Good morning folks
I trust you are all having a superbly awesome festive season & that the
rotund old lad in red brought you all that you wished for!
First & foremost my thoughts are with all my friends in the north of England; Yorkshire, Lancashire & Cumbria, all of whom have been affected by the incredibly heavy rain that has fallen recently.
I have friends & family in Cumbria who were hit hard earlier in the month. Some places in the region have been flooded out 4 times now.
On Boxing Day the River Wharfe which flows through my adopted hometown of Tadcaster, burst its banks & a lot of people were flooded. York, Leeds & surrounding areas suffered too. Some dramatic images & a lot of hard work & misery for the poor souls affected. Thinking about you all. Stay safe amigos.
(p.s. None of the images above are mine, all taken from FB).
Here is an espresso style round-up of Lima happenings…
A (mini) nightmare before Christmas…
In comparison, this was a tiny event, but at the time it had me sweating!
On Christmas Eve, I was looking after the Nipper & trying to tidy the house, cook, etc
(& failing at everything, like always!) The Wee One has a cup that leaks & she likes to tip
water over the floor, to watch me mop it up. I had just done this (for the umpteenth time) & noticed water pouring from under the settee. One of those moments when your brain cannot register what is happening! Where was it all coming from? I glanced to my right & saw that the hallway had about an inch of flowing water, coming towards me, panic!
About an hour earlier, I’d been washing my hands in the bathroom, when some delivery guy started pressing all the buzzers on all the console outside, in a frantic fashion. I must have not quite turned the tap off & the sink must have been ever so slightly blocked, as it had been overflowing into the bathroom for an hour (about 3″ deep by now) & gushing under the door. The bairn started splashing about, so I quickly popped her in her cot, (which she hates, so she started screaming the roof down). I only had 2
towels (& no mop, what I would have done for a mop!) Fearing the rocket I would get off my better half, I was under pressure & 2hrs later, I’d dried it all up. Three cheer for tiles.
Next time I’ll check the tap, twice!
Father Larry Duff fail!
People leave things late here, whether it is a Latino trait, I cannot be sure, but it is rubbing off & has bit me on the backside bigtime!
See previous blog here: http://www.mongoliando.com/theory-test-confusion-mongol-rally-3-years-on-and-never-ever-tell-a-mechanic-theres-no-rush/
Back in June I applied for my bike license & then continued to ride around on my UK license. There is a law (Decreto
Supremo) which allows this, but thankfully I have never had to call on it, as I reckon your average Traffic Cop would be having none of it &
potentially, if caught, me & the Clunk could be going to the Clink. I kidded myself that as I had applied it was a bit like riding round on a provisional license, so as long as I kept my nose clean,
it´d be right…
Mid December I suddenly realised this document (in particular the Medical) had an expiry date; 6mths from day of production. Panic! I checked & found that the expiry date was Boxing Day, so I thought I’d best get it passed.
Lina warned me that I should study for it, but I ignored her (at my peril). I thought it’d be just like a Highway Code, in Spanish. However, my Spanish has got worse & worse & worse
& there is very, very little logic in the Peruvian Highway Code, so I failed in dramatic style. Basically it is an online 40 question multiple-choice quiz, with a minimum 30-point pass rate. People buy a book (with 200 possible questions/answers) outside the Test Centre for 10bob & memorise the
answers. Some are bizarre, all are of little sense. It does appear that they have all been invented at the end of a night out, random afterthoughts. In addition, nobody follows the rules, so the test is just lip service!
Round 2 (Friday 18th) was better, but I still failed, so I studied
half’-heartedly & was just one point off passing in round 3
(Monday 21st), but you only get 3 attempts, so I had to reapply (pay again) for another 3 attempts on Tuesday (22nd).
The week was hardcore bonkers. End of cycle, final exams & of course, Christmas. I was at work at 6:45am, marking exams & then Clunked across town to the
(Theory) Test Centre to reapply, then did the Theory Test (passed!)
