Good morning folks
I trust you had thee most awesome of awesome weekends & that you’re in tiptop Monday form
Quick round-up from the crazed capital.
The red mist(s) of last week have cleared. I have accepted that people aren’t going to turn down their ghettoblasters, tiptoe around & stop slamming doors at 3am.
Nowhere is Paradise & life is too short to be grumpy about things that you can control!
Local events also put everything in perspective too.
On Wednesday, an 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck off Chile’s coast, triggering a tsunami and coastal evacuations. At least three people were killed and one million people were evacuated. The Earth literally moved due to the ferocity of the quake, as this LINK shows
I remember learning about the Pacific Ring of Fire at school (a l-o-n-g time ago) About 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, which is a worrying statistic (although it does cover a huge, huge area). Locally the Nazca Plate is the troublesome part of the Ring of Fire. Smaller earthquakes & tremors are commonplace here. I used to be a really heavy sleeper (pre-Nipper days) & slept through many minor movements here. There was a big quake here in 2007, south of Lima in the region of Ica, which had tragic consequences. Prior to that the terrible 1970 Ancash Earthquake was the worst catastrophical natural disaster in the history of Peru, resulted in the World’s deadliest avalanche. Almost 70,000 people lost their lives.
I’ve visited Yungay, high up in the high Andes of Ancash. It is a beautiful, peaceful but haunting place. It’s impossible to imagine the sheer terror of what happened there.
The arrest of “Tony Montana” (aka Gerard Oropeza) came as a big surprise this week.
After 5 months on the run, he was tracked down to neighbouring Ecuador, via a phone tap & arrested in a pharmacy.
(He also had two very distinguishing tattoos, which may have been part of his downfall).
It has been front page news for months & it was a huge surprise that he was caught so easily & so close to home.
However, it may not be quite as straightforward as it all sounds & seems…
Montana was a BIG time drug Kingpin, who lived in a $2m mansion (owned by the state, but with 40+ bedrooms, a pool & gym, it couldn’t really be called a council house).
Oropeza had close links to a leading (opposition) political party, the (political) fall-out could get messy.
There are other reports that the Government is making big news of it all, in order to create a smoke screen of distraction away from their own current political corruption scandals in the news right now.
Definitely a case of watch this space in both bits of news…
Since I arrived here in January, I’ve had 5 medicals. Which is 5 more than I’d had in my life prior to January!
I’m not complaining, it’s good to know that I’m not just about to peg it. It’s a drawn-out affair though…
First up was weight & height (too tall for the height measuring machine, I could’ve told them I was 7ft tall!)
Then an eyesight test. Full marks right down to the smallest diddy letters, all was going well until the colour-blind test!
Memories of shattered dreams as a 10yr old in Australia :-/
Until then I had set my sight(s) on being a Pilot (or an Astronaut, but I would’ve settled for being a Pilot). I sat the test 3 times, trying to see the numbers in the bubbles & failed.
It all came crashing back on Friday. Apart from the bubbles of anything resembling red-green-brown-blue-purple, I did ok.
(Who knows how I passed the medical to apply for my driving test here. There were no bubbles though, just a huge machine with binoculars, where I had to spot LED horses or pedestrians running across the carriageway, a bit like an 80s Atari game!)
Next up was the ECG, then a “chat” with a Psychologist, after my “Level of craziness” test. Thankfully this time there were none of the 100 questions (“Do you ever get so angry that you want to kill people?”, “Can you sometimes hear trees, plants or animals speaking to you”, nor the famous “Draw a man” test).
Finally was the lengthy chat with a Doctor who went right through my CV (took some doing), he wanted to know how many of my jobs in the UK had been at an altitude of over 1000m.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that none of my occupations had been based on the summits of Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scafell or Scafell Pike, (although I did once enquire about the MET Office job of the person who walks up Helvellyn every day in winter!)
I’m presuming I passed, but just in case I do find myself out of a job, it could be down to my dodgy join-the-dots drawings!
Victor Meldrew says…
This weekend had grand plans; a two-day lightweight bike-bivvy up into yonder mountains, which dwindled down to a possible long day out, to a potential morning ride, to a feasible one hour blast, to nothing! The Clunk is still in its recuperation phase, I can’t confirm if it’s better yet as I haven’t done enough miles on it (& the speedo is bust, so I don’t know how many miles that is!)
On two wheels I believe that it’s up to the individual to decide how geared-up (or not). There is a biker’s acronym: ATGATT (all the gear all the time).
3 years ago I had a spill, a low-speed one at that. A rear wheel blow-out gave me a 5:30am tarmac breakfast & as I slid face-first down the road watching the white line in front of my eyes (not like Robbie Fowler), I was glad that I was wearing a full-face helmet & jacket & kegs. All of these were trashed, but they’d done their job.
I gained a nice shiner & was black & blue all over, but I’d learned an important lesson in respect.
In the past I have buzzed around in jeans, trainers & a Hi-viz works jacket (safety first), but I always, but always (on a Clunk or pushbike) wear a helmet.
(I am especially grateful to my good mate Matthew, for lugging my big & bulky bike jacket out here, gracias amigo!)
No matter how hot or sweaty it is, I always cover up. Road rash is never funny.
Here in Lima things are different.
It’s hot & sweaty (a bit less hot, but equally as sweaty in winter), so people wear much less gear on two wheels. (Although I do see some radically modified legshields on some bikes. Big squares of cardboard, plywood or chipboard that stick out further than the Boxer engine on a GS. These may give piece of mind, but must have the opposite effect of a huge sail (& would probably turn to matchsticks/a million splinters in a crash!)
Just yesterday I saw a lad on a flying R1, doing about 60mph, weaving through heavy traffic on Av. Javier Prado (going 60 anywhere in Lima, at any time is impressive, due to the limping chaos that is the traffic here!)
He was wearing shorts, vest & a baseball cap.
Fair enough, personal choice.
One thing that I just can’t fathom out though is the chaps who wear their helmets perched at forehead height?!
I’d seen it before in Buenos Aires years ago & wondered then.
Balanced above their eyebrows, so that in the event of any type of crash, it’ll either fall forward & cover their eyes, or flip off backwards. In either case it’d be useless.
Fall off your bike & break a bone, it’ll hopefully heal. Slide down the road in your shorts & you’ll lose a lot of skin, but with extensive & painful grafting, hopefully it will one day be possible to sit down again.
Slam your head into the road & it’s either game over, or a serious head injury.
For the price of a helmet, is it really worth taking the risk?
James Cracknell had a horrific cycling accident when he was riding across the States. He was hit on the back of the head by a truck’s wing mirror at 70mph. He made this VIDEO.
If you ride, or know somebody who rides, show them this video.
Victor Meldrew says “Piense Varon! Wear your Skid Lid properly!”
Bonus+bonus Bank Holiday!
The 8th of October was originally a Bank Holiday, the Government have announced the 9th as an additional Bank Holiday & work have just announced Saturday 10th as an extra Bank Holiday!
Which means my first weekend off since May, result
A Clunk trip may be in the offing…
Blog of the week – Two Wheeled Nomad…
Not for the first time (& not for the last), the mighty TWO WHEELED NOMAD gets the prize for blog of the week.
Lisa & Jase are currently ‘oop north in Mexico.
Their blog is that of legend, compelling reading with excellent photos too.
If you haven’t checked it out, do so HERE.
That’s all for now folks.
Have a superb week
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper