Neighborhoods and Apartments

Well, life in Lima is busy….both work and play. The apartment lease is set to be signed tomorrow, Tuesday the 16th at 5:30 PM. I am going to the AMEC office this afternoon to review the lease with the lawyers and make certain everything is in order. I have a copy of the lease in English and after talking with the realtor, I fear that some of my issues are due to the translation and not the actual lease.

Besides dealing with the apartment, Mary, Pam and I have been exploring Lima. The other day, Mary and I walked to the Barranco neighborhood. It took about 45 minutes to get to the central square. I really like this area. The park along the Malecon was beautiful. The town square was very clean and had a beautiful cathedral next to it. We walked around the area “Bridge of the Spirits”. Sounds interesting, but was actually a small wooden, walking bridge that connected one side of town to the other. Underneath the bridge, was a cobblestone road that had many restaurant along it. I guess that Barranco has quite the night life. After seeing all of the restaurants, I don’t doubt it.

On the other side of the Bridge of the Spirits, was a park , an ocean lookout area and another cathedral that is under renovations. This cathedral is the oldest in Barranco. It is in quite disrepair. We could see what appeared to be exposed, thin reeds in the dome of the church. We couldn’t figure it out, but after visiting a museum, we learned what it was. In the earlier days…1600-1700 or so, they used adobe for the structure. Then, they enclosed the wall, dome, etc with a woven material made from bamboo reeds and leather to reinforce the building during earthquakes. So, the reeds on the cathedral were still visible and evidently, the leather has rotted away. The Bridge of the Spirits is really a very pretty area.

Lunch was in an old train car. The car was sent from England in 1920 and is now a restaurant. It was beautiful inside. The walls and ceiling were all wood. At the top of the ceiling, there were small stain glass windows.

In Barranco, we visited the Colonial Art Museum of Pedro de Osma. It was in his “beach house” from the early 1900s. Pedro de Osma made his money in zinc mines and other investments. He was a great collector of art as we saw by his collection of religious art and silver items. The main house, had the paintings and sculptures, mostly with a religious theme.

The tour guide pointed out some interesting aspects of the art work. Most of the statues from the early 17th & 18th century, in this area, were made from cactus and paper mache, because that was the only material they could get. It is difficult to tell that they are not of stone or ceramic. Because of the material, many did not survive.

Several of the Virgin Mary paintings had the Virgin with a large robe on and feathers in her crown. This was the way that the Peruvian artist combined the Inca culture and the Catholic beliefs. The large robe on the Virgin represented the mountains or mother earth. The feathers, represented the nobility of the Inca tribes. So, by combining the symbols, they created a Pachamama or Mother Earth/Virgin Mary.

The most interesting piece in the museum for me was the box that the missionaries carried from village to village. This box would unfold and in it were paper mache figures of all the Bible stories – Adam and Eve, the Nativity, etc. With this box, the missionaries were able to better explain their Christian beliefs.

The house was beautiful with lovely wooden floors, tin ceilings with the pressed design painted in an outline color. It no longer has a view of the sea, but when it was originally built, it had an ocean view and was considered the “beach house”.

In back of the main house were beautiful gardnes and another separate building. This is where the dining room, kitchen, music and smoking room were. Off to the side of the grounds was a newer building. This houses the silver collection and visiting art exhibits. The art exhibit on display was by a famous Peruvian artist Manuel Domingo Pantigoso (born in Arequipa 1901, died in Lima 1991). His pictures were of scenes throughout Peru and in kind of an abstract form with lots of colors. I really liked them.

The silver collection was beautiful. There were serving plates, mugs, incense burners, trays, etc. All out of silver. A couple of items that caught my eye were the processional staffs used in religious services. These were tall sticks that were decorated with large silver ornaments. The priest would carry these during religious services.

Another, beautiful item was the basket with a dainty, filigree design all through it and all in silver. I took several pictures of it. Finally, the saddle and stir ups were a crowd pleaser! I just pity the poor horse as both items were decorated in silver…can you imagine how much everything weighed when it was all said and done?

There is more to write, but it is close to the time to meet the lawyer. So I will post this and then start posting about our trip to David’s project and surrounding area.

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