Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Views

There is really no subject or theme to this blog. These pictures are just a few of many we have taken when we are out and about--going to the missions for clinics, walking to the grocery store, or looking out our front window.

The sunsets have been spectacular this past month because of the clear skies in the afternoons and the incoming coastal clouds. Our apartment faces east, but our wall-to-wall picture window in the front room faces northwest so we get some wonderful views of the setting sun. We didn't know the sunsets could be so beautiful because, for the first five months we were here, the sky was overcast with heavy clouds. We are ten miles by crow flight from the coast. In the daytime we see only roof tops and trees from the window, but wouldn't you agree with me that the sunset is reflected in the water? Look at the lower half of the picture. Stuart says we can't see the ocean from here. I say we can!

This picture is a study in advertising. Betty Ford had no influence here when it came to highway beautification. Not only is every flat surface used, but look up on the cerro behind these stores. Because it never rains in Lima, the dry, brown, rocky cerros make a perfect billboard for products, politics, and love letters. Not too far from this cerro is another one with a huge perfectly proportioned heart and the initials of a couple of lovebirds.

These narrow stores are filled with antiques--massive crystal chandeliers from some old Spanish Lima mansions, loose crystals, china, silver, estate jewelry, massive dark furniture, ship mastheads, old paintings--treasures and junk. The antiques are not cheap. One wonders whom the owners cater to. There are at least ten stores side by side. We wandered in and out of every one of them. One smelled so bad we just looked from the outside. Others were quite inviting. The fascinating thing is that some go right into the rock cerro and we wondered if they hacked their way through the rock to extend the length of the stores.

Where ever there is unoccupied land, someone can build a shack of wood, bricks, tin and even cardboard. When enough houses have sprung up on a cerro or on flat land, the city will provide electricity. Some areas do not have plumbing. What we think is fascinating is that his homeowner has a satellite dish. This up-and-over-the-mountain drive, by the way, is one way to reach the La Molina area other than the crowded Javier Prado. The highway offers sweeping views of two different distruitos which flow one into another--La Molina, Surco. If Javier Prado is too crowded the taxi driver takes the mountain road.

Last Saturday we walked to the grocery store on La Molina, a street which runs perpendicular to Javier Prado. This flowering bush had just begun blooming or maybe we had never noticed it. It looked like a Hawaiian plumeria which has a wonderful scent and is used in leis. This flower has to be a relative of the plumeria, but it has no scent. There was a perfect blossom on the ground. I picked it up and tucked it behind my ear. It stayed lovely for three days in a little vase.

The entrance to this house has such charm. It is one of few houses not behind a tall stone, adobe, or iron fence. This entrance is the fence or wall. You can see the house farther back. The cactus is the cactus of choice here. Kept short it is used as a bordering plant. Look how tall the cactus grows. We haven't seen a blossom yet, but most cactus blossom. Also, this ochre color is a favorite color here for houses, businesses, even stone fences.

This is the side of the house, another landscaping idea. The picture doesn't show the white plastic chair where the vigilante sits. He had stepped to the curb to talk to someone in a car and was quite suspicious of Dad and me as we took pictures of the cactus and the flowering bush across the street.

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