For the first time in five weeks, I ventured out on my own. I only walked a block from my house in Barranco, a district of Lima, but this was an ambitious outing for me.
Walking, something that I used to do with ease when I was younger is now a serious physical challenge. Soon, though, I will be back to normal again.
Anyway, my need was urgent. I had to renew my supply of green apple chupetes, a lollipop filled with gum. Maybe you think my mission was frivolous, but I am an addictive personality; I have to have my chupete every day after lunch.
A secondary reason was to escape from the house where I had been a pampered captive for so long. So I bundled up, woke my dog Falcor from his afternoon siesta, and headed outside.
It was as fiercely cold as only a winter day in Lima can be: foggy, drizzly, and generally nasty. So it was logical that no one would want to spend much time outside.
My fear was that my supplier, Juana, would not be in her usual spot.
She is my “casera”, a vendor with whom you build a special relationship. I’ve done business with her for a long time. In turn, she tries to keep a bunch of green apple chupetes ready for me.
In fact, when I arrived, the malecon was deserted. Normally this street is loaded with walkers. It runs along a bluff with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
On this day, it was totally empty except for Juana, seated on a stone wall, huddled over her ice cream cart. As usual, she was wearing a yellow slicker and a crumpled old brown hat. Clearly she was suffering from the cold.
On top of the cart were loaded snacks and treats that she was selling: chips, candy, gum, and so on. Of course she also had ice cream, but that was not going to be a big hit on a winter day.
Glory be! She had lots of green apple chupetes, and I whipped out all my change to get five of the treats. I was happy to satisfy my need, but sad that Juana was suffering so much just to earn a few soles.
Juana, not one to express emotion, looked at me and said, “Where have you been?” I’m sure that her business took a dip during my absence.
I briefly explained, said goodbye, and then turned to face the walk back to my house. My legs are still weak, but I’m proud of the fact that for the first time in years, I can walk without pain.
My thanks to Dr. Alfredo Chiappe and the staff at the Clinica Anglo Americana who took such good care of me.
*Larry Pitman* has been in Peru for nine years. He has written about his experiences as an expatriate in Peru for “Peru This Week”:http://www.peruthisweek.com/blogs/larrys-latest for six years and has recently compiled his articles into a book, “Dogs of Barranco”:http://www.amazon.ca/Dogs-Barranco-Stories-American-Expatriate-ebook/dp/B00IM0IT2G.
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