Perú 2015: Tongue trouble and art exhibits

When my tongue swelled to the point of having to take out my piercing Wednesday night, I started to worry a little (for those of you who know me well, that means A LOT. My first thought was tongue cancer, if that tells you anything). Since then, I’ve been hemming and hawing about whether or not to fork out the cash for a visit to a clinic here in Lima. I’m a worrier, but I’m also very well aware of my tendency to blow things out of proportion. Bottom line? It’s hard to figure out what to do in these situations. Am I just freaking out over a minor little thing or am I going to end up needing a partial tongue amputation because I didn’t get seen when I should have? I really can’t differentiate between those two poles. So, after making two appointments, cancelling the first one, and then deciding the second one was WAY too far off, I ended up in urgencias today with a clearly defined lump on the middle of my tongue and a distinct fear of bad news (what if they wanted to cut into it, as my mom suggested? Holy hell).

Well, I’m here to tell you that they did NOT cut into my tongue. Not yet, at least. I believe the word the doctor used to describe it was an oblomo, although fear and hunger were sort of clouding my brain at the moment. So it could have been more like absceso, which I’m pretty sure is what he meant. He poked at it a few times with a tongue depressor, said things like, “wow!” and “I bet that really hurts!” and then gave me some antibiotics and told me to come back to the head and neck surgery clinic in a few days. “If it doesn’t go down by then,” he said, “we’ll just make a little cortecito.” For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, that means, a little cut. Gulp. Say a little prayer, guys, seriously, because if I have to have my tongue sliced open you’re going to hear me scream back in Iowa.

After that adventure (which was over surprisingly quickly, by the way – I was in an out in less than 30 minutes, paid about $60 US, and was handed my meds as I checked out), I found some lunch and then walked over to Parque Kennedy for some kitty therapy. This little guy was happy to oblige:


I decided to walk back to Barranco for a little exercise, and then took a nice afternoon nap after chatting with the mister, who was enjoying a day in NYC with an old friend. Eat some pizza for meeeeee, babe!

When I woke up, I got dressed and headed down Av. Pedro de Osma to check out a few galleries I’ve been meaning to visit. The first, Museo Pedro de Osma, maintains an impressive selection of sixteenth to eighteenth century paintings, sculptures, and stone and silver metal work from the Peruvian Viceroyalty. It’s not the kind of art I’m into, really, but it was an interesting exhibit, and the house that it is displayed in is absolutely gorgeous.

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Oh, and look! Saint Ambrose!


Next up was the Mario Testino Museum (MATE), which was great. I’ve always loved his portraits, and the permanent collection did not disappoint.

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In addition to Testino’s classic portraits and fashion spreads, he has also been working on a series of portraits of Cusqueños in traditional dress, and those were really striking:

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The temporary exhibit – “Geografía de la diferencia,” by Phillipe Gruenberg – was interesting, too, and picked up on the tensions inherent in mechanically altering the (public) Peruvian landscape to suit capitalist (private) interests. In addition to a series of photographs, his exhibit also displayed two videos running towards the edges of two perpendicular walls, contrasting inhabited natural spaces in one, and constantly shifting geometric shapes and lines in the other. The audio included crashing waves and the revving of motorcycles. It was pretty great.

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I lingered in the Gruenberg exhibit for a while, and then made my way back towards the heart of Barranco for dinner at Canta Rana (yum) and some reading and blogging at the apartment. Tomorrow I have interviews with both Jesús Cossio and Juan Acevedo, so it’s going to be a big day! Tongue, don’t fail me now!!!


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