Iquitos: rain, rain, go away

It had been a full five days since we started our Amazon adventure.  It was a really nice trip, even though we happened to be there during the rainy season.  The zoo had been great fun, as had the manatee rescue center.  We all got to hold sloths, pet snakes, and feed monkeys, and Monkey Island was the highlight of the whole trip. We also had finally made it to the real Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and seen some great animal conservation efforts in progress.

Pygmy marmoset

Pygmy marmoset

 The farm works with the country of Peru as a home for animals that have been rescued from illegal ownership and exportation.  We learned a lot about the local animals and enjoyed seeing the butterfly house.

Búho (owl) caterpillar

Búho (owl) caterpillar

The dead leaf butterfly

The dead leaf butterfly

Live butterfly chrysalises

Live butterfly chrysalises

 We even got to see the jaguar feeding!

Our guide feeding the jaguar

Our guide feeding the jaguar

Hungry jaguar

Hungry jaguar

 In between our adventures in the Amazon, we’d been met with quite a bit of rain, though the worst of it did hold out for us until our last day.

The Amazon River our last morning in Iquitos

The Amazon River our last morning in Iquitos

 That last morning we walked to our breakfast spot – the one restaurant we had found reliable and clean – Dawn on the Amazon.

Walking in Iquitos

Walking in Iquitos

Piggy back ride for Livi

Piggy back ride for Livi

A rainy breakfast at Dawn

A rainy breakfast at Dawn

 It rained on us quite a bit.  Of course, we all forgot our rain jackets that morning and were pretty soaked by the time we made it to the restaurant.  Olivia had found a rain-sopped butterfly during the walk there, though, so she was very happy.

Olivia and her "pet" butterfly

Olivia and her “pet” butterfly

 A couple of times during the week, we had been caught unexpectedly in the rain and we all 6 crammed into one mototaxi!  It was funny and a little scary seeing the moto driver rev up the engine for a full minute before he could get us to move!  Wish we had a picture of that moment…ha!

Cliff playing in the rain

Cliff playing in the rain

 We had a great time in Iquitos and were thankful to make this once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Amazon happen.

On the Amazon!

On the Amazon!

 It was fun to share the experience with family, too!  We’re so thankful David and Katelyn made it along with us!  It’s something I hope our kids will always remember – at least they’ll recall the stories and pictures.  Thanks for sharing in our adventure with us!

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Iquitos: Monkey Island

After being taken to the “wrong” Monkey Island, we were indecisive at first as to whether we should take another day and see the real Monkey Island. We were so glad we did though! It ended up being the highlight of our trip. It was different than we expected. We got a guide who took us to the first boat. This one was through a local market and was definitely more of a local boat, rather than a tourist one.

Plantains at the mercado

Plantains at the mercado

As each bench of four people was filled, they put in the backboard for the succeeding row of people, so essentially we were crammed in like sardines. I tried not to think about how we would get out in case of emergency…not to mention the lack of life jackets aboard.

Anyways, this first boat took us for about an hour and dropped us off at a large island that was sopping wet. Everything was wet and muddy.

Trying to get Olivia to smile

Trying to get Olivia to smile

There were the local women selling goods to people who lived on the island. One of the women had a baby, about 3-4 months old by my guess. It was curled up, sleeping on a blanket on one of the only dry boards.No one seemed at all put out or inconvenienced by the rain.  It’s amazing to me that they are just used to life like this in the rainy season.  We waited for a short while for a man to come pick us up and take us the rest of the way to Monkey Island (we weren’t sure he was coming there for a while…).

Boat at the second island

Boat at the first island

Since we were in the Amazon during the rainy season, the waters on the river were very high. In fact, when we arrived to the island we realized there was NO land! I’m still unsure how that physically works – it’s an island….but it’s covered in water, so….technically it’s just more of the river. Ha!

Monkey Island

Monkey Island

Our boat guy dropped us off at the island tour guide’s canoe and we all tried to board from boat to boat without dropping a child, camera, or capsizing the canoe.

