Being on the bus has put me in a remarkably good mood. My Spanish is indeed getting better, and talking to people, no matter how difficult or unnecessary, is indeed the thing. Then it's just the openness, the long road, the vast ocean often not so far from the highway. Places in the country, anywhere in the world, can be remarkably similar. Everyone who passes by these places in a long distance bus is in a remarkably universal mood, I think, and so are the people they pass: every boy playing with a puppy on the village main street is not so different from each other, and every young family walking home on the long country road in the dusk has the same burdens and desires in their minds.
The coast is quite barren, like the cost of Mexico and Baja California. It is poor... the shanty towns outside of cities are just like Mexico's, brick shacks, adobe shacks, even dwellings encased only by sheets of straw. The never finished buildings of shantys make them look like ruins, and the abundance of TV antennas in every which angle reminds me of those low angle shots in period movies, of a battleground after the massacre, swords and spears like toothpicks on the bodies.
The mist, which finally started to lift today in Lima as I was leaving, covers much of the coast as well, and the coast line is monotonous. But it is still beautiful... a good background for the syrupy sweet Latin love songs as our bus rolls by.