Friday, 30 March 2018

Summer has ended and the flu season is now over us:

The central jungle of Peru, Oxapampa
The beautifull Oxapampa
Hello ladies and gentlemen of the world wide web, today I feel like “ussuing” an apology to all you guys for my absence . Not just here on my blog, but all over social media. To be honest, at least I have good reasons for this absence and in a way it get explained in the headline for this blog post. The thing is that the season of fall has arrived here in Peru and with it comes a drastic change in weather conditions. The temperature has been dropping the last few days, it has been more foggy and more nightly rain (typical fall weather right?). As a Norwegian I do recognise the change of weather, but it is in a way a milder change here. Never the less, the change has arrived and with it comes the typical happy season of the influensa that everybody loves so much.

More or less at the same time the kids returns back to school and as part of a “family” tradition my baby boy brings home a surprise for us that a few days later breaks out in a full out lock down of the household. This is always the fun part of the beginning of the school year and it did not take me long to catch it either. Just one day after my son got visible sick I went down as well. At least there is some comfort in knowing that everyone I know here in Peru got sick together with me and some got it worse then me even. Anyway, the sad part in all of this is that I had made so many plans for last week, as well as this one. I had was working on new posts and videos, not to mentioned plans for more video recordings here in Magdalena del Mar. I really tried every single day to complete them.

I know that it is part of life to get sick and that things like this is out of my control. That some times you just have to let nature take it cours and thing slike this, but it is not easy when there is things that you really want to do and in stead are forced to lay on the sofa doing nothing productive. Most of the time I was actually laying on the sofa playing GTA Online (Grand Theft Auto 5 online), but when I think about it, I actually got a few smaller things done. Because for the longest time I have been wanting to work on and fix some old recordings I made back in 2016 and 2017, but I have never gotten around to do it. Not before this past week at least. So in between all the sneezing and coughing I actually managed to “finish” a few short videos that I am planning to upload to my channel in the next few weeks or so.

In advance I do want to apologize for the bad camera handling I have in them. To be honest about it, at the time of recording these videos I really did not have any plans for them. I was playing around with my “camera” and having fun, really not thinking about uploading them to any Youtube channel. I have always enjoyed “documenting” my every day life, either in form of photos or videos. I have done this for as long as I can remember and thanks to this hobby I have a rather huge archive of old photos, the sad part is that few of the really old ones can be used on this blog, since the quality of the photo is to low. Not that it is bad photos in it self, but thanks to the cameras I have been using back then they have kind of grainy finish, if you know what I mean?

Okay my friends, this post got a bit longer than I first had planned. All I really wanted to do was to apologize for my absence and explain it. This is so typical for me, anyway I got my point out and you guys got another window into my personal life, hope you enjoyed it. Hopefully I will now be back on the “horse” and in the upcoming days and weeks there will be many updates from me on all the platforms that I am active on like my blog, Youtube channel (Beyond the Horizon), Facebook page (Beyond the Horizon), Twitter (@JackBowlerSr) and my Instagram (@BeyondourHorizon). I really do hope you will check me out and follow me, usually I upload stuff here that never gets on to my blog or channel.

P.S: My latest video uploaded to Youtube: (Chacra Y Mar and Pasamayo 2016)

Friday, 16 March 2018

My top five foods you have to try while visiting Peru:

Peruvian food and food culture
Photo credit Dtarazona
Hello, ladies and gentlemen of the internet, today it is Friday and as the weekend is just around the corner I felt like it was about time to do a blog post about the Peruvian food culture. If there is one thing about the everyday life here in Peru that I want to highlight, then it has to be the “kitchen”. It is for a reason why I included this as part of my list in the post “Top five things you can do while visiting Lima, Peru” because the food here is amazing and they have a rich collection of tasty dishes they can serve up. Everything from local dishes to their own versions of foreign foods. Actually when it comes to restaurant food, Chinese is for some reason hug here, it might originate from the fact that there is a huge population of Chinese people living here and has been for a very long time.

What I want to focus on in this post is dishes and meals that I have tried while living here and share this experience with you, but it will not include “fast food” like Mc Donalds and the typical Chinese takeout because I want to focus on typical Peruvian dishes and not Peruvian influenced dishes. It will include both typical takeout and homemade, this is because some of these “meals” are best served at a restaurant or as street food. Yes, street food is very popular here, one of the reasons for this is because it is cheap and very available. I am not even joking, but you can find these places literally everywhere. Some even offer it out of their own home and you can not avoid getting hungry when you are out walking at night.

