Done and dusted. Fireworks right next door. Another year gone and “they” say what’s coming is going to be exciting. Ok, we do indeed live in interesting times, and I am enjoying the trip. I hope you’ll all be able to leave behind what you don’t want to take on board for the next one – it’s easy once you start! – “be water, my friends.”
When I was told that old ladies don’t up sticks and live in third-world countries without proper medical care, without good drinking water, without much at all, I shrugged my shoulders, and now I am actually laughing. “Being water” is getting easier and easier and is the only way to live and have fun.
The other one has also happened. Been and gone. Christmas. Walked on the beach, talked with the seagulls and some of their cousins who look so different from those that populate the Cornwall beaches or even the ones you find at the various Costas. It was all rather exotic, relaxed, and each one of Lucho’s family a gem. A tree and a nativity scene had been provied and presents were duly exchanged. Even turkey had been laid on. All was as it should be and more... just wasn’t cold, was it? No scarf to put on, nobody shouted: “don’t go out into that without your boots and gloves!” It’s all about expectation, innit.
Apart from the snow issue, things were just hunky. Heard that Europe actually did have a merry cold old time of it and people couldn’t get to airports, the trains stopped (no leaves on the rails methinks), couldn’t get around to get each other’s backs up at the must-have Christmas party. Who said life was fair?
Apropos “fair”: we finally got our stuff out of customs after more than three months. I had already become used to living with the bare essentials. We all should try it some time, it’s liberating! Now that everything is here I feel almost crowded. Still trying to get someone to come and make more shelves to accommodate everything. Since the sea-facing part of the flat (almost all of it) is windows from top to bottom I am missing walls but wouldn’t change it for anything. The views are spectacular.
Doctor Lucho’s praxis is up and running, and he has taken up his professional life again. It’s heartwarming when people call – you can hear the smile in their voice – telling you that they have walked again unaided for the first time, or that they slept well again for the first time, or they can simply walk straight again.
Would you believe the cows are in Lima? The cow parade has hit us, and they are the most attractive bovines I’ve seen so far. I forgot what they’re meant to publicise – feminism, AIDS, fresh milk, beer, the good life or just creativity – but they’re fun and brighten up the place.
Tomorrow we’ll have our first visitor. Still wondering where to go. The jungle isn’t quite it right now, it’s the rainy season and we’d probably get stuck in the mud. Nazca (remember the lines?) seems like a good idea as long as she’s not scared of flying in planes my dad would have flown (in the dark ages). It’s the only way to see the lines: from the air.
The Peruvians are reflecting on the ups and downs in Peru’s Economy in 2009. I quote: “When 2009 began, we seemed to be entering a worldwide financial meltdown. Well, it's 2010 and we survived. And how about Peru? Its economy was one of the few in Latin America to experience growth this year.”
Lima is not exactly famous for its architecture – I suppose it was once (or should have been) when they still had all those old colonial buildings which you find all over Latin America – because now it has discovered the value of the land and many of those beautiful old things have made way for apartment blocks of mostly rather ordinary appearance. But Lima has allowed herself quite a few parks and is caring for them in an exemplary way. One of the biggest and best (several parks running into each other along the sea front) starts more or less outside our house.
In the centre of town there is - one of many more - Kennedy Park, where you not only can sit down to an old-fashioned coffee and cake in one of the cafés on the edges (and you’ll find some of those old buildings which I so love on one side of it), but on weekends you can bargain with the stallholders over paintings, toys, trinkets and local-made silver jewellery.
Then, only about two years ago, they created the Circuito Mágico del Agua (the Magic Water Circle), also close to the centre, which just happens to be the largest fountain complex in the world. At night lights add another dimension to the fountains and towards the end of the evening there is music and a laser light show. It’s well worth seeing and quite spectacular.
Can you believe that – as though the cows were not enough – Disney is coming to Peru? Cross my heart. It’s the beginning of the end, some would say. It’s an outfit called Adventures By Disney and includes a trip to Cusco. Thing is, you should all consider coming soon because they are seriously thinking of closing Machu Picchu for the walking tourist. There are just too many and the place is suffering. I even heard the whole thing is slowly sliding down the mountain.
We even have our very own interior design exhibition every year in a part of Lima called Barranco, in one of those old colonial villas, all lovingly restored. As with all these things, there is a fashion and the designers, the bright young things, follow it. Logical and boring. But there were some interesting new (even younger) voices which were quite exciting. So few really new ideas around. It’s entropy time.
What else? I’ll have to leave stuff for a next blog, but there is one more thing that’s just too good: I can see them from my flat – the islands just outside Callao (where our ship came in and our stuff stayed put – I am not exactly in love with them right now). One is San Lorenzo and I forgot the name of the other one which used to be a prison like Alcatraz or Robben Island. Now you can take a sailboat cruise and get up close and personal with some of Callao's more famous citizens: the sea lions. You can even swim with them. Haven’t done it yet but very much want to. Shall wait for the right visitor and we’ll do it together.
Just now another “birdman” (a paraglider) came past the windows. I’ll see whether I can fish out a photo. At the beginning they fascinated me so much that I took pix whenever one came by. It’s what happens. A photographer friend once told me that he took thousands of pictures of his first son. The next one only had a hundred or so and the third can hardly find a decent photo of himself that’s taken by his dad. One gets jaded, I suppose. Now they pass the terrace (the paragliders, not my friend’s kids) and I can hardly be bothered look up.
I wish you all the best for an exciting time to be had. Stay flexible, travel light, don’t get too attached to what are only “things”, see the beauty of being a grand old soul with a grand old destiny and not just that powerless human whose cheese gets moved regularly.
Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Make it happen for you, not against you.
Until next time.