Christmas is not just a major holiday in Peru, it kicks off the summer vacation season. Schools let out the week before Christmas and stay closed until March first. Families take beach holidays. Seaside businesses make most of their annual income between Christmas and Easter. This week we started to see the build-up in expectation of holiday visitors. The weather is gradually changing too, with more days of blue sky and bright sun.
No one starts preparing for the holidays too soon. The city is repainting the lines along streets and sidewalks. They repainted one of the big streetside flower pots, too, with just a bit of over-spraying. The city is rebuilding the sidewalk around a small park at the end of the street. I should be happy that it is being done, but of all the civic projects I could think of, this one is at the bottom of my list.
One problem is that all of the houses on the right side of the street are abandoned. Maybe this will encourage someone to buy the vacant properties and redevelop them.
Vendors have started to set up every weekend. This couple has been awaiting visitors every Thursday through Sunday since early November. He tells me they have a business renting small carnival rides to local fairs during the winter (April-November). Business hasn’t been very good, so they decided to come to the beach early.
We are looking forward to the new restaurant that is scheduled to open soon. Since the Las Gaviotas restaurant adjacent to our house closed two years ago, we’ve been waiting for something new. There are lots of restaurants along the beach, but none of them has taken the place of Gaviotas. The new one (no name as of yet) is on the terrace and in the lobby area of what was the Hostal Casa Blanca. The lodging closed a couple of years ago when the city tightened oversight and the owners received a long list of repairs and changes required to be recertified as a hotel. They decided it wasn’t worth the cost. The new restaurant could revive the property.
From this post you can see that we are involved in small town life in our corner of the beach. Neighbors are building new apartments next door, and all along the beach people are cleaning up, replacing the woven mats that are used in sun shades, and painting facades and walls along the street. By the time Christmas arrives, the beach will be looking its best, waiting for visitors to celebrate the holidays.
Other changes are afoot that will take a bit longer to be completed. Some properties are for sale, waiting to be taken over and repurposed like this failed dance hall.
Two houses down from us is an old house, designed and built in the 1940s by an agronomist as the summer house for his family, while he worked on a sugar hacienda in one of the nearby valleys. The family moved to Lima after land reform in the 1960s ended the hacienda system, but they kept the house for the summers. Many years later, the family has decided to sell the property. There is a large undeveloped area behind the existing house and the banner proposes sixteen luxury condominiums, pool, garages, and green space. I will be very interested to see this development take shape, though I’ll miss the distinctive facade of the old house. It’s one of the last of the old houses to come down. Our house is nearly the last one left.