Monday, May 25, 2015

May 24, 2015

Today Pablo and I wanted to explore Barranco, a district just south of Miraflores but north of Chorillos where we’re staying. This neighborhood has more of a bohemian feel than Miraflores with a little of the taste the Chilean city of Val Paraiso. Barranco has produced:

 famous authors,

colorful doors and balconies

 lots of statues,

and run down buildings scattered throughout.

But Barranco is probably most noted for El Puente de losSuspiros, The Bridge of Sighs. Built in 1876, the bridge developed a romantic reputation and there are all kinds of tragic love stories surrounding it. Most famously a singer named Chabuca Granda wrote and recorded a song about the bridge that gave it notoriety around the world. This is where we were headed, but on the way we noticed a bicycle that looked as faithful as any dog that has ever waited for its master. There’s a story here.

We approached the bridge from a stairway filled with flowers. Tradition says that when you see the bridge for the first time, if you hold your breath while you cross it, you will be granted your heart's desire. That’s what Pablo and I both did. I kept my mind fixed on Karen, so I have high hopes of being reunited.
After crossing the bridge we walked back onto it for some photos. The mural just east of the bridge was quite evocative. It’s another example of how visceral the arts are here. If I may make a generali-zation, I think art is taken much more seriously as a crucial part of life in Latin American countries than it is in the United States.

Pablo and I headed toward the sea, which always seems to be our compass point when we’re out exploring. I was intrigued by this particular street vendor.
"I will write your name on a grain of rice."
But the idea raised more philosophical questions than I was ready to dwell on at the particular moment, so I went on to explore the nearby well, which had locks of love – as it were – attached to the chain holding the bucket. 
Each of the locks had names of couples on it. Pablo and I agreed that we weren’t quite sure how the connection between love and locking was made. You can see it, for example, in words like wedlock. To me love is a more opening thing. But there I go again getting into philosophical issues, when I should be absorbing the life around me.

"Hot revolution/Music for the teeth."
It was getting time to get some eats. We passed an enigmatic sign or two
"Tourist restaurant."
but finally stumbled upon a restaurant which was clearly following an "honesty is the best policy" strategy. As impressed as we were with  their integrity, Pablo and I found a more off the beaten track restaurant that hadn’t totally succumbed to the trendy-cosmopolitan rigueur that many of it’s neighbors had. While, of course, still being a few steps above a dive, of which there are plenty.

From the beginning of our day’s peregrinations Pablo and I were on the lookout, as we always are, for ice cream. The restaurant where we had eaten did not offer us much hope. The ice cream place they preferred was closed. They didn’t think much of the other alternative. Ever hopeful we set out anyway. We finally did find a trio of Americans walking down a street with a dish of ice cream in hand. They directed us to a place that we would have totally missed had we not run into them. Blu’s Gelato del Barrio features gelatos and sorbets using South American, and especially Peruvian flavors. I went for the Lucuma once again. It was delicious.
 We began to make our way back up to Miraflores, passing an old streetcar and an expired Theremin concert. I was sorry to have missed the Theremin concert. That would have been a blast.

The bus system in Lima is an anarchic mix of mostly private lines (think, each bus owned by a different person) and one public one. As a result, there really are no accurate maps showing where the buses go, because in theory that could change from day to day. We took our first private bus trip (15¢) up to Miraflores to do a little shopping. The following walk took us by a park that was a memorial to the veterans who died in the war against Chile. Chile has historically had several conflicts with neighboring countries and there are passionate sentiments all the way around.

After a little shopping we managed to arrive back at Kennedy park just in time for dancing!

Every Saturday and Sunday there is a community dance at Kennedy park. Everyone takes part.

And while the people are dancing the cats are…

Yep. It was chow time for the park kitties. They must go through a prodigious amount of food because, believe you me, there are a lot of cats.

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