December 9, 2019

Catching up…

Good morning folks

I trust this weekly nonsense finds you in top form and finest fettle.
Last week was a rushed shambles, so I am actually scribbling this as fast as my two typing fingers can type, in the vain hope that maybe, just maybe, it may resemble something resembling a blog before the weekend.
Here goes…

If this were my student, this would be 10/10.

Parque Lambramani 7.5km Marathon!

The Misti Sky Race is now just 2 weeks away!
I haven´t been on the hills fsince June and I should be panicking.
(I do look at Misti several times a day, then look away!)

However, to kid myself about fitness and make me feel better about my running, I entered a local race advertised as the “Parque Lambramani 7.5km maraton“.
Parque Lambramani is a big shopping centre (not a park, like I was looking for) about 5mins stroll from my gaff and 7.5km is not a marathon, a double oxymoron if you like.

It was ony s/12 to enter and on Sunday morning, so why not I thought!
(I asked for a medium t-shirt, but they had none so I was given a large and then also a small!)

7.5km is not even 5 miles, on the road, so any benefits for MSR would be less than negligible.

I was (still) pretty crook all week with very bad guts, so running to el baño was my only training Monday and Tuesday.
Managed a shamefully short run on Wednesday. Ran home from work for lunch on Thursday (hot as! Now I know why nobody runs at midday, bar mad Englishmen and dogs).
Felt a bit better Friday, so went a bit further and then dysentry returned on Saturday, which was my last realistic chance for a recce.

Not many streets have signs here, and as a marked course with marshals was unlikely, I thought I´d best check it out.

(Memories of my first ever race “victory” at the Guisborough Moors junior fell race in 1987 are still raw, when I ran out of my skin to win my first ever race and smash the record by 8 minutes, to be then dragged before the stewards and told that a marshal had sent us the wrong way, so I had cheated.
Result= Disqualified and placed last. The eventual winner was so far behind the field that the guilty marshal had gone home and wasn´t there to send him the wrong way. I never went back there!)

Races are why I run. Although I hate the hour before the start with a passion.
I dodged the enforced DJ 7am warm-up (poor locals, good job I was up as I would have been woken up by the racket).
I´ve run long enough to know how to do a few stretches without Señor Motivator telling me what to do.

Not long after official kick-off we were called under starter´s orders and OFF!

Defying the “Wear the race t-shirt” rule.

As expected, an absolute kamikaze early pace, I counted folk around me. 12th spot and I was absolutely ball$-out.
Suddenly (a word that is not quite sufficient in these circumstances) the guy in front of me dropped out (ie, stopped dead), he´d blown-up after less than a mile. I´d done my kind-of-recce the day before and although I had got lost and run 3 miles further, I had a general idea.

Short road races are purgatory, you wind it up and up then dig in until the end.
Well, this is true if you are fit and have trained, not much fun if you´ve spent the last 12 months plodding, daydreaming and saying to yourself “Next month I´ll…”

Anyroad, after just under half an hour of dodgy road crossings, holding my guts and gurning, I crossed the line in 6th spot (1st Vet, no prizes).


Did get a podium shot though. Life in this old dog yet?

Tramites!!!

I´ll try and keep this concise! If I tell the full story we´ll all be still here at Christmas, 2021.
In a nutshell, as I have officially moved house/address, I have (a month) to update my address.
Enter the new details on a website?
A quick phone call??

Not on your nelly!

(In theory) follow these simple steps…
1) Pay a (nominal) fee at Banco del Nacion.
2) Fill in form F007 (nothing to do with Señor Bond)
3) Get a “Declaracion Jurada de Domicilio.
4) Then, with the above, make an appointment at “Migraciones”…

Simple enough, it would seem.

(In reality)
Step 1: Banco del Nacion is famed for its queues. Anything official must be paid there.
I wasted 30 mins of my lunch break looking for an “Agente”, a smaller version of el banco, but was told that I couldn´t pay this specific fee there.
Hotfooted/sweated it to the main branch. 43 punters in front of me with 90mins before I had to be back at work…


We slowly snaked round the barriers as a collective chuntering mass. Personal space is non existent here so you have a person behind you huffing/puffing/pushing/constantly sighing behind you. There were 4 cashiers, who became 3, who became 2, who became 1.
Not morphing into a supercashier, but probably going for their dinner, or to sob quietly somewhere in a darkened room.

At that point, the patience of one chunterer snapped. A bit like the shower scene in “The Rock” when the Marine knocks a brick and chaos ensues. Well, maybe not quite so dramatic, but it seemed like the whole crowd started shouting at the one poor remaining bloke serving, who looked up and around to find himself deserted and abandoned. Even the Security Guard was stirring things up by saying “They shoudl have gone for their lunch earlier!”
I got served with 12mins to spare, paid my s/22-80 (it´s never a square amount) and sprinted back to work, breaking all land speed records in the process.
Step 1 ✔️

Step 2: Form F007 is a simple print-off-&-fill-in job. An orangutan could do it (if they ever needed to update their address whilst living as a resident in Peru).