Starting the tour of the island

Starting the tour of the island

First we saw a few monkeys in the cages.  The red faced monkeys are very territorial, and for that reason many of them are caged, but the majority of the wildlife on Monkey Island is just that – wild. Our guide pointed out some snail eggs as we rowed around.

Snail eggs

Snail eggs

When we arrived outside the buildings, the family that runs the island had some fruit ready for us to feed to the monkeys. It was about to get crazy! Sure enough, as soon as the first monkey caught sight of us in the feeding zone, every monkey within sight was in or around our boat!

Olivia wasn't so sure about it...

Olivia wasn’t so sure about it…

The kids were pretty nervous about it. I was a little too, mostly because we were still in a boat and there was no where to go to get away!

A little nervous...

A little nervous…

But it was so fun seeing the monkeys up close and getting to see some of their personalities. Some of them, the younger ones, were especially affectionate and would crawl up in our arms like a baby.

Katelyn holding a young monkey

Katelyn holding a young monkey

Olivia was really not enjoying the feeding, when the guide offered for her to sit next to him (he had a switch to keep the monkeys in line – he’d swat it in the air and they’d stop being naughty). I didn’t think she would do it, but she saw him sitting there at the end of the boat, with not a monkey on him, and she happily agreed.

Happy to be away from the monkeys

Happy to be away from the monkeys

Cliff was still nervous, but as long as I didn’t let the monkeys touch him he was okay with them.

Fun times!

Fun times!


"Do you have more food?"

“Do you have more food?”

The monkeys really liked David since he was holding the food can!

Feeding the monkeys

Feeding the monkeys


Trying to find more food

Trying to find more food

We had brought lunch along with us for later and one of the smart little monkeys must have smelled it in John’s backpack. He tried at the zipper for a while!

"Is there food in here?"

“Is there food in here?”

 Once the monkey exhausted the backpack he moved on to John.

Hungry little guys...

Hungry little guys…

 After feeding the monkeys, we toured the rest of the island.  It was amazing seeing all of the jungle plants.  We got to snatch a piece of starfruit and try it right off the tree.

Starfruit tree

Starfruit tree

 It was really tart!

Tart starfruit

Tart starfruit

 We spotted some cacao pods, too.  Cliff enjoyed playing with a stick in the water.

Captivated by the water

Captivated by the water

 Our guides assured us that piranhas weren’t actually that much of a threat, since like sharks, they usually only go after someone who has a cut or is bleeding.  Comforting, huh?  We thought so…

Olivia was delighted when we found a snail for her to play with.

Snail happy

Snail happy

 In fact, she lugged that thing all around the Amazon and David even managed to get it back to Lima for her, where it eventually died in the indoor plant of our apartment.  It brought her much joy for many weeks, though :).

At the end of the tour we got to plant our feet on some dry ground, which was refreshing after a full day on the water.

Say "monkeys"!

Say “monkeys”!

 Cliff finally warmed up to the monkeys at the end and had a lot of fun playing with them before we left.

Playing with the monkeys

Playing with the monkeys


Gotta monkey on your back?

Got a monkey on your back?


"Mom, check this out!"

“Mom, check this out!”

 Like all Peruvians, the monkeys were fascinated by his white blonde hair 🙂

"What is this stuff??"

“What is this stuff??”

 Monkey Island was definitely the highlight of our trip!  If you’re ever in the Amazon, make sure you visit this great place!  The family who runs it is very sweet, too, and it was nice to know we were supporting a legitimate business.  I’d still like to go again sometime when it’s the dry(er) season – it would be a completely different experience I’m sure!

Iquitos: Visiting the Zoo

One of the highlights of our five day trip to the Amazon, was taking a day to see the local zoo. It is located up by the airport, so a good half hour from the city’s center where we were staying. Basically the only vehicles in Iquitos are motorcycles and mototaxis (since it’s not reachable by road), so we grabbed two mototaxis for the six of us, and headed out.

