May 22, 2015
Lima, Peru – The rest of the day, Pablo and I spent heading into downtown to watch Lima’s famous water/light show: Circuito Magico del Agua. Taking a wrong turn on the way, we found a cordoned off plaza which was apparently waiting for the Prime Minister of China. Honestly, if that guy doesn’t stop following us around I’m going to get a court order.
When I was young our family used to head into downtown Chicago for a day at the beach. Frequently we would end our days at Buckingham Fountain for the water show they would put on, usually starting just after sunset. Those were simpler days, the lights were colorful, but the show was largely a display of water going higher or going lower and lights getting brighter or getting darker. There was a control room under the fountain where, in the old days, a… a water artist, I guess you’d call him… did the honors, improvising the show and playing off the reaction of the crowd.
Technology has come a long ways since then. Setting the show aside, the fountains here (somewhere around a dozen of them) are beautiful and creative. It’s a lovely park with just a little taste of Crowne Plaza, one of my favorite places in the world. The city has installed a terrific sound system which plays music (Handel’s water music, The Brandenburgs, etc.) at a tasteful volume throughout the park. Unlike Buckingham Fountain, it’s not free. But the $1.50 or so charge is minimal.
The main event is amazing. I tried taking pictures, but my camera couldn’t handle the fast pace of the changes and I couldn’t figure out how to get it switched over to video in the dark. In any case, I realized that I was in danger of becoming one of those chumps who misses the life in front of them by spending it behind a camera. So I put the camera away and assumed that I could find some clips on Youtube to link to on this blog. I was right. You can see a sample here. The show begins about minute four of this particular upload. The presentation is, as I was saying, amazing – using laser and video technology that I couldn’t even have imagined as a kid. To say nothing of the score that accompanies the display. It was all done by computer, of course, and I found myself missing the repartee between the audience and the “water artist” of Buckingham Fountain. (I should note that Buckingham Fountain's show has long been computerized as well.) But it was still an eye-popping show, and well worth the trip downtown to see it.