Con la bicicleta!


Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in top form & that the Easter Bunny has been extra kind to you all (both! I do sometimes dream/exaggerate about my regular readers, thank you anyway).
A quick round-up from the city where no plan, is the general plan & any plans get scuppered/changed anyway…

An incredible story!”

Whilst covering Storytelling techniques in an Intermediate class I told students to work in pairs & either tell a true story, or invent a story, whichever, but to make it as incredible as possible. The other had to then guess if the story was true, or if their partner was fibbing.
I was wandering round the class, earwigging (monitoring) & overheard a particularly interesting story so I stopped to hear more. Manuel told us that he had been walking to University early one morning & had heard gunshots, so he started running (as you would do). As he rounded the corner he said he saw two plain clothes Policemen, so he stopped & one Policeman shot him, 5 times!
He said was then taken to Hospital with a triple fracture of the femur, a ruptured spleen & other injuries. He said he was lucky to survive. He also said that the Police had him under arrest as they still thought he was the criminal. Despite ballistics tests (which showed that he hadn’t fired a gun, nor handled a gun), he was never pardoned, nor received any compensation, nor an apology.
I told him that he had a very creative imagination. He told me the story was true!
I checked a few sources & discovered that it was!
Incredible, a 20 year old student shot 5 times & never received even an apology.

Election time – Congresista almost run over

It is getting close to the messy business of Election time here (10/04/16).
There seems to be at least a dozen parties & about 500 punters running for Congress.
Strangely nobody seems to know who they are voting for yet. At first glance, they all appear to be as bad as each other (but all with perfect teeth, some Dentist must be raking it in somewhere. Surely they can’t all have teeth that white, straight & perfect naturally, he says covering his mouthful of crooked, coffee-stained tombstones!)

Congress folk have a very cushy deal. Go to a few debates & get paid a salary for life! (Even when they leave Congress).

I will do some kind of Election special nearer the day, but just for a split second on my way home I thought I was in serious trouble…

I don’t like riding here at night, it’s even less safe than in the daytime. The fact that so many vehicles don’t have lights & that most madheads are dashing home when I leave work (9:30pm), it’s a bit frantic on the roads. I was stuck behind an ancient dumper truck, I couldn’t get past, so tucked in trying to avoid the constant shower of building debris. Suddenly the truck lurched right (away from the kerb & I was confronted with the face (& indeed whole body) of Silvia Barrerra, Congresista. I swerved at the last minute. Had someone spike my coffee? No, it was just a life size cardboard cut-out publicity billboard, that had not been planted sufficiently.

Knock over a Congresista on a Clunk! I’d be going to the Carcel for a long, long, long time.
A lucky escape for me, the Clunk & her cardboard likeness…

23 year “No sick days” recognition (& its curse).

The last day off I had “On the sick” was 23/08/94. I know this as Walter Swinburn won the Juddmonte International on the Michael Stoute trained “Ezzoud” at York Races & I was there!
I have felt guilty ever since, but I feel better for having said it now.
SwinburnFace“The Choirboy” denies any part of this deed!

mickleyEzzoud also declined to comment!

Prior to that I had had an extended bit of time off with a broken ankle; 4 months. There had been complications (I had broken it in Tenerife, my insurance wasn’t worth one Peseta, I was flown back & due to it having been set wrongly, I ended up with a blood clot), but after 3 months I was fit & well. Fit & well enough to enjoy a few midweek shandies with some friends in York. As luck wouldn’t have it, I was photographed by a local entertainment rag “What’s on in York” & this all prompted a rather hasty return to work, with my tail between my legs.

