Brujas del Mar

We arrived in Lima, Peru’s capital, 21 hours after leaving Cuzco. The bus ride was very difficult for the first six hours, as we were high in the mountains and taking sharp turns. I had to take two anti-nausea tablets; it was really really hard on the stomach! But that wasn’t the worst part… we were forced to watch at high volume an excruciatingly irritating Korean soap opera dubbed in Spanish called Escalera al Cielo. 15 hours of it. They stopped it at midnight and started it again at 6AM. And it made me crave kimchi on top of it. ARGHHH!!!!!!!!

We then headed to our hostel, located in Miraflores (a nice neighbourhood of Lima, located next to the seashore). Normally I don’t bother talking about our hostels because they are pretty simple and not very interesting, but this one was the worst we’ve been to EVER. The hostel is called “Mochilero’s Inn” and had reviews of 99.5% on the internet… we should have known it was a scam; there’s no way in the world this place could have scored higher than 30%. The room smelled like mildew, they were blasting music until 3AM, only two of the kitchen stoves worked, you had to wear shoes all the time because the floor was blackened with dirt (we had to wash our feet when coming out of the shower!), there was a big pile of pubes on the shower floor that stayed there for a few days, and the workers were smoking pot inside the hostel, which naturally came inside our room (our door wasn’t full – smell and sound came from underneath it). We also paid to rent for a towel, which was completely filthy. Oh yeah, one night we got locked outside for more than 30 minutes and when we checked out, they stole 15$ from us, which was a deposit we paid online to reserve the room (they never wanted to refund it). I should have taken photos of the place, it was out of this world! And it wasn’t cheap either – 20$ per night! We stayed there for 6 days, and then moved the hell out to a downtown hostel, which was 8$ per night for two. And much cleaner!

On the good side, Miraflores is a beautiful neighbourhood – and everything is close by. There are huge supermarkets, music shops and even an underground metal bar (which we still need to visit). The ocean is really beautiful… here are photos of it:

The pacific ocean by night

The pacific ocean by day

We spent the first few days of our trip taking care of some travel paperwork, eating, going to a gig (Hands of Doom/Reino Ermitaño), a Cobra rehearsal and spent the rest of the time resting in our putrid smelling room. We also went to Gallerias Brazil, which is a two-floor commercial center with about 10 rock/metal stores. It seems like alot, but they mostly carry bootlegs of CD’s, DVD’s, patches and some cool bootleg t-shirts. They of course have some original CD’s and vinyls, but mainly local stuff and a few imports. We spotted the Cauchemar/Condenados show poster at one of the stores:

Show poster at Pentagram records

Show tickets!

A really really funny Ozzy poster somewhere in Galerias Brazil

In front of Gallerias Brazil, in a small shack, we bought a nice hot quinoa/apple/cinnamon drink. It was so filling and delicious!

Quinoa drink. Miam!

Peru has many Asian restaurants, which resulted in strange mixes between Peruvian and Chinese/Japanese cuisine. Coincidently, I was craving Asian food so I took advantage of it…

This is “chifa”, a combo of Chinese and Peruvian food. Actually, we have this kind of stir fry in Canada too, but other stuff on the menu was different. The custom is to eat chifa with Inca Cola!

28$ worth of sushi. And the best damn sushi I ever ever ate in my life. We are going to Japan soon so the record will probably be beat, but ohhh... this was just absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious. I never had fish this fresh – it really makes a difference to be in a town next to the sea! The two first rolls of sushi you see on this photo are local specialities: on the left you can find deep fried sushi, and on the right; ceviche sushi! (Contains raw onion + salmon, and is topped with a corn sauce, hot peppers and some sea weed)

On Wednesday 13, our good friends from Condenados finally arrived to Lima! They were dead tired; having travelled 22 hours in a bus…

Condemned to sleep for eternity

Luckily for them (and us), Julio from Reino Ermitaño cooked us some nice typical Peruvian dish called Arroz con Pollo, which consists of pan fried chicken and a delightful veggie/coriander flavoured rice:

Julio in his doom metal kitchen

Home-made Arroz con Pollo!

