Shape of Things to Come

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I should be doing a final check for references on the blog post I’ve had sitting as a draft for the last fortnight: an article on one of the ecosystems here in Peru that’s really caught my aquatic-scientist attention. Instead, I’m going to tell you a story that I think is far more important. The story of Andres. 

Hello! This is a really quick post to say that I’m alive and well-ish, after being floored for a week by a rather nasty sinus infection. My respiratory system really dislikes the cool, humid Lima winters, especially the way the humidity traps the serious air pollution and deposits it all over the inside of my lungs. Mmmm! So I’m pleased to say that I’m getting away from it for ten days, heading… Read More

Head north out of Lima to the town of Huaral, in the valley of the river Chancay. Turn east and follow the river valley through the desert plains and into the foothills of the mighty Andes, passing the irrigated fields and orchards that help to feed the mega-city. Drive by ancient mud-brick temples crumbling back into dust, by rural villages nestled into bends in the river…

On Sunday I went with the crew from Los Pantanos de Villa wildlife reserve into central Lima, where they had a stall at the FestiFeria. The FestiFeria is a moving fair of government services that visits the poorer districts of the city and I was interested to see the sorts of things they do. As well as providing information about educational and recreational services, the fair also provides front-line services that people… Read More

I shouldn’t speak so harshly of the Peruvian coastal desert. Although I’m a creature of green, hilly places, deserts can be spectacularly beautiful places to visit that have a marvellous effect of putting things into perspective and making day-to-day worries seem very small indeed. The Peruvian coastal desert is arguably part of the mighty Atacama, which stretches 1 000 km from northern Chile and eastern Bolivia all the way along the Peruvian… Read More

Last week I passed the half-way point of my project here in Lima, so it seems a good time to reflect on the six months that have been and to consider what the rest of my year here may bring. It hasn’t been easy. Really: under-statement. As some of my posts have documented, I’m struggling with the day-to-day reality of life here, as well as with the bigger issues of environmental management… Read More

Long ago, almost lost to the mists of memory, I went on magical journey to a far away land… Ok, so it was only in December, but it feels like it was eons ago, and it really was pretty magical. I climbed onto a bus one night in Lima and found myself the next morning in another world. One where it was raining; and cold. As I stepped sleepily off the bus and… Read More

I have been up in the sierra on field work. It was an interesting and somewhat dramatic trip, for various reasons, and has left me with a lot to think about. We came back yesterday: 8 hours on the bus between Huancayo and Lima. It was the first time I’ve made the trip up through the western side of the Andes in daylight. I’ve always been on the overnight buses previously. This… Read More

Grafitti in Lima

So here I sit in a specialist coffee chop, tucked away underground, at Larcomar, the boutique brand outdoor mall on the edge of the sea cliffs of Miraflores. Larcomar is a celebration of rampant capitalism: it is consumerism taken to extremes, where international brands and local high-end stores cater to tourists and wealthy Peruvians in a bubble so detached from the reality of this developing world country. Larcomar is consumerism packaged as… Read More

Sunset San Isidro

It might sound crazy, but sometimes I forget I’m living in Peru. The part of Lima that fills my day-to-day world isn’t so different from any other city. “Home” is in the expat precinct, a clean, safe world of apartment buildings, multi-national businesses, chain-store shops and fancy restaurants, as modern and soulless as any other young tourist city. It’s the Surfers Paradise of Peru, equally vapid and self-obsessed as Australia’s beachside tourist… Read More