Where am I? London? Chicago? 2024? 1981? Who knows?  The fog is thick on the Malecon oceanfront in April. April means it’s the beginning of autumn in Lima, Peru, the days shorter and the sky a blanket of thick yuck, looking like a canvas yet to be painted. Believe it or not, that’s the ocean behind me.  Funny how the Pacific can disappear, but my wrinkles still show up.

Lima will remain foggy until November, for reasons I was supposed to learn in high school geography but didn’t, thanks to Adam Cottle, the kid who sat behind me. He was obsessed with being a hypnotist and I was his guinea pig. No, I haven’t tried cuy yet, nor Peruvian sushi.

Back to the fog. If you could see through the pea soup, you’d be able to see where I live from my bus stop. And on the bus?  It’s just like Chicago, complete with crazy folks, except the driver plays salsa music and makes the correct change. My morning commute is 1.5 sole, or about forty cents, which was Chicago CTA bus fare in 1968. 

My new abode is part of Lima’s jigsaw puzzle of neighborhoods, Barranco.  There’s a new high-rise behind those two Lego blocks. Honestly. But Barranco is a splash of art cool cafes and ocean views.  But my corner piece overlooks the Metropolitano (Lima’s speed bus that makes more noise than all the car alarms in Wrigleyville). Yes, I know that speed bus is an oxymoron. But my modest apartment is safe, and affordable, and the toilets work.  And when I on the bus? I feel like I’m in Chicago, a boisterous transit-evangelist drowns out the salsa music the driver is playing.

Being on the corner of Barranco and Surco, I’m between two worlds. If I turn one way, I feel like I’m Grand Rapids cruising the aisles of Meijer Thrifty Acres. If I turn the other way? I am at the Jorge Chavas Market which mirrors the chaos of the Dong Ba market of Hue, Vietnam. You can find manicurists next to the raw meat section and even get your eyes checked. You want bananas? You’ll be seeing more than yellow.

I see a face on the street that I’ve seen before. Not somewhere in Lima, but from a different chapter in my life. A dusty one, back from the Dewey Decimal days. Is it someone from my dorm during my college days? My mom told me this would happen, that my past would have a fender-bender with the present in the fog in my brain.

The sun breaks through the fog. Or is it the caffeine? I see the beauty of the city. I seize the day.

3 thoughts on “Fog

    1. I saw Colleen Finan, my roommate from my first year at MSU. BUT, I still remember hiding in a car with you from Neil Hon-something-or-other, our Advertising T.A., while we were waiting in the parking lot in front of Williams Hall.

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