Anyway, after the Knavesmire extra day off, I decided to be tough on myself & try to have as little sick as possible. Dragging myself in to work after dislocating my shoulder, with flu & all other maladies. It went on & on, so I became more & more determined not to have a day sick.
22 years on & I had never received a penny reward, nor any recognition, until Tuesday.
The Main Man (capital letters) at work came to our centre as we were the centre with the least sickness. (I was really crook in February for about 2 weeks, but sucked it in & went to work.
Everybody who had had no sick received a gift voucher for 100 soles (£20), a nice touch, but there was a possible curse behind it…

Con la bicicleta (Peruvian for bad guts)…

I had not felt great all day & indeed had been suffering from an “upset stomach” (understatement) for the previous fortnight.
Now previously the worst sickness I had endured had been in Bolivia. The mystical neighbouring country of adventure, roadblocks, bad food, World’s highest everything & on a pilgrimage to the resting place of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (that’s another story), a place where I thought I was going to die, or at the very least have a terrible accident in my pants that would be too bad for even the best Lavanderia to bring back my kegs to their former best!
10400271_12178225301_1906_n(If the Cops hadn’t caught up with them both, the food would have finished them off eventually!)

However, this was nothing compared to the grim scenes of Tuesday night (until Friday morning, but especially Tuesday night!) I won’t go into the details here, but I spent more time on the Khazi than in bed, dripping in sweat & almost fainting 3 times, with the additional bonuses of a rash from my waste to my neck (only stopped by my beard from spreading to my head), a splitting headache & a lethargy like nothing I’ve known, it wasn’t pretty. A mate hinted that I might have Zika & to get to the Quacks. I looked it up & I did have all the symptoms (but luckily I’m not pregnant), but if you book an appointment with Doctor Google, suddenly I have all the symptoms of IBS, Gilbert’s Syndrome & more. I then had to drag myself into work on Wednesday, (last day before Easter break, it would have looked way too convenient & I am on a temporary contract).
Excusing oneself once to go the toilet (as a Teacher) is bad enough, but I must have been about 6 times in one class. There was no way round it. Maybe nobody noticed?

This week I have been mostly eating, a diet of rice soup & was even off the coffee until Saturday (4 l-o-n-g days).
IMG_0185[1]My view for most of last week!

I have found a new tipple though: “Suero”, bright pink (I think? I’m colourblind!) & a snip at just 6 Soles (£1.20). Sweet enough to make your teeth curl & just in case you were tempted to inject it, don’t! Needless to say Easter has been a bit of a write-off.
(Sunday update: Bad guts have settled, to be replaced by killer “Gripe” & a throat that feels like I have been gargling with razorblades!)

No sleep ’til Salamanca

I did one of these silly FB “tests” about how much sleep you need. My answer came out as 17hrs.
Presumably this is a weekly target, or FB doesn’t know that I live in Lima!

Our neighbours from hell (who I could happily put on a one-way-rocket to the sun, along with 50% of my other inconsiderate neighbours) have a daily “Wake up everybody” alarm call with a strange highlands (of Peru, not bonny Scotland) tune at 4:20am. As I laid trying to get a bit more kip, I counted the time between noise. A maximum of 9 seconds peace. It’s funny, as when you ask people about their hobbies they say sleeping, or when you ask what people did at the weekend, they say sleeping. They must live in a more peaceful barrio than me! I sleep with my head sandwiched between 2 pillows. I’ll either end up with a flat head or suffocating myself!
It doesn’t make any difference. I can’t get no sleep…

If it’s not tied down!

On a distant Clunk outing one Sunday, I stumbled across a huge inner tube, miles & miles from anywhere. It must have been a bleak place to change a tyre (& a task-&-a-half too), but inner tubes are handy for a dozen uses (especially DIY Bungee Straps. My ageing pair are on their last legs & I can’t find any for love nor money here), so I took it home. I had no bungees & it wouldn’t fit in my rucksack, so I had to sit on it all the way home. Me, my kegs, my seat & the back of my jacket were all absolutely filthy by the time I arrived.

