Good morning Folks
I trust this finds you in sterling Monday morning form & that you had a mighty fine weekend.
Another week in the crazed capital that is Lima…
In the early 80’s we emigrated to Western Australia, a spot called Boooragoon to be exact. I was 10 years old & I loved it! At first we stayed in a Migration camp called “Noalimba”, which at the time seemed ok, there was a small park with kangaroos & an emu, & we all ate together in a canteen. Looking back it was a bit like a prison! We then got a house in a part of town called “Mount Pleasant”; it was close to the biggest shopping centre I had ever seen. Having been brought up in the Lakes, living in a city was a whole new adventure.
I had just moved schools & on my first day I won a spelling contest (I was not especially good at anything at school, but I could hold my own at spelling).
The prize was a HUGE bag full of marbles (showing my age now), which had been confiscated throughout the year. Moving schools and being the New Boy is never easy, but I figured if I shared out the marbles it wouldn’t harm my chances of making new friendships, so I did.
Also on the first day we all had a Medical. I’d never had one before, but it all went ok, apart from the colorblindness test. This involved being able (or unable) to see various numbers appear from a group of bubbles on a piece of paper.
Spot the number (or not)…
I failed, dismally, so badly that I insisted I do the test again, which I (obviously) failed again. This was a bit of a blow, as I had always set my sights on being a Pilot, up until that moment. I remember the Medical person reading out a list of jobs that I would therefore not being able to do. This person seemed to get pleasure out of the fact that my dreams were shattered!
(I’d never really especially wanted to be a Sparky, Fireman, Professional Snooker Player, nor a Bomb Disposal expert, but being told at that age that I wasn’t going to be a pilot, ever, was a big blow, at the time…)
Colour (color) blindness (colour vision deficiency, or CVD) affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world. In Britain this means that there are approximately 2.7 million colour-blind people (about 4.5% of the entire population), most of whom are male.
To be honest, it hasn’t really affected me too badly. (Apart from one thing, which I’m coming to).
I do get the usual “How do you drive?” (Referring to traffic lights, which are in a sequence, that can be learnt) and “What colour is this???” curiosity from people, to which I reply that it is a bit like a crime photo-fit blur. (It isn’t).
I think that I see the same colour as normal people, but I just don’t know the colours (for sure). It is only with red-green-brown-purple-blue (& shades of the above). It is a bit like I missed the class when they taught these colours & I never really mastered them as a result!
There is no cure for this terrible affliction & a colourblind person should never be allowed to go shopping on their own, as not only are they unable to see colours, they can’t see when colours go/clash!
I did some online shopping one day last year, to get a load of work clobber in the Next sale. I like Next, it’s not that flash, but the sizes fit (me).
When my new gear arrived & I tried on a pair of slacks that I thought were navy blue, Lina asked me “When are you going to wear them? For cleaning pools?” They were (& still are) a shocking Electric Blue!
I can add them to my collection of purple t-shirts that I thought were blue/blue t-shirts I thought were purple, a green suit I thought was brown & a bright purple puffer jacket I thought was dark blue.
They turn a few heads in the streets of Salamanca, I’ve never seen any kegs like them, but I’ve only got a limited amount of work clothes, so they must be worn, which I do, on the first day of each cycle (4 weeks), to show my new students that I mean business!
Walking home from the first class of the new cycle, I cross a bridge & go through a rather ropey & dimly-lit slice of town. It is only about 5 blocks, but it’s unavoidable & if I ever get jumped (mugged!) in this fair city, it will probably be there. Even the dogs walk around in groups!
I’m not sure that one gets used to the fact that the Police are so heavily armed here, more like desensitized. A Traffic Cop would make Steven Segal look unprepared & the “Aguila Negra” (“Black Eagles”, not like I first thought “Black Eels” which would be “Anguilla Negra”. An easy mistake to make & to be honest, a perhaps more intimidating name). They are a scary bunch, who you don’t want to be on the wrong side of.
A scary bunch!
On Tuesday night they didn’t really need an intimidating name, as they were armed with sub-machine guns!
A squadron of the Heavy team were in place; in 4x4s, on motorbikes & on foot. Obviously after somebody who had been a bit naughty!
I always walk along head down, listening to music.
As I walked over the brow of the bridge crossing the “Via-Evitamiento”, the pedestrian rush-hour slowed to a halt, as people were ushered through a funnel of Policia with enough arms to start World War III.
So, I pushed my earphones further in, looked down & moved through the barricade.
They were checking everybody’s ID (it is law here for locals & non-locals to carry ID at all times, which I had of course forgotten. In such circumstances; right or wrong, it is sometimes, but not always possible to give a “gift”, i.e. Readies, of which I had none either. There had been a problem with my wages clearing this month & as I walk to work, I was like the Queen, carrying not a bean on my person).
