Remote Year Ohana month 9 - Lima
Coming to Lima I was still holding on to how much I loved Argentina and a part of me wanted to be loyal and almost didn't want to love anywhere else in South America as much. Also most previous Remote Year citizens said Lima is a big and chaotic city so I had very low expectations going there. Then I landed in the airport and from the first interaction with the Airport Express staff I already liked the city. They were really friendly, spoke great English, and one of the staff even ran with me to the bus since it was taking off soon. The bus was comfortable, had WiFi, and as we were getting into the city I realized there was a staff on the bus to make sure we all got off at the right places. Then I started chatting with him, Christian, who spoke perfect English, was really nice, and seemed super smart. He even offered to give me some free tours in Barranco and the city center which I so appreciated. That was the perfect first impression of the city. I got off at the Hilton stop and walked for about 10 minutes to my apartment. Everything I saw from getting off the bus was way more than what I was expecting. The Hilton was one of the nicest I had seen, with fancy looking restaurants around it, and the streets that I walked on was very well maintained, like a very well-developed city, not at all the big, chaotic, dirty city I was imagining. This was the start of the best month I've had since the start of Remote Year.
This month I'm living with two roommates, Mary and Themi, in a beautiful apartment in an upscale neighborhood of Lima, Miraflores, on the 13th floor where the elevator goes directly to the apartment. This was the view I woke up to in the morning.
The apartment is bright, with huge windows, big kitchen, and we all have our own bathrooms. The only slight downside was the building is on a busy street and it is quite loud but other than that I loved the place.
The next morning the three of us went out for brunch and afterwards our program leader Danche and I walked to the waterfront. That was the moment when Lima truly had me. The oceanfront is one of the most beautiful I had ever seen.
As we walked further along the water we got to an outdoor mall, Larcomar. I was amazed at how beautiful it is. It even reminded me of a mall in LA, Westfield Century City, that I used to go to when I was living there 12 years ago, except this one is even better because it overlooks the Pacific ocean. I love looking out into the vastness of the ocean, with nothing on the other side. The fact that the view is on a cliff makes it even more awe-inspiring. This is a view I had never seen before, especially for such a major city, with so much hustle and bustle behind it, then you look out into this vast view and it's as if you can just disappear into the ocean and become one with nature.
As we were walking further, I got more and more mesmerized by the little peninsula one level below us that goes out into the ocean. I was so intrigued by the location and had to look up what it is. Turns out it's a restaurant and we said we'll have to go there sometime as we imagined how amazing the view must be. The sun started setting at this time and it was the most gorgeous view I had ever seen. Less than 24 hours in the city, Lima already had me.
With this amazing of a view, I had to come out early the next morning for a run. I love a city where I can run outside and that has a lot of nature and a nice view. This run made me fall in love with Lima even more.
In the evening at a dinner at a friend's place, I also tried two Peruvian wines, Sauvignon Blanc and Tannat. I didn't even know Peru made wine and to find Tannat, which was the new wine I discovered and loved in Uruguay was a total pleasant surprise. Both were very good.
The next evening I saw this sunset view on the balcony of the apartment. I was completely mesmerized and felt so grateful. I would see it many more times during the month I was there.
The next day, as I was walking around in the more touristy parts of Miraflores, I walked into a restaurant along the street, Cafe Italiano, and had lunch there. Without even knowing I had another typical Peruvian dish, Ají de gallina, a Peruvian chicken stew and it tastes almost like curry but creamier and a sweeter.
Next day I was taken to a very local restaurant that has a Japanese and Chinese influence. We had some ceviche again, as well as Arroz con Mariscos (Seafood Rice), and some stir-fried vegetables with seafood. All were delicious.
On Friday morning I went to an Internations entrepreneurs networking breakfast, which was the best Internations event I've been to so far. From that one event I met 5 people that I continued to keep close contact with since then.
For lunch I went to a different neighborhood to give a sample coaching session to someone I met at a MeetUp gathering the night before and saw many very local places for lunch. I went into one where all the menu is on the board in Spanish. With my limited Spanish I knew I was ordering a fish dish but didn't realize it also came with a noodle soup for appetizer. All of that was 12 soles which was less than $4 USD. I had thought Lima was much more expensive than Argentina but now I realized that if you wanted to eat cheap and well, there are still plenty of places to do it.
Later that day there was another Internations event, a concert at Ccori Wasi. I met up with two guys from the event in the morning and it turned out it was a super popular event and by the time we got there it was completely full. So one of the guys who is familiar with the city took us to an area with a lot of bars and clubs, which started an unexpected fun and long evening out. We first went to La Destileria which played awesome Latin music and I had so much fun dancing salsa. Even though I'm not good it was still really fun to dance with people who know how to dance it. As were about to go home, we bumped into one of my roommates Mary and Gaby the city manager, as they were going to another club, Hop Bar Mutante, in Barranco neighborhood. They convinced us to go with them and I'm really glad I did. It was a proper club, with a huge dance floor and very interesting decor. We ended up staying until almost 5am just dancing. I hadn't done that for so long, especially since I wasn't even drinking any alcohol as I was preparing for Ayahuasca later that month.