1. Pollo a la Brasa or grilled chicken: This dish is by far among my absolute favorites. It is a simple and inexpensive meal that usually includes a chicken or a part of it, fried potato and salad. With the meal, you always get a big “collection” of dipping sauces like mayo, spicy or aji, ketchup, mustard and the restaurants special sauce. You can also order this one as a Monstrito as it is called, this version of it comes with a big portion of fried rice and chicken pieces. A hole Pollo a la Brasa usually costs between 45 to 50 soles, depends on the place you decide to go to. No matter the size of the order, you will always get a good sized serving. When I go out to have something to eat, most of the times I choose to go to one of these chicken places. This is kind of funny because back in Norway I did my very best to avoid eating chicken, but here it is close to the only meat that I eat.

2. Ceviche: This is another favorite of mine and it is basically a Peruvian fish dish that is treated with citrus juice (it usually contains fish, onion, corn and sweet potato). This is an amazing dish that I have been very skeptical to try for a very long time. I avoided to eat it because I thought it contained raw fish, something it does not. The fish is “boiled” by using the effect of the citrus juice. I had my first taste of it back in 2013, got tricked into trying it and it was love at first taste for me. It is also something you can buy as street food here. If you are a fish lover like me that this is a dish you have to try out for your self. If you are not in Peru and want to try it, well I guess you can make it with fish caught in your own area. Here is the Ceviche recipe (bbcgoodfood.com). Happy tasting
 
3. Aji de Gallina: This is a good dish in a weird way. Let's say that I have a very mixed experience with it and usually this is a meal that I rarely can have more than one servings of. Anyway, it is basically shredded chicken in a thick spicy sauce (contains cream, walnut, cheese and Aji Amarillo, plus bread), served with potato, salad leaf, eggs and olives (plus rice of course). To describe how it tastes, it has a mild spicy thick sauce where the chicken and potato has the spotlight. To be honest, this is a dish that I am unable to overeat on. Usually, it is enough with one serving and I am full, but this does not change the importance it has for me as a representative of the Peruvian kitchen. If you want to make it for your self, here is the aji de gallina recipe (allrecipes.com). Hope you enjoy the dish.

4. Papas a la Huancaina: This just an amazing Peruvian dish and I am able to eat my self close to silly on it every single time. The main actor in this dish is by far the huancaina sauce. To describe this dish, it is basically made up of sliced potato covered with yellow cheese sauce laid on a bed of salad leaves and topped with olives and eggs. My experience with this one is mainly from when we have been eating out eating, usually, they serve it before the meal you have ordered. When dining out you usually get the choice between a type of soup or the papa a la huancaina, every time I go for the huancaina. This is also a dish I will miss greatly when I return back to Norway. If you are not in Peru but want to try it for your self, well here is the recipe (perudelights.com).

5. Carapulcra: Well my friends, here is another one of the weird, but tasty Peruvian dishes. My nickname for it is crunchy chicken stew. It's not that it is a bad dish, but I am split about it. To describe this dish, well its a thick stew made of either beef, pork or chicken and freeze-dried potato. In old days they actually used llama instead of the meat they use today. I do like this dish, but as mentioned I am kinda split on it. Most of my experience with it is at larger parties or gatherings. So you can say that my experience with it is lazed with alcohol in a way, so I have to try it while being sober. Anyway if you want to try this dish on your own, I have included the recipe for it (whats4eats.com).

Well, guys and girls, this is my personal top five list of Peruvian food culture. I am pretty sure that I could have done a top 10 or even a top 15 list, but sometimes it is best to keep your self as short and sweet as possible. Get to the point and if you need to include more information, follow up with another post later. Anyway, I have included links to recipes to most of the dishes in this blog post. The only dish I have not done this with is the Pollo a la Brasa, a dish that really deserves a post of its own. That is how good it is. I hope you guys will try them out and when you have done so, I also hope you will share the experience with me. Either by sending me an e-mail or in the comment section. I am looking forward to hearing from you. Feedback is almost always exciting and productive.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Let me introduce a new member of the family, Princess:

The Bowler family is now growing, say hello to miss Princess Gompina.
Hello ladies and gentlemen of the internet, wow the weekend has already passed and a new week has started, it's almost scary how fast time flies these days. As usual, I always try my best to update my blog every Monday and today I had a plan to of publishing another top five list, but after a kind of big “event” during the weekend these plans changed and replaced with this announcement. The Bowler family has now gotten a brand new member. No, I have not “managed” to get a local girl pregnant or I am not going to adopt a baby. Or actually, when I think about it, it is actually what is happening. I am actually kind of adopting, but it is not a baby on “two” legs. Because this is an adoption of a super cute kitten.