Look down, don’t make eye contact, keep moving, eyes down & then I noticed!!!
Electric Blue Kegs :-/
Please don’t let them be looking for a tall, scruffy, bearded bloke with electric blue pants on, I begged.
As it came to my turn to be checked, there was a bit of a commotion in front. Somebody else had forgotten their ID & was getting shirty about it.
A giant of a Policeman looked at my trousers & waved me on, with the nozzle of his gun.
A sigh of relief!
I never did find out who they were after, whether they collared them, (nor what colour slacks they were wearing…)
On Any Sunday…
I had planned a BIG outing today, an intriguing loop out t’back-o-beyond&back.
Then I realised that I needed to be back for a 1st birthday party, so it was put on hold. The Nipper is not sleeping, despite me telling her how awesome sleeping is.
Got the Wee One to bed around midnight, but she was up about 4 times by 5pm & when my alarm went off at 6am, I seriously considered staying in bed!
Away by 7am to explore the trails around Cieneguilla. No set route (as I can’t find a map, I’d doodled one off Google Maps, but it made little sense when I actually arrived at the part where I needed it, so I just clunked on blindly!)
The road soon disappeared into a dirt track, then sand, then rocks. All good practice. Despite it not being a proper road, it is still used heavily by all manner of Combis plying the route, Mototaxis, battered old cars & a few three-up families on a Sunday outing.
First sight of the day was the distant sight of a bloke who was the spitting image of Micky Dolenz with a rolled up carpet. As I got closer I realised it wasn’t actually Micky Dolenz, but a pilgrim who was prostrating (on his rug) at the side of the road to a pile of rocks (he had plenty to choose from). I wanted to stop & take a pic, but it didn’t feel appropriate. I saw him later on, prostrating to a different set of rocks, he hadn’t got very far!
Despite it being essentially an “off-road-road” there were still a lot of speed ramps (they love them here!) Not that it was possible to go that fast anyway.
Elvis has left the building & is running for Mayor, in Pachacamac!
Blasé that I could ride over any of these obstacles at speed, one caught me out. It was more of a tabletop than a ramp, I’ll know better next time. Also catching me out were the speed-dips! Like a speed ramp in reverse, crafty.
I was becoming a bit gung-ho, as I overtook a labouring, overladen taxi (full to the roof with bananas), a Combi appeared and overtook both of us, on a blind corner. Luckily nobody was coming the other way, but it was near here that I spotted a brace of vultures skulking at the roadside.
I didn’t really know where I was going, but by chance I stumbled across a brilliant place I’d been to 10 years ago. Lina & I had just started courting & some of her friends dragged me up a hill, the morning after a party, too hungover to really enjoy it. “Las lomas de Lúcumo”, a mountain full of madly shaped rocks, full of unusual wildlife & an interesting escape from the concrete of Lima.
I’d been trying to ask people about this place for years, but found out I’d been pronouncing it completely wrong, but now I know!
As I bounced back along possibly the dustiest road I’ve ever been on, I rounded a corner to almost be garrotted by a line of bunting. Not sure what the little village were celebrating, but they almost had me.
Around this point I was almost starting to think, “I’m not bad at this off-road game”, just as two Motocross lads f-l-e-w past me, I’ve a long way to go yet…
Local car wash & launderette…
Stopped off for a brew at the awesome Panaderia Montreal, a favourite coffee haunt of mine when I’m over that way. Frank, from Montreal, the owner always treats me (& everybody else I imagine) like a long-lost friend & despite being up to his ears in bagels, always makes time for a chat (where I use the 10 words of French, I learnt in the 5 years of Tricolore at school; bonjour, ca va, cava bien, sil vouz plait, café-au-lait, croque monsieur, aujourd hui & Jeux Sans Frontières (a spooky coincidence for later on), mixed in with Spanish & Ingles). Up & over the last pass & a freewheel downhill all the way home.
I spotted a big group of people at the roadside, so being nosey I stopped & witnessed what looked like a giant “It’s a Knockout” in the pit of a huge quarry, being pushed over ramps by team-mates, surrounded by inflatable bottles of Sporade. Everybody watching was a bit bemused, as was I, so I tootled home, to get hosed down. The bike & me!
Looks a good day out, but I’m not sure I could finish all that Sporade myself!
This coming week, I have volunteered to invigilate in some Cambridge exams (for work). Super-serious stuff, it all has to be done in a specific, orderly fashion, so for somebody with my organisational skills, if I still have a job next blog, it will be a miracle! I must have had a bang on my head.
Have yourself an absolutely AWESOME week
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper x