Last night I had a dream that it rained here. All the dust settled. The few areas of grass looked lush, not starving. I woke up again to find the thirsty landscape of Arequipa.
In our nine weeks here, it has not rained once. Only one day did it even threaten to. The clouds covered the sky for a few hours, but soon dissipated.
The photo below taken 10 minutes north of Arequipa gives an idea of what the Spanish must have been enchanted by--a little green oasis in the midst of a harsh desert. They built their white city under the shadow of a volcano, probably imagining that the Rio Chili could feed a grand city.
But the Incas were smarter than that. That's why they hadn't tried to conquer this desert land and its guardian, el volcan Misti, in their almost 400-year domination of the region.
Today, this average river hardly serves the city's more than one million inhabitants. At least once every two to three weeks, the water is cut off in our neighborhood, Miraflores. Arequipa's population continues to grow, and already the municipality has to ration the water.
Sergio says I just need to wait a bit longer, and that it rains more in the summer. I can wait grudgingly, but I don't know if that rain will be enough to rescue this dry metropolis.