Paolo!

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Good morning folks
I trust this finds you in fine form and that you had a top weekend.
Here is the weekly wrap-up of ramblings from Limalandia.
The Monday morning Superclunk.com blog, at your service!
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“San Paolo”
“If you don’t like football, go to Chile” say the memes, (no love lost between the two neighbours, one of whom didn’t qualify for the World Cup!)
Less than two weeks to go and Copa Mundial fever is reaching fever pitch.
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The only news this week was that of the miraculous reinstatement of national hero/treasure José Paolo Guerrero Gonzales.
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In what has been a remarkable story from start to finish (and it’s not over yet) this outcome was the only outcome that the nation would accept. To 33 million people who believed that he was/is innocent, now the national team is ready for Russia!
The ban has in effect been frozen until after the World Cup by the Swiss Supreme Court, so the Peruvian captain/leading goalscorer is in the clear, for now.
Peru play Saudi Arabia and Sweden in friendlies before the “Copa Mundial” begins, ther first appearance there in 36 years!
Guerrero was quoted as saying  “There are no limits, there are no more impossible dreams, because when we Peruvians unite, everything is possible.”
 
I would only add to that that there is a limit to the number of cups of coca tea one can drink before a drugs test.
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In other news, Peru (minus Guerrero) beat Scotland 2:0 to a packed national stadium (with 300 travelling Tartan Army in attendance, mainly watching in the boozers as there is no ale sold at the stadium) midweek. Tickets were going from £88 to upwards of a monkey, 500 sheets!!!
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The national feeling is that every game is a World Cup final.
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Then again on Sunday, 3:0 against Saudi Arabia, with “El Capitan” starring and scoring!
Fireworks are still going off now.
I just hope the bubble doesn’t (get) burst in the first round.
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Watch this space…