The next day we went to Rosa Nautica for brunch, the restaurant that is on the little peninsula that we saw on the first weekend. It was the most beautiful setting I had ever seen for a restaurant, right on the Pacific ocean and the inside is also gorgeous without being too stuffy.
We had some wonderful seafood, including this amazing scallops that weren't even on the menu, and some beautiful deserts.
After brunch we took our time walking along the boardwalk back to the street just as the sun was coming down. I couldn't help but be continuously amazed at how beautiful the view is and how much love this city.
The sunset was again breathtaking. I've decided that Lima has some of the best sunsets I have ever seen, the other places being Krabi in Thailand and Split in Croatia.
We then walked around in the Barranco neighborhood through some really fun markets and I bought some clothes for the first time since Remote Year, which I was very happy about :)
Later that evening there was another Internations party. I met up with Sebastian that I had met and hung out with the day before and met some new people, including Diego from Bogota, Colombia. We then headed out to the same area that we went to the night before and danced our night away again, this time until 6am! When we came out of the club it was already getting light outside. The last time I had done that was at least 7 years ago for a F1 Amber Lounge party in Singapore. No drinking, just dancing, I felt great, so alive! This was only the first week in Lima, and I was already having the best time of my life.
One day as I was doing laundry which is on the other side of the main balcony with the nice sunset view, I discovered the amazing view from the back of the apartment and it's equally stunning.
Track Events: The following week the track events started. Starting with Monday evening cooking class, Taste our Culture, at Cook Club. We learned how to make Ají de gallina that I loved so much from the week before, and this time it was made with pulled chicken.
After we cooked the chicken in the creamy sauce we used it as a filling for empanadas and then fried them. Omg it was so delicious.
The next dish was the famous Peruvian Lomo Saltado, a stir fry of beef with onions, tomatoes, very similar to the Chinese stir fry. Not surprising it originated from the Chinese Peruvian cuisine, which has its own name, Chifa, and goes as far back as the mid-19th century. This was my first time setting fire on a wok and it was so much fun!
The beef was delicious, so much flavor and so tender.
The next day we had the second track event, learning how to play the Peruvian box from a young Afro-Peruvian percussionist. I love all the track events that are art related because they really get me out of my comfort zone and get me to do something I normally wouldn’t do.
The weekend was our full day track event, a day at the Huacachina sand dunes. We first went to the house of our host where we hung out by the pool and had a delicious home-cooked Peruvian lunch.
After that we went off to the sand dunes and rode dune buggies which was like roller coaster on sand, totally awesome!
I was totally not expecting to find dessert sand dunes in Peru. I had been to desserts in Abu Dhabi and Jordan but to see it in Peru just a few hours outside Lima with the most beautiful oceanfront was completely unexpected. The diversity of natural beauty in Peru completely blew my mind.
We drove to different spots to do body boarding down the sand dunes which looks quite scary but was super fun.
I was so happy being on the buggy in the vastness of the sand dunes.
Our last stop was to watch the sunset in the dessert and it was absolutely magical.
This was one of my favorite track events.
By the time we came back to the apartment it was almost midnight and I had a 5:30am flight the next morning to Iquitos. I still wanted to do some work, building up my website for the transformation program that I was designing. When I got on that flight the next morning I knew it was going to be a life changing experience, but I didn’t know just exactly how life-changing it would be. I will write about that experience in another blog but I will just say for now that it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had and it is the reason I’m going back there in January to do my first retreat and transformation program.
Last week in Lima: When I came back from the week I was so excited, positive, self-assured, and peaceful. I felt great mentally and physically. I had never been more energized and productive with work. During that week I created all the content for my transformation program on my website and on social media and started recording videos which I hadn't had the courage to do previously. I even administered San Pedro and Kambo to two of my friends in the Ohana group and they both loved the experience.
That week I also had three of the best meals in Peru. A lunch at El Paz On and had amazing scallops with cheese, a spicy Tiradito dish (it's like a ceviche but more thinly sliced and with a creamy sauce), and a creamy fish soup. All were so delicious.
A dinner at La Plazita and had some really interesting Italian inspired fusion Peruvian food.
On my last day before flying out to Ecuador, I had one last amazing lunch at La Mar, where I had the best scallops dish, and a fish and seafood dish which was probably one of the best dishes I've had of all time! I still dream about it sometimes.
After finishing this amazing lunch I got back to the work space to gather my stuff to fly out to Ecuador for a few days before heading to Florida for a Tony Robbins event. I was sad to leave Lima, but at the same time I knew I was going to come back. I even thought I could make it a part time home for a while after Remote Year and do my retreats in Iquitos. So it was not a goodbye but a see you later.