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Friday, October 1, 2010

Lima, The Enlightened City

Lima, the enlightned city, center of the important Lima Culture of prehispanic times; the one over which the Spanish conquerors built what was once the center of the viceroyalty, the Virreinato del Perú, of South America; and which is now one of the most progressive cities of this side of the world, and is now and once more, the object of my wanderings.  I am here to discover and tell...to let everybody know what's new and what  peruvians are up to.
I have arrived to Lima in one of its most interesting moments of its present development: the peruvians are preparing for a most important ocassion in which they will cast their votes to elect their municipal leaders.  All along the roads coming from the airport and all through the most important vehicular arteries, you can see enormous signs advertising the different candidates of the diverse political factions. They even have a site in facebook and an e-mail address to contact them...modernization!!! Conservatives are very preoccupied with the possibility of a leftist leader which they want to impersonate in one of the candidates, Susana Villarán.  They will tell you that she has associated with  the communist party and that she is dangerous and will be negative in a time when Peru is starting to emerge as a very strong economic asset in Latin America and the world.
In a debate, the other candidate for the Municipality of Lima, of the more conservative wing, Lourdes Flores, went personal and attacked her opposer in a televised debate. The candidates with less preference, roam around these two very strong contenders. Also at stake are the elections for the mayors of the different districts of Lima. In the newspapers, the tv media and all public sites, people talk about defining a very important political moment in Peru. No drinks and no political meetings are allowed from early Friday to election day. Everybody has to vote!

Those who have been appointed to their jobs, because of "political favors" (that doesn't mean they are not doing good jobs) are already packing their offices and planning in what new jobs are they going to land.  Tough moments!!!  Am I going to vote?  I don't know.  I was assigned a place in NY. They say that if I don't vote I am not going to be able to use my peruvian privileges.
Another big event I was able to attend, was my mom's 92th  birthday.  Estelita cannot recognize me anymore, and she cannot breathe very well, but still was able to collect some energy and blow a lot of candles and sing happy birthday to herself with us.  After 8  tiring and tense hours in the plane coming to Lima, finding a very tasty array of sandwiches and sweets, and seeing my sisters, brother, nieces and nephews and my parents,was a great treat.  It's in these moments that one realizes the importance of having a real family and being so close to your roots.  You are never lonely!
My sister Monica, is a fun, fun person to be with. A woman of all trades...a well known photographer in our country, a journalist, a writer, a yoga instructor and cultor of somatic arts, she is constantly mingling with the most interesting people one can ever meet. Through her I have been able to participate in an oracle meeting in which they gather to consult the peruvian  andean ancestors of these mostly mestizo people, and ask them, under the light of the oldest traditions, some questions about their doubts.  The leading officer "tosses some sacred cards" sorrounded by coca leaves and placed over a native piece of textile and asks their ancestors a question which has been agreed by all the oracle group members.  This time they asked about the importance of melody and sound intensities in life and nature.  The "abuelitos (grandfathers) demanded an offering...they demanded that we sing.  The group united their voices to reach the highest pitch of some notes of the scale...and suddenly, Gabriel, a Shipibo native, started to sing the most beautiful song in his native language...a lesson about sound?  An answer to their questions or doubts?  I don't understand; but beyond this beautiful meeting, I met wonderful people, with so much to give and so preoccupied with making this world a better place through their studies and individual contributions..people who find spirituality and its expressions as they pace their world together. Great night, followed by a yoga session and great conversation at Monica's house.
Walk through Miraflores, and go to the different "Indian Markets" by the Marsano building, the last reduce of the Marsano family. I went to explore the newest artisan additions. I was delighted by the wonderful and colorful straw baskets and flowers, the creative and newest fashion of the textiles, the jingling sounds of the ceramic wind chimes, the knit puppets with their incredible detailed depictions of all the storybook characters and of many andean people, the Cusquenian gold and silver altars, the new wooden Niño Manuelitos, the intricate and creative jewelry...you name it!!!
As part the Miraflores revitalization plan...which of course has been acelerated on these days in all the districts, to justify the candidacy of the existing mayors, the Marsano Boulevard is being developed.  Around the famous Marsano building, you can find wonderful stores where current famous clothes and jewelry designers, are starting to promote themselves.  I even found a "gringo restaurant" offering Tex-Mex food...burritos, tortillas, fajitas,sandwiches and salads. "Somos", the magazine which the local Newspaper "El Comercio", publishes every week, has interviewed  the owners and wrote about their stores.  You should see the baby store and the prettiest clothes I have ever seen (I was thinking about Nyomi, my little granddaughter, and all the nice things I could buy for her). The silver jewelry is so original and creative, and the clothes are worthy of being shown in the mostly renowned fashion shows of the world...no kidding!


At Dorita's, my friend, today, I had my first taste of the most incredible peruvian swordfish sorrounded with a scrumptious mushroom sauce and a side of rice! The freshness of our fish is astonishing. My sister in law brought an out of this world version of Suspiros de Limeña; a dessert typical of Lima and made in the fine Club Nacional... Oh my God!  What a taste!  Peruvian food, no offense, is the best of the world.
Tomorrow is another day and I have wonderful plans, which I will tell you to later.  It is wonderful to feel that everyday you can discover something new in this Lima where I was born and through which streets I have walked thoroughly and yet not known completely.
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