A pass, a fail, fakes, sweatin’ cobs, Star Wars and Barrow RL, 10 years, AWOL Clunk Mechanic and bargain of the century or duffer of the week?

Good morning Folks

I trust this finds you in fine form & that you had thee most splendid weekend.
For the first time in about a month, I don’t actually feel like Oliver Reed, it has been my first weekend off the pop since November.
December was a tad excessive in the Tosh Lyons department.
A busy old week in the city of the World’s most sensitive car alarms.
Back to work, El Niño’s first outburst & a good result!

A pass!

7am on Tuesday morning saw me on a chocker-full bus heading south.
Not to the sunny  beaches darn sarf, but to “Touring” the purpose built driving test centre, for my bike test.
Last time it didn’t go so well (see previous blog for my painful explanations/excuses).
Acting on the advice of the City Centre office I was told that bike tests are held every day from 8am-2pm.
On the 29th of December, after a 90 minute journey, I was then told that tests finish at noon (the Huachiman gleefully told me this at 12:02!) 
So on Tuesday, I was there at 7:30am, only to be told that bike tests don’t start until 10am.
By 11am the sun was high inn the sky, it was proper cracking flags & we finally got started.
I decided to avoid the maniac traffic of the Panamericana on the Clunk & to hire a bike there.
For a fiver I got an almost brand new Yamaha Krypton scooter, as ridden by Superman (but what a shocking life it must lead at the hand of ham-fisted idiots, like me! It had only done 215km, but it must have been a painful 215km for the poor little Clunk, with each test being less than 1km).
An Argentine, 3 Peruvians & myself shared the two Kryptons. (Not all at once, obviously!)
The test is simple: Two figure-of-eights, right hand turn, slalom poles, left hand turn (hecklers on the back straight shouting “Faster, faster“), left hand turn & done. After waiting for 2 hrs in the sun I got the good news that I’d passed, we all passed (having all previously failed on the figure-of-eights).
I had told Lina that I’d be done by 9am & we could go straight to the beach (“Touring is about halfway). We headed that way when I finally got my results, to catch an hour of sun before it went down…

A fail!
After two Medicals (including a psychometric test, scary stuff), seven trips to the “Touring” office in Lince (where they play the Lighthouse Family “Lifted” on a loop), four Theory exams, three trips to the “Touring” Circuit down south & two Practical exams, I finally passed my bike test. I was expecting to be given my license there & then, or at least have it posted to me. No such luck!
It was never going to be quite that straightforward…
With all the right stamps in the right places I was told to take my exam slip to the GTU (DVLC equivalent, splintered into a dozen divisions) on the far side of central Lima. It was ambitious thinking that I could get there & back for work by 10am. I had been told that it opened at 8am, so after 3 buses I got there for 7:30am (first-in-queue approach). Indeed I was, as it didn’t open until 8:30am.
I had all the relevant bits of paperwork:  (Passport pic on a CD & 3 copies of every documents imaginable).
My “Declaracion Jurada” (basically saying that I live where I live) was one week out of date, apparently. I never knew that it could run out. Not best impressed, I then made  mistake No.1:
Never question authority!
A bit of power is a bad thing & the very moment I started complaining, I realised that I’d made a mistake, so I started backtracking, but it was too late. So even if I do get the document re-done (an epic in itself) & get it back there (within a week I was told, as I had started the “tramite” (paperwork/goose chase)), I fear my application to actually get my license may go to the bottom of a very big pile!)
I then made a further mistake by asking whether I could actually ride my Clunk whilst waiting for the paperwork to get done.
Therby committing error No. 2:
Never put somebody with a bit of authority on the spot!
I retreated best I could & after 3 buses, I made it to work with 5 minutes to spare!

Sweatin’ cobs…

Summer is finally here & so is El Niño.
Rain & sweaty, sweaty humidity. Lima is humid all year round, making it feel hotter than it actually is in summer & cooler than it really is in winter. Blighty has days when it feels “close”, but normally after a good downpour, it feels fresh again. Not here!
El Niño hasn’t had a massive deluge (yet), but a drop of rain in this desert-city-by-the-seaside-beside-the-sea (with flat roofs & no drains) causes chaos.
On Thursday it made an appearance & wreaked havoc.
Rain I can cope with (I was born in the Lake District), but the sweatiness is a bugger that’s hard to ignore.
The slightest bit of exertion & you’re drowning.
The punters here however have an aversion to air conditioning &/or the slightest breeze, in that it has been convinced by their parents, who were convinced by their parents, that it will make them sick (& more than likely give them “flu”). If you go to visit somebody in winter, all the windows will be open (whilst they will be wearing jackets/scarves/hat/gloves).
Conversely in summer, on the buses (“I’ll get you Butler“) all the windows will be shut & all the passengers slowly stewing in their own perspiration. Indeed there is a fish dish called “Sudado” (sweating). It is so sweaty here that even the fish sweat.
In my classes this week, it’s been hot, really hot, but if I turn on the air conditioning, after 2 minutes people are putting jackets on/pulling hoods up & after 3 minutes, they start coughing & dramatically beg for me to turn the air conditioning off, which I do (I’m not that cruel!)
I’m not complaining, but being British I feel it an obligation/duty to moan about the weather!