Cliff riding a MotoTaxi with Aunt Katelyn and Uncle David

Cliff riding a MotoTaxi with Aunt Katelyn and Uncle David

Cliff was elated every time we got a chance to hop in one of these peculiar pieces of machinery. He really wanted to drive one and kept asking, all week. It was a perfect day for the zoo.

At the zoo entrance

At the zoo entrance

It had rained a lot that week, but the day we showed up was nice and sunny and fairly warm, though it was pretty muddy!

Before we even saw the macaws we could hear them shouting, “hola, hola!” They were very talkative as we approached, but quieted down as soon as we got close. Cliff wasn’t sure what to think about a bird that could talk…

Watching the Macaws

Watching the Macaws

Monkeys and Paiche, the huge Amazonian fish, were in the next exhibit.

Monkeys

Monkeys

While the monkeys were neat, what really captured our attention was trying to spot the enormous pink and green-tinted fish below the waters’ surface.

Looking for Paiche

Looking for Paiche

Some of them were six-feet long! They were pretty active and kept splashing at the surface.

After that we saw the jaguars. I’m always amazed at the lack of “security” in the zoos we visit in Latin America. No where in the states would you have a jaguar in a chain link fence, separated only by a log “fence”.

Trying to get a closer look

Trying to get a closer look

Close-up and personal!

Close-up and personal!

It always makes me a bit nervous with the kids!

Watching the Jaguars

Watching the Jaguars

It is neat to get to see the animals at such a close range, though.

We saw many more jungle mammals.

Weasel?

Weasel?

As usual, I was not positive what animals we did see since the signs were in Spanish. Often there’s not a direct translation for animal names. We know we saw the giant otter though, which was really cool!

Giant Otter

Giant Otter

He even jumped in the small outlying pond and grabbed a fish to snack on while we watched him.

The Giant Otter eating a fish

The Giant Otter eating a fish

The pink dolphin was a big draw for us in coming to the zoo.

The Pink Dolphin playing with a pool noodle

The Pink Dolphin playing with a pool noodle

 Olivia loves all things pink, as many 3 year old little girls do, I’m sure. We had promised Olivia she would get to see pink dolphins, and we weren’t about to let this once in a lifetime chance escape us! Here was an animal that actually came in her favorite color (we’ve had many discussions about the fact that pink cats and pink horses don’t exist in real life). We were hoping to catch the dolphin show, but were a few hours early for it. The dolphin was kind enough to do a few tricks for us, though.

Watching the dolphin play

Watching the dolphin play

At the zoo there is also a beach, which we had originally hoped to enjoy, but like most of the rest of Iquitos, it was flooded with the seasonal rains. Not only was there no beach, but the restaurants were flooded as well.

Have a little river water with your lunch?

Have a little river water with your lunch?

Don’t worry. This is apparently very normal for Iquitos. We also saw the huge Capybara while we were there.  For some reason Olivia and Cliff thought they were scary; I thought they were pretty cute.

Capybara

Capybara

 After the zoo we grabbed lunch outside at one of the local eateries setup.  They were grilling paiche and trout and also had plantain balls and fresh young coconuts for coconut water.  It was so refreshing in the heat!

On the way back, we stopped in at the Manatee Rescue Center for a quick tour.  It was a really beautiful setup, with lots of wildlife.  Olivia adopted a caterpillar and would not let it go the whole time.

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Olivia and the caterpillar

Olivia and the caterpillar

 There was also a really sweet little monkey who followed us for a while.  The kids didn’t like him too much, but we had some fun with him.

Hanging out with the monkey

Hanging out with the monkey

 I was really fascinated to find out how important manatees are to the river’s eco-system.  They eat around 50 kilos a day in vegetation!

Katelyn watching the manatees

Katelyn watching the manatees

 Which means, if they are hunted out of the rivers, they will start to overgrow with aquatic lettuce and other plants that the manatees would normally be consuming.  The manatees we got to feed were “baby” manatees, but were all between 1-2 years old.

