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Jen's Peruvian Adventure

Jen's Peruvian Adventure

One For The Road - Sn 1/Ep 1One For The Road - Sn 1/Ep 1

Jen travels to Peru where she monkeys around in the famous Peruvian rain forest and climbs up Machu Picchu.

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Transcript

- I'm Jen, and I'm on a mission to nourish my hungry soul with adventures around the world, one bite at a time. I'm headed to Peru on an incredible journey, across desert cities, the jungle, and mountains. You've gotta open yourself up to the experience, and just live life. You know, red-eye flights, they're not so terrible. I mean, you get to sleep throughout the night, and if you're lucky, you can catch the sunrise while you're in the air. I'm so freakin' excited. Not only is this my first time in Peru, but my first time ever in South America. I've checked into this charming colonial-style hotel called Antigua Miraflores, and "antigua" means "antique," and I can really see that. They have thoughtfully integrated antiques into functional decor. Like this beehive smoker lamp. Antique AF. And this letter sealer lamp. Antique AF. And this, uh... Super antique AF. I'm now in Barranco, which has a great mix of colonial buildings, as well as street art, and I'm already in love. There are colors everywhere. Just stumbled upon this beautiful old abandoned building. Look at the colonial touches on that. And just across the street is street art. I love the contrast. Beautiful. Hey, always remember, think outside of the box. Lima is a coastal desert city with a coast so green, they call it Costa Verde. It is absolutely gorgeous here. I feel like I'm rolling through the hills, while also watching my step, so I don't tumble and make a fool of myself my first day here in Lima. Next stop, Chorrillos, to really get my toes in the sand. Got my shoes off. Time to run to the ocean. Ee! Ooh, so cold, so cold. I've been walking all over Miraflores, Barranco, and now Chorrillos. I'm smelling all the beautiful seafood, and being by this ocean has worked up quite a craving for ceviche. At Al Toke Pez, Chef Tomas Matsufuji is known for taking the freshest catch of the day and turning it into something wild. His food seriously sets the bars for cevicherias. It's so good, it makes me wanna cry. And it's no wonder why ceviche is Peru's national dish. This is beyond words. I'm now in el Parque del Amor, which means the Park of Love. And it's really true. You could see couples and young new love kissin'. I hope I don't hear any rumble in the bushes, you know what I'm saying? As you walk throughout the park, you'll see beautiful mosaics like this, along with poetry. I like this one in particular. It says, "Esta noche he sentido por primera vez "bajo mis manos la hermosa intensidad del mar." Which, from my understanding, means, "Tonight I felt for the first time under my hands "the beautiful intensity of the sea." All this romance is making me crave hearts of a different sort. Anticuchos. Grilled marinated beef hearts with a taste like no other. The sweet, smoky air is enough temptation to get you to have at least one stick. And it's a good thing my mouth is big enough to take it all in. That's the kinda love I'm talking about. Good night, random antique lamp. Good morning! Just outside of my hotel is this beautiful display of colorful pompoms. And I wondered to myself when I arrived, how come it doesn't get destroyed in the rain? Well, that's because it hardly every rains in Lima, and that makes sense because it is the second-biggest desert city in the world. And that's why I'm going sandboarding today, but first I'm gonna fuel up with a big meal. My awesome guides, Paulina and Edison, invited me to Isolina for some pisco sours and home-style criollo. This cow's brain omelet should give me a dose of bravery today. Oh my God, melts in your mouth. Mm. I'm stuffed and ready for desert action. Just a few hours from Lima is the city of Huacachina. I'm here by the water, and an oasis. There's lots to see and do in the oasis, but I'm more interested in the dunes. Oh . Oh ! Mother . Yo, that was a crazy ride, and I've never done any boarding of any kind. And so, all I kinda wanna do is make a sand angel. That is better in theory. No, no, no, no, no, no! I'm alive, I'm alive. This is how much sand. Coming out of my shoe. It's time to wind down for the night and head over to Chincha to hang out with some locals from El Carmen. The small community is a true example of Peru's cultural diversity, that fuses African and Latin traditions to form vibrant Afro-Peruvian culture. I've got as much sand off of me as possible, and I've also changed my outfit because I've been invited to a party by the Ballumbrosio Family. That painting up there is of the late Amador Ballumbrosio, and we're celebrating his wife's birthday today. Amador was a leader in preserving Afro-Peruvian music and dance, and along with his wife, Adelina, he