A peek into my life for my friends all over the world!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mancora and New Year's

Mancora is a small town by the sea which is about 1200kms north of Lima, rather close to Ecuador. Back in October of 2006 Antonella, my sister and Gus (her now husband) got married there. A little over 100 guests experienced an amazing ceremony and an amazing celebration afterwards. Several of us stayed in Las Arenas, a really nice, cozy hotel over there.

Earlier last year Anto and me decided that since we were both going to be spending new year's together in Peru we should do it "in style"...so after some chats we agreed that we should do it in Las Arenas. We both talked with our friends and somehow some initial plans were put together. We talked with Las Arena's manager and we booked 15 out of the 19 bungalows in the hotel.

Towards the last 3 months of 2007 Anto and me were rather busy with this organisation. All done virtually...after all, that's how we had organised her wedding too. Anto from the States, me from the Netherlands...we exchanged several back and forth e-mails with our friends in Peru, our friends abroad, Lima, Mancora...It was quite some organiation and logistics, but we LOVED every single moment of it. Negotiating rates, tax free deals, new year's party, food, tickets... However all our efforts were totally worth it: New Year's 08 has been one of the best celebrations I've ever been to.

We were 30 persons, we flew from 7 different countries (US, Netherlands, Austria, UK, Argentina, Spain and Peru)and we had a blast. Not everybody knew everybody but once there....just spending all the time together: in the pool, at the beach, by the fire at night, having dinner in town, playing games, dancing, drinking...we just had so much fun together. I'm not sure if it's Mancora, or the holiday atmosphere or we were just the right combination of people, but the whole time there felt a little magical.

There's so many things to talk about...but of course I would bore you with all the details...I'll just choose some of the most memorables:

Our second night when we borrowed some iPOD speakers and somehow we were all in total party mood and we danced and danced and danced. Peruvians teaching foreigners...not only dancing the current dance hits, but us remembering the songs that were popular when we were little kids. Oh it was so much fun!

Or how my European friends, Italo, Javi, Moni and me celebrated the European new year's at 18:00. At that time, which was 12:00 CET we all jumped into the pool and wished each other a happy new year, we danced, we had some cocktails, we fooled around. It was just so nice!!!

Or going into town to surf ;-) ok some did I just got rather tired and worked on my tan. And going into town to buy beautiful beachy souvenirs (nice jewellery), buying booze for the evenings...having dinner.

Or just the chilling out by the fire in the evenings. How everybody was with "la chispa". How we chatted and laughed and laughed and teased and just had fun with each other. It's somehow very hard to put into words those 5 days. So you can check out the embedded photos just below (you can click on them and the Picasa window will be launched).

And of course finally New Year's eve. The decoration and the set up was unbelievable beautiful. Several round tables with yellow, red and orange table clothes. All decoreated with beautiful candles and grapes. A nice round bar, a beautiful fire and overseeing the sea and the swimming pool. A great sound system...what else could we ask for?

There must have been around 70 persons in the party...which meant that we were almost 50% of the party people...and of course it was us who totally ruled the dance floor ;-) We had organised some party hats that we took with us in a big suitcase and definitely brought some extra colour to the party.

We had a really yummy buffet at around 11pm and then following the Peruvian tradition we had some "aguadito" (some veggie soup which is great when having had alcohol) at 3:30am and then at 5:00am we had some cebiche (another Peruvian tradition- spicy marinated fish in lime).

We danced and danced and danced...some people were thrown into the swimming pool, other people voluntarily jumped into the pool naked ;-)...some people were carrying each other...there was some strip tease, some lap dancing.

Do I need to go on or you get it that the party was amazing? By 7am when only some of us were still up we decided to finish the party in the pool. All fully clothed and just having fun...so you see, I started partying at 6pm to celebrate the European new year's and then I ended up in the swimming pool at 7am...not bad, I was partying for about 14 hours...I hope this is an indication of the amount of energy I'll have for the new year! ;-)

Right now, Anto and me have already been approached by different people for the coming new year...they want to make it an annual event. What can we say...we are definitely thinking about it! And it will involve warmth and beach...so stay tuned!

Below...New Year's party photos...enjoy.

My holidays in Peru

First of all Happy New Year to everybody! I hope you all had a great celebration and that 2008 is already bringing you several good things ;-)
As I promised on my last post, this year I want to make sure that I keep updating my blog so you know a little more of what I've been doing. And sticking to my promise I need to tell you about my 3 and a half holidays back in Peru.

