Postcards from Peru, Lurin: Have muddy boots, will travel

On the road again, Diplomonkey drops by this really cool dairy farm in Lurin, a fair-sized town some 45 kilometers south of Lima.  The place is also known for the massive pre-Colombian Pachacamac ruins on its outskirts – note to self, I need to go their with the little dudes before our tour is up next year.

Lurin Dairy Cow 1

Lurin Dairy Cow #1

Tail End of the Business - Lurin Dairy Cow #2

Tail End of the Business – Lurin Dairy Cow #2

Anyhow, there is nothing like a quick farm visit to cheer up Diplomonkey’s spirits.  The smell of hundreds of animals, feed, and damp earth are a welcome, reinvigorating shock to the system, as much as an escape from the confines of the office and its unceasing pile of reports and briefing memoranda.

Fresh Milk - Lurin Dairy Cow #3

Fresh Milk  Straight from the Cow – Lurin Dairy Cow #3

One of the great aspects of foreign service life, I think is getting away from the desk work to actually do field work.  I guess that the bonus here is the possibility to see new things, as well as to interact with people.  Most people I meet are more than willing to tell you something about themselves,  what they do, what they think, and how things could better.

Milk Me, I dare You - Lurin Dairy Cow #5

Milk Me, I dare You – Lurin Dairy Cow #4

In any case, enjoy the pictures and consider a farm visit sooner than later to learn where our food actually comes from.

Hello There - Lurin Dairy Cow

Hi There – Lurin Dairy Cow

Cheers!

Postcard from Peru: Quilmana, Canete 140 Kilometers and a World Away from Lima

Okay so the fog season has started, albeit with a slight delay.  Time to get out of Lima even if for a day.  Hop into the office car to seek sunshine afar. LOL

Quilmana, Canete Donkey Powered Cart

Quilmana, Canete Donkey Powered Cart

The cool thing about being posted to U.S. Embassy Lima, inspite of the opportunity to engage in some really poor rhyme making, is the possibility to go out and experience the countryside.  So last week, with the interns in tow, Diplomonkey headed out to Quilmana, Canete about 140 kilometers from Lima on the Pan American South highway (i.e., the Panamericana Sur).

Quilmana Moto Taxi

Quilmana Moto Taxi

Canete Corn Field

Canete Corn Field

Weather clears up a bit, but the fog does linger; which makes for some moody pictures.  Sorry no rhyme there.

Canete, Peru #2

Canete, Peru #2

Garbage Collectors in Canete

Garbage Collectors in Canete

Anyhow enjoy this new series of postcards from Peru.  Get out of Lima and see something different.

Cheers!

Post Cards from Peru: Kitesurfing in Paracas

The sun is unseasonably warm; the sky is bluish.  Life is good four hours south of Lima in Paracas thanks to this year’s fickle El Niño.  Enjoying some ceviche, washed down with some sweet dark beer followed by a Chilcano along with some Afro-Peruvian cajon music in the background; ah life is good in Peru.

Paracas Kitesurfer.

Kitesurfing in Paracas Bay.

The little dudes, known as the dynamic duo of Zos and Bo (the Bozos) ask Diplomonkey to stay another day in Paracas.  Why not?  Gives us another day of ceviche, clean air, and a beautifully stark desert landscape by the South Pacific.  These sort of days make foreign service life all the better.

Gearing up for a sail.

Gearing up for a sail.

Kitesurfing

Kitesurfers in Paracas Bay.

Kitesurfer

Paracas Bay Kitesurfer.

Sunset in Paracas Bay.

Sunset in Paracas Bay.

Hope you enjoy the views from Paracas. Come down for a visit, take your shoes off, and have a Chilcano and some ceviche.

Cheers!

Peru and Paprika: About Sixty Kilometers South of Paracas and Just Outside of Ica

It has been far too long since I have thrown something out there about Peru; bad, bad Diplomonkey for focusing so, so much on Ecuador of late  Okay, so here goes what I think I will start to call postcards from Peru.  These are the snippets of the life experiences that I am enjoying during my Lima assignment.

Woman sorting paprika by color and size.

Woman Sorting Paprika by Color and Size.

Life in the Foreign Service has its ups and downs of course, but one of the greatest benefit of this career and the lifestyle that we choose, is the possibility to go out and see new and wonderful things. We also get to meet  people around the world that we would likely never have any interaction with otherwise.

Women sorting paprika in the desert.

Women Sorting Paprika in the Desert #1.

Culture shock: yes little Dorothy, it abounds when we go overseas on a new assignment.  We also get to face it, ironically enough, when we also return home to the States.  But still it is worthwhile to do this gig, the pictures speak for themselves.

Woman Sorting Paprika #2

Woman Sorting Paprika Outside of Ica.

Enjoy the photos; and next time you pick up some paprika, you will have hopefully a better notion from where it comes.

Producing Paprika in the Desert.

Women Sorting Paprika in the Desert #2.

Cheers from Lima!

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.

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!

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.