fathered over a dozen children, so you can imagine how big his family is, and how many mouths there are to feed. What an honor to be in their home, enjoying a plate full of home-cooked love, and getting a little buzzed from tortuma, a mixture of sweet wine and pisco. Even without meeting Amador, it's clear to see how passionate he was about spreading his love of Afro-Peruvian music and dance. I could see it on the walls and hear and feel it through his family, who are now proudly representing their culture and keeping his legacy alive. - Uno, dos, tres, ah. - And with a belly full of food and a heart full of smiles, that's how I'm ending my second night in Peru. Then I'm off to see what else this country has to offer. I've made it to Iquitos, and now I'm about to hop onto a boat to see some wild stuff. The Amazon River, yo. All of this right here is La Isla de los Monos, which is Monkey Island. Got off the boat, but first, bug spray. Also, this is DEET-free, because I'mma play around with some monkeys. I'm so excited the visitor's center had refreshing cocona juice, 'cause it is hot out here. That's what I sound like when I'm excited. Meet Luca, a baby woolly monkey. I think this is love at first sight. He loves grapes. We've got a lot of things in common. You're nice and furry, I'm nice and furry. I'm gettin' a lot of love here. Let's see if I can speak monkey. Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo. I hope I'm not saying a bad word. I think food is more my kinda language. ♪ Best day ever, best day ever ♪ ♪ Me and my monkey, playing with my monkey ♪ No, that doesn't sound right. He's taking a nap. I think I'm gonna cry again. We're going on a little walk. A nice stroll together. All right, I'm gonna let this little guy take a nap while I explore some more. The wonderful humans here at Monkey Island rescue, rehabilitate, and release monkeys who were once victims of illegal trade. While most are free to swing around the island, some are rehabilitated in spacious cages until they're ready to join the others. Where else can you see so many different species just monkeying around? Good morning. I'm waking up today at a hotel called Casa Morey, and this place is massive. Along with gorgeous tiles, their ceilings, you think they're tall enough? Yeah. The view is not too shabby. Just outside, over there, that's the Itaya River. That leads straight to the Amazon River, which I will be on today. But first, I gotta get me some grub. Literally. The easiest way to get around the city is to ride a motocarro. This is Belen Market. It's full of delicious, colorful, vibrant foods. I am here for one particular thing. And I'm a little scared to try it, but let's go find it. I found it. Suri! It's a grub that you find in the palm trees here. Uh, it's trying to be my friend, but little does it know, it's gonna be in my belly. It's been grilled and seasoned with just a little salt. This is my first time trying it. Mm. Mm. When it bursts in your mouth. Perfect. It tastes a bit like grilled seafood. Oh, that sharp part. That was the head there. Yep. Ooh! I'm super excited because I am on my way to see a butterfly farm. It's called Pilpintuwasi, and in Quechua language, "pilpintu" means "butterfly," and "wasi" means "house." It is no joke when they say the Amazon is hot. There is sweat coming out of every single pore of my body, but it doesn't matter, because to be surrounded by all this beauty, doesn't matter. This is Gudrun, an Austrian conservationist who founded Pilpintuwasi. She's a wealth of knowledge, and I could listen to her for days. There is so many butterflies here, and you kind of have to watch out for where you step so you don't, like, crush 'em. And there are about 23 different species that they're currently breeding. They're usually more active in the morning. But right now, they're just flying around, doing their thing. In addition to conserving butterflies, the site also acts as a wildlife rescue center. I'm leaving feeling inspired by all the care and devotion I've seen here today. Sometimes, if you're really lucky, you can catch some pink dolphins out here, but today's not our day. We've been searching, and none so far. But that's okay. There are plenty more fish in the sea. Yes, I know how bad that was. Today was a good day. Today I'm headed to higher ground. About 10,000 feet higher, to be exact. I've landed in Cusco, and I believe I'm at a little over 10,000 feet, so I am starting to feel some of the effects of altitude sickness, so my guide just handed me a bag of coca. Coca leaves is a great natural remedy, or so I hear, to alleviate some of my symptoms. Let's see if it works. I need to chew, so I'm just gonna take this much. Hmm. Hmm. You gotta put it to the side of your mouth. Oh, it's real bitter. Mm. I've made it to my hotel. I've got this beautiful view on this balcony, and I think those coca leaves worked, because I feel okay. A little touch of nausea, but I'm okay. This