything worked except the steaming light and we were rewarded with a firey sunset.

we weren't the only boats to go out for the evening.  the peruvian navy was out along with all the really big cats, sailboats and motor yachts.  apparently this is standard procedure and they take these warnings very seriously.  this weekend the navy continues to circle the marina and no traffic is allowed in or out.  we heard later there was no appreciable increase in water level except it was a high tide.

grocery shopping at minka

minka's.  the biggest shopping center i've ever been to and it's only a 15 minute taxi ride away.  three gigantic buildings filled with individual stalls of shopkeepers.  surrounding these buildings outside are stores and kiosks, numerous local fast food joints and a cinema.  here's a sampling of just one of the buildings.

this is one of the fruit aisles

in the veggie aisle many places sell pre-chopped veggies

i bought one of these tamales filled with choclo con queso (their white corn and cheese) and took it back to the boat to eat.  it was really good.

more veggies beautifully displayed

another mixed veggie offering for chifa (chinese fried rice)

the potato aisle where hundreds of varieties are sold.  they have many ways of cooking this tuber but not the plain old baked potato we know at home.

morada (purple corn) used for making mazamorra morada (purple corn pudding) which i have yet to taste and the very popular drink chicha morada which is really delicious.

even ajo (garlic) is displayed beautifully


the day after we arrived back on the boat we were lucky enough to run into the local sailmaker, Steve.  he offered to help us take the jibs off the boat for inspection and sure enough we had chafe and deterioration that needed to be repaired before we leave.  the sails were rolled out on the beach for inspection before taken down to Steve's sail loft in a shopping cart.

last friday was water day.  before 9am we took the launcha to the dock, caught a taxi to minka (the huge mercado in callao), bought 6 5-gallon jugs of water, carted them back to a taxi, loaded them onto the launcha and then onto the boat.  jim said  it was a lot of work for a drink of water.

yesterday jim found the replacement batteries with the help of gonzalo and is brother felipe.  this was quite an accomplishment.  jim started at 8am by taking a bus then a taxi to gonzalo's house, then a car ride to the battery store, then bring the batteries to the dock, to the launcha, and onto the boat.  but wait we're not done yet.  the old batteries need to come out of the box to be replaced by the new batteries.  then the old batteries get loaded onto the launcha, taken to the dock, carted to the car and loaded.  oh, and each battery weights 66 lbs. EACH.  a relaxing lunch at the yacht club was the reward.  and we don't know how we would manage without gonzalo's help.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

back in peru

here we are, back in la punta after being away since july 2010.  the trip here was mostly uneventful except for checking our bags in at SFO.  it only took an hour to convince Continental that we could check that extra bag.  we arrived in Lima about 11:30pm where we had to plead with the customs guy to not charge us an arm and a leg for our 7 suitcases.  it was a relatively quick walk across the street to the hotel -- imagine transporting 7 suitcases and 2 backpacks and you get the picture.  we finally got to bed about 2am.

Gonzalo had us picked up and brought to the boat yesterday afternoon.  his guys took great care keeping Chesapeake clean.  our biggest challenge was where to put all the suitcases until we could begin unpacking.  everything is exhausting and overwhelming.  the boat moving, the mildew smell, lack of space to put anything including ourselves, and no food and very little water.  dinner was a quiet affair of Trader Joe's instant soup, hot tea and oreo's only a little stale.

we planned out what we absolutely had to do on Wednesday and SUCCESS.  you can tell by reading this  blog that we got our Claro stick renewed for internet acccess.  we also did a little grocery shopping and met with the sailmaker who actually came to the boat and picked up the 2 jibs that need repair and took them away.  we even managed to have lunch at our favorite Italian cafe.  unfortunately they no longer sell water in 5 gal. jugs.  they sent us off with their last two jugs and now we have to find a way to continue to bring water to the boat.  10 gallons doesn't go very far for 2 people.

Jim is reclining in his underwear after starting the Genset and checking water levels in the batteries.  i'm about to go horizontal myself to continue reading a real book.

more to come, perhaps with pictures.

Monday, July 5, 2010

lima and barranco on june 17

on June 17 we were lucky enough to get a personal tour of downtown Lima from Susy, Yoya and Luis, friends of a friend.  there's nothing like getting picked up and driven through crowded streets and escorted into amazingly old buildings of architectural grandure.  and they speak really good English matched against our toddler Spanish.  but that's not all.  we were wisked away to their home for a delicious Peruvian meal including chicha morada (purple corn drink), maiz blanco (corn-nut sized kernel corn), papas ala huancaina with ocopa sauce (potatoes with sauce) and rice.  I know there was some kind of meat for Jim but of course I didn't notice that.

After lunch we drove through Barranco which is an artsy little town.  we stumbled into a taller de madera (woodworker) who was carving boxes and restoring old wood furniture.  after a brief walk, and some spontaneous dancing (not Jim, of course), we headed back to the boat.

grandma just happened to be passing by and couldn't resist the music, nor could Luis

la biblioteca
view in Barranco
artist's loft in Barranco

mask made of gold from the museo in Banco Central de Reserva del Peru

inside la catedral

the choir in la catedral - made of cedar

exposed exterior of a really old building adjacent to the parking lot