Monday, October 03, 2005

A postcard from Peru:

Lima sucks, truly, with its sunless winter neblina and Second-World colonial bourgeoisie who freed their slaves into poverty. The air is filled with the chill humidity of the garua, an acid mist that eats metal and never falls, gathering the particulates of the city´s pollution into your lungs. Winter in Lima is the vengeance of the Incas. But outside the capital Peru is fascinating and beautiful, amazing in its three distinct geographies: coastal desert, like a beach 50-100 miles wide that climbs seemingly forever into the high Andes, which then drop down through cloud forest and the "eyebrow of the jungle" into eastern jungle proper. At the end of August, austral mid-winter, we drove to Tarma -- "the pearl of the Andes" -- a small town way up over 9,000', situated in a narrow valley patched with hundreds of little flower farms that supply the florists of Lima. It was cold, with the first rain we've seen since Spain, and I drank whisky by the fireplace in the hotel. Next day we drove down into the sun of the selva, doffing layers of fleece and wool, and had an outdoor lunch at a restaurant in an orange grove after a jungle trek where butterflies surrounded us like tropical fish deep in a green sea of vegetation, one species with electric-blue wings as big as my hands. After lunch we left the sun and the glorious sticky heat and meandered back up through the cloud forest, and I was back at the fireplace at whiskytime. The Tarmeños truck their flowers six hours every night from Tarma to the wholesale market here in Lima, grab breakfast at dawn and some rest before making the return I know where to hitch an anonymous ride out of this Goddamn town.


Blogger Christopher Dickey said...

"a jungle trek where butterflies surrounded us like tropical fish deep in a green sea of vegetation"

-- Perfect. I'm with you.

11:16 PM  

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