La colonia infinita

Monday I woke up in a remote Andean town and rode down 12,000 feet through the mountains to the Pacific coast, to lunch with many Peruvian regional dishes at the home of the rector of the university. Then I flew to Lima. The Avianca stewardesses wear red capes.

Tuesday I took the new Metro(bus) to Lima 1 and saw all the renovations of the 16th-19th century buildings, and was there as the Señor de los Milagros (el Cristo moreno) entered the Iglesia de los Desamparados — a fully viceregal scene. I knew where to walk as, coming back south, I got off the Metro at the new Aramburú station … knew where to find a cab later … knew what price I should bargain for and how to give directions back in heavy traffic to where I was staying.

This morning in Maringouin I called for another cab and it was driven by a Creole speaking man who said the trouble with youth today is that they do not clean their family graves on All Saints’ Day, which is coming up.

In Peru you can feel the presence of the Pacific, a certain kind of light and air that penetrates quite far inland. They are cutting sugar cane and burning the fields now, just as in Louisiana. We went by both the sugar cane plantation and the mine where Vallejo worked in administration. Not to mention his house, school, family graveyard; not to mention giving some versions of our papers in the hall where he graduated.

Central Lima is really beautiful now. Most of the reconstructions are wonderful. The renovation of the old Correos is an exception. They are working on Jirón Azángaro now, where I spent so many amazing afternoons at No. 722, the Librería Mejía Baca.


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