Vendor City Guide: Piura

Interview by Mahira Vásquez

Eremia Ruíz Girón, 70, is a vendor of the one of the world’s newest street papers, Peatón (meaning ‘pedestrian’), in the city of Piura in northern Peru. Launched in July, it is the first street paper sold in the country.

Why I like living in Piura

Because of the heat, and this is where I grew up. I have lived in the district of Castilla since I was three, according to what my mother told me. My favourite district of Piura is Catacaos, because there is good food there. There are beautiful things like souvenirs made of clay and silver that you can take back home. When there are fairs I go with my husband to sell small plastic toys and purses. I think it’s a nice place.

Everyone should visit…

Malacasí, a small town in Huancabamba Province because it is beautiful, especially when there are festivals to honour Santa Rosa of Lima and the Captive Lord of Ayabaca, saints of much devotion in Peru. In Piura too during Holy Week, people visit the churches and accompany the procession of the image of Jesus crucified.

Peatón vendor Eremia. [Credit: Jorge Ledesma]

Only locals know this…

Miguel Grau [Peru’s most distinguished naval commander] is a local hero. Every visitor should go to the Miguel Grau Museum. It is a large and very pretty house, there is a cot, a patio, and other relics of his life and his marine career. Also, it is close to the city centre.

My favourite time of the year

Independence Day and Christmas. On 28 July there is a march where students and the military parade along the main avenue of the city and many people come to see the show. At Christmas I sell my toys and at night I eat panetón (a traditional bread made with a dough of flour, raisins and candied fruits). I bake chicken, prepare hot chocolate. What I like the most is putting together my ‘nacimiento’ – nativity scene – and at midnight I put my little Jesus in the manger.

Where to eat and drink

The best restaurants are in the Mercado Modelo (central market) of Piura. There you can find
a lot of spots selling delicious and inexpensive food, such as creole chicken soup. My favourite place to eat is the Caserío Miraflores because it is cheap and it feels like the food is homemade.

How to escape city life

I go to the Miguel Cortéz Children’s Park because over there I have fun. I get distracted. In the park you can find several things that you can buy, and sometimes there are clowns or travelling comedians.

Originally published in The Big Issue UK

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