A few days in Lima and Bogota
LIMA October 26-30
After the nice weekend in New York I met with my friend and workmate Alvaro in Lima.
Following the advice of our friend Jose Carlos, who lives there, we stayed at the NM Lima Hotel, and it was the right choice, with a great quality / price and location. Perhaps the modern decor does not always work, but it’s nice the effort they have put into it. Although Halloween was just around the corner, the fake spider net in the lift required us to bend down every time we used it.
Of course the highlight of Lima is always gastronomy. Starting with the simple Punta Sal where we went upon arrival to eat ceviche, tiraditos, chicha morada and cherimoya delight, the truth is that we enjoyed like children.
In the evening I went with Alvaro to Lima 27. Beautiful architecture and interesting decor, with amazing food that we ate in the terrace. Not easy to describe with words, but through photos and descriptions you get the idea: lobster carpaccio with truffles, scallops (the most incredibly delicious that I’ve tried in my life) with mushroom sauce, etc.
Next day Alvaro went out with his friends in Lima, and I went to dinner with Jose Carlos and Germán, another friend who had just arrived from Chile. This time we went to the Japanese restaurant Hanzo.
Lima has the second largest Japanese settlement in the world, outside Japan, after Sao Paulo, which is why the Japanese restaurants in Lima are usually good. This is no exception. Although the menu is not very original, the quality of the dishes is amazing. Even the architecture is very interesting.
The last day we went to eat with Jose Carlos to Bravo. And “¡bravo!” they deserve. Great quinoa with tuna and Amazonian fish with thick sauce. The dessert we shared: cherimoya, mango sorbet and chocolate pearls, was gone in a second.
At night Alvaro and I went to Tanta, by the most famous Peruvian chef: Gaston Curio. Although it is a “simple” place, with a menu that includes “sanguiches” (sandwiches), the truth is that everything was very delicious, including my fish stuffed with seafood and rice.
Special mention: the fresh, natural juices we enjoyed everywhere, one of my weaknesses. In Lima they are surprised that almost everywhere else in the world we have to turn most of the time to bottled juice, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have such delicious fruits growing in their backyard!
Lest it be said, it was not all culinary tourism. We also worked: meetings in Oracle, the National Telemedicine Center, the first genome sequencing project in Peru, or the renewal of the largest medical imaging outsourcing contract in Latin America.
BOGOTA October 30-November 1
Bogota is not nearly as violent and scary as it was years ago. Mexico or Caracas have overtaken Colombia as a scarier destination. But when the first thing you see upon arriving in your hotel is a bullet impact in the front door, it brings you back memories of scarier times.
Even weirder was the fact that Bogotanos seem to get so much into the halloween spirit: everybody had dressed up for it. To the point where I had a business meeting with a tech company in a glass office building, and was greeted by a “vampire-policewoman” who led me to the office of the CEO who was dressed as “Chucky-meets-Frankenstein”, with full facial makeup and blood-stained rubber ax included. It was not easy to maintain my concentration and business tone, to say the least.
Back in the infamous hotel, chosen purely by location and not quality, I was moved to another room because of a plumbing problem, which also got rid of the incredible noise, since the first room had a window that did not close and the second one had a window that did not open.
But location was truly convenient for our work, with the added bonus of being really close to the Javeriana University, which meant a very young and hip vibe and a plethora of really affordable places to eat; we’re talking 3.5 euros lunch including two dishes, freshly squeezed fruit juice, and dessert.
Nevertheless, the best meal we had was at a very interesting (although slightly “hipster”) and inventive restaurant nearby: El Ciervo y el Oso. ”Ciervo” (“deer” in Spanish) for vegetarian menu, and “Oso” (“bear” in Spanish) for carnivorous menu. Ha!