Travels with V

Peru & Ecuador

Humans and walls

Lima - the end

Someone said to us that Peruvians, and Lima residents in particular have a long history of walls. And walking around in parts like the sophisticated and touristic Miraflores You can’t help noticing that all the houses have a high wall or a fence with sharp points on top. And along the roof there are electrical wires that definitely are not there to keep the cows in. It must be heaven for the security business in Lima.

But sometimes the fences and alarms are not enough to quench the fear. In the 1980s Lima grew rapidly, an immigration wave fueled by the violence in the country. The old city centre’s upper class residents started to feel unsafe and began building their homes in new suburbs. But these areas were soon surrounded by the shantytowns that sprang up everywhere on the surrounding hills.

This somewhat aesthetical problem was solved by the building of a high concrete wall to separate the suburb from the shantytown. A class divider.

This one was one of the first, built in the late 1980s between the upper class Los Casuarinas and the enormous slum city of Pamplona Alta.

THE WALL, SLUM SIDE
THE WALL, SUBURBIA SIDE

So when Donald Trump builds his wall on the Mexican border he can point to a Peruvian tradition. And similar walls have been built since and are still being built in Lima. We couldn’t find any opposition to this class policy. It’s something of a paradox, Lima is overflowing with political posters speaking about the need for greater security in the city. But no one says how.

A detail: We visit both sides of the wall and are surprised by the visible differences. In the shantytown kids are playing in the street, there are shops and dives, hairdressers with open doors. The town is alive. In the Las Casuarinas quarters it’s quiet and deserted. Not a single shop, not even a restaurant or a café. There’s no life there.

PAMPLONA ALTA
LAS CASUARINAS

Meditating over this we say goodbye to Lima, to Peru and Ecuador, to the mountains and the plains and the jungle and the coast. To the four corners of the ancient Inca kingdom. T has been an unforgettable journey in time and space. Just like we want it.

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