05 April 2006

Five Weeks Already?

Somehow it's finished. I'm spending my last hours in Peru before heading home. It hardly seems like so much time could have passed so quickly.

C left this morning early. Her flight departed at 0630 this morning, so she was up and about before 0400 getting ready. I got up for a minute to see her off and went back to bed. That's too early for me. But now I'm up and wandering around Lima by myself for the first time. I walked to el Mercado Central, to Chinatown, aka Barrio Altos and explored the commercial district there for a bit.

The market was not very exciting. I was hoping for something like the markets that we saw in other cities but much larger. This is the main city. What I found was much more concrete and modern than I had expected. It was large and square, with the decorative exterior steel grid-work that I think was very popular in the early sixties. There were two levels. Everything was very organized. It was almost like a big Peruvian mall building with bunch of vendor stalls crammed in it.

My theory is that it will probably fail becuase of this. It seems to be an early attempt at transitioning into the supermarket atmosphere. (There are numerous American style supermarkets here by the way.) But it doesn't quite work. Everything is too crowded and the hybrid architecture, somewhere between the closed buildings of modern stores and the airy feel of traditional open markets is not aesthetically appealing. I was happy to see that there was a daycare center though. It was clearly part of the design. At least the odd functionalism that must have guided the construction wasn't completely screwy.

Later I went back to the Plaza de San Martin, bought myself some water, and found a nice shady spot to sit. The feathery trees that line the pathways to the center of the plaza have been blooming, and the grassy areas have a light sprinkling of purple blossoms. There was a nice breeze and I was happy to sit and watch the people go by for a while.

I noticed a young guy sit down at the bench close to me. He seemed to be looking at me, and I saw that he got up and said something to another young guy across the path from him. Then he walked away. It seemed fishy to me. I've seen this before. Look for the third man, I thought. They must be up to something. Sure enough, a couple minutes later a very friendly guy came up to me and wanted to know all about my trip to Peru. This is not uncommon, but he was very insistent that I go with him to get a beer. It was my last day in Peru after all. I refused. Duh. I'm sure this was the ruse to get me out of the safe park area, with all its police.

After that little conversation an old guy sitting close to me pointed out the young guys and told me to watch them because they might try to rob me. I told him that I'd been watching them. Frankly I'm kind of proud of myself. I spotted the hustle. This small town boy is starting to get some street smarts.


Blogger moon dog said...

maybe you should put some freaking pictures up, now that you are back in town. or maybe you are too busy visiting coffee shops...

12/4/06 16:17  
Anonymous kjf said...

hanafubuki=flower blizard

24/5/06 18:07  

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