Together, later on, we went to Coca Kinto bar (where our show was going to be at) for a nice Pisco Sour. I don’t know why I didn’t talk about Pisco Sour yet – it’s the best alcoholic drink of all South America!! Imagine a Key Lime Pie in a cocktail. Tiny lemons freshly squeezed, 1.5 oz of Pisco (strong grape alcohol), sugar syrup, crushed ice and raw (yes!) egg white. It’s absolutely delicious and I have been drinking many of them since I arrived in Peru:

A typical Pisco sour. You can make it with other things; Coca pisco, passionfruit juice, etc.

Matías (Condenados bassist) worshipping the mighty Pisco Sour!

Feeling crazy after the Pisco drinking session... you can also see here part of our downtown 8$ hostel room.

Lima is a really huge and chaotic city. Walking downtown on the side of the street is a nightmare… drivers here LOVE their honks. They use it to express every possible feeling. Taxis honk to you when you walk, and scream “TAXI!”… and sometimes follow you for a few seconds, trying to lure you in. The downtown part of really beautiful though, rich of old Spanish colonial architecture.

An old pointy building

A really strange sight! Police casino! WTF!

With Matías and Francisco (Condenados drummer), we went to visit the San Francisco monastery, which contains some famous catacombs:

Matías with his bellowed llama in front of the monastery

We couldn’t take photos inside, but I stayed behind during the catacombs part and was able to take some of the morbidity of the place on film:

Bone trenches, about 5 meters deep!

A beautifully morbid decoration, found inside some kind of well

Some old chandeliers in a creepy part of the catacombs

Dem bones!

Another kind of well

Chaotic pile of bones

We’ve been to Kutna Hora in Czech Republic and the Paris catacombs so we were a bit disappointed by the smallness of the Lima ones, but it was still interesting to see some in South America!

The visit made us hungry as hell (same thing happened when visiting the catacombs in Paris, don’t know why!) and so we headed to a restaurant downtown. For 2.5$, we had a really killer meal:

Papas a la Huancaina, a starter. I absolutely love those things... they are potatoes covered with a spicy sauce (yellow hot pepper/fresh cheese/ garlic) and served with a black olive and a piece of hard-boiled egg.

Seco a la Norteña, a piece of pork meat stewed in spices, with rice

Pachamanca a la Olla... the weirdest meal I’ve had so far in Peru! Plantain, potato, sweet potato, piece of chicken and huge beans, covered in a Spinach sauce. It looked like it came from a swamp or something! It was pretty good.

We were eating in restaurants all the time because we had no kitchen. We thus discovered the incredible gastronomic diversity of the city… every day we had 2$ meals and every day we were astonished by the quality of them!

Caldo de Gallina – a chicken soup, including an egg and spaghetti. This is good for hangovers!

Pollo a la Brasas – Peruvian roasted chicken. Some of the best chicken we’ve had! The spices were absolutely killer, and the chicken had juices flowing out of it when you cut out a piece. I’ve had similar chicken at “Les Deux Fours” in Montreal (a place to try if you live there!!)

Saturday 16th was the day of our gig. The venue, Coca Kinto, could hold about 100 people, and about 150 people filled it up… it was hell just trying to go take a leak haha. The place itself was kind of strange; white walls, art on the walls and the stage was directly on the floor. A weird place for a metal show, but the sound was really good! They also had the most luxurious toilets I’ve seen in a bar in South America. The man’s toilet was apparently destroyed after the gig…

A part of the decoration of the walls, a gigantic QUIPU! Quipus were used as a form of writing data in pre-Colombian Andean civilisations. Some can be seen in the “Les Cités d’Or” TV series if you remember.

First band was Madragora, which traveled 7 hours to play this gig. They play traditional heavy metal with a female singer which kind of danced like the vocalist of SANTA. They were good; but nothing original.

Madragora vocalist. Boobies anyone?

Next band was Caballo de Plomo, a sludge/stoner type of band. The members were only two, and the music sounded a bit like SLEEP. One song that lasts for a long time…

Caballo de Plomo

After came Cobra! The band plays some kind of mix between CLOVEN HOOF/SAXON/THIN LIZZY. They have an incredible stage presence, and really get the crowd going! The singer’s girlfriend was in the crowd and totally got crushed by it – which resulted in a bloody mouth. The band members are excellent musicians and their songs are catchy as hell.

Cobra vocalist!

Andres, guitarist

SOLO!

The insane crowd...

