The Bodega Verde group has been going for some years, perhaps five or six, I can’t remember exactly. I refer to it as the expatriate therapy group because talking with friends makes us feel better. I believe that is why members come from all over Lima.
We are a bunch of old guys who get together once a week to talk, not to complain, but to share our experiences, get information, and enjoy the atmosphere. It is voluntary, and no one exerts any kind of organization. We just show up around the appointed time. Politics isn’t a topic because we know that it can be a divider. We’re all male, but women come once in a while. They are welcome and could become regular members if they wish.
The Bodega Verde is in Barranco, a district of Lima, near the famous Bajada de Barranco, a slash in the earth leading down to the sea. Along the path to the ocean are restaurants and the Puente de Los Suspiros–called the Bridge of Sighs. These are the key tourist attractions of Barranco.
The BV is a coffee/ health food restaurant. It is rustic. It offers two places to sit: inside a small adobe brick building and outside under an enormous tree with lots of foliage. Originally, this was the garage and outside cookhouse for a wealthy person’s house.
Our favorite place is outside, surrounded by plants and flowers with the occasional hummingbird. It is nice and shady with each table having an umbrella. Dominating this area is an old lucuma tree. It is a relaxed place to sit and talk. We have a special table that I try to get by arriving early. The BV is quiet, with no blaring music or loud conversations, and we can sit there for as long as we want.
At first, it was a place just for locals. Then somehow it got onto the tourist track. Now groups of foreign tourists pass through, get a fruit juice and a brief lecture about the place and move on. Another group who frequent the place are bikers. Not a motorcycle gang, but men and women who like to ride bicycles and are serious about it.
All these people pass by our favorite table right near the entrance. So we can people watch and enjoy our conversations. Over time, the members of the group change. New people join, and others head for diverse parts of the world. Since we are all expatriates, we move all over the world. That is part of what makes the conversations interesting.
The BV Group, I’ll admit, is my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning.
Note: This was written before the pandemic. Nevertheless, we still meet, but virtually. So every Saturday we get together at the same time and share our lives and thoughts.