Tuesday, November 08, 2011

No Cranes in Lima

I walked yesterday from central Lima to the sea, and having walked the length and breadth of the city, and having seen it from a hilltop at the far edge of the city, I think I can say I have seen it pretty well over-all, I have not see a single construction crane. There seems to be no building going on in the city at this time.

There is no building boom, and no building at all that I can see. Some people do private construction on houses, of course, but there are no office towers, no commercial centres, no massive industrial parks or high-tech centres that I can find a'coming.

Yet, the city is filled with people shopping, buying small things as a rule, but buying nonetheless, having at least enough money for food and shoes and taxi rides from the shops everywhere. Is it all cocaine money settling into the working class wallet?

The Peruvian economy grew by more than 4% per year during the period 2002-06, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Growth jumped to 9% per year in 2007 and 2008, driven by higher world prices for minerals and metals and the government's aggressive trade liberalization strategies, but then fell to less than 1% in 2009 in the face of the world recession and lower commodity export prices. Growth resumed in 2010 at nearly 8%, due partly to increased exports. Peru's rapid expansion has helped to reduce the national poverty rate by about 15% since 2002, though underemployment remains high; inflation has trended downward in 2009, to below the Central Bank's 1-3% target. Despite Peru's strong macroeconomic performance, overdependence on minerals and metals subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices, and poor infrastructure precludes the spread of growth to Peru's non-coastal areas. Not all Peruvians therefore have shared in the benefits of growth and despite President GARCIA's pursuit of sound trade and macroeconomic policies, persistent inequality has cost him political support. Nevertheless, he remains committed to Peru's free-trade path. Since 2006, Peru has signed trade deals with the United States, Canada, Singapore, and China, concluded negotiations with the European Union, and begun trade talks with Korea, Japan, and others.



I've been in places where people were starving to death. This is not one of them.

The economy of Peru is classified as upper middle income by the World Bank[10][11] Peru is, as of 2011, one of the world's fastest-growing economies owing to the economic boom experienced during the 2000s... and is the 42nd largest in the world.

This country is not booming economically at the moment, but it is a lovely place to be. On a scale of 1-10, this is a 7 to my mind, below Israel at 9 and above Greece at 6, Mexico at 3, and almost any park in a large city in the United States today at 1.

Yesterday was the first time in a month and a half that I had a guy try to sell me cocaine. He was a Bolivian, and a toothless grifter no matter where from. Compare that to Canada where life is nearly unbearable from all the petty crime, the social interference from leftards, and the miserable climate and Peru beats it by a scale of magnitude.


Michael Crosby said...

Hey Dag, Mike here in USA. My buddy just got back from Mexico. His house there is not right on the ocean, but very close. I google mapped it and it looked like a beautiful place. He's in love with it, and there are so many things there that really excite him. He wants me to go in with him which I think I'll do. I could see myself living there.

Dag said...

Hi, Michael. I too would love to live in Mexico, at least in some parts of it. I seem to be slagging Mexico above, but that's not my intention. It is lovely and mostly peaceful outside the drug zones.

But it is not Peru. Mexico is intense and colourful and exotic, particularly in the far south, my favourite areas being in Chiapas, but most of my years there in Mexico City, one of the most lively and interesting cities on earth.

A few weeks ago I spent an hour chatting with an American couple who retired to Mexico over ten years ago, they being here on vacation from the coast. They love it. I have no doubts.

But there are other places between here and there that deserve consideration as well, Nicaragua, for example, and the city of Granada, my best place in all of Central America.

Lima is not a retirement city, frankly, and one would be hard-pressed to enjoy a life of well-deserved leisure here. But there are places in the hinterlands of Peru where life is seemingly very different, and I am going to go soon to take a look see at what those places are like. I'll park the majority of my stuff in Lima and travel light for as long as I can and see some of this vast and, I assume and hope, exotic nation.

But to have a buddy to share a house with, that seems like a pretty good deal to me. Home, as I recall, is something good. I hope someday to find out for sure, but till then, I'm on the road. Will keep us all posted, as I hope you will too about how it might turn out in Mexico.