November 24, 2004

Pisco Haze In Lima

I had just completed a fascinating four weeks of travel throughout Peru and Bolivia, finding myself back in Lima. It was quite a shock to return to the city, after having been across the Andes, along coastal deserts and into the wonderous Amazon.

On the final night in Peru, I decided to have a few celebratory drinks with my good friend, Jason, in the artists' district of Barranco. It is a lovely hamlet of cafes and bars, where artists of all types hang-out.

During my stay in South America, I had developed a taste for a local brew, called Pisco. This potent liquor is distilled from white grapes and high concentrations of sugar. Pisco is best consumed as a mixed drink. My favourite combination was the delectable, but lethal Pisco Sour (See below for recipe).

After several drinks, the haze of alcohol gradually took control of my senses, and we decided that it was perhaps time to return to our hotel to pack. We paid our bill and headed back up the picturesque street to get a taxi. A simple enough plan in a more sober state, but fate had one more extraordinary experience for us.

Instead of getting our ride back, we somehow ended up in a large house full of bizarre artists. In one corner, a balding, middle-aged man, was busy sketching a half-naked male ballet dancer, who regularly leapt from his seat to dance to the clanking piano sounds of another shirtless man, playing The Doors' classic, Light My Fire. It was as if we had stepped into the movie, Moulin Rouge. How we found ourselves in that surreal room, is to this day a mystery, that can only be blamed upon the large Piscos we had consumed.

Jason and I were thoroughly enjoying the moment, even joining in with some of the abstract dancing. Suddenly, a large quantity of cooked meats and beer were delivered at the door. Without a moment's hesitation, Jason pulled out a large wad of cash to pay for all the goods. Again, no answer has been found as to why he did this, but idealistically, I like to imagine that he has a charitable heart for struggling artists!

We stayed with our new friends for a couple more hours, until there was no more time for us to spare. When we got up to leave, each of these enigmatic individuals bade us a warm farewell, and helped us find a taxi. It was a perfect finish to a journey that never failed to surprise.

PISCO SOUR

* 1 egg white
* 1 tbs sugar
* 1 glass of pisco
* juice from 6 limes
* chipped ice
* angostura bitters (optional)

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