At a SAU women’s brunch following the close of the fall semester, back in December, I was chatting with some fellow Ambrosians when a colleague brought up the Baecke grant, a university fund used to support humanities scholarship and research. “Why don’t you apply for a Baecke to do comics research in South America?” she asked. “It would be exactly the kind of research that we want to support.” Huh… really?
Well, fast-forward a few months, and here I am in Perú, settling into Lima, where I’ll be working on a project on testimonial Peruvian comics. I’ll be interviewing local comics creator Jesús Cossio, who I had the pleasure to meet in Iowa City a couple years ago, and then hopefully meet some more people, do some research at the Lugar de la Memoria and the Biblioteca National, hit some comic book shops and see some things I don’t have access to back in the Midwest. My lovely boyfriend is off being the hugely talented, amazing artist that he is at a artist’s residency in upstate New York for the month, so I saw him off a few days ago (I miss you already. mister!), got myself on a plane shortly after that, and suddenly I’m here, ready for as much research, travel, writing and exploration as I can jam into a little over three weeks.
For now, though, I’m working on getting settled. I got in late – a little before midnight – and after finding a sweet little old man holding a sign with my name on it at the airport, I was driven to my Airbnb apartment in the Barranco district, known for being the sort of bohemian, artsy zone of the sprawling Lima metropolis. I was basically asleep on my feet while meeting my host and receiving keys and suggestions and such, but luckily for me, he left a cute little map with all of his and his wife’s favorite spots marked out. Yay. I love Airbnb.
I woke up eager to explore, and took a couple passes around the nearby streets to get my bearings and start locating some of the key spots: supermarket, check; plaza, check; coffee joint, check; recommended ceviche bars one through three, check, check, check. Then I set out to find the ocean boardwalk.
It was shockingly close. Just past my front door lies a small park that separates two sleepy streets. Well, two USUALLY sleepy streets, I’m told, but construction on a main road leading into Barranco has pushed a steady stream of pissed off, horn-happy traffic up here, which is unfortunate. There will be bitching about this later, I’m sure, but for now I’m excited to be here and generally forgiving of the small inconveniences.
Just past the park lies a quaint cobblestone road that winds down to a hidden mirador (a small stone nook from which you can observe the ocean view):
which leads to a bridge that takes you from the bluff across the highway to the boardwalk.
It’s gorgeous. I strolled along it for a mile or so before heading back to the apartment. Then a quick trip to the grocery store, one more pass through the neighborhood, and I’m in for the night for some final grading and making plans for tomorrow. I hear there’s a park in Miraflores that’s full of cats?!?