Being constantly warm and sunny, Moquegua has a growing season that is basically all year round. They grow a plethora of fruits and vegetables - the largest and most important plots are those for olives, grapes and avocados. In fact, this is one of the first areas where the Spanish decided to start growing the things that they absolutely needed in order to successfully migrate to and conquer a new continent - grapes for copious amount of wine and salty olives to snack on while drinking. I think their plan went like this- Step 1: Build a wine bar. Step 2: Steal all the gold Step 3: DOUBLE PROFIT.
Too bad Peruvian wine is less than delicious. Luckily, some where along the way someone had the brilliant idea of making Pisco instead. Pisco is a grape brandy that is colorless, powerful, and delicious. Moquegua has at least 11 or 12 local producers, the biggest and most market savy being Biondi (yea, this is what you are all getting as gifts when I return.Be prepared). We drive past their vineyards every day on the way to work, and hopefully tomorrow we will stop and have a tour of the whole plant. And a taste test or two....that wouldnt hurt the experience. My plan goes like this- Step 1: Visit every pisco plant. Step 2: ???? Step 3: DOUBLE HAPPINESS.
Besides driving past the vineyard we also go past some large dairies, full of happy cows. They produce equally happy yogurt and milk. The cheese in particular is really good and a huge improvement over highland cheese. In the highlands, like Ayacucho, they have this awful salty llama cheese. You know how they say you can milk any animal if you try? And I guess it follows that you can make cheese from any animal? Well, there are some animals where you just shouldnt. Llama is one of those. Llama and meerkat.
Anyway, as you can tell, the drive to work is really peaceful and relaxing; it is one of my favorite parts of the day. In fact, as we were going in the other morning, driving through the fields of cows and sheep, blaring Bob Marley as loud as possible, I realized how incredibly happy I am here. Truly and completely happy (wont lie-this might be in small part due to the fact that my bloodstream is usually about 60% rum and coke).
Happiness is a long overdue sensation. This entire past year has been something like riding a tornado of doom. I had to attempt to make peace with life, and much more importantly, death. Which is a task far greater people than I have failed, and I cant claim to have discovered any particularly unique or profound truth. But somewhere in all the bumbling, I realized 3 things. Life is short, I will never be able to change the heart or mind of another, and that even besides these two things everything will work itself out to be a completely awesome adventure. An adventure currently filled with olives and Bob Marley.