Peru 2008: Dinner and dance show

Evening, June 24, 2008

There’s a Fair Trade store in the hotel where they sell the cutest animal finger puppets! I got a llama and also a pair of gloves. I will return to buy more puppets – I think my students will adore them! They also sell small crèches; I may buy one for my collection although they are a bit expensive.

I had to rush out of the shop because we were leaving to go dinner and a dance show. The restaurant, Dama Juana, is at Larcomar Mall, a very swank area.

Larcomar Mall, Lima
Larcomar Mall, Lima

The mall is under the street, and from the restaurant we had a view of Lima Bay, all lit up as the sun went down. Across the bay is a large lit cross. Boris told us it stands on a hillside and is made out of pieces of metal from the destruction caused by the terrorists – Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), that is. Once they blew up power light towers, and pieces of the metal from that went into making this “peace cross.”

Dinner was buffet-style – very dangerous for people on Weight Watchers! Basically there were three parts – salads, entrees and desserts.

The salads were actually the best part – I loved the large corn kernels, and the fava (like large lima beans) and cubed cheese the best. Also we were able to eat “safe” raw veggies such as lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, and the like. There were also potatoes, of course (the potato originated in Peru and there are over 300 known varieties) with a special sauce. I tried to be sparing with the servings so I’d have room for more!

Entrees included beef chunks, a really good chicken and onion stew, tripe with potatoes, rice and other things I didn’t try.

After the dance show began, I went up for desserts – “purple jello” – actually made from blue corn, which you’re supposed to mix with rice pudding (excellent), “tres leches” custard – even more excellent! – and a small brownie.

pisco sourOf course there were also Pisco Sours served with the meal, so I declined a glass of wine.

The dance performance included folk dances from various regions of Peru, with dancers wearing colorful native costumes. A

Eventually the dancers invited audience participation and naturally they picked on the youngest member of our party – Jayme! It was an Afro-Peruvian dance in which the two male and two female dancers wear a white piece of cloth on the back of their clothes, and their partner tries to light it with a candle! One of the men had trouble doing this because his partner shook her hips so rapidly , but she managed to get HER candle through his legs, pretending to singe his genitals!

Meanwhile, Jayme and a young woman from another table were given candles to try to set their counterparts’ butts on fire! It was very funny to watch! They used part of the song “Préndame la vela” (Lend me your candle) – now I understand that song!

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The next dance, Jayme was invited up again, but he wouldn’t go, so Wally – having had enough beer and Pisco Sours to make him quite uninhibited – readily volunteered!

ARW

Then I was invited up for a dance in which the purpose seemed to be to stomp and bump one’s partner off the stage with my hips! I did it well the first time, but soon began feeling dizzy from the Pisco Sours and next thing I knew I’d been lifted and was carried off the stage by my male partner! (Fortunately, there are no pictures of this!)

That's me, the gringa behind one of the dancers.
That’s me, the gringa behind one of the dancers.

There were dances from the Amazon region (with snakes, but they used fake ones), highlands lowlands, and coastal areas, influenced by black slaves. It was very interesting and combined with the excellent dinner, well worth the $35 each!

Amazonian snake dance
Amazonian snake dance

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The last dance was the most impressive of all – “Danza de Tijeras”. Men dressed in elaborate costumes of the highlands and clicking scissors rhythmically did incredible acrobatics including wide-legged scissor steps, shoulder stands, head stands, cartwheels, back flips, and somersaults, which they repeated across the stage. One even grabbed one of his feet in his mouth while doing flips, and another repeatedly bumped on his spine all the way across the stage – OUCH! While doing these antics, they continued clicking their scissors, rapidly opening and closing the blades with each hand. Amazing!

Danza de Tijeras (Scissors Dance)
Danza de Tijeras (Scissors Dance)

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I have to say though, that so far, I don’t have much hope for actually LOSING weight on this trip! We’ll see tomorrow, when we have a free afternoon and I hope to walk around Miraflores.

Next: Chorrillos and Villa El Salvador

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