Then I had a long, hot haul south down the Panamericana Sur to the (Practical) Test Centre in
This is a purpose built, closed test centre, with a fixed circuit & exam. Some enterprising punter has built a replica course next door, so you can practise first &
then nail the practical test. I should have gone there, but time was ticking, so I went straight to the Test Centre. Sweating cobs in all my gear, summer has arrived at the beaches darn sarf. Nobody batted an eyelid that I was in my bike gear &
had appeared (Mr. Ben Shopkeeper style) magically with my own bike! Punters normally hire one of the absolutely battered old Chinese copies of the mighty/miniscule Honda Dax Monkey Bike. I was clueless & was soon getting shouted at by an official for parking in the wrong place. Just me & 2 other lads, both who had failed previously on the figure-of-eights. I’ve ridden bikes on-&-off since I was 17, & I have never, ever had to ride a figure-of-eight, let alone four in a row. Unluckily I was first up & was desperately close to nailing the (infeasibly tight) figure-of-eight, when my phone rang…
Just like Father Larry Duff (of Father Ted fame), it was disastrous timing. I lost concentration & leaned over a fraction too much & put my foot down.
Like the moment in Trainspotting when Begbie puts the pool cue through the cloth.
The remainder of the test was ridiculously easily, but it was all in vain. The problem is that there was no other day to re-take my test, so I have to start the w-h-o-l-e process over again. Medical test (& somehow pass the
colourblind test, which I miraculously passed last time), legalise documents at the
Notaria, pay at the bank, make quadruplicate copies of everything & join the
queue(s), again. Dóh!
The Panamericana Sur home was a long & crazy mix of ancient trucks, boy racers, Combis, buses, coaches, removal vans, mototaxis, LGVs & a lot of Police Cars (all of whom I was paranoid were going to pull me)
Apart from that, it was a good day!
AWOL Clunk Mechanic spotted (briefly)…
After having been promising to come & fix the ailing Honda since September, my mechanic promised he would come on Wednesday, so I waited in all day. He then promised he’d be here on Thursday (Christmas Eve) at 8am. He rolled up at 1pm…
Now the last time I managed to track him down, he had bought all the parts we needed. I trusted (!) him & paid up front, not a lot, but still I’d parted with my hard-earned. So, I just expected us to get cracking there & then.
The parts had (apparently) all been stolen, by his flat mate, (who must be rebuilding a knackered XR125),
so he said we needed to go across town to buy the parts. The traffic on Christmas Eve is extra manic. People here leave shopping late, so it was probably the last thing I wanted to do, but what could I do! So, we headed into the Wild West, two-up, him with no helmet & me pretty lost from the start. Getting directions from a very softly spoken pillion who doesn’t know his left/right had us going down
one-way streets, crossing central reservations & arriving up at bike shops that were closed,
it was Christmas Eve after all. To add to all this, there were lots of Lima CHiPS around…
By 3pm we gave up, but he has promised to come back on Monday…
Christmas here is very, very traditional, in that everybody does very much the same thing. Turkey, rice & trimmings just before midnight on the 24th, Champagne, bubbly or Pomagne at
midnight, then pressies, then bed, late!
Since my last Christmas here, there has also been a fast growing trend in fireworks. So it was a bit like having tea in a war zone. Noise levels beyond belief. These folk love noise & making noise. We turned in around 2am, more stuffed than the turkey we’d just scoffed!
The Wee One had a great time & that is what it’s all about.
Christmas Day dawned blissfully & peacefully, as for once most folk were still in bed. The peace lasted a few hours, until the fireworks started again (in the daytime?) Then we headed across town for a second Christmas feed, at our good friends; James & Erika’s place. The full works PLUS my first Yorkshire Puddings & BISTO gravy in 12 months, delicious!
The 26th is just like a normal day, everything (including banks) open.
It seems that Christmas is over for another year…
I’ll need to find something yellow for Thursday night. More of that next week!
Wishing you all an AWESOME New Year.
Hope 2015 was a good one & that 2016 will be even better!
Next week is our one-year anniversary back in Peru, time for reflection.
Have a good one Folks
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper x