Trying to look at a familiar place with fresh eyes is a difficult proposition. I’ve been here in Barranca many times. One of the good things about a beach community is that it doesn’t change. The same fishermen haul out their beach seine every afternoon even though I have yet to see more than a few tiny fish in it after all these years. The beach is still there, the waves crash endlessly, the sunset is both the same and completely different every day. That’s why we sit on the front porch and eat our lunch, then wheel chairs out to watch the sunset. The ocean and the sky are the fixed points in our universe.
What is going on if I look the other direction, toward the land?
Barranca is booming. There is construction in many places around town. There are properties for sale (When we arrived here in 1999 there was almost nothing for sale or rent). Outside town the new highway from Huacho to Pativilca is almost finished (The Panamerican Highway up to four lanes from two, though still full of speed bumps).
Here on the beach there is a new house built by a local hotel owner, Arturo. It looks like apartments, but he assures us that it’s a house. The small pool on the right is just about finished.
Farther down, I am watching the slow construction of a new building–probably a small hotel–in what has always been an empty lot.
One disco is being refreshed for the holiday season. So far, the second disco remains abandoned (and that’s a good thing).
There is a new restaurant in the ground floor of our neighbor to the south. That may not be a good thing–it depends on what music they play, and how loud. Restaurant Gaviotas has been our neighbor on the north forever.
There is lots of scope for new development. Here is an area waiting for investment.These six properties are empty right now. They were home to families of fishermen. Some died, some moved away. Just to the left of this photo is a large new home and next to that is Arturo’s new house. Our house is down the beach to the right. In the 1930s along this roadway was a long wooden boardwalk trimmed with picket fencing and with a large gazebo at the end. Anyone ready to invest? No rush, it’s been this way for most of the past 15 years.
I still go to the market with Jonathan at least once a week and keep my eyes open for interesting things. On Saturday, I asked this woman if I could take her photo because she was dressed up for the market. You could tell she put some time into getting ready. What’s interesting, too, is that when you were looking at how carefully she was made up, you stopped noticing her walker. (There may be a lesson here.)