Okay, I Have Been a Bit of a Slacker #2

Washington DC is not only one of my favorite cities, but also I would dare say my abode for a decade and I miss it dearly.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the opportunity it gives me and my family to move around internationally and explore the world, as well as prove myself every two to three years; if I do not get evacuated from post.

WASDC 1

I would be lying if I said I did not miss friends, old haunts, and even the intrigue and politics of the city and the Hill.  I guess being gone for a time makes one anxious for a return, which allows one to savor the city and its environs all the more.

Capitol Hill, Perspective #1

Capitol Hill, Perspective #1

The Capitol Dome, Restoration, #1

The Capitol Dome, Restoration, #1

The Capitol Dome Restoration, #2

The Capitol Dome Restoration, #2

Fortunately, work has taken me back to Washington DC twice in the past six months.  It has allowed me to explore the city both on the day of arrival and of departure on the weekend – sorry during the other time in the city, work and its obligations is a relentless task master that does not afford much time to explore.

Tulips on the Mall

Tulips on the Mall

So I guess any opportunity I get, I will maximize it to the most.  This time around I explored everything between old town Alexandria (even hit Starbucks numerous times) to Capitol Hill down through the mall (including the Shackler for a quick half hour visit) and around the tidal basin (including the Jefferson Memorial) and up to the Lincoln Memorial (by way of the FDR, MLK, and WWI and Korea memorials.  Experiencing along the way as many of the sights and the characters that make Washington DC so special.

The Percussion King - A Great Street Performer

The Percussion King – A Great Street Performer

Tidal Basin Fishermen

Tidal Basin Fishermen

Walked by main State, and waved at the security cameras, and got on the orange line and headed out to Georgetown via Rosslyn.  I even ran up  the hundred or so runs on the mechanical escalator with my pack just for old-time sake, to prove that though a young old fart, I am still in decent shape, and then across the Key Bridge.

Tourists - Blessed Them for Visiting and Contributing to the Economy

Tourists – Blessed Them for Visiting and Contributing to the Economy

On the other side of the river, I even find the time to climb the exorcist stairs, hit GU’s bookstore for a school cap – go Hoyas, and take a picture of the little row house with a view of the Potomac that wifie and I considered buying when we first moved to DC.

Finished the day off as the sun is setting at Pizza Paradiso enjoying the Belgian beers I cannot get in Peru, some pizza Atomica, and all the olives I can eat when I get tapped on the shoulder by a headquarters’ retiree which allowed me the chance to catch up with a friend.  Ah, life is good in the nation’s capital.

I am so sorely tempted to make an offer on that little 120 year-old row house, with its English garden with its big trees, its tiny rooms but with a view of the river and around the corner from GU.  Guess I will have to wait a while until I rotate back home.

Cheers from an on the road FSO.

PAN AM – Gone But Not Forgotten

Pleasantly surprised to see reminders of PAN AM still around despite the passage of time. If you have the time and the inkling while in Orlando are, you can see an old PAN AM plane by the roadside along 441 at the Orlando Apopka Airport.

PAN AM Plane

Old PAN AM Plane at Orlando Apopa Airport.

Cheers!

Abraham Lincoln, 150 Years Since His Assassination.

Abraham Lincoln, the man who saved the Union and America’s first martyred president.

Lincoln 1

Lincoln, Perspective #1

Much has been recently been said and written about Lincoln.  The big take away I guess then, as today about Lincoln are best captured by his own words, “let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let, us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” (Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Union Address, February 27, 1860).

Lincoln Perspective #2

Lincoln, Perspective #2

I will otherwise let the pictures speak for themselves.

Lincoln 2

Lincoln Memorial on Stormy Spring Afternoon

Okay, I Have Been a Bit of a Slacker #1

April has been a busy month.  I guess that two back-to-back trips stateside will take it out of you.  First trip was all about cattle in Texas and Florida, while the follow-up trip was just about meetings in Washington, DC.

Texas Cattle 1

Selecting Texas Brahman Cattle 

Texas Brahman

George the Texas Brahman Bull

Texas Brahman 2

Texas Brahman Bull

Texas and Florida are always great.  Saw some impressive animals and was able to get some decent photos with the Nikon D70.  It’s always fun to play cowboy; grandpa would be proud.

Florida Black Angus 3

Florida Black Angus Up Close #1

Florida Black Angus 2

Florida Black Angus and Stormy Clouds

Florida Black Angus

Florida Black Angus Up Close #2

Anyhow, I hope folks enjoy the southern cowboy-style pictures.  The Washington DC will go up separately, hopefully with some witty commentary.

Hatuey Beer at Versailles Cafe

Hatuey Beer from Miami’s Little Havana’s Cafe Versailles.

