Man at work – Paracas national Reserve
“…If you ever want to travel to New Caledonia, drop me a line. I will send you the contact details of my great friend Hnawish who owns the Motel Chez Rachel at the Baie de Chateaubriand. We will guarantee you the best rates and friendliest service on all the island…”
Kanaky is the indigenous name given to the group of islands we know as New Caledonia. Its people, the Kanaks, are very friendly and welcoming – they listen to reggae, smoke a wee bit of local parsley and basically live at a very different pace. Letty and I took some timeout to relax and immerse ourselves in its natural beauty.
I had previously traveled to Kanaky in 2004 so I knew what to expect, and I took this opportunity to show my wife some places I had enjoyed with my Swiss friends Tonton Ruppen and Papa Cristobal.
We snorkelled in the natural coral pool at “L’Ile des Pins” and saw Nemo, Dory and a bunch of their friends.
We were blinded by the white sands at Luengoni and Peng beaches.
We saw our friend Paul fishing every day at the Baie de Chateaubriand.
And we had a great time with great friends…
If you ever want to travel to New Caledonia, drop me a line. I will send you the contact details of my great friend Hnawish who owns the Motel Chez Rachel at the Baie de Chateaubriand. We will guarantee you the best rates and friendliest service on all the island.
Vivid Sydney 2013
Vivid Sydney 2013 – I am not really sure how long the beautiful city of Sydney has been putting on the Vivid festival, but I’m so glad I managed to find myself right in the thick of it. It was a photographer’s paradise. Everywhere you turned, people had brought their DSLR’s, SLR’s, medium format camera’s, TLR’s, compact cameras, tripods, tablets and mobiles… Lucky for me, I’d brought two of my favourite lenses – my Minolta MC ROKKOR-PG 58mm f/1.2 and my ARAX Photex T&S 35mm f/2.8mm.
It was a light party and a feast for the eyes. A myriad, no wait – a googolplex! No, not quite… It was a million, billion, gazillion photons all thrown in a synchronised, cadenced, visual cacophony.
I do love coming to Sydney and seeing the Darling harbour and Circular Quay. Sydney in all of your grandiose glory you always impress me, but especially this time. I must thank you for really putting on truly memorable show. Hopefully, and fingers crossed, I will be able to make it to Vivid Festival 2014.
“…For all of you Peruvian food buffs out there, you’ll probably think I am crazy if I tell you my favourite dish was Salsa Criolla…”
I love food. Yes I do. I love food that punches me in the face and screams “FLAVOUR!!!!!!!” So when my wife and I travelled throughout the coast of Peru, we went hunting for the most renowned and popular restaurants in the country.
For all of you Peruvian food buffs out there, you’ll probably think I am crazy if I tell you my favourite dish was “Salsa Criolla“. I ate it on its own, with fish, rice, pasta, potatoes, camote, cuy, tacu tacu – well, I did say everything!
The following restaurants are just some that were highly recommended to me. They are very popular and renowned for their signature dishes throughout Peru.
- El Refugio de Mamaine: Location El Carmen, Chincha (150klms south of Lima) – For the best Afro-Peruvian in all of Peru. Mamaine currently holds the Guinness record for the largest Carapulcra ever made.
- Restaurante Don Tato: Location Barranca, 300klms north of Lima) – For the best Tacu Tacu in all of Peru. Don Tato was proclaimed as the best Tacu Tacu chef in all of Peru by world renowned Peruvian gastronomic legend Gaston Acurio.
- El Rincon del Pato: Location Lambayeque (300klms north of Trujillo) – Duck is their signature dish, their flagship space saucer. Definitely worth a try… just fingerlickin’ good. And, the attention to service was second to none. Our waitress was delightfuly friendly. I have never received such service anywhere else in the world.
- El Restaurante de Cesar: Location Tortugas: (320klms north of Lima) – Well, Don Cesar is friends with Mamaine and Tato, and has been cooking for over 30 years. It says a lot about his calibre as a Peruvian chef. His fish is fresh and purchased every morning from local fishermen. The high season in Tortugas is between late November through to February. I personally felt that an early October visit was splendid as we had the entire beach and Tortugas to ourselves! I have to say it was the best Ceviche and fried salt water fish I ate in Peru.
- El restaurante El Horno: Location Chivay (220 klms north west of Arequipa) – El Horno is mention worthy for its entertainment and warm homely feeling. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and the smell of woodfired pizza in the middle of nowhere is quite homely and reassuring. The Wititi Warriors also played music and their dancers put on a spectacular show. One of the tourist ladies got her ass spanked, twice (and she told the dancer off, who didn’t seem to care the least) – it was quite a memorable night!
- Panchita: Location Lima – Of all of the flagship restaurants in Peru, one would expect a Gaston Acurio bannered restaurant to be of the utmost prestigious standard in presentation, taste and standard, and I was not disappointed. The attention to service was fantastic, the waiters were present and very helpful. I really tried, honestly, but I could not finish my delicious 350 gram grilled beef steak, while Letty polished those mean anticuchos… They gave me a take home doggy bag that was reminiscent of a Tiffany’s jewellery hand bag. Impressed!
- The last place that deserves a standing ovation (and it was my personal favourite by a long mile) was the chicken “a la brasa” at Don Tito’s restaurant in Lima. Scrumpdidleycious chicken – charcoal roasted Peruvian style, juicy, crispy and heavenly golden coloured… If you love KFC then you will fall in a deeply euphoric and mesmerising food coma when you try Don Tito’s chicken. Don Tito – the real finger lickin’ gooden chicken.
Finally, there was one last restaurant I really wanted to visit but never managed to get there. It is called “El Rancho de Robertin” in Huaral, and Robertin’s speciality is roast pork – apparently, when the pork is cooked, the chef takes the meat off the bone with a plate (not a knife) – he just runs the plate along the pork and it is so soft and tender that it falls off into another plate… Yuuuuummmmmooooo!!!
If you can guess or know what each dish is, I would gladly update this post to include your knowledge… obviously the easy dishes are Ceviche and Tacu Tacu… what are the others??