I must be losing my touch.
Three fake 5-Sole-coins (£1) in one day I ask you.
Getting change here is a nightmare at the best of times. I was trying to buy something for one Sole with a two Soles coin & the trader (who sold mainly things for one Sole) had no change!

I was in a rush to get to work & bought what I thought were Tic-tacs (as they were mixed in with the Tic-Tacs). Must be losing my sight as well as they were lookalikes called “Minty” & they taste about as minty as a clove of garlic.
I need to open my eyes a bit more…

Star Wars & Barrow RLFC.

I have been a lifelong supporter of Barrow Rugby League Club. It’s been a rocky road with more downs that ups, but you have to keep on keepin’ on. In 2011 Barrow played Halifax in the Cup. My brother recorded it for me, but on a Sky box, so I had to avoid the result. There was a Halifax fan on another shift at work, so I dodged him. It wasn’t really headline news, but as my brother lived in Halifax when I drove over I was half expecting to bump into the Halifax team on an open-top-bus carrying the cup. Against all odds, I managed to avoid the result until I watched it & Barrow won! The first glimmer of form in 56 years!
image(I couldn’t find any photos of a Barrow player scoring a try, so here is somebody else).

Now, Star Wars came out 3 weeks back & avoiding spoilers was a bit like avoiding the result of the World Cup, if I lived inside the stadium!

Possibly the last person to see the new Star Wars, I really had to see it before the sequel came out & before it was on telly.
So, on Saturday with 3 work colleagues we went to see it.
With Disney being involved & after “Jaja Binks” & the like, I was a bit worried.
I needn’t have been, as it is ACE!
I just kept thinking, this is so, so, so good.
Especially the bit that was filmed in the Lake District!
Highly recommended :-)

10 years…

On the 5th January 2005 I got hitched to a bonny lass called Lina.
Beyond all miracles we are still together 10 years on!
It’s not all been rainbows, unicorns, flowers & boxes of chocolates (in fact there have been no rainbows, unicorns, nor flowers), but it’s been an adventure & a lot of fun.
The adventure stepped up another notch last year with our move to Peru with the Nipper.
After 12mths here I am finally settling down. Not 100% sure if we’ll stay here forever, but we’ll be here for a wee while yet.
Thanks to Lina for putting up with me :-)

Bargain of the century or duffer of the week?

I used to fritter away a bit too much of my hard-earned on junk on fleabay.
I once did a Car Boot Sale, everybody should indulge in this pleasure at least once in a lifetime.
I never went back (as a buyer or seller).

Fleabay is different. I don’t know if it is the fact that you actually feel like you have “won” something, (even though you pay for it).
All manner of tat is on there & my shed was full of it.
I had to wean myself off it here, which is not a bad thing, but there is a page on Facebook, for people in Lima who want rid of their things they no longer want…

My computer is a Mac, a hand-me-down-hand-me-down, which I love, but it is getting slower & slower.
So, when I saw a laptop going for a song, I stepped in.
A HP model with English AND Cyrillic keyboard! James Bond material, I had to have it.
I didn’t read the description properly & after having built up a good rapport with the seller online & bussing it across town, by the time I realised my error, it was too late! I couldn’t back out.
It doesn’t work & even after spending 10 minutes scanning youtube for fix-it-tutorials, I have failed. I fear it is a write-off, spares & repairs.
Will I ever learn?
A 2nd hand laptop for £20 isn’t going to be brilliant :-/

AWOL Clunk Mechanic…

After being assured that he’d be here on Sunday at 10am to tend to the ailing Clunk, my mechanic was a no-show & wasn’t answering any of the 5 (!) mobile numbers I have for him.
I now admit I have had my pants pulled down!
I’m taking it to a garage this week.
After having been promised since September, I’ve finally got the message!
Gracias Amigo, not.

And finally…

As I wish you a week full of awesomeness, I leave you with this short (enlightening) video.
It is worth watching for the subtitles!
Several leagues above Mongoliando.com TOP TIPS, here are ten life-saving/life-changing/amusing tips for your Monday entertainment!

Have an outstanding week.

Johnny, Lina & Valentina x


One thought on “A pass, a fail, fakes, sweatin’ cobs, Star Wars and Barrow RL, 10 years, AWOL Clunk Mechanic and bargain of the century or duffer of the week?

  1. Mark.owen

    Reading this stonking read in 20 c Lab luxury @ work with the dregs of Man flu so your blog has cheered me up no end. only another 9hrs to go. Take care Amigo :-)


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