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Inside-Peru Newsletter, Issue #015 - The Plaza
March 07, 2011

Hello



The Plaza

The Plaza
Plaza Organos full
Plaza de Armas, Iquitos, Peru

The center of life in most Hispanic towns is the plaza. Just about every hole in the wall, one-church village has a main plaza.

So, I thought I'd dedicate this newsletter to plazas from places we have sojourned.

The Plaza Principal

In Peru, it's usually name the Plaza de Armas, no matter what the town.

Cities will have many plazas, but there is always the main plaza, the "Plaza Principal."

The Plaza
Plaza Organos full
Our Home Town - Los Organos, Peru

We have lived in cities, towns, and little villages, and the plazas always formed the core of our shopping and business visits, not to mention social and relaxation visits.

The post office, banks, money changers, and markets are usually located in the area of the plaza.

Usually, the best restaurants are on the plaza square.

The main business of life is carried on in the plazas of Latin America.

The Plaza
Los Organos Plaza killing time
Overlooking Main Plaza
Checking things out - Los Organos, Peru


During the day, the plaza itself may be used for street vendors, old people feeding the pigeons...

...and people with time to kill finding some shade to sit in.

ahuayo slice


It really comes to life, though, in the evening, especially in the warmer climes, like here.

It is where young parents take their babies and kids to stroll around, buy an ice cream (helados), with space for the kids to run around. The parents can enjoy watching their children play and visit with friends that show up.


ahuayo slice

The Plaza
Plaza Tarija Gato Pardo
Restaurant on Main Plaza, Tarija, Bolivia

The plaza is the perfect place for the retired folks to enjoy a stroll or to sit and watch the action, better than TV in most cases.

You will find groups of older men in animated conversation as they circle the plaza in the cool night air getting their exercise…but mainly a chance to hash out the news of the day with their cronies.


In the later mornings, they will appear again at the panaderias (bakeries) or cafes, where they will sit with their coffee, smoke, and jaw some more.

The Plaza
Plaza Organos full
Napping in Talara, Peru

Of course, afternoons are for siestas, and where better to take a little nap that the bench in the plaza.


 ahuayo slice




In the past, the plaza was the main point for marriage age señoritas to take the air with their chaperones.


Moving in a circle, they would pass young men promenading in the opposite direction and sneak a glance or even a coquettish look with them.


The Plaza
Plaza Tarija schoolgirls
Schoolgirls in Tarija, Bolivia

Aside from church, this is where the most contact between the sexes took place.


Now, the evenings are more likely to be filled with loud techno music, be it salsa, cumbia, or andina, depending on the town.


The señoritas are not chaperoned as in old times but always arrive in groups.


Unchaperoned couples are not the norm here.


ahuayo slice


Cities may have problems at times with certain plazas being the gathering place for a certain sector of the population - drugs, gangs, etcetera.

The Plaza
Plaza Organos Caribenos
Los Organos, Peru
Banner announcing the "Caribenos" tropical music, entrance to plaza

 

But in the smaller towns with just one plaza, the mix of families, grandparents, and youngsters keeps things family oriented.

 

There is always something going in the plaza.

It might be an exhibition of local art, a soap box orator, a full-on program by the local schools with dancing and pageantry or it might be the center of the new fad, skateboarding.

ahuayo slice

 

Any way you look at it, you cannot beat the plaza for some place to go in the evening.

How about you? Wanna hit the plaza tonight? Hey, how about eating at the parillada on the corner…or maybe just anticuchos? And helados afterwards?

The Plaza
helados ice cream plaza
Helados - Ice Cream     Hmmm... which one?

Now, here are the latest additions to Inside-Peru.com, your choice in Peru Travel.



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