We’ve had a good past couple of days, but I’d venture to say today was the best yet. We started off by going to the Larco Herrera Museum, a collection of galleries showcasing Peruvian history across time and geography. While learning about the various societies of ancient Peru and seeing the artifacts they left was interesting, I thought the best part of the museum was the storehouse. We could actually walk into the storage area and see rooms and rooms of display cases lined up like library shelves, holding thousands of artifacts. I’d never seen anything like it. I now realize that theirs dozens, if not hundreds of thousands of specimens in existence for every one of its kind you see in a museum. Also interesting were the galleries of gold jewelry and erotic pottery, although neither probably needs explanation.
I feel that I’m writing about almost every meal, because we’ve been eating well, but today’s lunch was especially unique. We ate at a great seafood place (one of the best in Lima in fact, according to our guidebook) called Costanera 700. The octopus is great, as are the scallops, but the best was when the waiters brought out a huge plate with a big pile of burning salt. Careful not to burn themselves on the flames, they cracked the big rock of salt and knocked pieces off, exposing a fish inside. The fish had been cooked inside the burning salt and was now ready to eat. I’m not sure if the salt helps keep the fish moist and tender, but that fish had some of the best consistency I’ve ever had.
After lunch, we visited the Amano Museum, which houses a one-of-a-kind collection of Peruvian textile artifacts. It was built up by the late Yoshitaro Amano, who was a businessman who used his wealth to pursue his love of archaeology. It was only a few weeks ago that I learned that my family has some history with the Amano family. My great grandfather Eto (my paternal grandmother’s father) and Mr. Amano became friends while they were imprisoned together at the Crystal City internment camp during WWII. Mr. Amano was one of the few hundred people of Japanese descent who were extradited from Latin America to American internment camps during the war. After touring the museum, we had coffee with Mrs. Amano (she was quite a bit younger than her husband) who told us stories for over two hours. Really amazing stories. They won’t fit here, but ask me about them in person if you’re interested (and if you know me). It was very interesting to hear how her husband and my great grandfather met and became friends and about her late husband’s life and work. Who thought I’d find family history way down in Peru?
(left to right) Mr. Amano’s son, Juan, me, Alex, Mrs. Amano, Luisa, Joylani
To cap off our night, we saw the unbelievable lightshow at Parque de la Reserva. It was really unlike anything I’ve seen before. Images projected onto water, lasers, crazy stuff. There’s really no way to describe it, so you’ll just have to youtube it. This was followed by an unbelievable great meal at Osaka’s, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant with some of the better salmon sashimi I’ve had. Erotic pottery, fish inside flaming salt, family connection from 3 generations ago, and a psychedelic light show- a pretty interesting day.