TRAVEL | ERES TAN BONITA, LIMA6.1.17
Outfit: SHIRT | Vintage oversized shirt
SKIRT | DKNY
NECKLACE | The Vamoose
SUNGLASSES | Vintage bought from an old man in Brighton
SHOES | Handmade in Spain (no brand)
There was a sense of familiarity when I disembarked the Lima Airport on our way to the hotel. In a strange way it felt safe. I have only ever felt this way, outside of my own home, a handful of times: in a place called Xishuangbana, in southern China, in Rio, Nairobi, and now in Lima. I opted for French in school, although I am from a continent where 9 of its 13 countries spoke Spanish as a national language, and although I am semi-proficient in Portuguese, there was a definite language barrier. However, I never felt the discomfort I often feel when I lack proficiency in a country's language. Perhaps me chanting "I am a polyglot! I am a polyglot!" actually turned me into a virtuoso Spanish speaker--I doubt--or somewhere in my subconscious I was able to pull off some very deplorable Spanish phrases. Whatever, the means, I felt right at home.
The first day in Lima was definitely the catalyst that sparked my concrete love affair with both this city and the country on a whole. Yes yes yes, I could say the cliche line "the people were soooo nice," but the experience bore much more than a 'niceness' trait. Most people found me an anomaly, and took an anthropological approach to how they engaged with me. Something I was quite taken aback by. You see, most Peruvians have never met someone from Guyana. They have heard of it. But to claim actually meeting someone from their Eastern comrades was rare.
"You speak English there? Nunca conocí a nadie de Guyana."
Then there were the galleries. And the markets. And the individuals. The stories. The food. There were times when I started recognising people. I had seen earlier in the day or week. When I would receive the familiar nod--whether because they could tell I was not from there, or if they too recognised me--the gesture offered a sense of belonging, a statement that this was my place. And I knew it too. I knew the history. I knew the food, thanks to my dearest friend, Rich, whose family is from Lima. And I knew the art. However, I did not know the culture. I did not know the pride, joy, or sadness that inhabited the streets. The living breathing culture of the day, and that was what I wanted to experience. It had been 24 years since I had become fascinated by the country , which ultimately (and partially) led me to wanting to become an anthropologist, and the day had finally arrive when I could breathe in Peru, Lima, its people.
The city boasts a wealth of architecture, art, music, food, and local art. My favourite gallery is easily the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), which houses the most extensive collection of Peruvian art from pre-Columbian times until today. Favourite Museum is definitely Museo Larco, and if gold oozes out of your pores, then this is the place to go...or maybe stay away. I still laugh about the little German girl who ran around shouting "mein Schuh!" as her little brother ran across the bougainvillea enclosed lawn throwing her shoe up in the air and catching with glee. Even the children found it a captivating place. The walk through Lima's Historic Centre, dubbed a UNESCO Heritage site, is fantastic for discovering local life, and the day to day, not forgetting the plethora of little galleries and museums that are scattered throughout it. And I highly recommend amaZ for some of the most delicious food from the Amazon right in Lima.
Photos by Stacy H. & Patrick L.