Near-misses, building sites and escaping “la locura de Lima..”

How do folks

I trust you had a superb weekend & that you’re all in mighty fine fettle. A busy old week in the crazy old city. Promised not to mention combis, or give you an ongoing report of Lima traffic, so this may be a shorter blog than usual! Apologies for the shortage of pics this week, the internet is going so slow, that it’s on the point of reversing. Will get some photos up here midweek. It’s slow, but it’s an improvement on none at all!

NO INTERNET!!!

“What?” “In this day & age!” Movistar have to be the worst internet provider in the World, ever. Stranded outside the World of WebWide, so that’s why I’ve not been on facebook much this week. Strange how we become so dependant on it, sometimes it’s good to escape from it, but when you need it & you don’t have it, it’s a pain in the Pelotas. This blog is therefore being sent to you via a hi-tech pigeon!

New faces & new classes.

A really busy & positive week at work. Two new classes in giant building companies. Construction is BOOMING here in Lima, new skyscrapers/apartments/offices are going up every week & the skyline is a horizon of cranes (a job I always fancied as a Nipper, along with Pilot which was stopped dead in its tracks when I discovered I was colour-blind, which nipped my dreams of being an astronaut in the bud too). My work takes me to the swanky financial business district of San Isidro, a place which is full of bra$$ & I’m a bit scared to breathe at times, lest they charge me! It’s not quite so swanky at the moment, as it’s like a giant sandpit. The biggest car park in the World is currently being built there & the streets are more suited to an off-road-experience, which suits the Clunk down to the ground! It is a place which brings a new meaning to the word “bottleneck”, the streets have been narrowed by half & filtering/weaving/carving (actually, at that speed carving would be difficult) through the traffic is impossible, so it’s just a case of sitting, sweating and waiting. It’s kind of ironic that they’re building a huge car park to further encourage commuters to drive, which will make the traffic even more bonkers! I’ve now got classes at all levels & at different stages in the book(s), so I’ve got to be on-the-ball, to make sure I’ve got the right class/book/lesson. Sounds simple, but takes some doing! Haven’t slipped up, yet!

Near-misses :-/

I remember doing my Part II Bike Test, back in 1989 & the Instructor advised me “Imagine that everybody on the road is out to kill you” & you won’t go far wrong. In essence meaning that one should never let their guard down, when on 2 wheels. By Tuesday night I was ready to sell (or give away) the Clunk! It seriously felt like everybody was genuinely out to nail me. In the last blog I explained the whole driving circus here. In a car, as long as you never, ever hesitate, ever, nor show any signs of weakness, nor yield to anyone, with a whole lot of luck, you should (hopefully) get from A-to-B, albeit with nerves shot to pieces. On a bike you’re forced to ride like a complete loonbag. I am ashamed to admit that this week I’ve been riding on the pavement, I’ve pushed the clunk over footbridges (a canny short-cut, now I know why the guy on his Chinese C70 “RTM” copy does so every night) & generally unlearning everything that I was every taught how to ride safely & courteously. If you ride carefully here, (i.e., leaving any kind of gap), you just get the gap filled/cut-up/honked at. However, on 2 wheels, (unlike a car), you’re always going to come off second best, by a long way, so a bit of self-preservation is prudent, (but scarce here). My good friend Tim offered to bring out a pair of superduper Kevlar slacks with him & I got them today, a right pair of Bobbie dazzlers! Gracias Tim ☺ On Tuesday (I think, they all merge into one these days), as I performed the against-all-logic dog-leg manoeuvre from Av. Javier Prado onto Av. Circunvaliacion, there is a sunken pothole that I always try & avoid, but get forced into by the vehicle who has left it to the last nanosecond to do the same move. First time round I was sprayed with a rather rich smelling ooze, that was seeping out of a manhole, when I got home I realised that I’d ridden through the bog of eternal stench. Dry-clean slacks & shoes that look like I’ve been bogsnorkelling in them (as I practically had). 2hrs (& full change of clothes) later, I had to make the same move & got drenched up to my knees. 2nd pair of kegs for the dry cleaners. I must have the memory of an amnesiac goldfish, as I had to make the same move at 8:30pm that night, the trickle had turned into a stream & then a roaring brown river. I realised about a mile downstream, as the whole 5 lanes were a smelly torrent. My good luck charm & lifesaving Adventurists Buff came to the fore & prevented me from catching some horrible disease (hopefully!) The Water Board has been working on plugging the flow since! The Clunk has gone in for a service this weekend, the cost of which includes a good old wash, so I’m told it’ll be good as new on Monday morning.

Escaping the city!

B5

From time to time, it’s best to escape the chaos, so we planned a weekend away up in’t yonder fells of Chosica. 20 miles away up the Carretera Central. An oasis of year round sunshine, but not this weekend! With summer drawing to a close, El Niño is stamping his feet & doing a rain dance. Lima is on the coast, but is also in a kind-of-desert, it never really rains (& in summer, it never really shines!) Saturday morning dawned dark & got darker & darker. Looks like rain, I thought, but no, not in Lima, not in summer?! 10mins later it was spitting. As we were heading to the hills, we had a re-think & re-packed with waterproofs. Heading out of Lima, the landscape & mood of the traffic changes, the housing thins out & the scenery gets wilder. Steep, rocky mountains & flourishing greenery. In Lima there are a number of Country Clubs, not a place I’d imagine getting let into myself, but not as formal as it sounds. We were staying in what was billed as a bungalow, it had 2 floors, but I didn’t want to split hairs! Around 4pm the heavens opened & it felt more like Penrith than Peru. We had to get some bits & bats in the nearby town. On a pitch-black road, with potholes rivaled only in Kazakhstan, in a monsoon, par for the course we soon got lost. I committed the crime of overshooting a Zebra crossing (no lights, only an invisible Policewoman in a raised platform/cage called a “Casseta de transito”, she looked miserable before I arrived & then really got enraged when I misread her hand signals the 2nd time :-/ Full speed wipers were ineffective & as the Carretera Central is the main Trucker’s route heading east out of Lima, it soon got very spicy indeed, especially on a quick run out to the shops on a Saturday night! Back to our “Bungalow” for Peppa Pig & later a few cervezas. Sunday dawned scorchio & apart from being told off by the Lifeguard whilst splashing about in the shallow end with the Nipper, it was a chilled out day. Heading home, Mr. “I know where I’m going” took a wrong turn & soon ended up in “Toll Paradise” (if you like paying Tolls that is!)

 

B1

“So you’re saying that I have to pay again (& again) then?”

Heading the wrong way on “Via Evitamiento” (trying, but failing to avoid more tolls) we got stung 3 times in total. Lima was still loco & we had seen a bit more than we expected, including a few districts that we hadn’t intended seeing.

Right, I’d best look lively & get to work. Wishing you all an awesome week. Special shout out to our amigos Travis, El & the BANDITS ON ICE & all other Ice Run people, on the edge of an incredible adventure, this will be beyond awesome ;-)

Cheers Johnny, Lina & Valentina x

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