Sunday 19 February 2012

Peruvian Memories

Nati is the daughter of a couple who works at my hotel in Paracas. She is three years old and comes running, all smiles, towards me when I show up for breakfast - for she gets all her favourite things from me: chocolate, bananas, ice cream, and scrambled eggs (not necessarily in that order).

The Laguna Encantada in the middle of the desert near Huacho.

At the Laguna Albúfera del Medio Mundo

On the Panamericana between Huacho and Huaral

And then there are the incidents of which I have only mental pictures:

The short middle-aged guy in Huacho who upon seeing me lifted his hat, smiled, extended his hand and said: How are you? Pleased to meet you! and then, without further ado, went his way.

The Cuban lady who told me that she came to Lima with her daughter because plastic surgery (a nose job) was considerably cheaper than in Miami. How did you make it from Cuba to Miami? I inquired. At that time, in 1968, you could still fly out. In my case it was Curaçao, later Venezuela, and then Miami.

The stunningly beautiful 12-year old who helps her mother in the record store and tells me she wants to become an architect.

The old lady who passes by the restaurant where I have a Turkish coffee and a Turkish sweet called Mosaik, has difficulty walking. When about five minutes later I leave the restaurant I see her sitting by the side of the road. She says something to me that I do not understand but I assume she asks for money. I approach her and search for coins in my pocket. I'm close to her now and can hear what she is saying. She asks me to give her a hand for she can't get up by herself. She smiles while I pull her up and, bent forward, continues her walk.

And then there were my numerous chats with a variety of people. As Elizabeth, the manager in my Lima hotel was saying: Standing in line and not having a conversation with the one ahead of you or the person behind you is an impossibility for Latinos.

Nati in Paracas

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