On Friday evening I got a text from a friend I have here in Lima with the message that her sister had found a kitten in the middle of the traffic and if there were any chance that she could find a home with me because they could not keep her since they already have two cats. Well, initially I told her that I had to ask my landlord first if it was okay that I got a kitten, but a few minutes later I sent the message with the text I can take her. So we agreed on when she could come with her and on Saturday we (me and my son) picked her up. Ever since we have enjoyed having her running around our feet. The extra fun part is that it seems like my son and the kitten has connected extremely good. They are acting like best friends now.

This is far from the first time I have opened my home to an animal in distress. To be honest, the past two years I have given a temporary home to 8 dogs and 6 cats, plus two that I now have given a permanent home too. The ones that I remember the most of all these animals have to be the two pit bulls and the kitten that I adopted back in March 2017 (that I later lost and never managed to find again). You can say that I have a soft and bleeding heart for animals in a difficult situation and that I love animals in general. My love is not isolated to cats and dogs, but everything from cats to creepy crawlers. So I am not a stranger to open my home to future animals that are in need of it.

When it comes to the two Pit bulls that I had in my home for a while is a story on its own that really deserves a post of its own here on my blog, but I will keep it short just to mention it. Back in April 2017, we got a phone call about two malnourished mistreated Pit bulls that had been rescued from a facility for fighting dogs in Huaral with the question if we could give them a temporary home while the rescuers find a home to them. Well, I said yes based on the image that I had on the size of these dogs, but their bad reputation worried me a lot. The shock came when they came through my door because these were not small, but rather huge. Because there was huge, like two mini horses.

Well, my initial reaction did not last long, because during the first couple of hours my attitude changed drastically. It changed from being worried and scared to a beginning love story. During these two hours, they really surprised me in a positive way through their behavior and personality. They really connected with me and for the rest of their stay, they did not leave my side for more than minutes at the time.  If I was on my computer the male would lay centimeters away from my left side and the female may be a meter behind me. When we were out on our walks they behaved like angels, no aggression against other dogs or people that passed us on the road. These two dogs were purely and simply amazing dogs.

Well, maybe I should return to the topic at hand? So now we have a new family member and she has become an important part of our tiny Peruvian family. On top of it, my baby boy has gotten a new best friend, he has connected way better with her than I have so far. No, I am not jealous at all, I find it cute. I do remember that I have made plans to leave Peru in a few weeks, but to be honest I was unable to say no to this request. An innocent kitten needed a new and safe home. In many ways I felt as it was my obligation to take her in, and when the time comes for me to go back to Norway my son will continue to be her family, together with his mom. I am 100% sure that I have made the right choice in this case and we all love her so dearly.

P.S. If you want to follow Princess Gompina and her new life, you can follow her on Facebook (Princess Gompina) and like the page. This was originally the page of the kitten I adopted back in 2017, but after some thinking, I feel like it is time to breathe some life into it again with our new four-legged family member. Hope I will see you guys there.

Monday, 5 March 2018

My living abroad memories through photos from 2016:

Living abroad in the Phillippens
Ilo-Ilo, the Philippines 2016.
For some strange reason, this is actually the only photo that I have left after my trip and stay in the Philippines back in 2016. okay, I might not have been as active as I had hoped for and should have been with my camera, but at least I took a couple of “handful” of them through the two months my stay lasted. I am not sure where they are, but I am working on looking through my now secondary laptop that was my main one back then. It got “sick” and I am trying to get it fixed. Anyway, it is a tedious job to go through a terabyte of files, I need to gather all the files on it before goes into the “hospital” in a couple of weeks. I do not want to replace it just yet.