I arrived back to Amsterdam last Monday afternoon after a very short, direct and uneventful KLM flight...so it felt weird that after such a short flight I was suddenly away from Lima and back into my daily reality.

However the next morning, cycling to the bus stop to get to work: the cold, the bike, the darkness and the rain brought me totally back to reality. The several layers of clothes and the boots after having been wearing very light stuff and sandals....were an even bigger reminder.

Usually, I get a little depressed on my first week when I get back to the Netherlands after having been "home". However I think that this time it really helped that Italo arrived only the next day (for the ones that don't know Italo is one of my best friends from university who moved to Europe a year ago and he is currently my flatmate). Having someone who was feeling the same as me, someone who had been in the same places that I had been, someone with whom to talk and remember...did me the world of good! That, and also the THOUSANDS (I'm not kidding) of photos from those 3 and a half weeks. Antonella (my youngest sister who was also there) and me are both photo freaks...so each one of us with our cameras took so many photos. And of course...so many of our friends did the same and we managed to compile several of them. So since I've arrived I've been looking over and over again to all the fun and the amazing things we did during our holidays. And actually that's what's taken me so long to write this post: sorting out the photos and choosing just SOME is not an easy job.

Let me summarise my holidays for you (I'll write down with more details the different activities in later posts).

I one sentence: It was AMAZING! This has been the longest time that I haven't been back in Peru (1 year and 2 months) so towards the end I was counting the days and the hours! And it has been a mixture of family time, time with friends, visiting my own country and also being a host. Why's that? Because besides me, Antonella and her husband (Gus) getting there we had some friends joining us!

All the way from Amsterdam, Eline and Joost joined us on the 24th and 27th respectively. And Martin a German friend of mine who used to live in Amsterdam and who now lives in Vienna also joined. As you can imagine having friends over is an amazing experience. You can show them a little about your own countries, your own traditions...it was just so great to have them. Besides them we also had 2 more guests: Murphy and Jason from Aspen. If you have read my early posts on this blog (about March and April last year) you must remember the names. Both of them had come to Peru for Anto and Gus' wedding and then they were really great hosts during my holidays in Aspen. So they decided to come again and join us for the fun!

And when I say FUN...I'm really not kidding! It appears that we had the right combination of people...but between all the activities I think this has been the month when I have slept the least in my life (without counting exam time at university!) and also the month when I have seen dawn more often (also without counting me seeing dawn from my desk at work during the winter!).

The first days were dedicated to the family. I arrived on Thursday 20th of Dec and Antonella and Gus on the 21st. After a wild party in "Gotica" in Larco Mar on Saturday we spent most of our time until Christmas with the family. We had a really amazing Sunday BBQ, a great Christmas eve and Christmas day. We have eaten a lot, enjoyed each other and true to our tradition we have sang SOOOO many Christmas (and not so Christmasy) songs. This has been the first Christmas after 9 years that gathers all of us...so we totally enjoyed it.

Right after Christmas (already on the 25th in the evening) a group of us went to the airport to pick up Murphy...and we made our way straight to the Marriott casino...where Gus, Anto and me remembered our Roulette addiction in Vegas back in March last year ;-). It was a very good evening for the women (we all won something)...not so much for the men who lost. But all this to tell you that from then onwards the serious fun began.

On the 28 at 4 in the morning a large group of us made our way to Piura and from there we drove 3 hours to our beautiful location for new year's: Mancora. Antonella and me had been organising this trip for about 9 months and I have to say that we have been SO happy with the results. We combined a total of 30 of our friends: Peruvians living in Peru, Peruvians living abroad, Americans and Europeans. We had 15 of the 19 bungalows of Las Arenas de Mancora so you can imagine how much fun we had. On the 31st we had an unbelievable fun New Year's party. I think one of the bests I've ever had. The setting was so beautiful, the people were just in the party mood, the food was delicious, music was great, warm weather, people dressed up and ready to party...it was just wonderful!

I'm going to leave this post here and I will make use of the saying: "one image says more than thousands words" and I will have you look at the slide show below. I have managed to condense those thousands of photos in only 158...that summarise a little all my holidays in Peru (as they are done in Picasa you can double click on it and it will take you to a bigger page).

I will try to write different "chapters" with the different events, activities, people and anecdotes of my holidays to give you a better understanding of these AMAZING past days. Enjoy the photos :)