Wow! This last week has been really busy and super crazy! Lots of people, lots of food, and lots of drinking.
The chief of police for all of northern Peru and his family arrived on Tuesday afternoon. We greeted them, showed them to the bungalow, and let them know they were free to use the pool and refrigerator if they wished. I also invited them to join us on the terrace for a drink once they were settled in.
Originally, the local policemen asked us if their boss could rent one of our bungalows as there weren’t rooms available in the local hotels. We don’t rent out bungalows and have reserved them for family and friends. Our agreement then was the family was welcome to stay, but needed to know this wasn’t a hotel or restaurant, so they would not have maid service and would have to figure out their own eating arrangements. Doug and I were both nervous about Antonio’s family coming; we had no clue what to expect.
Antonio, his wife Maricruz, daughter Mafer (16) and daughter Adriana (11?) joined us a bit later and we were just getting everyone set with refreshments when Koky and his family arrived. Koky’s daughter, Arantxa, is about the same age as Adriana and the two hit it off immediately and were off playing in no time. The rest of Antonio’s family fit right in and it wasn’t long before we were feeling like we had known them for a long time.
Koky brought two lomitos (tenderloins) from Chiclayo. I had already purchased one here thinking we would eat with Koky and family Tuesday night. As it was obvious we had plenty of food, I invited Antonio and his family to stay and enjoy dinner with us. We ended up having a great time with all and made new friends.
The huge benefit that came from all of this, is that we now have additional security. Antonio posted a patrol car at the entrance to El Nuro and also at the entrance to El Alto. Anyone traveling to our home would have to pass by these cars and officers. We are to get a phone number to contact either one of these patrols if there is a problem here.
Antonio also made some other suggestions for security here. He suggested video cameras covering the main entrance and front of the house. He recommended an alarm system on the doors. He also told Doug, he should get a gun. Having these things…and people knowing we have these things….would prevent anyone from trying to rob or otherwise disturb us. What is that saying about prevention being better than trying to cure?
The following days were spent together. We enjoyed both families and had fun in the pool and on the beach. The kids kept Tsunami at her most patient self as they followed her everywhere, picked her up and carted her all around. Stormy was also a big hit with adults as well as kids. She ran up and down the beach, came home wet and covered with sand, pooped but ready to keep playing.
Thursday was Peru’s equivalent of our 4th of July. The 28th is the official independence day, but the celebration nationwide is huge and lasts several days. It seemed like most local towns had parades and bands, dances and street vendors with all manner of toys and food. All of the school children in Los Organos, dressed in their various uniforms, were involved in a rally in the plaza with speeches and marchers. The rally was followed by a parade through town which shut down the PanAmerican highway for a time.
All of the celebrations had an element of the military to them. Even in Los Organos, there was a marching troop of youngsters who are part of a military club. I watched about an hour and a half of the national parade on TV, and every band/group was made up of military persons during that time. Groups from all the surrounding South American countries came to help celebrate as well as to honor and welcome Peru’s new president, Ollanta Humala, into office.
And, as this region is a well known beach resort, every hotel, hostel, and room available was rented out. The crowds in Los Organos were quiet thick, but Mancora was insane. It felt like spring vacation in Florida! (Not that I ever experienced that.)
On Friday, we met up with Karine and her family. Karine is Koky’s wife’s sister. They came out to the house and enjoyed an afternoon here with Antonio’s family and Koky’s family. At this point we had 14 at the house. This was the night I made the cajun seafood soup with the octopus.
Antonio and his family left mid morning on Sunday. We were sad to see them go. We exchanged contact information and so hopefully will connect again.
Koky’s family and Karine’s family were planning to take off for home on Sunday as well, but decided to stay on another day. Last week we invited the Bocanegra family to come out to the house and enjoy a BBQ and a swim. Jorge, the patriarch, owns the market stall where we usually shop. Over the last two years we have gotten to know him and his children, who often help out at the stall. As is typical of Latin American families, they are “extended.” They arrived; all fifteen of them, from 87 year old grandmother to nursing baby of 6 months, at 1:00 on Sunday. The Bocanegras brought tuna and we made a salad here. Somehow additional dishes showed up and we had quite a feast.