Thursday, July 7, 2011

whitecaps on smooth stones

whitecaps on smooth stones  
a girl gazes at the waves
lapping her home

Our last day in Peru. The Pacific Ocean laps the shores of Lima and I am drawn to the water. We head to Miraflores, down the Costa Verde Road to Playa Waikiki, named by Carolos Dogny, a Peruvian sugarcane heir who returned to Lima from Hawaii in 1942 with a surfboard. However, this Waikiki beach is not composed of sugar sand but smooth stones the size of mangoes that make a knocking sound when the waves roll over them and roll them over. Just walking on these slippery, sliding stones is a challenge. Like its namesake, Playa Waikiki is a surfer's paradise. Almost everyone is suiting up, paddling out or riding the waves back in. Entering the water without a board is not easy. Most of the women in my group are just enjoying sunbathing, but one of them attempts to enter the water, gets knocked down, dragged under and battered with rocks. I have had experience with stony beaches and big waves, so I inch my way in when the waves recede, then brace as each crest hits my legs. My feet sink into the stones and I grip with my toes to keep my balance. Finally I'm far enough out to swim, but it's difficult to make any headway against the waves and I don't want to go out too far. Coming back out is as tricky as getting in. The waves want to draw me away from the shore. When I'm back on the stones, I spend the rest of the time picking them up and admiring their many colors, contours and patterns, while my friend from Chile gazes wistfully at the ocean, at the same water that touches her home.

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