Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seen while out and about

I've taken to taking nearly daily walks, often to and from errands, but also just because. On those walks things sometimes catch my eye ...

... like this restaurant on the corner of Av. Salaverry and Av. del Ejercito in San Isidro, which gets right to the point with its name.

Although it doesn't seem to be remembered much these days, one of Lima's nicknames in the last century was Ciudad Jardin or "garden city". When one sees the profusion of flowers -such as this one- blooming in midwinter one begins to understand how the city earned the name.

I remember when these orbweaving spiders first showed up in San Felipe. At least I remember when I first noticed them, but the fact is that they weren't widespread here before then. It was in about 1976 or 1977, and they first turned up in the northwestern edge of the hedge surrounding the Peruvian-Japanese Cultural Center. At first it was just these white ones, but before the end of that summer there was a sizable portion of them that were a dark mahogany color.

This Army fort is in Pueblo Libre, a few blocks from Avenida Brasil, on the way to Plaza Bolivar and the National Archaeology Museum and the Queirolo Tavern. It is fairly unremarkable in itself, not far different from other such installations scattered throughout what were once the outskirsts of the city, except that at one time this one housed the incarcerated members of the Grupo Colina death squad. This squad of Army and Intelligence officers operated under the aegis of the Fujimori administration and is held responsible for several notorious killings, including the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres.

This is the new Japanese Ambassador's Residence, on Salaverry. The old one was a few blocks to the north, near San Felipe and the Clinica Italiana. It was abandoned and demolished after the 1996 hostage crisis. The new one has a berm and a double wall surrounding it, with a heavy steel doors and detached guard towers, which -now that the civil war is over- stand empty. The steel poles atop the walls are intended to disperse the energy from a carbomb blast.

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