Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Lima escondida - part 1

Lima has been called the "concrete city".  Walk down any street, and your constant companion is a brick and cement wall, interrupted occasionally by a door, gate or window.  There is no space -- none -- between one house or business and the next.  No grassy buffer -- nothing.  In fact, if your neighbor was very poor at the time he built his house, he may have used one of your walls as part of his own house.  And for the most part, there are no zoning restrictions.  So your neighbor might be a bakery or a hairdresser or a ceramics factory.

Perhaps the very fact that everything is walled off makes me want to know what's behind that wall.  As I walk down a street, I can't resist a quick glance through any open door or gate.  Often a door opens onto a long walkway with many other doors, where a landowner has divided his property into small apartments.  Sometimes there's a beautiful house with a well-kept garden hiding just a few feet behind the wall, completely invisible from the street.  Sometimes there's a business with huge metalworking machines, or a fascinating collection of objects waiting to be recycled.  And all of these can occur together on the same block.

I know this isn't just a personal obsession or voyeurism, because other people (including my wife and my daughter) have confirmed that they share this fascination.  I've held off publishing this post because I didn't have any pictures to accompany it.  And without seeing the variety of things that are hiding behind the wall, it's difficult to appreciate how fascinating it can be.  I thought about buying one of those tiny cameras that you can strap to your head and walking around for awhile, peeking into any openings in the wall.  I'll get some pictures somehow, and include them in future posts, so that you readers can share my fascination.

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