Before & after the beach [Featured]

March 1st, 2009

Rachel Gamarra tells an enjoyable tale of an average day living next to one of Lima’s city beaches, and the chaos that ensues when thousands of people try to make their journeys home all at the same time. A must-read…

Summer vacation is coming to an end in a couple of weeks, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the beach crowds!

My Sunday drive to church normally takes us down by the circuit of beaches along the Costa Verde before connecting to the Via Expresa. As we descend down the bajada my kids cheer, “Yaaay! Playa!”

Crowds begin their journey home after a day at the beaches.

Crowds begin their journey home after a day at the beaches.

Passing by Playa Agua Dulce in Chorrillos we noticed a big Coca-Cola stage set up to which my oldest one reacts, “Mmmm…I like soda.”

Chorrillos is beach-central during the summertime where concerts, cerveza and ceviche are the daily norms. Playa Agua Dulce, Playa Pescadores, and Playa Herradura are the hot-spots for Lima’s lower classes.

As the upper and middle classes party at their beach houses in the South, the remaining populace hops on the micro or the combi and books it to the Costa Verde beaches with their plaid market bags and worn backpacks in tow.

Getting to the beach isn’t so much a problem. There are plenty of micros and combis throughout the morning and early afternoon to get the people to and fro, but when the sun begins its descent, the beach goers begin their ascent up the main subida.

There is a solid queue of people from the pedestrian bridge of Playa Agua Dulce below to the corners of Av. Iglesias and Av. Huaylas above. It throws me back to my days of growing up in touristy Orlando, Florida. The Lima beach queue could easily dwarf any attraction wait line at Disney or Universal.

The sidewalks of Av. Iglesias are blanketed by the massive beach crowds.  Sunburned, sandy, sweaty and damp the tired beach goers wait for their respective bus to approach.

Waiting and hailing down the buses turns into a game of survival and chicken. Living on the main corner of the avenue and two blocks from the beach gives me a voyeur’s vantage point of all the commotion.

Eight floors up in my living room I hear a crowd of people begin to shout excitedly. “Something is going on,” I think to myself.

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