April 26. Oil painting in Lima.

In the late afternoon our bus arrives in Lima, Peru’s busy capital and center of Spanish colonial influence. This is the Rome of South America; there are churches everywhere. A taxi takes us away from the bus terminal and at their hostel I say goodbye to Candy and Alexandra. This city should be extremely dangerous, so I should be careful with my luggage when taking public transportation. Just as always, nothing happened. I dragged my backpack through the metro systems of Moscow, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, and nothing happened. Anyway, Lima makes a good impression with its broad avenues and grand parks. A man talks to me and takes me to the hostel where he lives. They have a room available for 20 soles and I can have some rest after the marathon busride.
I lay down until eight o’clock and walk to the Plaza de Armas to eat something. It’s crowded. Security guards everywhere, patrolling with big guns. A fastfood-court with papas fritas and spicy chicken, and several armed guards in the neon lit entrance. Maracuya juice and a man who is too curious about me. No supermarket to buy coffee, so my nightly writing won’t last very long. A Bolivian guy shows me a rustic café that looked good. When he has me upstairs, he shows me a joint and offered cocain. A big dumb-looking guy makes some slow movements with his hands that I interprete as a suggestion to snort the white powder. Another man tries to hand me over a little plastic bag filled with grass. It’s time to go. I head for my hostel and write solamente one hour lacking the caffeine intake.

Once again, I think it’s the quantity that matters here. The sheer amount of words put together here. Compare it to oil painting. Once the paint is on the canvas you cannot remove it. You must paint it over to correct it. Just add another color, a few solid brush strokes and the prior pigment is gone. Just a few more words and you get something totally new. This is experimental writing. I use words as if they were thick clots of oil paint.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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