I never cease to be amazed at…well, life. That’s the sort of thinking that produces this kind of stream-of-consciousness writing. There is no main topic, and it isn’t going anywhere. I hope you find it interesting.
A few nights ago, Oldest and I meandered a mere two blocks away, on a quest for sushi. By sushi, I don’t mean the junk they serve in the United States, stifled by health codes. I’m talking about real raw tuna and salmon and other things that would make the local health inspector’s face red as he hunches over his clipboard, scribbling furiously.
I understand the need for regulations to protect the public. Sewer pipes shouldn’t cross connect with runoff pipes, and employees should always wash their hands before returning to work, even if they are 99.99% sure they didn’t get pee on them, but I think an over-regulated society misses out on a lot, and becomes blinded and ignorant of what the world has to offer, if one is to take only a modicum of informed, calculated risk.
Otherwise, it produces things like this label, found on a package of peanuts, served to me on an American Airlines 767 two weeks ago:
Ingredients: Peanuts Roasted in Peanut and/or Canola Oil, Salt.
Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts.
Seriously? I think I would be more concerned if the warning stated that it was produced in a place that didn’t.
Following a hearty meal of sushi (is that an oxymoron?), we strolled back to the house, and at the corner, saw a new group of street performers.
Some background is necessary here. Intersections in Lima are often occupied by a variety of people. On rare occasions, you will see someone leading a blind relative or carrying a special needs child, who will walk between the cars, asking for coins, but with those exceptions, begging isn’t well tolerated. I do wonder sometimes if someone on the next corner isn’t renting out little blind men for this purpose, but I will move on.
Instead, Peruvians are imaginative, and not that limited by their own disabilities, or rather, willing to work inside those limitations. During our time here, we have met a blind man, Alan, who sells individual pieces of candy from a larger bag. Gino, a paraplegic, sells random items from his wheelchair near a local grocery store – and by random I mean wooden spoons, dish towels, or umbrellas. Veronica, a “little person” also confined to a wheelchair, sells bracelets and key chains that she has made from beads.
You may notice that these people have names. Thank you.
The more able bodied individuals are known to work the intersections as well, performing various acts of entertainment, during the 75 seconds that the light is red. Traffic lights here actually have countdown timers, which may be for motorists, or for performers. If an act isn’t finished by the time the clock shows 15 seconds, there isn’t enough time to walk between the rows of cars and collect tips.
We have seen pin jugglers, fire jugglers, acrobats, clowns, and magicians. Traffic really is a circus in Lima.
Tonight we saw something I hadn’t seen yet – a “contact juggler.” A contact juggler manipulates clear, heavy balls made of glass or acrylic, without actually throwing them. He maintains “contact” with the balls at all times, but creates the illusion that they are floating or moving.
We didn’t have a camera, and I wasn’t carrying loose change, but this act was worth coming back, since we live on the same block. A few minutes later, armed with about the equivalent of about $1.50 in local coins, we returned with iPod in hand. The contact juggler agreed to do his routine for us, since the intersection was currently occupied by some little kid juggling flaming sticks and chainsaws or something boring like that.