Step 2 ✔️



Step 3: The “Declaracion Jurada Domicilio” was a bit trickier. I got conflicting information from “Notaria” to “Notaria”.
One place said I had to take a friend who had to swear it was me, before I could swear that I had moved house.
(I was ready to swear by the end of this step).
Another would write me a letter for s/300 (I had been quoted s/6 at one place, but the address was wrong on their website and they had moved 4 hours away. In fact many places were at different addresses to those advertised, did they all have to go through this same rigmarole as me as well?)

Another place (near my house, but not near my work) said I had to make an appointment first to see if I was suitable, to be considered as a client (!?)
Other places would do it for locals, but not for Johnny Foreigners, such as me.

I gave up ringing round and started looking on foot.
I found one place, but it was definitely, very closed.

Then, with 30mins to spare I stumbled across a place who would do it with a leccy bill, while-u-wait. Result!
The dictated letter sounded a bit weird, but after 5 stamps and paying a bargain s/16.20, I had it in my hands.
Step 3 ✔️

Step 4: With a fistful of paperwork and receipts, I was feeling optimistic that I was almost there, always a mistake.
I tried filling in the form a dozen times, (on both Chrome and Explorer, look at me, Mr. Tecchie!)
Fail. I kept getting this message.

Again and again, until I gave up and thought I would sidestep this bit and go straight to Migraciones…

Took a taxi to a portakabin 30mins away (well, 45mins as the Taxista lied about saying he knew where it was).
A queue rivalling Banco del Nacion, which went down surprisingly quickly to a very, very stressed assistant, who sent me to another office and another queue.

One guy owed over $2000 in overdue fees (was this a Library? No, he had overstayed his Visa, as has all of his family of seven). I wasn´t earwigging, I was practically sat on his lap, the office being even tinier than the previous one.

“Junior” saw me next. With the air of a man who had had enough of his job, he bashed at the keys of his battered PC, then informed me that I had filled in my details wrong, “Silly little boy…”
I had filled in my place of birth as “England” and nationality as “English”, when of course Junior, suspicious that anybody could ever get their own details wrong, told me that I was actually born in “Great Britain” and that I was “British”.
It wasn´t the time, place or situation for a geography lesson, so I retreated and got a taxi back to work.

“Puente San Martin?” I asked.
“7 soles” I was quoted, (seems to be the going rate for anywhere in AQP).
A really old bloke driving an even older Datsun Sunny took me down a street I didn´t recognise and into an area I knew even less. I have seen a fair bit of this city in the last month, but nothing looked familiar and with El Misti on the wrong side, I was suspicious.

“Llegamos” (we´ve arrived) he said.
“Llegamos a donde? (where have we arrived to?) I replied.
It seems that there are two Puente San Martins, dóh.
I apologised, he said along the lines of “these things happen, no problem”

So, I apologised, he apologised and we turned around.
I then got the usual 20 Gringo questions.
He seemed quite friendly, which was just as well as we had been driving in the opposite direction to my Puente San Martin.
“Here the people don´t help each other, without expecting something in return” he moaned.
“This needs to change for the country to advance” he continued…


Now taxistas are generally one of 3-4 types:
1- Superfriendly and superpositive.
2- Mute/non-communicative.
3- More negative than a white (if negative grounded) circuit ) or black (if positive grounded) ) electrical cable.
4- Barking mad (Avoid these type 4 characters)
.

I said that I just put myself in the other person´s shoes (even though they may be too small for my size 13s).
You never know when you might need somebody´s help was my parting shot, as I handed him a s/20 note.
He gave me my change, s/4, I looked puzzled.
“s/16” as he pushed me out and drove off.
Thank you Sr. Joseph Rodriguez!

Back to work with 3mins to spare, filled in the form as “Britanico” from “Gran Bretaña”. Appointment on Tuesday (one day over my limit, will it cost me?
Step 4 ✔️

Watch this space…

Clunks.

I pass this AG200 every day.
Traffic here isn´t quite as loco as in Lima. (Daydreaming music…)
On my current budget, I might be able to afford a unicycle.

The Macc Lads…

Next week.

V.D.A.

The Voluntad de Acero folk (running group which I have gatecrashed) have a Whats-oop chat group.
It is rather a frenetic hive of messages all day, every day. It´s good to talk, I guess.

There was scandal at the weekend when the Admins had to boot out one member for getting a bit lairy (think he may have had a few sundowners, as his abuse got increasingly difficult to decipher). This expulsion split the pack a bit.
Where does freedowm of speech end and slagging people off begin?

With distraction tactics to change the topic and hopefully lighten the mood, somebody decided that a new challenge was in order.
“Los Madrugados” (“Early morning risers?”) was invented.
A battle of the sexes, girls Vs. boys, distance challenge. From Tuesday to Saturday.
The losers have to pay s/10 into the pot for the winner´s breakfast on Sunday morning!
(All runs have to be done and registered by 8am, a harmless bit of fun…)

I joined forces with “the enemy” on the first day. A VDA friend had said they would show me some new routes.
A 4:30am start, which became 4:45am!

