Good morning folks
I trust you had a mighty fine weekend and this finds you in top form.
Here is the weekly wrap-up of Lima life.
A week overshadowed by a tragic cinema fire, which resulted in 5 deaths.
Some things you never even think about having any danger at all.
It has been a bad month already; 3 firefighters killed in a factory blaze and a whole shantytown community burned to the ground, leaving thousands homeless.
The firefighters here in Peru are all volunteers, many hold down full-time jobs &/or study too.
All this puts one’s own woes into perspective.
On a positive note, national (football) optimism was raised when the national side trounced Paraguay 4-1, hopes of an appearance at the “Copa Mundial” were raised and then (quickly) dashed by Brasil who came/went to town on Tuesday and now, although mathematically still possible, it will take a miracle to get the “Blanquirrojas” to Russia in 2018!
The APEC circus has come to town. All the big guns, including Obama, are here. More helicopters flying around than a scene from a Vietnam film.
In a city where complete lack of logic and a scant disregard (contempt) for personal preservation go hand in hand, just today I say a man waddle across 4 lanes of traffic (on the Panamericana Highway), take a leak in the central reservation, scale a 2m fence with rusty medieval spikes atop, then waddle across the other side (within 50m of a pedestrian bridge), then I saw a woman “sweeping” the street for tab-ends with a rake and another woman “raking” her garden with a soft house brush. I was tempted to introduce them and suggest a swap.
I have decided to put a Black Dog filter on this blog, my moanings and woes don’t make for joyous reading, so I’m keeping them separate. If I ever do write a book there will be a harrowingly dark chapter entitled “Diary of a breakdown”, but not here.
Lina has been on a course all weekend, so the Wee One & I have been home alone again.
A mixture of smiles and tantrums (from both parties). On the hacking front the Nipper has changed the home and lock screens on my phone as well as subscribing me to Leicester City podcasts! (Leeds is my team for my sins). I have deactivated one-click on Amazon…
I awoke to the usual racket of our vertical neighbours, with a feeling of impending doom…
Just that nagging doubt that something wasn’t going to go quite right.
We’ve had a lot of problems with our wee house in Morley (home of Craaaaaig David, but not in our old gaff). Door knackered, boiler broken and replaced amongst other trivialities, but it had been at least a week since I’d heard from the letting agents.
Opened my email to be told that we need to install a new oven, cushtee.
I went out for a run around 6am feeling decidedly jaded and wondering how I could avoid the usual pedestrian gridlocks of all escape routes from Salamanca, but it wasn’t to be a problem as I never actually made it that far…
After crossing the Panamericana Highway I felt a jabbing pain in the back of my knee, which got immediately worse, I slowed to a jog, still bad to the point I had to stop, and then walk home.
The pain was in a different place (but close) to my other recent hamstring problem, but at the back of my knee. I limped home, dejected. Runners can be moody buggers and this one is no exception. I got in touch with Super Maro, the best Physio in Lima.
On Wednesday she confirmed my worst fears, I’d torn my Popliteus muscle (not to be confused with Pop will eat itself, sounds similar if you mumble it fast). A tiny, diddy and seemingly insignificant muscle, until you knacker it!
Ultrasound, rest, ice, anti-inflammatories and a
All races cancelled until further notice!
Apart from a mouth full of ulcers and being stone deaf in my left ear, I’m otherwise in good form
As the main function of the Popwilleatitself muscle is to control the kneecap when running up hill and down dale, I was advised against heading off into yonder mountains, which was a mega-downer as I was already packed and alarm set for a 4am departure on Thursday morning.
I had managed to get my kit down to 6-&-a-bit kg, which I was chuffed with. Apu Curimacas is going nowhere (nor am I for a while), so it’ll have to wait!
Gear freaks (like myself) may or may not be interested in this photo.
(A knapsack full of gubbins, as close as I got this weekend!)
It does mean my bag is now packed and ready for next time!
Bonehead’s Bank Holiday.
Which all left me high and dry on a rare 4 straight days off work. Not wanting to waste it, we headed off to the seaside on Thursday. Summer is not yet here, but the sun has got its hat on!
We decided to go “in the beach” as they say here, (nobody was buried).
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…
The Nipper usually loves the beach, but decided she didn’t like it, so it was a short trip.
(Luckily we had only gone to nearby Chorrillos). She is at “an age” as one would say, where moods are at the forefront of everything. However with my moodswings I have no room to talk!
As we were down that neck of the woods, we tried out a food place that somebody had told us about. It was a place you’d walk past (as indeed nobody had heard of it when we asked for its mystery whereabouts), but walking in off a hot, snarled-up incessant traffic jam, it seemed like a refuge!