This photo I took while I was waiting for my flight from Ilo-Ilo to Manila. I wanted to document as much of the trip to Peru as much as I could. On the photo you can see the outside of the airport and to be honest I had a few hours to “kill” since my flight was late because of bad weather over Manila. Because my departure was in the middle of the rainy season. The weather could change from sunny and warm to rainy, windy and cold in just minutes. I guess it is part of the charm of living in a country like the Philippines right? On my departure day I decided one thing, it would not be the last time I visited the country and I am planning to return. Not this year, but maybe in 2019 or 2020, because I really enjoyed my stay there.
Traveling in the World
Houston, Texas 2016.
This photo is from my stay over in Houston, Texas where I spent something like 18 or 20 hours at the airport and I got the pleasure of meeting a lot of interesting people. Actually, the entire trip from Manila to Lima was filled up with some amazing encounters on the way. In Taipei, I ended up spending my entire stay talking with a local and an older couple. In Los Angeles I spent way to much time in the security check because I ended up losing track of time while talking with a TSA agent, it was a very friendly talk by the way. In Houston, I did not have a moment to my self. There was always someone to talk with. It could be fellow travelers, policemen, TSA agents or people who worked for the airliners.

One thing that was kind of interesting is the man and dog that you see in the photo. This man spent a good portion of his time on the airports around Houston walking around with his dog. He did this to help people who were scared of flying. You could pet the dog if you wanted to and he did it for free. I know, because I tried to give him money, but he did not want it. Not even when I told him it was for the dog. Instead, I asked him if I could take a photo of them and you see the result. While staying at Georg Bush Intercontinental Airport I also got my first Starbucks coffee in the U.S. Or my first few ones, plus a few cookies. One thing is for sure, I am going to return to Houston for a proper exploration in the future.
Living abroad in Peru
Chacra Y Mar, Peru.
This is actually one of the very first photos that I took after returning to Lima and Peru back in in 2016. It is from the area where I lived from early July to late December, at my exes “parents” house. The beach is about 500 to 1000 meters away from the house. We could actually see the beach from the house and the beach is huge. Do not think its wrong if I say it spans for at least a mile. If you check out my Instagram you will find a few photos that show the view I had there. Chacra Y Mar is a Peruvian paradise in my eyes. I have loads of stories from my stay there. Lots of parties, exploration, and adventures. We even went looking for gold down by the beach for the fun of it, without finding anything.
Living abroad in Peru
Tumbes, Peru 2016.
Tumbes, what can I say about the rural “city” of Tumbes? Well, i can start with the reason why I went to this part of Peru and it is pretty simple. I needed to get my tourist visa renewed and the best way to do this is to leave the country and return again. Tumbes is a border city up north in Peru, on the border to Ecuador and is very popular among tourists who are looking for a way to renew their visa, but that is far from all that the city and the area have to offer. It has some amazing beaches and rivers to bathe in or swim in, the food culture is just some of the best in Peru and the people are (if it possible) even more friendly then people longer south in the country. When it comes to the food in Tumbes it is based on fish and seafood.

I and my family traveled to Tumbes by bus, we did that for me since I have not seen that much of Peru outside the central part of the country. This way I could enjoy the view from the bus window in first class. That we traveled in first class is kinda important in this context, because it gave us a much better view and experience on the road. Just to compare it, it reminded me of traveling economy class internationally. You had good seat space, food servings, entertainment and much more. When we finally arrived in Tumbes I went into an exploration mode. Everything from going “hunting” for crocodiles to spending a big portion of an evening swimming in a local river. I even recorded parts of the crocodile “hunt” to have it as watchable memory. Not that we were able to see any.
Living abroad in Pasamayo and Peru
Pasamayo, Peru 2016.
As this is the last photo for the post we are back in the Lima region and Pasamayo. Pasamayo is the town center where the Chakra Y Mar beach is located, also where I lived the first few months. Have to repeat my self, this is a small Peruvian paradise. The good part of living in Pasamayo is that you can enjoy the positive sides of living close to a big city like Lima without living in it. A normal bus ride into Lima usually took between sixty to ninety minutes. So it usually was a quick trip to get into the busy life of the capital. At the same time, you could enjoy living rurally with all its benefits. Like clean air, closeness to things like beaches, quiet at night and with a low crime rate as you could get in a country as Peru.

So, ladies and gentlemen, it is kind of time for me to end this blog post and get it ready for publishing after midnight. I hope you enjoyed the reading and if you did I would appreciate it if you left a comment, shared it on your Facebook and followed me on the sites that I am active on. You can check me out on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (BeyondourHorizon). I usually post things there that do not make it to my blog. To be honest, I am sorry for the length of this blog post, initially, I did not have plans for text at all in this post, but on the way, it developed into this. I hope it falls to your liking. If you have any ideas for future post or topics, feel free to send me an e-mail and I will do what I can to comply. I would really appreciate feedback on what I am doing here.