The Weekend in Review

November 9, 2008

Woohoo- I’m going out with a bang!  Karaoke, guinea pigs, salsa and mototaxis – I’m trying to pack it all in before Ebele and Jen arrive and I round out my last few days on the Peruvian coast.


On Friday night I met up with my teacher buddies and we went to a local bar where bands play “Spanish Rock” on the weekends.  I think the singer in the striped shirt looked kind of like Rob Wrobel.  What do you think?



Saturday, I met up with the women of Manuela Ramos around noon to have lunch. They’d spent the morning doing a promotional caravan in the neighborhood markets of La Esperanza – an outer suburb (and sometimes slum) of Trujillo.  Because it’s my last week coming up, they were kind enough to take me out on the town both for lunch and dinner/drinks/karaoke/dancing!



Well, here it is my first cuy.  The skin reminds me of a pork rind on a Christmas ham and the meat reminds me of chicken thigh: dark and juicy but too light to be meat.  That’s it’s little foot sticking out there.  He’s deep fried and he tastes pretty good.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get psyched out sometimes while I was chowing down.  It seems silly though, because it was good! Just remembering those little cutey pies at Señora Elda’s house in the sierras… It made me hesitate… and burp.



Fresia ordered a side of cuy head.  Which to me looks like more like a hippo than a guinea pig… Hey, if pigs and hippos are related, does that mean guineas pigs are too?  Check out the ears – they made me giggle.


Lunch was really nice and it was good to finally spend some more social time with the promotoras (loan officers) and directors.  I wish I had taken the initiative to do something like that sooner.  It’s a pity I’ll be leaving them all in a week to go to Pucallpa.  But my lesson is learned – no more being shy!


I spent the rest of the afternoon traipsing around taking pictures of underwear and street taffy.




I also paid another visit to El Cortijo trying to track down the members of the Nuevo Peru bank.  I don’t know why I thought it was deserted before because this time it was teeming with children, street vendors and pit bulls.



One of the girls in the foreground is the daughter of one of the women who I’m looking for to interview.  The momma is a no show so it means another trip back this Monday.


But no time to worry, it’s on to the night! I must wear my love for karaoke on my sleeve, because the promotoras have known I’ve wanted to go since the first day I arrived.  We made plans to meet up for dinner and then a little singy-singy that night.



Here we are at the office getting ready to get our party on.  Everyone in Perú asks me how tall I am and because of the incessant questioning I have looked up my metric height: 1.67m.  In the picture above I’m head and shoulders above the promotoras and that’s pretty much the case everywhere I go.  I’m really more on par with the men than the women and even then I have a lot of the guys beat.  Not bad for 5’6”, no?



Dinner was another food adventure: beef heart kebabs, otherwise known as anticuchos.  They’re yummy, just like any other beef kebab except way, way chewier.


After dinner we walked over to a …. Casino?!?!  Yes, the karaoke lounge is in a small casino just off the Plaza de las Armas.  It’s like a tiny version of a Las Vegas casino complete with one lounge and one dance hall in addition two gaming floors.  The whole thing is the size of a flagship Gap store.



Here we are having fun at the karaoke lounge.  This was I think my first time not in a private karaoke room. I’m not sure if it was the extra audience or not enough drinking beforehand but I handily butchered CRAZY by Aerosmith to start the night off.  Okay, I pulled it together halfway through, but I was totally unprepared when my song came on and ended up surprising myself with a my own sour start. Ha!



I should have gone with my normal Four Non-Blondes but nobody knew that song and they were begging either for Crazy or November Rain.  I don’t even know who sings November Rain (I know, I’m an embarrassment) so of course I went Aerosmith.  So the end was not at all terrible, but the beginning was- wow – I wish you could have seen (and not heard?) it.



I’m harping on it so much because it was my only chance to sing.  That’s the downside to these open lounges, the whole bar has to sing before it’s your turn again.  We were tired out after two rounds.


So three pitchers of sangria and two hours of karaoke later we headed up to the discoteque to shake our groove thang!  The band was awesome and, unfortunately, had a shortage of anniversaries and birthdays to dedicate songs to.  So “Welcome, Jenny frrrrom Amerrricaaaaa” was too frequently the cause to call the dancers to the floor.  It’s too bad my camera batteries ran out because we had a great time cutting the rug.  One of the loan officers tells me (blush blush!) I dance better than some Peruvians.  Hot diggety dog!


We were dancing for another couple of hours and getting completely tired out.  One of the loan officers, Flor, completely ghosted without telling anyone she was leaving and, oh how it made me think of my sweet, sweet California home! Ha ha ha ha!


We called a taxi from inside the club even though there are tons waiting outside.  Good tidbit for any travelers to Trujillo: get a cab driver recommendation for late night pick ups and drop offs.  There are taxistas out there who will rob you right in the backseat of the car on your way home!  Yikes.  I’m thankful that one of the loan officers’ neighbors is here to come pick us up and take us all safely, one by one to our homes.

So that´s the weekend so far.  Ebele and Jen come tonight and I cant´t wiat for the adventures we´re going to make together.  Stay tuned for scenes from our upcoming trip to surfing mecca Máncora.



  1. hi rennie,
    i love your stories and pictures. keep them coming.
    you certainly have done stuff that you ordinarily do not do like.. eat a lot of fish and cuys no less.
    i am so happy for you… adventure of a lifetime. woohoo!!

  2. I bet you nailed Crazy. And for the record, Guns and Roses sings November Rain

  3. I think you should buy the stripper underwear for Paul, hahahahaha.

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