The Run of La Quebrada
(Zorritos, Peru)

Traveling southbound (yet with sharp curves actually sometimes eastbound, or is it even yet northbound, again?) along the western edge of the dry gulch known locally as La Quebrada de los Pozos, from the beginning of the street's short run at the intersection of Panamericana Norte (1N) and the so-called Diamond Eyes Café (a name agreed upon most likely due to the unique decorative elements of the sometimes open, sometime not, front door entranceway), one will pass by the clothing and kitchenware sales lady and her husband, the fruit vendor and his two friends, and even perhaps the welder's cat, with its grayish-brown camouflaged colors hiding him well amongst the street's many sandy corners and alleys. On most days this small group of merchants and friends will all be found here, quietly resting in what appears to be a form of prolonged trance, together atop the café's practical 3-foot-high elevated sidewalk, a walkway whose unusual height is used strategically as both a bench and stage/countertop for their street-side market stands. The remarkable calm, seemingly frozen quality of the kitchenware sales lady's husband can often cause new visitors to the area to believe that he is actually a wax statue of a man from many decades past. And if that was the case, he would certainly be found in the category of dignified, yet slightly worn and dirty statue.

Further along the creek's curving route, past the construction workers union (with its green painted façade), the children's school (with its freshly painted yellow wall), and the newly constructed Parc Las Banderas (with its modernist style red and brown cactus sculpture), one will soon come to the visually striking, light blue and white (a theme of the district's recently refreshed curbs and handrails) Miramar-Sechurita pedestrian flood-security footbridge, with its companion creek-level auto crossroad. Found diagonally across from the entrance to the footbridge & crossroad, a new municipal relaxation park contains a variety of items: an oversized 4-foot-tall soccer ball sculpture, a selection of covered benches, and even a stone and metal-gated Catholic prayer shrine. Across from the municipal park is a cobbled together three-part, tin-roof entertainment complex of sorts, home to a combination snack bar café & news stand, as well as a nearly invisible (and only at certain times operating) tavern and event space. The so-called tavern and event space, known by some as El Pícaro, has no signage or actual official name. With a dark, cool, (and on windy days) dusty interior, it stands devoid of any unnecessary decoration, with a simple L-shaped bar and rear-side windows displaying a clear view on to La Quebrada de los Pozos. The head of the bar, if that title officially existed, is a reserved and elegantly understated man from up in the nearby flatlands of Pedregal, who claims to base his style and “knowledge of things” on the Moroccan born, French actor of Spanish decent, Jean Reno. In relation to the specifics of the establishment, it remains unclear if the leader of the tavern has a set schedule as to when El Pícaro opens for business. Once, after being asked by an honorable passing visitor to the region, a few seconds pause led only to the words “algún día.”

At the edge of town, out on the dry creek bed just past El Pícaro and adjacent to the pedestrian bridge's companion road, are the simple and effective wooden-post construction of 2 informal soccer goals, with the flat creek bed surface serving as the main playing field. Seen as well along the opposing shore of La Quebrada's impromptu sports field are 2 sets of covered and shaded concrete viewing bleachers, built into the eastern (northern) bank of the creek. These bleachers, most likely designed for fans of each opposing soccer team, could also feasibly be of use for any upcoming daredevil boat races (in the case of a seasonal torrential flood) or for that matter, for any other type of desert-style racing event that might come along in the future: a motocross event, a BMX challenge race for the area youth, or perhaps simply a horse race (or parade?) of some kind.

Embedded into the viewing bleachers are three sets of concrete access steps leading down to the creek bed, along with a small covered bench seemingly built to hold 2 public announcers or scorekeepers of some sort. In relation to this set-up, there appears, however, nowhere to be seen any actual adjacent working scoreboard or announcement speakers of any kind. Oddly, for years on end, locals have been known to complain about a randomly occurring, painfully loud (nearly deafening in fact) security system alarm that can be heard directly over the creek bed soccer field. On questioning of local residents and customers at El Pícaro about the aggressive sounds, no complaints were actually registered personally, with a universal shrug of the shoulders being the most common response.

For the most part, outside of the occasional late night coupling of teenagers and the once legendary (yet by all recollections, exceptionally casual and patiently handled) capture of a lost spectacled bear that had drifted down from the Tumbes Natural Reserve, the whole concrete viewing platform (both the scorekeeper's bench and the audience seating area) is normally devoid of activity and not actively in service.

And as the leader of the tavern once made mysteriously clear: “Here we have a situation where silence holds the starring role”.


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