14 years on…
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14 years ago today I set foot on a plane to Peru for the first time.
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3rd time: 2015
In 2004, after almost missing my flight (car hire place told me there was no bus and the drop-off was miles from the airport, on an industrial estate, I started walking on a balmy June morning with all my gear, in the general direction of Heathrow Airport and then got to a tunnel, “no pedestrians”, so I flagged a cab which relieved me of £8 to go through and drop me off at the wrong terminal!
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I managed to just catch my first leg and then was upgraded from Madrid, so by the time I flew in over the Amazon and the Andes, I was half-cut on first class booze. Result :-)
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We plunged through a black cloud and arrived at 6pm, it was pitch black.
“Where are the mountains and the llamas?” I thought. I obviously hadn’t done my homework!
It was the start of an incredible adventure and some very heady times. I didn’t do anything that I had planned to do and did lots of stuff I had never thought about doing, so it was kind of a success.
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My good mate Lloyd and an animal I still feel guilty about eating now!
Anyway, 14 years on (but not 14 years in Peru, more like 5 years in 3 stints, I am still here.
I sometimes/often wonder why, but to be honest workwise, it is the best job I have ever had, so I’m here for the foreseeable future. I do (often) have “wobbles” (tantrums) where I just want to get on the first plane out of Lima, but if you take away the noise and chaos, it does have some rewards. Something keeps dragging me back here to the madness, or perhaps it is my madness that brings me back? Anyway, I am here.
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I love my job and my colleagues, that is the main thing keeping me here and if you can escape Lima, there are some cracking spots to go.
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Even in Lima, there are some beaut places too.
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One big problem is that I am constantly homesick, I really miss my family and my mates, but that can’t be fixed.
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A Blighty trip in August should fix the blues for another year (as will a suitcase full of HP sauce, Yorkshire Tea and curry herbs/spices…)
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I have a small handful (one hand) of really good friends here.
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It is however difficult to make friends. People are generally suspicious of one another, especially “gringos” (especially with my pronunciation problems) but I did meet an interesting chap in the supermercado on Saturday.
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“In Rio…”
Queuing up in Plaza Vea (a process that takes longer than the actual shopping), a bloke asked me if a certain yoghurt I had bought was any good?
It is rare to make/receive smalltalk and with my Spanish, I generally don’t bother anymore.
He mentioned that he hated winter, as I do, in that in Lima it is cloaked in a miserable grey cloud for 6 months, not cold, just gloomy greyness. It is depressing, it never really rains and it never really shines.
An insightful conversation ensued…
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Javier was Peruvian (he still is, this was only 2 days ago) but he had lived in Rio de Janiero for 18 years. A bohemian type in his mid/late forties (still a young guy!)
He spoke with a  very thick Brazilian accent and his Spanish was peppered with Portuguese.
“In Rio” he told me “You have to be happy, every single day for if you are not, people will either tell you to be happy, or make you happy”
“In Rio, if you don’t like somebody, you make friends with them”.
“In Rio, if you don’t know somebody, you make friends with them”
“In Rio, you can never have too many friends…”
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And so he continued spinning his tales of Rio and from the people I know from Rio, he is right!
I never got to ask him why he had moved back to Lima…
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Back to it…
After a week off, naïve Johnnyboy expected to slot back into training effortlessly. Realist Johnnyboy was the first to realise that this was not going to be the case!
The Lima marathon took its toll on me, more mentally than physically. It was the hardest I had pushed myself in over 10 years and for a week after I was just destroyed.
Starting up the training again showed up a handful of problems, mainly with my long-suffering right knee. So a trip to my super physio, Maro was badly needed.
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In an off-road race, any photo usually is either of you going uphill (gurning) or downhill (a mass of uncoordinated arms and legs), there is always an excuse! Besides, the scenery usually gets more attention.
On the road however, movement should be a lot more fluid, especially when you have 26 miles to get into your stride…
At the Lima race, there were loads and loads of photographers about and these (magically, not by me) made their way onto my FB wall. One in particular showed a less-than-flowing style!
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A bad angle? Not my best stride? Something deeper???
Then another one…
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I look like I am just about to trip myself up! How can I run in a straight line with that right leg?!
The thigh muscle (quadriceps) is made of four muscles (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis. I used to know all these when I had dreams of becoming a physio, back in the day).
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If you imagine for a moment, one of those magicians that ties up/knots balloons into sausage dogs at kid’s parties.
They could in effect pop one of the balloons if they were knotted sufficiently for the others not to deflate. This appears to be what has happened to my vastus medialis!
“Sausage dog thigh deflation!”
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How? Why?
A mystery!
I haven’t been plodding up the “cerros” for a few months, as I’ve been focussing on the roads.
I don’t have a pushbike nowadays either. So, my inner quads are not what they used to be.
The problem is that this very useful quarter-of-a-muscle is what stabilises the knee and if it isn’t pulling its weight, you’re gonna have problems!
I can run and my knee is ok, but this is a long-term worry and needs sorting (and I am a few years too young yet for a replacement!)
We (Maro and I) are working on it…
Tour de (avenida) de Arequipa.
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One of the main traffic arteries (usually blocked) near to my house is Avenida Arequipa, running northwards from Miraflores, straight as a die, to the National Stadium and (almost) the centre of Lima.
To be fair nowadays, the “informal” buses are banned from Arequipa, so it is better than what it was.
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Definitely not to be confused with the city of Arequipa, down south, which I hope to one day move to…
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The Municipality of Lima have some strange, illogical and often nonsensical ideas (which must cause more problems and cost more bra$$ than they would ever save/solve), but one good one idea they had was to close Avenida Arequipa to (motorised) traffic every Sunday from 7am-1pm.
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So, cyclists, rollerskaters, skateboarders, powerwalkers and joggers can trot up and down, only waiting at the lights for when another main avenue crosses Arequipa. It seems to work and is very popular.
Cyclists range from race kitted-out road bikers, full-suspension MTBs, fatbikes (becoming increasingly popular here. I’d personally save them for snow, mud, sand, but each to their own), BMXs and a healthy amount of kids, this week including the Nipper!
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We tootled up and down for an hour. One day (hopefully afore she outgrows here bike) the Wee One will get confident enough to take off the stabilisers, but not just yet!
I only saw one near-fight when two fully-suited-&-booted for the mountains MTB lads had words with two rollerbladers, telling them where they should be in the road. In their defence, the skaters were going at a fair lick and it didn’t turn into violence.
All in all a good little outing :-)
However, I went for a run later on and wasn’t in the best of moods, so when a pair of snotty hipster-types riding two abreast on sit-up-&-begs told me to keep right, I gave them a useful two-word phrasal verb relating to sex and travel. I am not a huge fan of swearing and abuse, but there are occasions when it is the only language that works. It usually results in one of three outcomes:
a) Indignation! Oh, oh my, that is terrible, I will make a “denunciation” against you. (A complaint, as effective as telling a teacher that someone called you a name). Good luck with that!
b) Confusion! Even some basic swear words don’t work sometimes.
c) Effect! They realise that they are in the wrong, back down and promise not to do it again.
Being British, I used to apologise all the time, even when it wasn’t my fault!
Now I love cycling and I really miss my pushbikes here, but if your cojones are that big, you really should be on the road, not on the pavement, so as to let other people pass ;-)
My mate Will.
A completely rational fear of running out of tea is one of the major issues for Blightyites here.
I have 16 Yorkshire teabags, 24 PG Tips and 10 Tesco own brand teabags to last me until the 2nd of August, leaving me with a 10-day shortage problem! I may be frantic by the time I get to Leeds Bradford Airport!
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I have a good mate here called Will. We first met through work, I was covering a class of his and a rather unusual class too. It was a twice-weekly private class with the head of HR in a “natural gas” company way down south, about an hour away in taxi.
I got picked up at 11am, arrived noon, 90 minute class, hour taxi to HQ, bus home, arriving around 4pm, just in time to leave for my evening class. Not ideal, but different in that the student never wanted to use the book, he just liked to talk, talk, talk about anything and everything, plus I got a slap-up lunch too! I was covering for Will whilst he was on his jollies in Scotland, so I was kind of sad when he came back, but I then moved on to Britanico.
The Nipper and I met up with Will for a cuppa on Saturday and he is one of my Lima calm-me-down amigos. People who help me stay sane here. Always good to chat and he always brings me some teabags, I owe him. He is what you’d call a Good Egg :-)
 
