Arequipa Cont.

On our last day in Arequipa we crossed the river and walked about a mile from our hotel to the Yanahuara Arches. It was a mostly up hill walk and we had a great view of the entire city and there was a lovely park. Up until this point, we had mostly stayed in the downtown area. The arches and view were well worth the walk.

We also visited the Museuo Sanctuaries Andinos where the frozen maiden Juanita is located. Juanita is the mummy found in Peru, not far from Arequipa. She was an Inca sacrifice from about 500 years ago. We were not allowed to take photos and had to leave all electronics in lockers. The tour starts with a short 20min. movie which is interesting and informative. There is a small four room museum that contains all of the gold and silver figurines, woven blankets, clothing, and pots found in the sacrificial graves. In the last room is the mummy, still frozen, she is heartbreakingly small and tiny. She was at most 12 years old.

We finished the evening at a restaurant called Zig Zag. The food is served on a volcanic rock and it sputters and spatters while it continues to cook right at the table. We would highly recommend this restaurant. The power went out while we were there and the staff just lit more candles and continued on without hesitation. Unfortunately we don’t have photos of the amazing food, because it was served in the dark. It was fun and highly memorable. The photo is of the bib they provide, since the meat is still cooking.

Some reflections on travel in a foreign country.

Travel can be exhausting, mostly in a good way. The brain is always on high alert everything is new and different, all of the senses are on overload. Being continually aware of your surroundings for security and for sure footedness is mandatory. Unfortunately it is so easy to slip into what is comfortable.

Our first day in the hotel in Arequipa, I tripped going up a flight of stairs. My brain felt like cotton candy from the altitude, and I wrongly assumed that stairs were stairs no matter the country or city. I was very wrong. I have a large green and purple welt on my hand to remind me of this fact. Matt has a large welt on his forehead from the overhang on the same flight of stairs. Remaining aware of ones surroundings is imperative when traveling, even if it takes a little more energy.

We have also noticed a markedly different cultural norm here, that is not present in the U.S.. People in Peru have no problem picking their nose in public. Initially Matt and I were both very much for it. So much freedom! Yeah, you go, get that crusty boogie! Especially since the air is so dry and dusty. Then when we were eating lunch yesterday, I saw our chef do it. Then he did it again, and he was going for the gold! I am maybe ok with this particular lack of freedom in the states.

All of our best,

Matt and Jill

Lima, Peru – Day One

For such a large city (almost 10 million people) we have very much enjoyed our day here. We have had amazing food, a beautiful walk along the sand bluffs, and saw some beautiful parasails.

We started with breakfast at our hotel, then walked to the beautifully manicured John F. Kennedy cat park, where the city cats live. Locals feed them and there was even a small cupboard with food dishes and a donation box.

We kept walking, found some tourist markets with stall upon stall of gift merchandise. We were still quite tired from the long travel day yesterday, so we stopped at the lovely open air cafe for tea.

Then we walked to the sand cliffs and spent a few hours there walking and watching the parasails. They looked so peaceful floating on the air. There was also lots of art along the trail, statues and mosaic murals. We also discovered a chocolate museum where we sampled chocolate tea which was delicious!

After all the walking we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon nap and barely made it back out for dinner, but I’m so glad we did! My meal had ginger air on it which is a flavored light foam and it’s so fun to eat! It was also the best fancy food I’ve maybe ever had!

It’s time for a good night sleep because we have a morning flight to Arequipa where we will spend three days getting used to altitude and exploring!

Matt and Jill

Protein Powder is Life

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on Monday evening, and I am staying with my most delightful friends John (JN) and Ella. You might remember Ella from my first post, she has mostly forgiven me for blatantly trying to use her as my personal guide to Peru. I am staying with them for two weeks, or until they start hinting wildly that it’s time for me and my little black dog to move along. When JN picked me up from the MAX line station his first question after our hellos and hugs, was – “Are you eating all healthy now that you are training, or do we still get to do our Portland food tour as per usual?”  I laughed and laughed and said, “JN have you met me!?! Of course, we are going to do our food tour! It’s why I’m here, it’s what I live for.” He was visibly relieved.  What you need to understand about JN is that he is man with an iron stomach and he loves to eat! As do I, but unfortunately my stomach is not bullet proof like his. First stop was ?Por Que No? a famous Portland taqueria that has the best tacos I’ve ever had in my entire life! Their tortilla chips are so crispy, crunchy, salty and oh so good! After fighting JN for the last few chips in the basket, I then stuffed down two Pescado #1 tacos, and the special taco of the day – I don’t remember the name, I just crammed it in my face. We mowed those tacos. Today’s destination will be Salt and Straw the best ice cream in the whole world! I love Portland.

Later that evening as I lay flopped on the couch, groaning in pain and massaging the taco baby in my belly I started thinking more about JN’s question.  I had to admit that yes, our eating habits had actually changed quite a bit in the last few months. For starters the amount of protein powder that is being consumed is off the charts! I feel hungry all day if I don’t have a protein shake after a workout. Nuun hydration tablets, and SaltStick pills are another new staple. Those were the first few changes. They didn’t feel major, but they were the gateway for the many changes to come.

Friday nights we used to cook a larger meal after a week of rushed slam-it-together dinners. Friday dinner was maybe steak and potatoes, pork chops, a hearty pasta dish, or something along these lines. Now that I am doing long runs on Saturday morning and getting up at the crack of dawn to do so, I can’t eat a heavy meal the night before. Our Friday night meal has become a grilled chicken breast, a side of veggies, and brace yourselves…no ice cream. I don’t know that this is “living my best life”. Who goes to bed without ice cream? And really when did a pint of ice cream last more than a week in our house?! I sincerely don’t recognize the people we’ve become.

Another change, that I don’t actually mind is breakfast. Matt used to skip it all together, now he eats every morning, generally eggs. I used to have a yogurt with a handful of granola for crunch, or a small bowl of oatmeal. Now I’m eating a double serving of plain Greek yogurt, with a whole sliced banana, a fistful of blueberries, a few strawberries -when they were in season, a fistful of mixed nuts, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a swirl of honey. It actually takes a while to eat it all, but after a big workout I’m still hungry only a few hours later. That’s where an apple with mega schmears of peanut butter come into play. It’s fast, has lots of protein, and when I’m in that freak out hungry mode it goes down quick.

Lunch for me used to be frozen mac and cheese, or something equally as heavy and cheese laden. Now my go-to is salad greens with an entire avocado, a hard-boiled egg, a peach, sliced almonds, and goat cheese. Matt used to go out to eat for lunch most days, or skip it, and then come home ravenous and hangry. Now he is packing fruit, string cheese, nuts, and making lettuce wraps.

Snacks used to be an entire bag of popcorn, now snacks are an entire bag of popcorn and an apple with peanutbutter.

With all the fresh fruit and veggies and $27 cans of protein powder being consumed, you’d think our grocery bill would be sky rocketing right about now, but in reality it’s about the same. We aren’t buying thick cuts of meat, ice cream, organic frozen mac and cheese (which isn’t free, btw), or multiple bags of popcorn. I do miss ice cream and GF frozen donuts, but I don’t feel terrible. In fact, I feel pretty good, and my run time is getting faster.

Obviously, none of the above is going to stop me from stuffing myself silly with all of the wonderful things Portland food trucks offer, but everyone knew that. Please bear with me while this becomes a food blog for the next 10 days. I’ll do my best to post photos from the upcoming Mt. Hood hike we are planning in the midst of the feeding frenzy.