Baby manatee

Baby manatee

 They don’t reach adulthood until 2 years.  They were pretty big!  And happily chowed down on the aquatic lettuce we fed them.

Feeding the manatees

Feeding the manatees

 It was a really cool experience!

Iquitos: On the Amazon River

Our second day in the Amazon just happened to be Easter Sunday. It was a very quiet morning in Iquitos and we had a little trouble finding an open place for breakfast. We managed to find one though, named for the movie that was filmed in the Amazon, Fitzcarraldo. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the restaurant was not much to write home about. Still, at least we had satisfied our hunger and were ready for the day. We grabbed a couple snacks and some blended coconut drinks and decided to hop on a boat for a tour. 

Boats along the river

Boats along the river

Olivia and Aunt Katelyn

Olivia and Aunt Katelyn

 Our tour guide told us he could take us to both Monkey Island and the Butterfly Farm. The boat was great. A narrow wooden boat with two boards running along the sides and a couple hammocks hung in the middle. It was nice and cool with the breeze blowing off the water.  We got to see the colors of the river change as we merged from one river into the other.  

Rivers merging

Rivers merging

 Not long after that, we had already arrived at what appeared to be Monkey Island. We walked up the planks to the floating platform and were greeted by several very friendly monkeys. 

The monkeys were happy to see us

The monkeys were happy to see us

The kids were pretty hesitant and Cliff definitely kept his distance. As soon as you had anything in your hands they would climb right up your legs and jump to the fruit! 

Looking for a snack

Looking for a snack

Katelyn and the Monkey

Katelyn and the Monkey

It was pretty funny to experience.

Next, they took us to see different animals found in the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, we discovered later that this was NOT the real “Monkey Island” but was an operation that draws tourists in by paying tour guides to bring them under false pretenses. We enjoyed getting to see the wildlife up close, but felt bad that we’d unwillingly and unknowingly supported a place like that!

Bridge to the animals

Bridge to the animals

Holding a sloth

Holding a sloth

Happy with a full tummy

Happy with a full tummy

Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find specific information on places online and when you speak to your guides they usually tell you what you want to hear. So for those of you who are going to Iquitos, make sure you are very clear with your guide about where he is taking you, and know how long it should take to get there.

Holding the Macaw...Olivia wasn't so sure about this.

Holding the Macaw…Olivia wasn’t so sure about this.

Our next stop was the Butterfly Farm. We thought we were going to the Pilpintuwassi Butterfly Farm, which is a rescue center for jungle wildlife around Peru.  However, it wasn’t until afterwards that we realized no where had we seen the name anywhere….again we had been duped.

It was really neat seeing the lifecycle of the Amazon butterflies up close. Olivia loved all the caterpillars and was very excited to get to hold a couple of them.

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

We saw all the life stages, from the eggs, to tiny caterpillars, to the large caterpillars, chrysalis and cocoons, and butterflies.

Holding a butterfly

Holding a butterfly

Then we got to see the butterfly house, where the butterflies fed on fruit and flowers. At the end, our guide let us release two butterflies from the cages and then picked some fruit off a tree to send with us. The fruit was reminiscent of a lime, and they eat it dipped in salt. They told us pregnant women in Iquitos love it, and I approved :). It was pretty refreshing in that heat!

More about our time in the Amazon coming soon!

Feeding our kids real foods

This post is a little different than most here on our blog.  I’m deviating from the travel aspect of our lives and talking more about food for our littles since a lot of people have been asking me about this lately.  Feeding kids can be challenging. Feeding kids in a foreign country can be downright scary.

Eating choclo (Peruvian corn) on a trip

Eating choclo (Peruvian corn) on a trip

Thankfully, we had already committed to feeding our kids real foods before moving overseas, so that’s made things much easier while living in Peru.

We first started eating “real foods” back in 2012, before I got pregnant with Cliff.  We were finally in a home, after 6 months of moving around the country, and we just slowly stopped buying the boxed things we’d come to rely on…cereals, pastas, jarred foods, bread, crackers, baby “finger foods”, and so on.  As we cut these things from our diet we noticed we were all feeling much better.

