I trust this finds you in mighty fine form, having enjoyed your weekend:-)
It’s been quite a week here in sunny (but not always) Lima.
After meeting up with the mighty Two Wheeled Nomads; Lisa & Jase last weekend, this week it was time to say hasta luego to the intrepid pair. After being stuck in Lima, waiting for bike parts to clear customs, they got the green light on Thursday, so we met up for a delicious “Chifa” (Chino-Peruvian food, very delicious indeed!)
I once had a credit card held up in Customs for 3mths, so I was relieved for them when I heard their good news.
It was great to meet up & chat about all manner of biking/non-biking stuff.
I feel very fortunate to have connected with them both.
Brilliant people, down to earth, full of life & excellent company.
Travel for me (& living in a different place, like Lima) is not just about the place(s), it’s the people who make it.
As Alexander Supertramp said “Happiness only real when shared.” (Which he sadly realised, all too late).
I’ll be eagerly following their progress & exploits as they continue their long ride northwards, check out their amazing adventure right here:
Lisa & her factory-lowered/shocker-rejuvenated GS, Pearl.
In my own little ClunkWorld, after 8wks of looking, scratching my head, being close to being swindled & test riding a multitude of Clunks, I finally made my mind up on Clunk No.15, “Clunk sin nombre” (the Clunk with no name).
A tidy litter Honda XR125. A step-up from my C90 & a venture into the world of dirt bikes, a bit of a dream-come-true.
I was going into the unknown a bit the paperwork, but thanks to my Boss, Alex, I went into the red tape jigsaw well-armed!
In the UK, it’s a quick scribble on a V5 Logbook slip, trying to remember who gets what, hard-earned crosses palms & the DVLA do the rest. What I would have given for such simplicity…
Meeting up with the trusty vendor, Alberto, we then rode across town to the SAT, to pay an outstanding fine (which goes with the vehicle, not the owner), then a dash across to the centre of Lima to the Notaria.
All paperwork complete, copied & in triplicate, fingerprints were taken, ID was copied again & then 2 witnesses drafted in (two real likely lads buying/selling a truck, in the queue behind us), then a trip to the bank to deposit the bra$$ I had hidden on my person, (I had heard various horror stories about buyers getting jumped before the cash swapped hands, so it was a relief to get rid of it!) Then more copies were made, a bottle of celebratory chica morada (purple sweetcorn juice) was drunk & then back to the Notaria, for more signatures, documents, fingerprints & finally, the keys were mine.
(By this point I was a bit worried that I’d got it all wrong & that we were actually getting wed!)
All because the lady loves…
Then suddenly, the bike was mine & I had to find my way across the centre of Lima, my first real time on 2 wheels here, (apart from quick blasts round the block, as in my umpteen test rides). It’s a nerve-racking game in Lima traffic, but apart from one near miss, an old lad getting his ice cream cart & himself nabbed by the La Victoria Serenazgo (security), who stopped their armoured pick-up truck directly in my path, (disc brakes are amazing), I was home & dry (& very, very sweaty indeed).
With one thing & another (including a bit of confusion/panic as to whether I was actually allowed to ride the bike whilst awaiting paperwork), I didn’t really get out much until the weekend. Up at 5:30am on Sunday (pitch black still), back to bed & then out on the road by 7am. Had to wait 15mins for the 24hr garage to open & then I was heading up through the suburbs of La Molina & into the hills. Not a massive ride out (no AA/RAC cover here), but a mini-adventure to a new place for me, in the form of Cieneguilla.
“El Clunk sin nombre”
An awesome hilly ride, twisty paradise & speed ramps the size of Siula Grande!
Found a brilliant little cafe run by a really cool Canadian guy called Frank, PANADERIA MONTREAL.
The first place to bake bagels in Lima & a canny drop of Java too, this could be a regular haunt
Back home before the traffic/sun heated up, (failed on both counts & got lost twice too).
The Clunk rides very nicely, glad for the suspension, especially when I clattered a crater on Av. Javier Prado.
There are loads of sports bikes out here, but I wouldn’t fancy one myself.
Panaderia Montreal – The best coffee in town, a TOP spot
Clunks aside, it’s also been a busy week.
Security is big business in Peru. With traffic wardens armed for guerilla combat, it’s sometimes confusing just who-is-who?
Carrying ID is mandatory & the Policia are everywhere, which is a good thing, (although when I got stopped on Wednesday morning, after my “head-down,I’m-in-a-rush” act didn’t work, I was none the wiser why I’d actually been stopped? Everyone was being stopped, & that included me! After showing him my driving license, business card & Dennis-the-Menace fan club card, as I don’t carry my passport, (but I will always carry a copy on my person from now on Officer!)