In the meantime, go out and enjoy a cold Miami Cuban Hatuey!

Cheers!

Purple Corn, Inca Potatoes, and Fresh Chicken Washed Down with an Inca Royale

Diplomonkey finally took a day off, at least partially, and went with wifie to the Musa market just outside of La Molina.  This sort of outing is what makes foreign service life so fascinating.

Musa Market Shoppers.

Musa Market 1

Musa Market Shoppers.

Going to Musa, or another similar local wet market, is always a worthwhile experience for gringos to experience while in Peru.  It puts you in touch with what food looks like outside of the sanitized confines of modern supermarkets.  Sorry little Dorothy, chicken does not naturally come quartered and wrapped in cellophane on a Styrofoam tray.

Musa Market, La Molina Chickens.

Musa Market, La Molina Chickens. Sorry Little Dorothy!

So if you get a chance while visiting Lima, head out to La Molina’s Musa market.  It’s relatively safe, especially if you go in a group and way less expensive than any supermarket.  We paid less than 30 Soles ($10) for a pineapple, a pomegranate, four maracuyas, a cocoa pod, a bunch of baby bananas, a papaya, and a two-pound bag of cocktail potatoes.

Musa Market Fruit Seller.

Musa Market Fruit Seller. 

Musa Market Purple Corn and Inca Potatoes.

Musa Market Purple Corn and Inca Potatoes.

Such a fun outing on hot, late summer day is to be followed by what I call an Inca Royale – it’s really a mimosa made with Peruvian chicha in lieu of orange juice!

Musa Market Flower Lady and Daughter.

Musa Market Flower Lady and Daughter.

Cheers!

Home Again, Off Again…

Okay so the hours are long, the workload heavy, the time spent away from family painful; fortunately the work remains rewarding and wifie has not (yet) changed the locks on the front door.

Banana1

Rice field and shack outside of Babahoyo, Ecuador.

As a Foreign Service Officer, I must explore the countryside, engage with people, and report on new things.  These are requirements that appeal however to Diplomonkey’s inner Viking’s wunder lust.

In recent travel to Ecuador alone, I have seen the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano towering over the cloud line to shrimp and tilapia farms along the Guayas River to even Arabian pure breed horses in lush mountain pastures 3,000 meters above sea level (far removed from the burning sands of their origin in the Arabian peninsula).

Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi Volcano and Quito.

Arabian Horses at Altitude.

Arabian Horses at Altitude.

Bulls Up High.

Bulls on up High.

At the same time, I have walked along the route that Francisco de Orellana took in the sixteenth century when he set out to explore and conquer the Amazon.  Pretty cool, but surreal nonetheless (can you say Indiana Jones).

Francisco de Orellana

Statute of Francisco de Orellana, Spanish Explorer and Conquistador.

Camino de los Conquistadores

Walking in the Footsteps of Orellana along the Camino de los Conquistadores.

Sanctuary of the Virgin of Guapulo and Convent - or simply the Guapulo Church

Sanctuary of the Virgin of Guapulo and Convent – or simply the Guapulo Church.

Anyhow, it’s off to Texas and Florida again in a couple of weeks to look at cattle for export to South America.  In the meantime, to make amends while still in Lima I will make wifie a Chilcano with ginger syrup tonight.  For the more adventurous, the recipe follows.  Cheers from Lima.

Ingredients:

  • One jigger Peruvian Pisco (use the Mosto Verde – Torontel variety if possible)
  • Half a jigger of Ginger syrup
  • A dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Juice of half a Peruvian lime (somewhat similar to a large key lime), leave the seeds that fall in for effect
  • Top off with Ginger Ale (about three jigger’s worth)
  • Add an ice-cube or two and gently stir.

Top Banana

Okay it has been a while since the last post; and as usual it is late in the evening so Diplomonkey needs to get out a quickie post before he falls asleep.  Otherwise I guess folks will wonder if Diplomonkey has survived yet another trip to Ecuador.  Type bad monkey, type…

Banana1

Babahoyo rice field shack.

This time around old Captain Jack went to Guayaquil and out into the wilds of Babahoyo.   Nothing quite like speeding down dusty back roads in a black, unmarked armored car.  Swish go rice and cane fields in a blur.

Babahoyo field.

Babahoyo field.

Eventually Diplomonkey arrives at the banana plantation. Thousands upon thousands of hectares of the green not so little things being picked, processed, and shipped to the four corners of the globe.

Banana cultivation.

Banana cultivation.

Bananas coming off the field; the hose down.

Bananas coming off the field; the hose down.

One banana for me and one for you.

One banana for me and one for you.

Packing bananas for shipment.

Packing bananas for shipment.

Cheers and enjoy so picture of life in the foreign service.

Diplomonkey