July 15, 2020

Combi crashes, contracts and “el Dia del Padre”…


Good morning folks

I trust you all had a spectacular weekend.
Bit of a rushed blog this week, under the cosh :-/
In case this is your first time of savouring the weekly blog, “Bienvenido!”
It is simply (my) opinion mixed in with a bit of fact, but I strive to ensure that it is all-true!
It is basically a weekly round-up of anything/everything happening in Lima.
If you are a regular reader (both of you!) “Thank you :-)”
As long as people keep reading the blog, I’ll keep writing it!

Combi crashes!

Starting the week with a bit of drama!
On Friday I had to travel to the far side of town, (in fact almost to Callao, which is in fact a different city). It’s only 20km & I can do it on the Clunk in just over an hour, but it’s horrendous riding, right through the snarled-up centre, with really narrow lanes (making filtering even riskier) & the big, bad buses swinging their weight around, taking little notice of the fact that lanes even exist!
Thursday was a late night & Friday was an early morning, so by the time I had to go, my poor little brain was already shot-to-pieces. Not a good way to be in to ride through the chaos, so I took the bus.
Av. Javier Prado is Lima’s most infamous stretch of cark park. It barely moves & is best avoided, but it is very hard to avoid, so that’s where I was.
Cobradors (bus conductors) are one of three kinds;
Decent sorts (humorous, helpful, good-natured & look after their punters) which must take some doing as they work l-o-n-g days, up to 16hrs).
Normal types; who do their job.
Bad sorts; Shifty, mean & bad eggs. Always overcharging fares, not really stopping/just slowing down at stops, ignorant/arrogant (or both of the previous & all of the above).
Caos-vehicularNot Javier Prado…

The Cobrador on this particular journey was firmly in category III.
He overcharged me on my fare, so that got my back up right away.
(Once they have your brass, it’s not coming back, so my change was not going to be mine).  Javier Prado was hellish, Fridays are generally bad but it was really bad. At one point 5 lanes were squeezed into 3 and traffic was lurching.
Our bus had nowhere to go, but tried to squeeze through an imaginary gap, which resulting in it snapping off a mirror of the bus on our inside.
It wasn’t broken & could have been fixed in about two minutes.
Buses have more mirrors than Jimmy’s Li125, about a dozen in total, meaning that “Chofers” can check every single angle/point of their bus from the driving seat. He’d tried & failed, all his own fault, but he got into a big radge about it, having a blazing row with his rival driver at the next set of lights. The other chap said along the lines of “Sorry, but it was your own fault, deal with it!” which incensed our driver even more.
It became a race & I saw our shifty weasel-looking Cobrador grab a screwdriver & stash it in his pocket. (At this point I decided to keep quiet about my fare!)
Our bus caught the other bus & he rammed hard into it, sideways-on. Like something from Ben Hur.
All the passengers screamed/shouted/cursed/crossed themselves.
Glass came raining in through the open door & both buses slammed to a halt, blocking the entire carriageway. I think that our lunatic driver had tried to snap off the other driver’s mirror, which he’d succeeded at, as well as his own!
Both drivers & cobradors got out & started pushing each other around.
It all got a bit tense & some people got off & ran away!
I stayed put, as I had limited money to get back, due to having been short-changed in the first place. Eventually we got going & apart from a bit of chuntering from a few punters, it was over, bar the fact that the driver was struggling a bit to see anything down his inside lane! A normal day at the office…


Had my appraisal this week, first one & always a bit unnerving, but my boss seems pleased with me & my contract has been renewed. Re-sult!
One of my classes had enjoyed my teaching so much that they had asked for me in the next cycle (not even bribed with biscuits/chocolates this time!)
For the first time in a long time, I am really, really enjoying my work.
The Britanico is an awesome company to work for, good gaffers, awesome colleagues & top students, plus they really look after their staff.
BRIMy Britanico colleagues, an awesome bunch 🙂

Fingers crossed they keep me on when my next contract runs out (in November).

“El dia del Padre”

Father’s Day (& Mother’s Day) are much bigger out here (than in Blighty).
Back in the UK, I always get my Dad a card & a pressie. My Old Man is a very special person to me (as most dads are to most people & I hope that the Nipper grows up thinking I’m a good sort. I’m not the best dad in the world, but I try my best).
Out here, everybody wishes you “Happy Father’s Day” (even though I’m not their Old Man). Work took all the Fathers out for a superb slap-up meal & gave us a gift voucher, as well as having a buffet & pop before classes on Friday.
Even some of my students bought me cakes 🙂
(I stress that I am not their father!)
A big fuss is made of the day, but not in a commercial card shop way, more of an appreciation. It opened my eyes a bit. I sometimes tend to be a bit negative about Lima in my blogs, but the people (in my life) are a seriously amazing bunch.
The bairn bought me a huge bag of my favourite Colombian coffee (Juan Valdez, mmmm) & made a brilliant card. Not bad for a 15mth old 🙂

Copa de America update…

Peru pulled out all the stops midweek & surprised the nation by beating Venezuela. Today (Sunday) they faced Colombia & drew 0-0, but managed to squeeze through to the quarter-finals.
In my evening classes, a level of attendance is needed to pass the cycle & I was a bit bemused as to why a lot of students were asking how many classes they’d missed. This all made sense when my class dropped from 20 to 6 students.
I guess the National side needed all the support they could get!

Victor Meldrew says…

The grumpy one is having a week off, but will be back with more grumblings next time.

Clunk Trip!!!

All being well I shall be on the open road/up in yonder mountains/out of Lima next Sunday & Monday. So for the first time since January, the Monday blog may be a day late! (Monday is a bank holiday here), but it will be business-as-usual on Tuesday. (Unless I have been kidnapped by bandits, or llama herders, in which case, it may be later!)

That’s all for now folks, a bit streamlined this week, but it will have a bit more clout (& piccies) next time.

Have a week full of aweomeness.
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper 🙂

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