Vlog of Urbanism in Peru

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This video blog marks ArchitectureTravelWriter.com’s foray into vlogging. Look for new media and other upcoming changes the blog.

Barranco is better known for its nightlife than its diurnal activities, and my two social outings there have proven that reputation correct. But today’s journey is an exploration of what I hadn’t witnessed and a return for photos of what I already had. I had a cab drop me off at La Avenida Sáenz Peña

before one of the many narrow median parkways fulfilled its purpose as a quiet public space. At its end a somewhat sheltered area serves up benches from which to view the Pacific-- like all good city planners should do-- and though the day's drizzly and hovering around 70 degrees--common for Limean winters-- the desire to smoke a fag whilst taking it all in proves compelling. I sit for a while, watching surfers make their way to their heaven, and enjoy the ocean air smell and the humidity moistening my cheeks.Then it's time to peruse nearby museums such as the Galería Lucía de laPuente, (Sáenz Peña 206, www.gluciadelapuente.com). The lackluster paintings that smack of Pop Art aren't enough to warrant my lengthy interest, though I do lollygag over the interior architecture of the two-story casona (mansion). It's worth it to stay a few minutes more at the Punto de Cafe for an Illy espresso (S/. 4) and a torte de chocolate (S/. 6) or some lightly fried yucca sticks (S/. 6.5). 

I stroll through the rest of the park, trying not to chase the cooing pigeons, only to stumble upon La Casa Cultural Mocha Graña

(Sáenz Peña 107), which isn't in my Lonely Planet travel guide.  it's the lovely Latina donning an exquisite red dress for a forthcoming flamenco presentation that settles it. Not only does it have a wonderfully spacious and clean bathroom, which I've discovered is de rigeuer in Lima, it marks a cultural lesson on its own. Sitting in a quaint cafe to spend some time on the Interwebs, rhythmic thuds of dance steps carry from what are surely wood floors on the second story of the building-- likely another historic casona-- down to the main floor. An employee of the avant-garde theatre and dance center speaks entertainingly with cafe employees, seemingly family members, and hustles theatre equipment around. Pollo (chicken) empa

ñadas, other finger foods, and desserts are available for S/. 4 or 5, though I don't partake as I see no vegetarian options.

An hour or so later, I depart to browse the PPPP design gallery at the end of Sáenz Peña (Avenida Grau 810). Again interior architecture takes hold and I'm staring at the ceiling, embellished by square cupolas with operable ribbon glass and the floors of colorful hand-lain tile designs. The gallery space is well curated and comfortable furniture absolutely insists I sit on it, letting my eyes linger horizontally. It's a good time to ponder the owner couple's pieces: rugs of Andean hand-weaving tradition and Italian architectural design accessories.
Finally it's time to explore the part of Barranco more frequently discussed, heading south on Grau for a brisk six blocks. I pass musicians, architectural students and professionals, and some free spirits along the way, knowing I've finally located the bohemian center I longed for.What would Hemingway do?

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