Monday, July 7, 2014

Best Left in the WORLD!

I'm living in a very convenient location. A very convenient location indeed, because I'm just a mere overnight bus ride from the longest left in the world. Chicama; it needs to be seen to be believed. Before my first trip to Peru I knew vaguely of the wave, but arrived with little knowledge and almost no expectations. Yet what greeted me was one of the most incredible sights of my life. The huge bay of Chicama is nestled in a small fishing village on the dry and barren Peruvian coastline. It is a bay of epic proportions, framed by large dusty red cliffs and a long fishing pier. And the lines. The lines wrap with impeccable shape, beginning at the headland and stretching, ever expanding, like perfect mechanical waves, wave after wave after wave along the giant bay.

This April I was blessed with the opportunity once again to return to Chicama with Women's Surf Style Magazine, with the duty of documenting their latest Peru trip. We had the owners of the magazine, Sandra and Dan Olson, along with a group of amazing clients who had flown in from Florida. Our host, as per last trip, was the incredibly decadent Chicama Surf Resort.

The week stated off slowly as the beast was sleeping. Chicama takes a big swell to start firing, but still consistently delivers a fun peeling longboard wave. We spent our days either longboarding, or taking day trips to the neighbouring breaks like Pacasmayo (known as Chicama's sister wave, another long left that requires less swell to start working) and visiting ancient Peruvian ruins and cultural sites. Shooting was proving challenging, with the Peruvian desert giving me no breaks with its relentless sand and gale forced winds. Walking down the point to set up required a hat, sunnies, and a completely wrapped up face and ears, trying to protect myself from the sand storms. The crazy thing about Chicama though is even when the wind blows, it's always offshore, and the waves ALWAYS hold their shape.

On our last day she woke up. I jumped out of bed at the crack of dawn and ran down the point, board in arm, for a sneaky morning session. Our team spent the day surfing wave after wave down the bay, smiling from ear to ear, arms like noodles. One of our clients Bobby caught a wave that we timed to be a few minutes long (maybe two or three?). After our legs completely gave out we returned to the hotel to soak in a much needed hot tub, watching the big red sun setting across the perfect lines.

I'm forever swell watching here. Watching and analysing, waiting for the next perfect swell to coincide with some time off in my schedule. I'll be on a bus North faster than you can blink, because still in my whole life of travel, I have never experienced a wave like this.

*Look for the full story and pictures in the next issue of Women's Surf Style Magazine

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Comida de Lima

I often get asked what's my two favourite things about living in Peru. The answer is simple - waves and food. I'm going to start with the food.

Coming from Australia I feel we're a little devoid of a cultural food identity. We have barbecues, but that's universal, meat pies which are nice but I can't handle them all the time, and then there's vegemite. I adore my vegemite, but every time I try and feed it to a foreigner they get a shocked look and run off to go scrape their tongue out. I was told last week by a Peruvian that it tasted like a rotten salty ocean.

This brings me to Peruvian food. While a little carb heavy at times (they like to have both potato and rice in a meal, weird right?), it's amazing. They grow this little chilli here called an Aji, and I've never found it anywhere else in the world. The flavourful little gem is used in a majority of their local cuisine. The first food here that needs a special mention is ceviche, in my opinion it's the best in the world. But I'm going to write an entire post devoted to that later. Today marks the first instalment in my "Places I love to eat in Lima". Since I don't have much to do right now I'm going to devote my time to eating, and I'm beginning with two personal favourites - the most epic sandwich ever, and the world's best churro! Hurrah!

1). Churro of Epicness:
Ok so granted the Churro technically isn't from Peru, but it's still a staple street food. You'll find little vendors all over Lima selling them. But what makes the churro different here? They stuff it FULL of manjar blanco, a delicious hot gooey caramel made from condensed milk. Churros vary from vendor to vendor - a good one is light, hot, crispy and fresh, and a bad one heavy, cold and over fried. Which brings me to the best Churro in Lima (in my opinion). You'll find it in a little cafe called Monolo situated in Miraflores. It's just before the main Church in Parque de Kennedy. It's crispy, fresh, gooey, awesomeness. At 4 soles a pop it's a bit pricey, but absolutely worth it. My saving grace is it's hard to get parking in this area, otherwise I'd be the size of a house by now.

Jose's happy Churro face

2). Sandwich of Epicness:
I'm not a big sandwich lover (I don't really eat bread), but this one knocks my socks off. It comes from a sandwich chain that you'll find all over town called La Lucha. Little sandwich shops are abundant in Lima, so what makes this one different? The quality of ingredients and the sauce. The bred is fresh and crispy, but the smoked meat is what makes it. I always order the pavita, which I think is spanish for "little turkey". This pavita sandwich is the only time in my life I've decided something is BETTER without the veggies. Weird right? All this little beauty needs is bread, smoked turkey, and the awesome La Lucha creo sauces which usually consist of - aji sauce (creamy chilli sauce), a mix of thinly sliced red onions, cilantro and other goodies. I don't really know what's in it but it's heaven. Accompany your meal with a milkshake (also the best I've found in Lima so far), or a traditional purple corn drink called "Chicha Morada". A sandwich at La Lucha will cost you around 12 soles or a little bit more. Both these restaurants can be found in the Parque de Kennedy area, a popular central park which is a strange mix of street vendors, flowers and well kept stray cats.