Olivia eating plain yogurt at 10 months

Olivia eating plain yogurt at 10 months

It was a slow transition, but after about six months, we were mostly free of processed junk and were eating a lot more quality vegetables, fruits, meats and dairy.  Olivia was about 18 months at this point.  She had always been a little bit of a picky eater, but transitioned fairly well to our new way of eating.  Sometimes convincing her to try a new vegetable was really difficult, but we always offered her a little bit of everything we were eating even if we knew she didn’t like it.  I felt like that was key.

Snacking on an apple from our backyard apple tree!

Snacking on an apple from our backyard apple tree in CA!

For a while, our strategy was for her to clear her plate.  Except, since we were dealing with a strong-willed child, she often put up a fight and dinner would turn into a long drawn-out battle.  After reading the French parenting book, Bringing up Bébé, we decided we needed to switch strategies.  By this time, Cliff was just starting to eat solids as well, around 10-11 months old.

Starting solids around 10 months

Cliff trying out some squash around 10 months

Our new plan was to offer them everything we were eating, as before, but just require them to taste each thing – not necessarily clear their plates.  This took away the pressure that Olivia, especially, would feel when a new scary vegetable loomed in front of her.  It still takes some convincing sometimes, but they are both very good at tasting a bite of each food on their plate now.

Eating out at a sushi restaurant

Eating out at a sushi restaurant

We don’t force it, they know the rule, and usually do try everything, though some meals they skip over an item.  We just casually prompt them to remember to taste each thing before they are excused from the table.  Many times they are surprised by how good something tastes and end up asking for more.  Like the asparagus in our scrambled eggs the other morning, that Olivia assured me she disliked…but then she asked for thirds.

"I LOVE kale, mama!" (It was chard...but, cool!)

“I LOVE kale, mama!” (It was chard…but, cool!)

Something we’ve noticed is that as soon as we allow candy and processed junk back into their diets, they immediately lose their appetites for real foods.  This keeps us diligent in the quality of foods we are offering (though they do get their share of treats).

One vegetable that Olivia has detested for over two years, is tomatoes.  And yet, every time we serve food with tomatoes, I put a piece or two on her plate.  One day recently, she tasted it, looked up with a huge grin on her face and said, “Mama, I LOVE tomatoes!”  She still doesn’t eat them all the time, but it was a big victory just to have her try them and actually like them.  They both love salad if it’s got a little homemade dressing on it.

Eating salad for dinner

Eating salad for dinner – this was his third helping

 And broccoli is a favorite.  Cliff eats his weight in peas and sweet potatoes, and they both really like mashed cauliflower and fish.

Salmon with veggies - one of Cliff's favorites

Salmon with chard – one of Cliff’s favorites

I think it also helps that we’ve allowed each of them to “help” in the kitchen and be a part of the meal.  Olivia, especially, is much more likely to eat something if she has helped wash it or cut it up.  Cliff…he eats anything, the struggle with him is keeping him hungry for the meal!

Tasting some homemade marinara sauce

Tasting some homemade marinara sauce

 It’s been a long and purposeful journey, but we have been so thankful that our littles will eat more than the typical pasta and rice, especially since traveling around we often can’t find such specific foods.  They are adventurous little eaters now, and though they still put up a fight on some new things, it’s exciting to see them develop a taste for real foods!

Baked scallops at a restaurant in Paracas, Peru

Going for the baked scallops at a restaurant in Paracas, Peru

Iquitos: Off to the Amazon

  Our much anticipated trip to the Amazon had finally arrived. When I used to think of South America, that’s what usually would come to mind. That huge river with wildlife so diverse and exotic that documentaries and books hardly did it justice. We hadn’t originally planned on taking the kids on this trip, but after living in Peru for nine months, we’d adjusted to the idea of traveling into more adventurous places with our littles. We talked to a few people who had done it successfully with children and found (not much, but some) information online as well. We got a great deal on flights when LAN was running a special, and though we waited on the Tarmac for about an hour, the savings was still worth the mediocre flight.

