Cuzqueña Dark: First impressions are always deceiving. Maybe it was the death roads that got me to this special place, or maybe it’s part of the bundle of emotions that come with finally making Peru, or maybe Cusqueña is just a decent beer. Tasty, en serio. Not bad at all. A dark brew that conjures up memories of a Bohemia Oscura sipped so many moons ago on a beach down old Mazunte way. Not too syrupy, not too sweet, but just right. Although, wouldn’t want to push it and have more than a bottle or ten. Best sipped tentside behind a gas station in Peru as a celebration of conquering death roads.
Culled from the journals of one Ryder P. Strongstrom, some time ago, upon entering Peru. Indeed, border crossing days are most always a stressful affair, even on the days when they aren’t, and one can always expect to be found rounding out the day with an ice cold beer, or tipple of some sort. But that’s neither here nor there and we’ll get to it soon, in due time. But now, let it be known, that after a year on the road facing life’s great challenges on a vintage Honda twin, we’ve finally made it to Lima. And here we are, kicking back in a hostal of sorts and doffing a pint of Pilsen Polar out of a thousand year old penis-mug lifted from the Museo Larco’s erotic ceramics gallery.
And after 9 months in Latin America, I was finally able to horn in on a cockfight and truth be told, no great Latin American adventure would be complete without witnessing one. My first ever. They’re against the law in the states, although illegal immigrants are constantly getting busted for running illicit cockfights out in the sticks. And yet, one wonders if it is worth all the hassle for 30 seconds of glory.
Would you sacrifice your cock on the altar of despair?
Really, that’s it. 30 seconds is about all these things last. One rooster just kills the other one, almost immediately, as soon as the first kicks are landed with the help of a 2 inch long razor sharp blade that’s tied to its leg. A lot of folks dismiss the gallant pastime of sportcocking as a cruel and unusual affair that is both barborous and mean to animals. That’s fine, but I never really had any feelings one way or the other going into this thing and I don’t really have any now. The roosters don’t care, or even have any idea of what’s going on. And they die really quick. But is it better to die destined for the dinner plate or to slug it out in the ring for fortune and glory. Is one end more dignified that the other? Either way, they’re just being used by people for their own selfish means.
…but it’s not like chickens are very dignified animals anyway.
Uh, we report YOU decide.
Cockmanager in the process of strapping knife to the leg of the rooster as proud owner holds on and eyes up the camera. Minutes earlier the owner had come to the ring in a silk cape with the rooster hidden beneath, revealing both in a flashy display of showmanship.
Tres Cruces: Look, don’t ever get your hopes up in Peru. Coming in a fancy bottle and costing a few more Nuevo Soles than what the other beers on the shelf cost, it was assumed that this little sparkling number would yield something above average, something pleasurable. Again, our hopes were never really high, because we’re in Peru. “Cerveza Premium” dice la botella. Meh, methinks Cerveza General is a more apt description. Tastes like every other bottle on the shelf, yet with a whiff of pretentiousness.
One day in Lima makes a hard-man humble.
Horror stories abound but look, we’re not in Tegucigalpa.
Lima is turning out, at least on first glance, to be a refreshing break from the in-your-face awesome brutality of the rest of Peru. Somewhat laid-back, surprisingly clean, witty and urbane. Even the widely bemoaned ‘garua’ mists that blanket the Peruvian coast this time of year and cast a gray pallour over all are a welcome respite from the awful hot-cold cycles of the highlands. Cool and comfortable, it’s easy livin’ here in Lima. There’s even a Starbucks and a Dunkin’ Donuts.
And there’s EVEN a museum with an entire wing devoted to centuries old erotic ceramics.
Aia Paec and a woman:
“Another less common portrayal of the god in the act of love takes place, not in an arbor as in previous vessels, but in an open field. There is a small dwelling with a cripple on the roof in a watchful pose. His lips, nose, and feet have been amputated and he carries a warrior’s club in his hand. Sitting in front of the house at the door is another cripple. The god has lifted himself up while in the middle of ceremonial intercourse and with his raised left hand is making a gesture that can be interpreted as threatening or as administering justice. A bush sprouts from the woman’s genitals. Its branches are laden with oval fruits with central lines, thus closely resembling female genitalia. In the branches some monkeys are picking the fruit of the bush, which has been fertilized by the god himself, and collecting it in bags. Opposite Aia Paec is a stirrup-spout bottle. There is also a box that seems to be intended for the fruit of the symbolic plant; it looks like a two-headed serpent with ears. The box is repeated three times in the scene. Two men and a woman are proceeding towards the god, one behind the other. The first is a carrying a little dish and a bag is hanging from his neck. The second is also carrying a receptacle, but instead of the bag he has a human head hanging from his neck, or a bag representing a human head. The third person is the woman and she too has a small receptacle. On her shoulders she is carrying a child and she is followed by a laden llama. All three have their arms raised as if they were presenting offerings or making an invocation.”
Go ahead and read into the symbolism all you want but the Moche were into some heavy shit. What stands out is the gent with the severed feet, nose, and lips. Pure barberism baby and this theme would be repeated over and over again.
Also on display were some trepanned Incan skulls. The procedure carried out on the skull to the left likely caused death, as no healing is evident around the hole. But the one on the right…well that guy lived many moons thereafter and one is almost certain that a productive wonderful life it was.
Lima Bonus Track: Just down the street from the hostal is an ancient pyramid that’s over a thousand years old. Weird, because it’s right in the middle of the city and it’s surrounded by modern, concrete dwellings. Lima used to be full of these things and some, like this one, even survive but most have been built over or destroyed. For many years, this one used to play host to a shanty-town, although now it’s all legit and a team of archaeologists are working to restore this little gem to its former glory. Interesting to note that several mummies have been unearthed here, with the last three interred in supine positions, Egytptian style, which is not the norm at all for South American mummies. They’re, the mummies, also big. Much bigger than most mummies of the time, which leads one to suspect that they’re Spaniards…or something else entirely. A delightful surprise was that one of the mummies was on-site, and that I was able to jack a glance. Impressive indeed, and one waits with rapt attention for the big reveal.
Pilsen Polar: This would be like if Budweiser came out with a dark beer, but it seems even more puzzling here whilst sipping on a dark brew in Peru of all places. Latin America is the land of the straw colored pilsner and it’s nearly always a treat to try something out of the box. Pilsen Polar is alright I guess. It’s not good. Well, per se, but it’s not terribly bad either. There’s a cute picture of a polar bear on the bottle. Get out, in Peru!? Si. Tastes exactly how you might imagine a Budweiser Dark to taste, if it even existed. Which would be not good and not bad. I think at this point it’s safe to say that I’ve given up hope on finding a delicious brew here in South America, and the fear creeps in that even upon a trimphant return to the states my beloved Magic Hat will taste to me like a Tecate. Is there no hope but to become a trago addict, to wonder the backstreets of Lima shoeless and alone with a penis shaped goblet of trago in one hand…and a loaded revolver in the other?