Limeños

Caught between old world tradition and new world desire, Lima reverberates with life and disorganization. She harmonizes in moments of divine chance. One need look no further than the hundreds of cars and people trying to cross the street at her busy intersections at 7pm to understand how the choreography of the city is a delicate coordination of divergent traffic patterns and epochs.

People’s opinions and misunderstandings color the city: its walls, architecture, and traffic. The pulse of Lima is the struggle to survive between two worlds: one that respects and understands itself through a rich history and cultural tradition epitomized by sites like Machu Picchu and the sounds of the Quechuan tongue; the other of metro-buses and contemporary art museums. The vibrations of these collaborations resonate off the city walls in the form of innovative Quechua-rock bands playing beneath the city streets and the incessant shrieks of taxi-car horns and money exchanges. Small-time hustling and old-world ways collides head-on with iphones and English translation; they are the most basic means of survival.

Lima is struggling to be a a city like other global cities. She skipped modernity, took a pinch of the post-modern, and melded it into what we often call an other city; one with first world dreams harvested from third world realities. These kinds of cities have mythical auras about them, like the fine mist that shrouds Lima in translucent gray during her winter months. These cities are sites of cultural exchange that is profoundly felt on the ground, at corner stores and telephone booths, not just in census data. One can see the mud-houses lining the exterior hills of the city, separated by a modern 8-lane highway that is also a local bus stop and bike lane. Classic European-colonial architecture with parking lots and bathrooms around the corner that are nothing more than dusty abandoned lots hidden from view.

What side do you see? Ask the kids of Miraflores who freely skate the beautifully maintained ‘Parque de Amor’ what they think, than compare it to what the two Colombian girls who were picked-up in a taxi and taken into an inner-city barrio, robbed, and left to wander the city in less than two hours after setting foot on her streets for the very first time. A city alive with contradiction and possibility.

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~ by Em on September 12, 2010.

One Response to “Limeños”

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    Ryan

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