Craftily built in an alleyway and back yard, VeggiePizza (if you are veggie and like pizza) is a top spot.
If I had one criticism, a plate and cutlery would be a bonus, but I am just showing my age there.
(Not sure if I’m supposed to play Ping Pong or direct aeroplanes with these?!)
Unless you want to pay about £1000 to get connected up to mains gas, the majority of Peruvian kitchens are powered by bottled gas. It’s like living in a caravan (again). Of course the gas never runs out when you don’t need it, it’s always when you’re cooking your tucker, in a rush to get to work.
Whatever I was patching together on Tuesday was taking forever and a day, so I was brought back to reality when I noticed there was no flame. I had no ca$h and the gas-man-on-a-bike doesn’t take cards. (Our local lad carries a big bottle on his crossbar, daring stunt riders carry three or four 15kg bottles on their Clunks!)
I gave up on dinner and got a shower, immediately forgetting about the gas as I put a brew on. Obviously it never boiled, so I had to get the camping stove out, no coffee=no work(ee!)
On Wednesday there was no power from 11am onwards, so we had (new) gas, but no light nor water. On Thursday we were just without water all day, so it was a week of saving on utilities bills!
Asking for a haircut, in a language that is a long way from your own mother tongue, is one of the most terrifying things going! Added to the equation the the fact that I am completely deaf (bar a constant rrrrrringing) in my left ear, which meant I was apprehensive going for my barnet buzzed!
I normally stick to the same hairdresser, near my house and always cut by the same young lass, who doesn’t say a lot. It is a case of mutual non-understanding I think. However, she does a grand job, of what must be one of the simplest cuts going. In essence, half a skinhead. Clippers up to a line, none off the top and my beard hacked off. (A good sheep shearer could do it in 20 seconds I reckon).
When I walked in and saw my usual lass busy with a rather extravagant creation, which could only be a wedding style, I almost did an about-turn, but was ushered into a seat, not a waiting seat, the business seat. Then my heart sank as a middle-aged bloke who normally sweeps up approached enthusiastically. No chance of a retreat…
I asked for a grade 0.5 and wasn’t paying attention, so when he heard that as “no guard” on the clipper it was instantly too late. The chap was so close that he was in danger of trimming his own eyebrows, I quickly gathered that he was short-sighted (that is being generous). He’d definitely had garlic for lunch and took 20 minutes just to go around my head once, and then went around a second time (with the lever in, leaving me rather bald). Predictably he was a person who preferred to whisper, which worked a treat with my deafness, so communication, although at close-quarters, was limited. He accidentally gouged my eye with his thumb whilst shaving my beard and THEN got his glasses out when he got the cut-throat out!
A very tense 5 minutes ensued, where I held my breath and waited for it all to be over. I was then offered “alcohol?” (I was tempted, but politely declined), then “masaje?” (which I wasn’t tempted and also declined). My stylist seemed disappointed.
When it came to paying my ten soles (£2.40), I gave him 12 soles (50p tip), which confused him. He gave me it back, but I said “for you”, then he gave it back again. At risk of causing a scene I gave it back again and he twigged. The biggest smile I had seen all day made up for an otherwise scary experience!
(I think tipping is uncommon here, but I normally do tip hairdressers, I don’t know why, as it is their job, and the tip is a fair chunk of what they earn, in the time they do it. I don’t get tipped to do my job, but if it makes sure that he does a good job of my mullet next time, it is 50p well spent!)
It was light when I had gone in, and very, very dark when I came out…
Big day Monday!
Contract renewal time.
Will I be kept on or will I be buying a pair of clippers and joining my mate?
Pic of the week!
A new feature!
Every week on social media (facebook) I see loads and loads of brilliant pics, it is a great medium for sharing photos (although Victor here is not a big fan of selfies, each to their own).
I have a running friend called Gabriel (Fabian) who takes some super-inspiring photos.
This week he was out taking advantage of the Supermoon up on the hills, at night!
Due to shifts at work, I can’t get out on a night, but this may change one day. The contrast of the hills and the city are caught perfectly here. Good work amigo
This weekend is Kendal Mountain Film Festival, one of my favourite weekends of the year and I would crawl naked over broken glass to be there.
A weekend that gets bigger and bigger. It’s not just about the films, it’s the people and the atmosphere, (but the films are awesome!)
My amigo, Al Lee has yet another brilliant film out in “BLOCHEADS” and I’d love to see Leo Houlding’s film too.
If you’ve never been to KMFF before, here is a taster/trailer.
That’s all for now folks
Have yourself an outstandingly awesome week.
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper
P.S. Stop Press: Just heard that Mr Lee’s film scooped the loot. Good work Sir