We seemed to be going up and up and up. It hadn´t occurred to me to ask how far we were going (or whether we were going in a loop! Never, ever presume).

Miraflores (“Look at the flowers”) in Lima is quite a swanky neighbourhood, the main tourist area and pricey.
Miraflores (didn´t see many flowers) in AQP is not quite the same. Even the dogs (of which there are many) roamed in big packs. Normally, if you motion to pick up a rock, dogs turn about tail. Not these hardened hounds. Even lobbing a rock in their direction didn´t deter them. I like dogs, but not when they are snapping at my private parts!
The problem is that there were a lot of folk about in the street and you don´t want to launch a boulder at Fido if their owner spots you!

The lower slopes of El Misti were getting closer and closer and we appeared to be on the very edge of the shantytown and indeed the fringe of the city.

My guide took me up and up onto a trail which cut through the World´s largest cemetery, then we got lost. (I was completely lost already by this point). We´d done about 6 miles already and then I started doing time sums. I was at work at half eight!


The “challenge” rules state that the pace must be at a specified minimum speed and due to getting lost in the boneyard we had dropped below that, so we had to speed up to get the average pace up! After escaping the graveyard, and a bit of cross-country, we upped the pace and were finally heading downhill and back on schedule.

“Llegamos” I was informed.


I´m not sure where we were, but we then got a cab and then I walked the last two miles home and broke all speed records to get to work on time, just!

It´s all about the bass (part III).

Next week.

Asi es Peru..

Next week.

Showtime!

Last week, as part of the new marketing campaign, the Marketing team invited 20 Journalists along, to see our new centre.
It was a basic show-round with some demonstrations.
“Never mess with live technology” would be my hindsightful tip-to-self.
It was all going so well until I clicked on a cross instead of a box and closed down my whole show down, like a crumbling stack of cards/dominoes/pile of crumbling brickwork. I think I just got away with it!

Later there were interviews, and bizarrely I was invited into these, mixing one or two words of English with my disastrous Español. One was being streamed live onto social media, the others came out later in the week.
There was a final interview with a very glamourous lady from a local radio station, where I gave it my best shot.
I´ll keep it brief in future…

We did get in the “Correo” newspaper though 🙂

FCB Melgar.

One genius move by the Marketing department was to sponsor the local football team, FCB Melgar.
The Peruvian league has 18 teams, the top 3 currently separated by 1 point. Lima teams, La “U”, Cristal and Alianza have it alL to play for…

Meanwhile, “Las Rojinegras” (the red & blacks) are languishing mid-table, not quite in obscurity, but hopefully safe from relegation, one would hope, with just 6 games left.

Four of their star players came to the branch to sign autographs to a very excitable and appreciative crowd of fans.
I inadvertently got in a team shot. I promise it wasn´t intentional, I was just at my desk and if someone points a camera, I´ll smile (or just look my usual gormless self, if I don´t realise!)

The potential hope that the fans may want to study at the same organisation now emblazoning the chests of their superheroes didn´t materialise, but there is still time!

To be honest, these 4 footballers did seem like likeable down-to-earth lads, not primadonnas.
Crunch match this Sunday, Vs. Allianza.
Arequipa Vs. Lima…

Inspiration for a new hairstyle?

Taking the pi$$.

Next week.

The drugs don´t work.

Next week.

And finally…

Comedy is subjective and completely dependent on personal taste.
I´ve been on long haul buses here where people are howling with laughter at something on a fuzzy TV, where Victor Meldrew here has found it hard to break out of his scowl, let alone allow a smile.

(I was once on a bus with with a group of youths from the US who were whooping hysterically at a film, which made me wonder if they were actually watching the same film as me, as it was absolute dribble!)

Friday nights back in the day were always a balancing act.
Last orders at the Cally or Big Night Out?
It´s been said before, but Vic & Bob could be described as a modern day Morecambe & Wise.

Three minutes of classic Reeves & Mortimer.

That´s all for now folks.
Have a good one.

Cheers
Johnny

p.s. This happened a while back but slipped my feckless memory.

A few weeks back, Eliud Kipchoge, ran the fastest ever time for a marathon distance (26.1 miles/42-&-a-bit KM).
The first man to ever run under 2 hours!
It won´t count as a record (he holds that anyway, a minute and a half over 2 hours), as it wasn´t an actual race.
Putting this into perspective, when I were a bairn, the legendary Ron Hill held the record at 2:09:28
When I started running, the flying Welshman, Steve Jones took the record off Rob-de-Castella.
It had taken 12 years to knock 90 seconds off the Hill´s mark.

Then, assisted by pacers and some super-springy-shoes and a solid plan (an attempt had been previously made at Monza in 2017, but finished 25 seconds outside 2 hours).

Jim Hines (1968) was the first man to ever go under 10 seconds for 100m (some may say that was at altitude, I´ll be at altitude slogging up El Misti in 2 weeks, but I won´t be running at the same pace!)
This is equally as historic in my eyes. He did have pacers, but he did run it himself!


Chapeau” to Mr. Kipchoge!

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