view ain't so bad. The hills are alive with the sound of charangos, from Sabino's workshop. He's one of the last two luthiers in all of Peru. Looking around his workshop, I'm in awe at his expertise and craftsmanship. It takes him about one full year to complete a single instrument, which makes each piece uniquely wonderful. Wow. What an honor to meet with Sabino and see his workshop, and also grab my own charango. Guess I gotta learn how to play it. I've got a long way to become a charango master, and a long drive ahead tomorrow, so I better get some rest. Next stop, El Albergue in Ollantaytambo. This hotel is perfectly nestled within the Sacred Valley, and it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Whoa! It is so beautiful. And this view. So, not only do I have a great view from the inside, but I also get this view from the balcony. Hello, Sacred Valley. I can't believe I'm gonna be waking up and looking at the Andes. Joaquin lives, breathes, and eats El Albergue. He's passionate about supporting his community and sharing it with others so they too can fall in love with the land and its people. - This is the house I was born and raised in. So, this is kind of more than a business. It's my family home. - The organic farm sits across Incan terraces and supplies the restaurant daily with fresh produce. Hi! Ooh, ooh-hoo-hoo. Past the farm, I can see the sweet school they've built. His daughter is one of the students there, and soon, his son will fill up a seat. There he is, with his beautiful wife. I love how they have their own little organic farm. Can I just come and stay here forever? I'll come, I'll help with the farming. I'll have my babies, they'll go to school, then they'll do the farming. They even have their own pachamanca. It's a Peruvian meal I've been dreaming of trying. And since I'm in the land of potatoes, you know it's gonna be good. So, hot rocks cook the root vegetables, some marinated meats, and corn, which Oscar, the head of farm, says was picked right from the patch behind us. - [Oscar] They've got these kind of, the soul of your lunch. This is the family, or close related, to marigold. We call it here chincho. - They use branches and branches of it to top off the earthen meal, to infuse its essence. And now I play the waiting game, which is torture, especially with refreshing cocktails. Salud. Thoughtful appetizers, and a front-row seat to the making of pachamanca sauce, which has some of the corn, Peruvian peppers, and herbs. It looks finger-licking good. Gotta lick it before you stick it. Oh man. It's lunchtime. Guinea pig, anyone? They call it cuy, and it's actually really good. Not only was this my first pachamanca, but it was also Romi's. What better way to digest than to have a tour of their roasting house and distillery? This is what heaven smells like. I've gotta have a taste. Ooh. They get their beans from local producers in Cusco and roast and brew it in house. Oh. That's so nice. Just steps away is their distillery, where they take canazo, which is made from locally produced sugar cane, and turn it into a spirit called Cana Alta. So, these are the taste testers, and all you have to do is spray into your mouth. I've got Hierba Luisa here. That's also my favorite tea. Got some on my face. Mm. The tasting doesn't end there. Oh, Peru. Once again, you know how to show a girl a good time. It is such a good morning. I had one of the best sleeps in my life. And this view. It doesn't get old. I'm waiting to board onto this beautiful train called PeruRail, and I've left the best day of this trip for last. Internally I am freaking out, because I have been waiting for this day for a really long time. I'm headed to Machu Picchu, yo. After a short walk through the small town of Aguas Calientes and a 20-minute bus ride, I made it to the entrance of Machu Picchu. What's interesting about these ruins is that they're so mysterious, because the Incans actually didn't have a written language. So, there are some assumptions here and there, but what I really wanna show you is this stonework. These massive stones are pretty much precisely cut so that they fit so perfectly, almost like Legos. I mean, look at this wall. You can't even fit a piece of paper in here. It's crazy. After quite a bit of a climb, I've made it to the most iconic view of Machu Picchu. I have to say, I'm feeling quite emotional, because ever since I was eight year old and I first opened this magazine that had this picture of Machu Picchu, and that moment that I knew it existed, that's when I said, "You know what, one day, I'm gonna travel. "I'm gonna go right there and see it in person." And that's today. And I feel like I'm gonna cry, and I'm trying not to. But at the same time, I gotta feel this, you know? And that's the thing about travel. You've gotta open yourself up to the experience, to the sights, the sounds, the smells, the taste, and just live life.

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