Peru is still recovering from its battles with the terrorist group Shining Path. "Using food to heal is very much about using food to show the world that we are better."
The whole reason we were downtown was to attend Mistura, the national food fair held at Magdalena Beach. This is the biggest food fair in all of South America. We got there about noon and stayed until 5:00. It was certainly a cultural experience with various food venues from all over Peru, north, south, the Andies and coastal. It was amazing to see the outdoor cooking over fires with racks and racks of pork, chicken, and fish feeding hundreds of people. The most well-known restaurants from all the regions are asked to participate. We were eating dishes from the restaurant in a plastic dish with a plastic fork that were just excellent flavors and aromas. We had a fun new experience eating the picarones, fried batter and quinua or potato, something like a funnel cake you buy at the state fair or carnival. The whole experience was a huge affair, as big as any US fair minus the animals and rides. The people are so friendly and whenever we sat down to eat a new tasty treat, we made new friends around us. We attended a show featuring a percussionist group using all the tools, pots and pans in the kitchen. They were very entertaining and fun to watch. The day was very mild and pleasant right on the beach. Our report of a great experience was so well received at the office, many of the other senior missionaries attended the fair on Wednesday.
Yesterday we went with the Merrill’s to the Inka Market featuring all artisan crafts in a few hundred stalls. Some of the favorite items are the alpaca wool sweaters and scarves, silver jewelry and ceramics. I can’t go without buying a few things. We had lunch at Kennedy Park, named after JF Kennedy. What a great little, unusual park filled with lots of flowers, people and cats . . . everywhere! Loads of places to sit, lots of food vendors and street art. Good for a relaxing stroll. We had lunch at a nearby restaurant, a greenbelt in an alley with little tables and umbrellas. Felt kind of European with great Peruvian food. We visited the Iglesia San Miguel Mira Flores during a well-attended mass. From what we heard, the words were well spoken about being a true Christian.
Joe and I took a little diversion away from the office. We left after work Monday to stay in a hotel downtown in San Isidro. It is a very nice area of Lima and we enjoyed walking through the neighborhood to the El Olivar Grove Park. There was a huge grove of very old olive trees, fountains and walkways. A curious fact was after the departure of the Spaniards in 1821, they cut down the olive trees before leaving. In the pictures, you can see that the oldest trunks were roughly chopped. From the stumps, new branches sprouted out and now look disproportionate compared with the trunk from which they grow. We also went to LarcoMar for the evening. This is a very upscale mall built on the cliff overlooking the ocean. We had dinner at Tanta Restaurant with a wonderful dinner and view of the surf and sunset. We also took in a movie right there at the mall before returning to the hotel.