Yes, that' a street vendor, one of many, who walked between the cars on the highway/parking lot. What better way to make a sole than taking advantage of a traffic snarl.
Our driver, Graciela, tells us it's better to keep our windows rolled up and doors locked in a situation like this. Many a purse has been snatched by quick street robbers who jump the concrete walls and seek cars with open windows.
So, here is Dad on his 74th birthday, smiling, because he, too, has lived to celebrate another day after taking care of the missionaries in the north of Lima.
Oh, speaking of birthday, this is his only present from me. He wanted a soft hairbrush for his "thinning" hair. I don't notice the thinning. I do notice his new hair style. Hmmmm
Wish you could see the zebra decal on the hairbrush. The only place to find a soft bristled hairbrush was in the baby supplies.
These are our views of the traffic pattern from inside the car. The traffic moved along
s-l-o-w-l-y only because anyone of those buses and vans cut each other off by nosing in front of each other, changing lanes without any signal, and slamming on their brakes. Nosing is probably an apt word--in order to get ahead, the bus or van pulled the front of the vehicle in front of another just enough to keep the car to the side or behind from being able to move forward.
The two buses seeming to be pointed into the middle lane is not an illusion.
Notice that no one is in a lane or directly behind another vehicle. Also notice that we are somewhere in the middle of the cars in front of, close enough to reach out and shake hands with the drivers or passengers.
Graciela is patient and cautious, but not overly or dangerously cautious. That's why we like to ride with her. If we were with any one of the drivers we had at the beginning of our mission, we would have been squeezing our way between the black and white cars. We have seen street vendors and cyclists thread their way through such a tangle.
This really is the mess it looks like. I am not even sure how I got this picture--maybe from the side. At one time I stuck my camera out the back seat window.
This was a moment when we felt as if the two 18-wheelers could topple onto us. It reminded us of being on a canyon road with granite walls on either side of the car.
OK! Mr. Blue Bus. You can get in front of us...sometime. He made it but not until the van in front of had moved forward several minutes later. All this traffic was forced off the highway at a two-lane exchange--think of a freeway exit--which was under construction and had been for a very long time. Graciela said freeway construction, even exits and entrances, take a year or longer to complete because the work is done by hand, not with great earth movers. The two-lane exchange was clogged with five or more cars, side by side, which not only slowed the traffic getting off, but stopped the traffic on the highway. We were 30 minutes late for our clinic. We left the office for a 45 minute ride which took probably 1 1/2 hours.
That isn't the end of the tale, however. Coming back, Graciela decided to avoid the Evitamiento biy taking back roads. It would be like taking back roads from Provo to Salt Lake City. The down side was that it took us two hours to get back to La Molina, normally a 45-minute ride. The up side was that we saw distruitos or districts of Lima we would never see from that vantage. Some of the districts were so poor there was little electricity, poor roads, dimly lit stores and littered and broken cement sidewalks. Others were picturesque--London-like gas lamps, Colonial or Victorian homes and hotels, beautiful parks, wide streets with grassy medians, and fine stores.