I trust this finds you in finest New Year form.
Surrounded by outrageously loud reggaeton music, fireworks that resemble a warzone and people wearing yellow undies (non-visible), I quickly scribble this blog for you.
A time when one reflects on the past and dreams of the future.
Busy week: Back to work, after a brief break. A cloudy trip to the beach, three outings into yonder hills and a right royal knees-up for JD’s birthday.
Chaos never stops in Lima, so here is the weekly Superclunk.com blog…
A week is a long time in Peruvian politics (part III).
Crikey, it’s never dull!
Ex-president Humala ”Capitán Carlos” and his free-spending wife are in prison (pre-corruption trial detention.
Ex-ex president Toledo is in exile in the USA, if he comes back here he’s going straight to the clink.
Shady ex-ex president Garcia is not squeaky clean.
All are (allegedly) implicated in a very sticky corruption mess involving a company called “Odebrecht”
Last week saw the near-impeachment of the current president, A.K.A PPK.
In a dramatic twist, the brother (Kenji Fujimori) of the opposition leader (Keiko Fujimori),led an abstaining revolt, which meant just enough congress-folk didn’t vote PPK out, I did mention that he may have had ulterior motives…
On Christmas Eve, PPK announced the release of ex-president, Alberto Fujimori (father of Kenji and Keiko), who was serving a 25 year jail sentence for human rights violations.
Now this is a topic that divided the nation and it wasn’t a Left Vs. Right opinion either.
A lot depends on how people were affected at the time. The 1980′s were a dark time for the country, I wasn’t here and I am not qualified to talk about it. The 1990′s were not plain sailing either. Fujimori was president from 1990-2000.
There is no room here (nor is it the time) to talk in length, but this chap’s legacy (!) can be summarised like this (depending who you ask):
In “Have I Got News for You” form, allegedly…
In his favour:
- He defeated the insurgency of terrorism (predominantly “Shining Path” and MRTA)*
- He restored the economy with “Fujishock tactics”
Not in his favour:
- He pocketed $600 million for himself.
- He was responsible for the “Grupo Colina” death squads, who carried out several brutal massacres (the Barrios Altos, La Cantuta and Santa atrocities).
- When the above were eventually put to trial, Fujimori simply changed all the laws.
- He carried out a “coup-d’état”, shutting down Congress, suspending the constitution, and purging the judiciary.
- He changed the laws allowing himself to run for a third term.
-* Critics state that terrorism was on the decline before he entered office.
- Ranked as “7th most corrupt leader of all time.
Fujimori fled Peru in 2000 and from there faxed his resignation to Congress from Japan.
Later he voiced his intention to run in the 2006 elections, but was arrested when he arrived in neighbouring Chile.
After three trials he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights abuses, kidnapping, murder, corruption, embezzlement, abuse of power, bribery and corruption (some charge sheet!)
On Christmas Eve, he was released by PPK, which for a president already on the ropes was widely seen as political suicide!
Let’s see what 2018 brings…
I won’t go into too much of a pompous inward journey here, just a collection of reflections…
Bizarrely and unusually (for me) work was the thing that kept me sane in 2017!
I’m not and never will be the best teacher in the World, but I do try my utmost to get students motivated and I’ve seen some amazing progress, which makes the job 110% worthwhile.
On a good day it is the best job in the World and I’d do it for free.
On a bad day…
I’ve not really had a bad day, so that is why I’m happy
(Especially when I think back to some of the duffer jobs I’ve had in my life).
I’ve got an amazing boss, who is an absolute superstar and brilliant colleagues, who are the salt of the earth. It is a great company to work for, they look after you and give some cool perks too!
However, it’s not really been the teaching that has been the best bit, it’s the extras, two things which I never really expected this time last year.
I was put forward for a storytelling course and being a “yes man”, I said “si”.
I naively thought I’d just be reading from a book, ding-dong-wrong!
It was a whole new kettle of fish and with my appalling memory, never easy, but after a lot of training (from the ever-patient Miguel accompanied by top guitarist, Jorge), practice, practice and more practice, we pulled off three big shows, to different audiences (four in fact).
I met some really cool people and had a great time, but my stories were different every time!
This was the icing on the cake. Cutting a long story short, after putting my heart and soul into an audition, I got the part and after an enforced haircut and shave (Sansom syndrome, this never makes me happy), it was Lights-Camera-Acción!
