Yesterday was my father in-law´s 68th birthday, and it was a good food day for me. It almost started off not being so. I woke up to find that my mother in-law had prepared cau-cau for breakfaskt! Cau-cau (pronounced Cow-cow) is beef tripe I think. I politely declined and she fried me an egg instead. I told them that I can now eat ceviche, but tripe is still a struggle for me.
So we were off to a country club that my father in-law is a member of called Club 7 de Agosto in a town called Ñaña (nya-nya). My husband kept threatening that he was going to drive us there and I thought it was a joke at first. Until I saw the family start to load the car, and I knew that his brother was working, so he wouldn´t be able to drive.
Just last week, my husband was also threatening to drive. Everyone was saying no, what a bad idea it was, and we should just let his brother, Luciano drive. Javier took the key and told us that he was just going to warm up the engine. I had been upstairs getting ready. By the time I made it to the garage, I only witnessed the nose of the car backing up into the street before the door completely shut and garage was left empty and silent.
I returned to tell my mother in-law that they had all left me, when we realized that everyone except my husband was home! He had left with no warning! You should have seen how concerned my mother in-law was for the 15 mins. that he was gone. It turns out that my husband stole away to the gas station to fill up the tank.
So now that we were going to Ñaña, nobody spoke up against my husband driving the car. So the entire 1 hr long drive, I was tense...He did a pretty good job, but you could tell he was American because he got cut-off a lot for not being bold enough. On the way back from Ñaña was his ovalo test. He missed the ovalo exit so we swirled around in the ovalo twice before we were able to make our exit. Later, his brother Luciano told me that on a different occasion, Javier had missed the exit and they had circled the ovalo 3 times.
Upon reaching the country club, everything was really nice. There was a lot of green grass, trees, a swimming pool, horses to ride, etc. There were also two sad looking llamas (my mother in-law said they were Alpacas, but I´m still not sure what the difference is) that had run of the entire country club. They went wherever they wanted to go. I got close for a picture, but not within spitting distance (as you know, llama spit goes a long way).There was also a yellow lab that I kept my eye on in the distance. She was hanging out with the horses and her owner. A typical lab, she went where ever her owner went, and stood around wagging her tail, begging for affection. Eventually, her wish was granted. At one point she came near to me, although this was a Peruvian dog, speaking to a dog is universal and I called her over in English. She came and I gave her affection as she stepped on my toe. I immediately thought about my little Qori (infamous for stepping on toes and dubbed ¨Hell-toes¨).
We were hungry for lunch, so we had my favorite plate, lomo saltado (translates to tossed steak?). So far it´s the best lomo that I´ve eaten here. It used to be from the Mi Caracochita restaurant, but that place sucked this time. At the country club, I ate the entire plate. I barely left one grain of rice. Although it was a great plate, I feared that my mother in-law would see that my stomach is better and begin to feed me huge plates again.
There were many activities at the club. Javier assembled a team of Peruvian boys together and they played soccer for awhile (I think they gave him a run for his money - hahaha). He also played foosball (is that how you spell it? I have no idea) which is his favorite. He gets an intense look on his face and if you play against him, prepare to see that the entire table will have danced about a foot away from its original starting position by the end of the game.We also played a game called ¨Sapo¨(Frog). It´s a box that you toss heavy coins at aiming to get the golden coin inside the golden frog´s mouth, a feat that as of yesterday I would have told you is virtually impossible. If you don´t make it in the frog´s mouth, not to worry, your coin my fall into the surrounding holes and you can gather points that way which is far more common. I don´t really enjoy playing this game because my tossing skills pretty much suck, but I was obligated to play. Like I said, I sucked the whole game until the very end. After playing three games of three rounds each on my last coin, I tossed to get it over with and you´ll never believe what happened! It went ever so smoothly into the frog´s mouth!!! Everybody yelled ¨SAPO!!!¨and for a moment I was still left wondering where my gold coin went. One minute it was in the air, the next minute it was gone. I only heard the sound very similar to when you make a goal in air hockey. The only proof I can give you is this photo of me taking my lucky gold coin out of the 4000 pt. box. You´ll probably guess that even by making ¨Sapo¨, I still lost the game. That´s how much I suck... Everyone was so happy that I had made ¨Sapo¨and I told my father in-law that I did it in recognition of his birthday.
Finally, it was time to head back to the house, another tense ride for me home. As we were getting close to the house, Javier had a craving for Masa-mora, a Peruvian dessert. So my father in-law suggested a place in the city. I was nervous about Javier continuing to drive, but who am I, and we were off. The restaurant was called something like Manjares - Dulces Peruanos, and it offered all kinds of Peruvian delights. I had my favorite, arroz con leche (rice pudding), Javier had a combo of arroz con leche and masa-mora, and everyone else had Picarones, which are sort of like Peruvian donuts. The dough is thick and I think it has yams in it because it´s a colorful dough. It´s fried in a circle like a donut, and then dipped in a syrup and eaten. After this, we finally made it home. Alive and in one piece.
The final course came later at around 9 pm. We feasted on Peecsa (aka. Pizza). I think it was Dominoes. (I told you it was a good food day for me!). Then we all went around the table and expressed some words for my father in-law´s birthday. We started off with the shyest of them all, Sarah, my sister in-law´s 11 yr old daughter. An uncomfortable silence swept the dinner table as nothing came out and she stared around blankly. Finally, after was seemed like an eternity but probably did not exceed 2 or 3 minutes, a simple Happy Birthday and I wish you many more... came out. When my turn came up, I was nervous. We don´t usually give speeches at my house. To the contrary, we all try to not speak, including the adults! We prefer to joke than to be serious. Coupled with the language, this was going to be hard for me... So I began...
¨Feliz Nav....¨ (Oh my god! I was about to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Birthday! That´s basic spanish, what was wrong with me?!) We all laughed at me and that helped the tension go down. So I continued and did OK. But like I said, the language coupled with the nervousness made this very difficult for me. So ended a good food day for me and a happy birthday for my father in-law.Today will be more laid-back since we are all getting ready for our trip to the jungle tomorrow. There will be no internet in the jungle, so this will probably be my last post until I return to Lima on the 19th.
Ciao for now!