Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lima Vice

After a small midweek trip to the southern coast of Peru, we've finally returned and settled in to the city of Lima. We're staying in the neighborhood of Miraflores, a beautiful, modern district with large buildings and oceanfront views. And, while everyone else continues to marvel at the new vistas we've experienced during our time in the city, I can't help but thinking "home." What readers of this blog probably don't know is that, originally, I hail from sunny South Florida, close to the city of Miami. Miami, much like Lima, is a beachside, modern, and cosmopolitan city, and when I looked outside the windows of our van when we first arrived in Peru's capital, my first impression was "Miami, on an overcast day, in the 1980s."

Miami, 1980
Miraflores, Present Day
While I don't have first hand experience with the Miami of the past, I have watched a lot of Miami Vice in my day, I guess for historical reasons. The architecture is very similar throughout much of Miraflores as one approaches the beach. Miami Beach, in the 1980s, was vibrant and international, but was famous for the pastel colors and modernist architectural buildings that exist throughout Miraflores today. The similarities didn't stop at the skyline though. As we walked along Lima's coastline, our group went to a beachside strip mall that looked like it could be straight out of  modern-day West Palm Beach or Boca Raton. On the streets of Miraflores, royal poinciana trees, a large tree with a thin, flat canopy, dot the curbs and sidewalks, along with palms and other evergreens. I might as well be looking at the trees in my backyard. Even the air, which was dry, thin, and arid in Cusco, has been humid and warm here in Lima, and reminds me of my natural habitat.

Seaside mall at Miraflores
Seaside Mall at Delray Beach, Florida

This comparison between Lima and South Florida has allowed me to reconsider and view Peru in a different light than I did originally. While in many neighborhoods and many aspects, the two countries are extremely different, a point proved obvious to me when we visited mountain villages such as Chincheros and Aguas Calientes, in Lima and in many areas of the southern coast, one might not live so differently than they would in the US. Globalization has even given Lima many of the same businesses, shops, and ways of thinking that exist in the United States. It has also worked the othe rway around. When I walk through Miraflores, I'm in one of the greatest Latin American cities in the world. Miami has become a truly Latin American and Caribbean city as well. All they need now is to have a TV show in Lima like they had in Miami. 

They can call it Lima Vice

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