Felices Fiestas Patrias/Blighty beckons…

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Good morning folks

I trust your weekend was spectacular and that you are in finest fettle.
The weeks fly by and suddenly I am tapping on the keys again to put my rambling words into some kind of coherent jumble, again.

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Last week was an escape into the montañas and bloody good fun it was too :-)

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This weekend saw the national independence day (x2) celebrations; Fiestas Patrias.
Then back to it for one day on Monday, packing Tuesday and Adios Lima-Hola Leeds on Wednesday!!!

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In the midst of a campaign to butcher all the trees in Salamanca, here is the weekly nonsense that is the Monday morning Superclunk.com blog…

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Fiestas Patrias!

A flurry of red and white flags and “Somos Libres…”

Independence Day in Peru is on the 28th of July. This year marked 197 years of independence from the Spaniards. As it fell on a weekend, there was no actual bank holiday as such, but work kindly gave us Friday off. The 29th of July is dedicated to marches by the armed forces and the police, (gives them a day off from waving fluorescent batons at the traffic lights!)

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“Fiestas Patrias” is a time where most folk (who can) flee the city. Last year we went to Ancash, which was an awesome trip, but the flip side is that prices are hiked in a scandalous fashion. So really, Fiestas Patrias is a good time to stay in Lima, as it generally quieter than normal!

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People here eat late, in fact people here do everything late and everything is late. I had two  meals out with work. End of cycle exams and a rising giddiness for my jollies, it was a good week.

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Wednesday was Chifa night!

 

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Thursday was Pollo-a-la-braza night!

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Felices Fiestas a todos :-)

Neet oot :-)

People come and people go…

Lima is a funny old place, the thing that keeps me sane is my job and the people I have the good fortune to work with. Not only my Camacho colleagues, but my small group of excellent tippling mates. On Saturday it was time to say “adios” to Adam, a Scottish colleague who is heading to Poland.

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James B had a brilliant idea to get some “Adam” masks printed, so as usual, we got some attention around the boozers on Saturday night :-)

It was a TOP night out and needless to say, Sunday was a complete wipeout!

Watch-what-yer-say…

A recent scandal has rocked the Peruvian Judicial system.

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A secret recording known as “los Audios” has so far resulted in the sacking of the president of the Judiciary, the head of the electoral authority, the Minister of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Court and all the members of the entity in charge of appointing the country’s judges!

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The mystery still remains with the naming of a mysterious “Señora K” in the audios. I just hope my name isn’t mentioned!
Watch this space…

Llangunuco Mountain Trial!

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Last weekend was the weekend of the 2nd LLANGUNUCO MOUNTAIN TRAIL (AKA UT69, Ultra Trail 69, after the stunningly beautiful Lake 69).

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The Llangunuco Mountain Trial was originally my 2018 goal, but due to a mystery illness and various minor injuries, I just ran out of time. As the problem has been with my breathing, running a race at altitude (with pretty much zero hillwork) wasn’t a good idea, so I offered to help my mate Charlie.

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Lina had been away, so I was home alone with the Nipper most of the week. After a mad dash home from work and a Taxi-beat-near-disaster, I just made the bus for a 2hr stop-start (mainly stop) battle across town to the other terminal and then the long ride north…

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“Bus cama” is the super-duper luxury service of MovilTours, which is mega-comfy, but about 6″ too short for my lanky legs. I’ve been having nightmares of late and was just dozing off on the endless rising hairpins, when I woke myself up suddenly making a wailing racket (and probably the rest of the bus), dawn broke and soon after we rolled into Yungay. From there it is a bumpy 10 mile taxi ride to “Casa de Charlie”. My taxista was a young lad called Juan, who  anticipated every lump, bump and protuberance in the track like a pro-rally driver!

After the “Me-first, you? #### you!” attitude of Lima, it was refreshing to see taxistas heading downhill giving way (there’s a novelty) to the uphill taxistas, no acknowledgement, but a seemingly unwritten rule.

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Arriving at “Casa de Charlie”, I met Caitlin and (Aussie) Charlie, a canny couple. Together we set to work and there was plenty to do!

I completely forgot suncream, which bit my ar$e later on.

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There were three races: 50km, 30km and 13km. All started separately and all had a 5pm cut-off.
Although we had no radio contact, we were expecting the lead 50km runners around 11pm. How wrong were we!

Unbeknown to us, heavy snow up high (and it went up to around 5000m/16000ft in old money) had really, really slowed runners down.

The first 50km runner (who is a very handy local lad) came in after 9 hours! Out of 20 runners, only 4 finished the 50km race. The first two 30km runners where only 20 seconds apart and the 13km winner raced up the hill in 61 minutes. At 4pm, over 50 runners still hadn’t finished. By 5pm (original cut-off time), there were still heaps of athletes still not in, so the cut-off was stretched to 6pm.

Then it went dark, very dark!

Nighttime in the Sierra is like a switch (of light and heat). The (free) bar was calling, but something at the back of my consciousness told me to hang fire…

The problem was that people who had abandoned the race had got back to the finish under their own steam were going straight to their tents.

