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My school

papa a la huancaína

I loved my school. Nos encanta nuestra escuela :) We all like our school.

I don't know how the other schools are in Lima, but ours truly seemed like a little family full of brothers and sisters eager to take care of us and teach us things. I am so sorry to be leaving already after a week, when most of my co-students will be staying on for a month, or even more.

It's on the 6th floor of an ugly '70's building *bam* in the center of Miraflores. There's a big break room, where all the different classes get together during the break at 11.30 to have coffee and tea. Today they'd prepared a huge table of different Peruvian specialties, like Chicha Morena, a drink which I really like (but many don't),made of purple maize and cinnamon and other stuff, Inca Cola, a really mediocre, tasteless fizzy drink (now produced by Coca Cola), yogurt made from lúcuma, an endemic fruit which I have come to love in cakes, different things made from corn and honey etc., cactus fruit (which is sweeter in Bodrum!).... The school took us out for lunch at the venerable old Miraflores tennis club on Tuesday, for a stroll around Lima center on Wednesday and offered us a cooking class in the break room on Thursday (yesterday). It seems last week it took its students to Parancas and Huacachina, where I'll go after Sunday. So it's really cool. And I feel I made real progress speaking Spanish this week. In only 20 hours. I had a few breakthroughs. Let's hope I keep them!

The lúcuma fruit

This is the lúcuma fruit, which I haven't yet tried.

Bruselina de lúcuma

This is a sublime cake called "Bruselina de lúcuma"

So we hugged with everyone today (Peruvians seem very keen on hugging), except for the Americans, who don't understand kissing -- they go all stiff, they're so funny!, and I left. But I had dinner with two girls from school and one of then had invited everyone over so we went there and made pisco sours.... As I said, 95% of the students are Americans. But one of the girls I had dinner with is a 25-year old Austrian. And it's funny, you really feel the difference between Europeans and other people That Austrian girl and I understood each other so much more easily that the other people. Her English isn't very good, but there's a certain mentality which I wasn't able to share with the San Fransicans and Texans etc.... I truly, sincerely liked the two San Fransiscans in my class but I have the feeling they kept on looking at me like, what the fuck is she saying, or who IS this, or worse, what is this...? With Annika, my Austrian friend, I felt like we were on the same wavelength, even if communication was more difficult, but only linguistically so. And we were mature enough to send FOMO (the fear of missing out) to drown in the ocean and just go home while new pisco sours were being made... We are hoping to meet up tomorrow to at at a famous restaurant.

Our dinner tonight was so incredibly delicious. So indescribable. And I'm so tipsy with three pisco sours and tiredness that I won't even try to describe it.

I am thoroughly satisfied, pisco sour-wise, culinarily and socially.

Here are some photos form our cooking class last night. We made papa a la huancaína, which everybody is mad about but I don't know why... It's a sauce made of red or yellow peppers, onions, garlic and crackers, which you pour over potatoes. People are so crazy about this dish that if this blog weren't private I wouldn't dare say I don't know why on earth they like it so much. It truly has no taste, you should either put in more cumin or more pepper or spices or something.... Plus, I'd had it for lunch that day, as well as the main dish that we made that night, except that at lunch I had it with seafood and that night we made it with chicken.. What a coincidence!

papa a la huancaína

This is papa a la huancaína, sans aucun intérêt.

Rice with seafood, wonderfully good, at lunch. That night we made the same thing, but with chicken (and less coriander, boooo...).

Eating what we cooked. There I am, too.

Enjoying our incredibly delicious Maracuja Sours with Jessica, my American-Japanese friend.

PS - Our night out in Central Lima was wonderful. There were 13 of us. We visited the Monastery of St Francis which astonished me with its incredible library (The convent's library is world-renowned. It possesses about 25,000 antique texts, some of them predating the conquest. Some notable books are the first Spanish dictionary published by the Royal Spanish Academy and a Holy Bible edition from 1571- 1572 printed in Antwerp) and resemblance to mujedar monasteries in Spain, with its Arabic decorations and paintings by the school of Rubens, its beautiful architecture. I was less impressed by its catacombs which everyone loves... (Discovered in 1943, they contain thousand of skulls and bones, having served as a burial-place until 1808, when the city cemetery was opened outside Lima. It is estimated that 25,000 bodies were laid to rest there)

The library

Then we had "sanguches" at at "Sangucheria":

And pisco sours at an old hotel:

It was a perfect evening.


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