Local hospitality

Trip Start Feb 07, 2006
Trip End Aug 07, 2006

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Make sure to check out Andrea's Travel Blog for more stories and photos of our trip!

When opportunity knocks

When I received my ex-bosses email invitation to stay with his brother in Ica, we didn't hesitate for one second to snatch up the offer.

Hernan's brother lived in Ica, Peru, the Pisco ( a strong local liquor ), capital of the world. We weren't sure what to expect but had never regretted accepting local hospitality before and left the oasis paradise of Huacachina for nearby Ica the next day.

We met his brother, Jose Luis, at his liquor shop located on the main plaza in the city center.

"Commercial Matute" the sign read as we lugged our bags out of the taxi.

I recognized Jose Luis immediately as the Peruvian with a broad familiar smile who looked just like his brother.

Jose Luis welcomed us into his family like his own and we settled into his spare bedroom after chatting up his 3 kids. They were just as eager to practice their English as we were to practice our Spanish, which was great because we hadn't had long Spanish talks in a long time.

Pisco, Pisco and more pisco

Although it was the national elections the day we arrived and almost all bodegas where closed, Jose Luis knew of one which was still open. This small bodega, where Pisco and wine was made, was the oldest in the region. The aging owner, a short woman, walked us through the process of making the local drink in her rustic bodega as chickens clucked around us.

The tour ended with a healthy sampling a 5 piscos as Jose Luis explained the characteristics of each. Clearly, this man knew his Pisco. Feeling the buzz of 5 straight back-to-back shots, we headed back home for more drinks.

At their home, we picked limes from their lime tree in the yard and they made us several helpings of Pisco sours and other Pisco drinks. We all enjoyed the samplings while listening for news of the elections.

Apparently the president they all had wanted to win, Allan, had won! Even more reason to celebrate!

Considering our lack of sleep on the Incan trail only a few nights before and all of the drinks, by 9pm we were zonked and headed to bed early.

A day of bodegas

Jose Luis was nice enough to make time for us to visit some more Pisco bodegas. Unfortunately though, Andrea's belly wasn't too happy and she stayed at home for the day.

The bodegas reminded me of any typical winery back home. Big vats ans massive machines bottling Pisco. The tour itself wasn't the highlight though, the tastings were!

Several shots of Pisco later, we headed back to Jose Luis's shop where we sat around having a few drinks and chatting.

I spoke Spanish while Jose Luis spoke in English to me. Although I know that my Spanish isn't all that good, he seemed to understand me which was encouraging.

I spent the night in Ica at his liquor store watching locals come in and out stopping to chat.

Although we didn't do much aside from chat, drink and watch the locals go by, I enjoyed the rare opportunity to act like a local.

The next day we headed off to our next destination with our backpacks loaded full of Pisco, some bottles which we had purchased and others which we had received as gifts.

We were glad that we stopped in Ica if only for a few days.
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hmatute on

Glad that you enjoyed Ica

Estoy muy contentop que te haya gustado ir y estar en Ica. Me imagino que el sol, la bulla y el pisco te ha caido muy bien.

I'll make sure Jose and family manage to see your entry from Ica. They will enjoy it.

Take care,


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