Now some long distance buses in Peru play videos. The choice of videos, however, is really shocking, they are so violent. I am wondering whether this is just my luck or whether it is a generalized phenomenon.
Yesterday, while driving through for hours through some of the most depressing industrial slums I have ever seen, including the entire city of Chimbote twice, we were treated to two videos. First, Rambo. Then, one about human trafficking in the D.F., Juárez, and New Jersey, with some very graphic rapes and beatings. I and the several of my neighbors – these passengers being a very hard working, broken down, and exceedingly sweet crowd – seemed to want to watch videos so as not to look out the windows, but on the other hand, kept looking out the windows so as not to have to see what was happening in the videos.
I kept thinking, these people live in this landscape and these videos are what are on their TV screens … while commercialized cumbias blare in the smoke-filled streets, drowning out, sometimes, the sound of construction. How do they handle it? I think they handle it because food, cell phones, transportation and Internet stations are still available, there is some employment, there are goods in the markets, and there is no war here.
That is to say that Peru has not yet turned into a one hundred percent ruined African country, and that consumerism is an effective drug. I am told that Dickens was horrified by the United States when he visited because it was so much more savage and ravaged than his London. This is how I feel about Peru as it is now.