At one point it looked like we’d have to go up into the mountains, but then, miraculously the last 4 runners appeared and by 11pm it was beer time :-)

The next day was a steady clean-up, with some awesome tucker served up by Luis, then it was back down south through the night to Lima.

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I was just dozing off as we hit the wall of traffic blocking the north of the city and the car horns started. I’d been off the bus for less than a minute and first in the queue for luggage, when a wise guy pushed in and then a taxista tried to charge me over double the normal fare!

Welcome (back) to Lima!

12hrs door-to-door. It’d been a while (almost a year) since I’d been out of the city to the provinces and it made me remember that (despite all my weekly grumblings) there is a Peru that I really love out there, it is just not in Lima!

Keeping everything crossed for Arequipa next year…

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Jog on (part II)…

After two months of very little, I started jogging again this week.
I’ve scrapped everything on the race calendar bar the fabled EL MISTI SKY RACE.
(Despite the lure of the Vertical Wanka!)

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Marcona Wind Trail would have been a logistical nightmare to get to and although El Misti will entail a flight, it is do-able. Acclimatisation will be barely minimal, but we’ll see.

I need something to focus on, in between bouts of being crocked/crook!

10KI have had a chest infection for going on 3 months now, which despite a month of pills and various tests, is still not shifting.

This notification popped up on my phone this week.

37912000_10160725694735302_4944433009047633920_nAm I member of a “sensitive group”?
Air pollution is a major problem in Lima.
Am I actually doing myself more harm than good by running????
That is why I am extra-giddy about August :-)

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Nipper’s new wheels.

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Charlie kindly gave us a new pushbike for the Wee One, (his lad had two) and so the Nipper was delighted to get a surprise on Monday morning with a groovy “Joovy” Balance Bike. (I am getting bike envy, the score is now 3:0 to her!)

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She does have a normal bike (with pedals and stabilisers) but these balance bikes are supposed to be the business for mastering “balance” (not a skill she will inherit from her Old Man, that is for sure!)

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Haircut Sir/Meet Mr.Metrosexual!

A while back I had a close shave (pardon the pun) with a clueless bloke masquerading as a barber, who had never seen a pair of clippers in his life at my old hairdresser.

An all-over grade one has to be the easiest haircut of all time, but this chap did not have a clue.
Describing what haircut you want (if it is not an all-over grade one) done is a test of vocabulary and pushes the miming skills to the limit.

I was forced to find a new place. There is a swanky salon called “Montalvo” on my doorstep and as is the growing trend here it has developed into a flashy “Barbero” shop.

Peru is the new home to a growing number of Venezuelans, all of whom I have met are really cool, friendly and positive people. It must be hard upping sticks and starting from zero in a new country when your home country is rapidly falling to pieces. What was once the most prosperous country in Latin America has plummeted into economic and political chaos since 2014. Life is very, very hard up there now, with food shortages and an autocratic leader making things worse.

Anyway, Andres is my new best mate in Salamanca. He cut my hair last time and I seem to bump into him every day! If I had a pair of clippers, I could probably do it myself, but I don’t.

On Friday morning the ladies went off for the day, so I was left to my own devices, with a list as long as both of Mr. Tickle’s arms, no jobs of which were ticked off, as I spent 3hrs in a barber’s chair! Ever the sucker for a “promotion” deal, this happened! (In my defence, the lad does work 6x12hr shifts and works on commission. How could I say no?!)

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For somebody who has never washed his ugly mug with anything but a splash of water, this was a serious move. I am not sure I  will be repeating it again and I did say a firm “no” when offered a manicure!

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Don’t panic…

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Books, books, books…

Next week!

Raiders round-up.

The mighty Shipbuilders were at home to London Broncos (second on the league) this week.
One way traffic and a bad day at the office resulted in a heavy 6:72 6defeat :-(

Onwards and upwards and hopefully avoiding the dip.

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Blighty beckons!

And by ‘eck are we giddy about it!

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Hoping that the heatwave continues into August, we will (all) be back with my folks in sunny Yorkshire by the time of the next blog. Unrationed tea/HP sauce, fish&chips, steak&ale pie, Yorkshire Bitter, fresh air, P&Q and a big session lined up with the lads!

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What is there not to get giddy about? :-)

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Lost and found, the SD card…

Next week!

And finally…

I’ve only been skiing twice (once really, the first time was supposed to be cross-country skiing, but there was no snow, but I’d paid for my gear), the second time was on the baby slopes at X-scape in classy Cas. It was a groupon offer “taster” which I had bought for Lina, but then the Nipper magically appeared so I used the voucher and it was an hour of my life that couldn’t finish fast enough!

I was absolutely dire. There is a shaky video somewhere, filmed by Lina (laughing her head off), it was yet another sport that I’ve tried where “Enthusiasm Vs. complete lack of (cap)ability” fought forces and “Enthusiasm” lost!

So, when I saw that a bloke had skied down K2 (the second highest mountain in the World and by all accounts, the hardest), I had to take my hat off to him.

Here it is!

That’s all for now folks.
Have an outstandingly awesome week.

Hasta la proxima!
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper

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