We arrived in Iquitos around noon, feeling the full force of the hot sun and the jungle humidity. Iquitos is an interesting city. The largest city in the world that’s not reachable by road. It’s full of motorcycles and mototaxis – literally hundreds crowd the streets in the afternoons and evenings.  

Cliff riding a MotoTaxi with Aunt Katelyn & Uncle David

Cliff riding a MotoTaxi with Aunt Katelyn & Uncle David

We were staying at the Nativa Apartments. A good, clean place to stay for a few days, or an extended period of time. Plus, they had a room big enough for all six of us. We were traveling with John’s brother and his wife, who had been staying with us and traveling around Peru the last few weeks.

That first day we didn’t do much, besides walk to the riverfront and grab lunch. 

Walking around Iquitos

Walking around Iquitos

Artwork by the river

Artwork by the river 

  We talked to a tour guide and got some information on day tours for later in the week. 

Talking to a guide

Talking to a guide

We were all pretty wiped out, and wilting in the heat and humidity, so we got a rest and then headed out to a local market nearby our hotel.

It was dusk as we arrived and some of the market was already closing up. The smell hit us before we even could see it. It was a pretty dirty market, maybe because we arrived at closing. We were looking for fruit and veggies to snack on since we had a small kitchenette at the hotel. We were also hoping to find some dinner…but didn’t have much luck amid the sea of chicken carcasses and gutted fishes. David did manage to find some grilled smallish fish and plantain that they bagged up for him, but none of the rest of us felt so brave (or had much appetite with all the strong smells surrounding us). We decided it would be best to go down to the river and eat at a restaurant for dinner.

When we got there we were amazed at the number of people out and about. It was a fun crowd. Lots of locals, kids, and tourists mingled along the riverwalk. We ordered some food at a patio seating area while the kids sat on the sidewalk and watched the busy excitement before them. It wasn’t long before a teenage girl came up to the kids and started talking to them.  

Blowing bubbles with new friends

Blowing bubbles with new friends

 It happens everywhere we go – especially with teenage girls. They want to know their names, where they’re from, and if they speak English. Then they usually want a picture together. The kids have been through this routine so many times now that they can give their own answers in Spanish and just need the occasional verification from us on the pronunciation of their names. It’s pretty funny to watch, really. They’ve gotten really comfortable with it. The young girl had a toddler with her, and after talking to the kids for a while, she went and bought a cup of bubbles. The kids had a lot of fun with that. 

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

 When a group of about 10 young people came over they agreed to take pictures with all of them one at a time. They looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. As long as they don’t seem bothered, we don’t mind. When they want space they know to come back to us, and we always watch closely to see if they’re being smothered.

Surrounded by friendly Peruvian teenagers

Surrounded by friendly Peruvian teenagers

The food at Dawn on the Amazon was really good. Delicious local fish with a twice baked potato and some coconut milk smoothies to finish it off. We were glad we’d gotten to see a bit of the town, too, since during the heat of the day it had been pretty desolate. We were learning quickly. In this heat and humidity, enjoy the morning, go home for a nap, and come back out for the night. Seemed to be the way to do it!

Lima series: Barranco *hip and bohemian*

One of our favorite places to visit in Lima is Barranco: a neighboring district, just a couple miles south of us.

Barranco

Barranco

 There’s a beautiful bike path that runs by our house along the coast so we usually load up the kids in the stroller and make the trek there on foot.

Walking through Barranco

Walking through Barranco in Spring

 Barranco is very different from Miraflores, which definitely caters to tourists and the wealthy Limeneans.  It’s earthy, hip and bohemian; filled with local artist shops, wall murals, and brightly colored houses and buildings.