I’m still waiting for calls from Lynch, Scorsese and Spielberg…
The thing that is my ever-faithful leveller and refuge from chaos almost became my nemesis this year. 2017 was the year of injuries, illnesses and incidents.
(Even squeezed in some cycling, which is a mystery, as I have no bike!)
My superb Physio, Super Maro was my saviour. I do feel like an old banger (maybe an ancient Capri, flattering myself somewhat there) and she kept the wheels turning when otherwise they would have seized up long, long ago.
Incidents mainly relates to falls, both on-and-off-road.
I took some crashing tumbles on the tarmac, Lima is world renowned for its potholes and one has to be eagle-eyed at all times. The big fall was back in March, when I smashed my right knee up whilst up in my local mountains. Never take your eye off the trail! This knee gave me problems all year.
The illnesses were the hardest to get through, as I’m normally a healthy-living lad, but respiratory, digestive and migraine problems turned me into Sheridan Poorly!
The problem is that the Docs here just dish out a boatload of pills, which cause other problems, but hey-ho, I’m still going!
My big problem is that when life turns a bit $h!tty I just turn the screw in training, which either gets some (good) results, or I just run myself into the ground and get crocked.
The latter is what has been happening all year and when I haven’t got my running to fall back on, this becomes a bit of a downward spiral.
But, hey-ho, managed to get in a whisker short of 1000 miles training and over 220,000ft of climbing, so it’s not been a complete loss.
Race highs: Desafio Ruricancho (March), limping round a cracking (flags) local course.
Good run in first Desafio Ruricancho (May) too.
Race lows: Ultra Trail 69 (June). After training so hard, I was hit with a chest infection and dysentery (!) the week afore and bailed out after just 35 miles. A lot of graft, time and travel, but I’ll be back. An awesome race!
Spot the donkey!
Race plans 2018. Being pondered on right now…
Scientists in Surrey developed a material called “Vantablack” Researchers say this new material is so black that even their spectrometers (machines that record colors and light) can’t measure its darkness…
My moods in 2017 could give this stuff a run for its money! 2017 was a year I wish good riddance to!
I don’t know what went wrong this year. Adapting back to life in Lima is a long process (at least it is for me), we’ve been back for almost 3 years now, so surely I should be almost there.
The usual grumbles of incessant noise, stupid and completely inconsiderate neighbours outshadowed the other problems (loco trafico, crime, senseless bureaucracy and corruption) for me. To the point where I spent most of my time in the house (apart from work obviously).
A cocktail of rage, desperation, sense of hopelessness, anger and frustration whilst “en la calle” (in the street) all manifested itself at home, which was wrong. I’ve been a miserable bugger to be about at times, but thanks to Lina’s patience and my small group of mates here, I’m still batting!
Looking ahead (to February) we are moving house to a different area, which will hopefully solve a lot of problems (whilst making my commute a potential pain-in -the-a$$, but I have plans).
We did have a cracking few days up north in Ancash, which was cool.
I squeezed in a last-minute short trip back to Blighty in August which saved my sanity.
Two weeks in Tadcaster was just the ticket.
Next August, we’ll all be visiting!
Flights have been booked, see you next Summer
Onwards and upwards amigos!!!
There is a huge shopping centre very near to our house called “Jockey Plaza” which is always rammed to the hilt. I discovered a brilliant music shop there this week.
Going back to school days, with my mate Jez, we used to often go to an amazing music shop in classy Castleford called “Rock Factory”, which was just floors and floors of mainly guitars. I played bass (badly), but this place was like a dream. I was their worst customer ever personally, as I never bought a thing, but did a lot of browsing!
Fast forward to 2017, the Nipper and I went for a nosy.
Imagine a very, very excited three year old dashing around, touching everything in sight. Organs with s/10000 price tags (£2500), rows of guitars and a line of “cajones” a basic Peruvian percussion instrument, like a box which you sit on and bang.
The Wee One took a shine to these, but remember one thing, “Never give up, ever!”
So folks, that is all for 2017, roll on 2018 and thanks a million for reading, I do really appreciate it.
Wishing you, your loved ones and your lovers a mighty fine year, full to the brim with awesomeness!
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper
p.s. Finished typing at 11:30pm on NYE, sober, how times change