Friday, September 2, 2016

Cracker Lives Matter In Lima Peru

Nirvana is to be experienced rather than defined, except to say that the airport in Lima is its exact opposite. Gray drizzly clouds block all window views of the natural world. Glaring florescent lights thrust a salty, greasy, sugary world of McDonald's, Papa John's, and Dunkin' Donuts into a traveler's throbbing brain. Peruvian women do little to restore my bliss. Many faces suggest human/llama crossbreeding, while many bodies offer a plus-size-version of Daddy Yankee's "Shaky Shaky" video. An overpriced taxi to the cheezy-sounding Nirvana Hotel seems like a ticket to paradise for me.

We drive along a steely, turbulent, fresh-smelling ocean with brown earth cliffs sporting luxury apartments on the other side. Everything is clean and modern. There's none of the chaos (or history or warmth) of my adopted home Mexico. By the hotel is Don Belisario: an Argentinian grill with a circular balcony that overlooks the business district. A parrilla de la Huerta comes sizzling to my table. Zucchini, mushrooms, esparragos, eggplant, white onions, and red pepper bathe in olive oil and fine herbs. Then chorizo parrillero shows up. This sausage is juicy, pink, and meaty without even the oversalting so common to chorizo. A little wine and a lot of sleep.

Morning reveals a clean, cozy, hardwood-furnished room falling slightly short of the promised nirvana. The mirror is wide enough to let Jennifer Lopez view her entire ass in all its glory, but the hobbit-level roof only accomodates hunchbacked gringos. I briefly consider reporting this racist outrage to CNN, but the chance to get some free breakfast distracts me from the chance to get some global attention ... I mean: global justice.

The lobby is a collection of plush leather with somber art of traditional and surrealistic genres. Gilded Catholic virgins give way to a Madonna with a bare perky breast, followed by more breasts, some voluptuous nude buttocks, then well-hung bulls and horses. A mere ten steps from front door to dining room and the transition from chastity cult to fertility cult is complete. Are Latinos more Catholic or more horny? Do I really need to answer that? Brown sugar on the walls, brown sugar in my coffee, juicy succulent plums and apricots bouncing across my plate and bursting in my mouth. Even a gringo can start the day walking bow-legged down here. Considering Viagra? Why not try Latin America! That concludes my sermon on (ahem) "the mount".

Strolling this posh neighborhood on a quiet Sunday morning, I find escalators that speed up when you step on them, crosswalks counting down the remaining seconds, four Starbucks in a block, and two hot fashionistas reading literature as they walk. Every tower has a security (read Indian) guard. One asks me to move along and cease scribbling in front of the locale. Whether I look like a terrorist info gatherer or simply a fashion criminal is unclear, but I immediately comply. My parting chuckle at his microagression illicits a cold stare then a glance at his police radio.

Think America has class inequality? Some of us need to pull our heads out of our butts and get our butts out of Bernie Sanders' Vermont and witness life on earth as most folks know it. Those who don't have the balls to face the real injustices can at least spare the rest of us an insistance that we care about PC breakfast-nook traumas. I apologize for my rudeness, but not my GC (globally correct) perspective. Enough said.

The next intersection I pass suspends a banner reading "Safe City Miraflores: Video Surveilance Zone". I guess I'm hopelessly old school. I feel more secure knowing God is watching than knowing big brother is watching. What a medieval relic I am! An automated voice rebukes me in English and Spanish for jaywalking a deserted street. Make that big mother watching! I reach the coast, where a vast untamed sea feels like an old nonjudgmental friend.

The oceanfront promenade is sprinkled with walkers and cyclists of Spanish and Japanese extraction. This walkway overlooks a misty Pacific of soft white noise and fresh cool breeze. Much closer below on the cliff is an upscale and outdoor shopping mall with Banana Republic clothing and Juan Valdez coffee. Cultural and racial stereotypes are serious business up North, but people here are too engaged in real living (or real suffering) to give a shit.

Colonel Sanders' huge image seems a tad mismatched with the sushi and espresso and sweater-clad jogging dogs. Yet, being very white often gets you a caste upgrade in Latin America. Perhaps, this cracker icon is no more misplaced than a gold-chained black-skinned thug rapper in first class on American airlines. Black lives and white lives don't really matter. Rich or poor lives ultimately don't matter. Living good lives is what truly matters. The human moral compass functions all around the globe, but only when people stop following the stampede of the herd and the rules of the tribe long enough to glance at it. In our next post, our heavenward trek will lead up into the red-cheeked lives of the Incas in the white-faced peaks of the Andes at the very top of the world. Both black folks and fried chicken are found in Bolivia, but oxygen and "indepth media dialogues about racism" are somewhat lacking. Guess which one I missed.

1 comment:

  1. Airports are the same around the world... and there's never a shortage of Starbucks and that ilk in any city.