I’m not sure why I want to write to you, an imaginary public. I have not felt the urge to write out loud for a long time, since I was a kid, I think. For some reason, at the beginning of my second long foreign adventure of this year, I want to be witnessed again. Will you, the people who I imagine are reading or may read this account, do me the kindness of witnessing my words? Though nothing can ever really reassure us humans that we are being truly understood, I like the idea that we all constantly try. This journal will be my practice while here, my little piece of trying to be understood.
My stories might be about food, about eating and drinking. I won’t rule out politics, art viewing and making, socializing, reading or touristing, either. I can’t rule out loving, I won’t rule out negativity, but I will try to rule out dishonesty now, before starting.
So…I am in Lima, Peru right now, and it is almost five in the morning. I’m not sure why I am awake, but as I lay in bed I could not stop thinking about what I ate today (yesterday). Mostly, my body remembers the lime. I had a cebiche mixto for lunch, and the lime was the first and last thing I tasted. It had such a sweet zing, it made my whole body scrunch in pleasure. It cleaned my tongue for each almost translucent, delicately plump, utterly fresh piece of fish I put in my mouth. It brightened the flavor of the fish as it mellowed the bite of the purple onion liberally sprinkled all over my plate. It cut through the spice of the ají that I, Mexican that I am, mixed into the glorious cocktail of seafood before me. (Speaking of cocktails, the maracuyá, or passionfruit, sour made with fresh juice and pisco tasted deceptively healthy. One could probably drink a deeply unhealthy amount before noticing that it was in fact alcoholic.)
Alright, so the whole meal made me quite happy in the way that only new gastronomic delights can. The second course was the most flavorful sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) I’ve ever had. The broth was red and deep from the shrimp heads they used to make it, liberally dosed with cilantro and onions, and teeming with super fresh seafood: crab legs, scallops (on the shell!), calamaris, shrimps, octopus, cockels and white fish.
If that doesn’t sound delectable to you, then I think we should part company now.
…Just kidding. Maybe.