I was free to go. Phew!
The 140,000 strong Police Force (largest in Latin America) are joined in uniform by Serenazgo (district security, the ones who were nabbing the Rogue OAP Ice Cream Salesman& his fast-defrosting wares, maybe he was diddling people with short measure s on their Fudgeridoos & 99s?!)
Then, almost every business its own private security guards (keeping people in jobs & the uniform makers in business), especially banks. It’s still an eye-opener to see Security personnel with heavy arms, but you do get used to it in a desensitised way.
Then, most neighbourhoods have their own “Huachimán” (a twisted misspelling of “Watchman”).
The chaps who do a sterling job of guarding my local neck-o-the-woods are a friendly bunch.
I normally stop & pass the time of day, when I’m coming & going (& coming & going & coming & going, due to my lessons, I’m either teaching or coming/going to a job). Fit as a proverbial Butcher’s dog, due to riding rund on a really old MTB for 12hr shifts, blowing a whistle in a code that only other Huachimen (plural) know.
Anyway, recently the Nipper has decided to go on a sleep strike.
Valentina looking better than me after not sleeping for the last 2 weeks…
So I’ve joined her in solidarity (but not through choice), so midnight normally sees me doing laps of the nearby park.
There is one “Huachi” who isn’t quite as friendly as the rest & he always blows his whistle, whenever he pedals past, (I’m not taking the Nipper for a walk at midnight for the scenery, nor for the good of our health, nor for leisure reasons), his whistle normally starts all the pooches in the neighbourhood howling, which normally wakes the wee one, so it’s round for another lap.
Anyway, I saw this interesting bit of graffiti last week…
It roughly translates to “The Huachi who looks after this park is a goat, like Estrada”
Now, seriously, I did see a man leading a goat this week, near to the park, but now I’m not sure if this was a goat, or the Huatchi?! (I was itching to get a photo, but it would have been too blatantly obvious).
Then I suddenly thought, “Estrada!”
One of my childhood heroes, Erik Estrada A.K.A Officer Francis (“Frank”) Llewellyn “Ponch” Poncherello from CHiPs!
Had he carried on his work long into retirement (he’ll be about 66 these days) as a Huachiman in Salamanca???
Had he ditched his KZ-900 for a knackered mountain bike?
So many questions (& sometimes answers) remain unanswered here in Lima.
I’ll keep my eyes & ears open & keep you posted.
Then, entirely unconnected, just two nights ago, whilst doing my midnight moonwalk (my shoes are still slippery as, after standing in some grease/oil weeks back), one of the friendly Huachis asked me if I wanted a job!
12hr shifts, 7-7, 6 days a week, pay wasn’t great, but I did get free use of a pushbike & my own whistle!
I must have mentioned that I’d worked shifts before, so I’m sure an interview would be just a formality, (I also passed my Cycling Proficiency too, back in 1981), providing I didn’t fail the whistle test.
I said I’d think about it. They are taking on right now, so if you fancy it, let me know!
People often ask where I’m from.
I’m too tall to be a Peruvian & my Spanish isn’t good enough to be anywhere from this continent.
Possibly a Spaniard who missed all of his language classes?
Whenever i say England, people always think London.
So I say I live in a place called Leeds, in between Newcastle `& Manchester.
(Football logistics; national treasure Nolberto Solano played for Newcastle & most folk have heard of Manchester).
It’s a bit like saying England is between Belarus & Togo; true, but not very accurate.
Anyway, this chap in the market heard the magic word “Newcastle” & asked me if I spoke Geordie?
I said I understood it, but didn’t speak it.
He genuinely thought it was a different language!
Finally, yesterday we went “in the beach” (prepositions don’t always translate too well here).
Top day out with my two little ladies, & I didn’t get sunburnt to a crisp, which was a first.
Valentina had a good splash around in the pool, terrifying all the other nippers in the process.
Top tucker at the seaside, beside the sea…
We had some very tasty seafood & I had a glass of “Leche de Tigre” (the shot of murky liquid in the centre of the plate).
Try downing a pint of that in-one on your next night out!
That’s all for now folks.
The Nipper is one year old this week, how fast has that gone!
“You’d better get me something decent for my birthday Old Man, & nothing motorbike related neither!”
(I dare say that I’ve aged more than one year in this time, but it’s been more than worth it).
It’s been a steep/overhanging learning curve, but the Nipper keeps me in check!
Have a week full of awesomeness.
Johnny, Lina & Valentina x
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