Through the Bars

Barranco, Peru. Barranco means ravine in Spanish. It’s a historical city with an ocean view. The fog is thick sometimes, especially in the mornings. Technically, it’s also a desert city, so despite the ocean, shop owners are always sweeping at dust with long palm leaves. They’re trying to keep the desert at bay.

Three years I’ve lived here, and I’m still foreign. I get tangled in the tiny streets! The bright Spanish tiles tempt me down an alley, and next thing I know, I’m turned around again, surrounded by pastel mansions – pinks, blues, yellows.

And lately, I’ve gotten drawn in by the ironwork.

It makes me want to write a diary-style narrative. Some good, old-fashioned epistolary horror. Maybe a curious traveller, bouncing around odd hostels? Somebody who records the events of each day in isolated entries?

She could find a diary (moleskin, obviously) along a rocky shoreline: At the base of the local lighthouse, maybe? Its spine swollen from the humid air… Or it could be tucked away in the dark corner of a drawer, seemingly left behind.

September 21, 1994
Day 2 at the Pink House, Barranco

[ . . . ] but in this seaside city, there’s so much wrought iron. Almost every house has its gates up by evening. Every window has swirling black metal guarding it. Like they’re hoping intruders will get tangled up in the metal before reaching the glass.

I tried asking about iron artisans, but homeowners shooed me away. I’ve got to improve my Spanish.

The gentleman with the fruit cart might be a better candidate… He parks his cart in front of a building with beautiful gates. If I buy a few chirimoyas, he might be more patient. [ . . . ]

 

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