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  • Writer's pictureMereida

Peru Letters: 1

The whole Peru trip was incredible for my writing, writing out of necessity: writing on the go in buses and taxis and on nighttime rooftops. So I'm sharing it here (with added pictures)

Hello. This became a bit longer than expected oops. Anyway. Welcome to Peru. We are in Lima. It's mad and it's dusty and it's the most relaxed place I've known in a while. Time here is more languid, stretching out like Lima spreads along the coast to each horizon. We are living in the moment more so than I have ever before. We flow without forcing the shape of the day. There is no job, no stresses, no planning or dividing up the time. We are thinking ahead but only to the next meal, moving instead from minute to minute as between display cases in a museum, soaking up everything but holding onto nothing. It is good. It feels healthy.

The view from the roof, shot on film by G

It also helps that we're both drawing so much, filling up so many sketchbook pages a day it's sent us into panic that we won't have enough paper!  I found it hard to draw just for the sake of drawing back home - G is better with this, but both of us have benefited from the change of pace and place to just let go and draw as a means of absorbing, processing sensations. Instead of putting pressure on the outcome as we are taught in school and college, and befitting two people who want to make a career in the creative industries, here there is nothing but Draw. Look, see and draw. I don't know how long the momentum will hold up, but it's been creatively loosening. What I've loved most so far is sitting in the back of J's banged up merc, driving and just looking. Most of our time has been spent in Tupac, in the outskirt district of Chorillos, where the buildings are built by hand, the streets are paved not with tarmac but with stray dogs and street sellers, and everything is coated in a perpetual layer of dust. The houses are rectangular and boxy, stacked up in natural growth up into the sides of the hills. It feels much like Manila - square houses, cables knotted up into salads above the streets, billboards and palm trees looming over tiny stalls as everyone works to make ends meet. But it's also more open, wide roads welcoming the flat grey sky that never presses on to the city as one might expect.

It's beautiful despite the all-pervading dust which makes each view look overbearingly brown (the colour of all the bricks here). But these views are dotted with the colours of washing lines and billboards, of janky coloured facades because here it only matters what the front of your house looks like. Every building has bare bricked sides but care is taken to decorate the front, be it turquoise (v popular) or pink or orange, regardless of the direction the house is facing. The result is a patchwork of angles and corners, colours and shadows, spreading over the hills of lima. We've seen central lima as well but it's much more city-ish, westernized in its high rises and marble and flash cars. Tupac is better. Enough for now, will catch you up with what we've actually been doing soon!



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