Anyway, the main garage gates for our flats have become louder & LOUDER & LOUDER.
There is something wrong with the mechanism as they slam louder than Castle Greyskull.
With people coming & going until the early hours (& from the early hours), I had a light-bulb moment & thought “The inner tube!”

Now, it had been living under the Clunk for a while (until a stray cat, not Brian Setzer, started peeing all over it), then in languished in my Mother-in-law’s garage until she hinted that it had to go down in the Dungeon. The underground parking, which had a bit stack of stuff in the darkest corner, so I hid the tube, at the back, out of sight.

Of course, when I went back on Friday, it had grown legs & run off. Not a surprise. My own stupid fault for trusting people!

Honda Desert Racing & the Rosatel Kamakaze rider!

Tuesday was perhaps the hottest day of the summer yet (& summer finished last weekend).
I had 90 minutes between classes to get from work to Miraflores & back to work. In a car it’d be impossible. On a Clunk it would be pushing it. Why put myself through the torture of Lima’s noon rush hour? The Honda Desert Racing SALE!!!

The ever-friendly Jorge had dropped me a line saying there was a sale & being the sucker that I am for bargains, I had to go. I did have my blinkers on though. Could I get there & back in time???

There is no magical short-cut, nor good route, nor easy route, so I just took the most direct line I could & took more risks than usual. If I survive this limping mayhem monster, I will need retraining when I get back to Blighty. I’d lose my licence if I rode like I do here. Not big nor clever, but getting through the traffic to the front at the lights is every Lima motociclista’s aim. To the front & as out of trouble as possible. I reached a bottleneck & slim as I am, I just had to sit & bake in the midday sun. Nobody was moving in any direction, apart from one person…

I heard the noise first, like a wasp in a room, a faint buzz that got louder & louder & then it came into sight. A really old & equally battered old Honda CG125, with a HUGE box on the box. Not a top box, this was the size of an oven, emblazoned with the “Rosatel” logo (Lima’s answer to Interflora). Somebody must have been desperate for their Carnations as this guy was riding like a man possessed. I have never in my life seen such fearless/careless/reckless/bonkers riding. He was going as fast as was physically possible without slowing down for anything. Swapping sides, filtering down the wrong way (I.e. towards oncoming traffic), pavements, lights, gridlocks, traffic police all just seemed to provoke & abrade him. I couldn’t realistically see him lasting until the end of his shift, but it was impressive!

IMG_0184[1]My old lock was getting so stiff that one punter asked me if I was trying to half-inch the bike!

The Sale was a good sale, a genuine sale, no small-print & if I had had had my card, I could have gone nuts, but I purposely had taken just enough for a new chain & some oil. Nothing exciting, but good deals. I would have sold my teeth to get my hands on a lighter jacket. I am cooking inside my Buck Rogers Triumph jacket, but they don’t exist. Sometimes I find myself just staring at the Get Geared summer jackets page. It’s not going to happen. I’ll just sweat it out…

Never ending summer…

I will indeed just sweat it out, as it is rumoured that this summer may well run into next summer!
How? El Niño!

It sounds great, an eternal summer & if I was at the beach, or sipping cerveza on a balcony overlooking somewhere nice, it would be, but sat in traffic, sweating in class (little violin comes out) is wearing thin now. It’s not the sun, it’s the humidity. You sweat cobs doing nothing (& decent deodorant doesn’t exist. Old Spice & Brut are still big sellers here!)

Can one summer really run into the next? It has happened. Plus last winter wasn’t really a proper winter. I have asked locals which they prefer & all have said not summer. Winter is grey & damp. The sun doesn’t really shine & the rain doesn’t really rain. It’s just murky. I hope it is, soon!

And finally…

This extra short VIDEO sums up energy levels in class last week!

Next week will be a bit different. I will be trying to answer the question “Things I’ve learnt from moving to Peru!”
Have an awesome week.

Johnny, Lina & the Nipper

p.s. A new record was set for the most people & dolls on a tiny, tiny sofa on Saturday…

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