Brightly colored buildings

Brightly colored buildings Photo credit: Linda Massingill

Mural photo credit: Linda Massingill

Mural photo credit: Linda Massingill

 The Plaza de Armas is especially pretty.  In case you haven’t noticed in our travels, there are many Plaza de Armas.  Every district/town in Latin America (that we’ve seen) has one.  This one has a nice big fountain and faces a beautiful old church.  Often, there are events going on here.

Playing at the fountain

Playing at the fountain

At the Plaza

At the Plaza

It’s surrounded by local restaurants and a couple of coffee shops, including our favorite coffee shop in Lima, Arabica.  When we went with John’s parents and Aunt this summer, we got to sit out back on the beautiful patio surrounded with lanterns and chirping birds.

Enjoying the patio at Arábica

Enjoying the patio at Arábica

We were happy to find they were serving iced coffee, since it was a pretty warm day.

We’ve been to almost all the museums in Barranco, now, but our favorite is definitely the Museo Pedro de Osma.  It’s a little pricey at S./20 per person, but definitely worth it anyways.  Shoot, I’ve paid to go three times with different visitors we’ve had in town.  It’s a great place.

Birds on the lawn at Museo Pedro de Osma

Birds on the lawn at Museo Pedro de Osma

At the museo

At the museo

It’s housed in a Spanish Viceroy’s mansion and the home alone is worth seeing with gorgeous stained glass windows and a beautifully manicured lawn.

Stained glass windows

Stained glass windows

Huge painting

Huge painting

 The silver exhibit is the highlight of the museum, though the last time we were there they had a wonderful temporary exhibit with some breathtaking modern oil paintings.

Armadillo!

Armadillo!

The MATE Mario Testino is a neat museum to visit, depending on what photographers are being showcased.

The MATE Musem

The MATE Musem

 We were lucky enough the visit when they were showcasing some shockingly beautiful photographs of classic movie stars from the early 1900’s.  There’s also a permanent exhibit of Princess Diana there.

Recently, we also visited the free electricity museum with the kids.

At the Museo de la electricidad

At the Museo de la electricidad

 They enjoyed the interactive stations.

Happy kids

Happy kids

 The room of old electronics (many of which were the first ones marketed) was really fascinating.

Cliff the Chef

Cliff the Chef

Checking out old electronics

Checking out an old telephone

 There was even a big juke box where you could play a classic song for a sole.

A favorite restaurant of ours in Barranco is Burrito Bar…where Texans go when they’ve got a hankering for Mexican food.  Because let’s face it, the worst thing about South America is that it’s not anything like Central America.  Finding chips in this city is impossible.  It’s been served at exactly two restaurants (and we hunted for those!).  After living here for 3 months, stumbling upon Burrito Bar was like finding a buried treasure on a desert island.

At Burrito Bar with family

At Burrito Bar with family

 They even have guacamole!  That is to die for.  Anyways, enough with that, I’m getting hungry again.  Another favorite restaurant of ours is Sofie’s Cafe.  If you’ve got a hankering for waffles, it’s the place to go.  We went twice when Grams was visiting.  We liked that it was super kid-friendly.

At Sofie's Cafe

At Sofie’s Cafe

 It was a wonderful Sunday morning walk to make for a nice brunch.

Walking in Barranco

Walking in Barranco

On the weekends, there’s also a Feria on Jr. Unión that can be fun to peruse.  They cater to hippies, I would say.  You can find anything from homemade clothing, incense, handmade soaps and lotions to jewelry and some possibly scarring nude photography (watch your kids! hah!).  The Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) is a pretty place to visit, too.

Puente de los Suspiros: Mamaw and Livi

Puente de los Suspiros: Mamaw and Livi

Me and Cliff at the bridge

Me and Cliff near the bridge

 Legend goes that if you make a wish and walk across the bridge with your sweetheart, it will come true.  Near the bridge there’s also a look out over the ocean that’s really breathtaking.

Me and Mom at the lookout

Me and Mom at the lookout

 So…those are some of our favorite things to do when we visit Barranco.  It’s definitely my favorite way to spend a day in Lima.  If you’re ever in Lima, it’s worth putting on the “to see” list!