“It could be somewhere in Europe, but never California.”
That is what one person said about where I live in Peru.
My home is located in Barranco, a beach town next to Lima. I live on a short street called a “jiron” (hee roan) in Spanish. It is just a few blocks long. We used to see the ocean from our windows, but now a big apartment building blocks the view.
Trees line our narrow street on both sides, giving it a leafy suburban feel. On our end of the street, the trees are older and have grown quite tall enough so that at night it is really dark. In the evening, I often see romantic couples clustering in the shadows as it gives them a little privacy. On the other end of the street, the trees are much younger, and there is a lot more light. No romance there.
Some of our trees produce a berry called a “mora” that sometimes falls on the street. They are not that tasty, but some people do come by to pick them off the trees. No one seems to object. Another type of tree showers the street with tiny yellow flowers
There are plenty of birds living in the trees, but it is the screeching of the parrots passing through that usually grabs my attention. They like to talk a lot, especially early in the morning.
We also have our lone squirrel that runs along the telephone wire and then scoots into a tree. I presume he is looking for food or perhaps he is lonely and looking for a mate. Maybe he likes the berries.
On the other side of the street are four houses and on our side there are five. Each has a different color, cream, red, slate, yellow and a mottled orange and very different architecture. Compared to other parts of Barranco, though, our houses are not that old, most were constructed within the last 50 years.
That leads to something very special about Barranco. Scattered around the town are magnificent old homes, survivors of the times when rich people came from Lima for the summer. They are well worth seeing. I recommend that you have a walk around town when you come to visit Barranco.
However, when you walk by my house on our street, you will only see a door in a wall. There is no indication of what the house looks like inside. Thus, typically, homes here face inward, behind the wall. Family life is private, and you have to be invited in to discover what the house is like. This is one of the things that intrigue me because I am always curious about what the homes look like on the inside. Once in a while, when I am walking around, I catch a glimpse of a beautiful garden hidden within. That is a special treat for me.
As you can tell, I like our little neighborhood.