It was around 1AM when we got to hit the stage. We played our 5 songs and a MISFITS cover (London Dungeon!) which almost nobody recognized… haha! It was a good set, and I think the people really enjoyed it. I saw some people mouthing the lyrics… which was really cool in Peru!!! I don’t have any photos, but perhaps some videos will show up eventually on You Tube, as I saw a few people filming the set.

Next band was Condenados! Haven’t seen them since the Chilean tour, and as usual they crushed everything in sight. Their sound was really loud this time, and some neighbours of the bar complained… hehehe! The people reacted very well to the gig, and some said they were the best of the gig. Good for them!

Francisco, Fernando and Matías of Condenados

At 3:15 was the last band, Reino Ermitaño. I saw them the previous Saturday, and they absolutely kill live. François and myself have been big fans for years (we own all their albums, and even gave some as xmas gifts to family haha) and we were both times blown away by their set. Their riffs are pure magic, and everything is so goddamn heavy! Julio, the drummer, pounds like a madman and Tania, the vocalist, has a really psychedelic voice that gets straight to your soul. A true gem of a band.

Reino Ermitaño

Eloy, the guitarist

Marcos, bassist

The night finished at 4AM. We bought some more beer and drank in our hotel room until… well, I don’t remember! Haha! It was a great show, and I still can’t believe how many people showed up!! It will for sure be in my memory for a long, long time. Thank you Lima such killer support!!!!!

On Monday, Marcos (Reino Ermitaño bassist) called us up and asked us if we wanted to try ceviche. Of course we wanted to! I was waiting until we were in Lima – close to the sea, to try some. We went to a really killer restaurant in Barranco (a neighbourhood close to Miraflores – also on the seaside) and ate one of the most luxurious meals I’ve had so far…

Some kind of snack we had at the beginning; fried corn

A “mise en bouche”, some killer sea food bites

A Causa with olive sauce, stuffed with calmar. We had some on the Inca Trail which was stuffed with Tuna instead.

A gratineed scallop with butter and garlic. ORGASMIC when drenched in lime juice!

Fish ceviche! SO GOOD!!! It was to die for! I have been craving it since that day. It tasted absolutely fresh. To those who don’t know, ceviche is an an ancient recipe cooking fish using the juice of citrus fruits. A simple ceviche consists of extremely fresh fish (caught on the day, not served after 3PM), lime juice, salt, pepper and red onions. It’s like eating sashimi with lime. Really really good!

François’s meal; some kind of fish carpaccio with red and yellow pepper salsas. Delicious as well.

Marco’s meal; rice with seafood. I personally didn’t like it (it had too much of a “sea” smell and taste for me) but François said it was his favourite part of the meal!

As you can see, Peruvian cuisine is absolutely amazing. And on top of that, I still have TONS of things to try!!!

Later on that day, we went on to see Huaca Pucllana, some 1100+ years old ruins in Miraflores (built by the Lima culture, and used as a ceremonial place.) The place was unfortunately closed, but we could still see it from the outside… it was the first time I saw ruins like this; they were like ancient Lego pyramids of something! I will visit it at a later time and talk more about it. For now, here is a photo:

Cauchemarnados with Marcos in front of Huaca Pucllana

To top off this amazing day, we went drinking, again! This time, on the seaside in Barranco – blasting music from Marcos’ car. We made the Condenados guys try Jagermeister, which they got hooked on… maybe a bit too much haha!!

Francisco with his bottle of love

Mati!

Francisco and Matias

Francisco again haha

Thanks alot to Marcos for the amazing day… and to Julio and Tania for the Arroz con Pollo, and Mario Lachy for organizing the gig. Oh and the Cobra guys for inviting us to their rehearsal! All the guys that gave me fanzines, and Frank for buying us beer! Seriously, people here are so nice, it’s just unreal.

Now we have moved to yet another neighbourhood (we can’t always go to restaurants, I think we’d burst out of our clothes haha) so we are now in a room, which we rent from a family. We are located in Barranco near a supermarket and the main bus station – so we are quite happy!

We’ll be staying here for a month – until approximately August 20th. Then, we will begin the Asian chapter of our trip… flying from Lima to Tokyo! This month, I will be focusing my time on some projects; mainly Morbid Tales #7 and organizing the Cauchemar 2012 European tour. We’ll of course go to many shows, do some record shopping, more partying and cooking, but for now, we are taking a little rest. Hehe. Talk soon!

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