(Don’t rain on my beach!)
–It doesn’t rain in Peru?
Of course there are places in Peru where it rains. There are beautiful rainy days in the mountains. And of course, we have the jungle.
However, that’s not the place where I grew up, Lima la Horrible, the gray one, la villa de polvo, the piece of land where I learned how was the life on Earth, the city where I never saw an umbrella but in cartoons and movies.
–Mom, the Peruvian coast is one of the most arid places on the world. They only get 2 inches of water per year, and most of that water is not rain but fog, said Frances (she read it in 1491, that amazing book that old Sal, in Southampton, recommended me a few months ago)
The temperature of the Humboldt Current in the Pacific Ocean blocks the rain from the West. The rain from the East is blocked by the peaks of the Andes. However, there is life (extraordinary life) in between the valleys created by the many rivers that come down from the melted ice and the lagoons on top of the Andes, all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
And there is no rain: Little lizards go under the rocks and the bunch of friends walk in line to the ocean, to the Pozo de los Compadres, where we are going to get fish, or get sea food, stuck to the rocks where the ocean splash into the coast, sea urchins stuck to the rocks on the bottom of the Pozo, and red crabs, hidden in between the huge black stones.
Sometimes it rains. And there, in the middle of the night in this town of the Peruvian coast called Silaca, everyone runs outside, and we help to put huge plastic bags on top of the roof remade every year with logs and totora straw. And we know now that we have El Niño, that current of hot water that once in a while, around Christmas, comes all the way South, bringing rain, a lot of rain, nightmares and destruction to these people not used to the abundance of water.
And that’s why I was surprised at 19, in Ubatuba, next to Sao Paulo in Brazil, when I saw sand, ocean and trees together, for the first time. And with the same awe, I bought a first umbrella in London, and I forgot it the same day, next to a public phone, when I called Lima from the Underground, and told my family, kind of amazed: It’s raining!
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water
And here I am, waiting for the sun. Watching the leaves that hide the streets, the animals, the people who roam around this area in Long Island. From the airplanes you’d only see the jungle, the amazing arms of the trees, these people of the forest, surviving another storm, another summer full of rain.
There is rain and no beach (F**uck!)