Don’t hit me with them negative waves!
(Both) regular readers of this blog/nonsense will know that at times that the blog does dip into Victor Meldrew territiory, or worse.
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Lima life is a juggling act between chaos, incessant traffic, non-stop-noise, lack of consideration for anybody else lack of any logic for anybody and more noise and even more chaos!
I am not painting it in a good light, some weeks worse than others. Generally it drives me nuts.
I did however realise (mainly via the daily reminder sent by Marc Sugarburger and his troops “This day…” when I saw that the same blog last year and the year before was mainly a rant about traffic, noise and inconsiderate ####### and I thought, this is a scratched record, it can’t be much fun to read on a Monday morning, so I have tried my best of late to cut it out.
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The band in the Chinese restaurant still play until 1:30am and the bass player still sounds like a one-fingered Mark King wannabee, (I used to play bass and I was really crap, but this guy is far worse than me, but he has bigger speakers), so I don’t get much kip, but as one person once said “Sleep when you die”.
sleepSimon says “Sleepwell”. Liar, liar, Simon’s pants are on fire. Earplugs do not work.
So, things are still mad, but I will try not to moan as/too much about them!
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Ommmmmmmmmm…..
 
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Raider’s round-up!
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No game this week!
Challenge Cup weekend, which we tumbled out of some time back :-(
Onwards and upwards next week against Rochdale Hornets…
 
And finally…
To make up the Rugby League balance deficit from above, this last bit is dedicated to one of my all-time favourite players. Not the late great Willie Horne, but Andy Farrell OBE.
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I have watched Barrow since I was a young lad, but I got more and more into rugby (league) in the 90′s and round about that time, Wigan RL were one of the best teams, winning 8 Challenge Cups in a row (rugby league FA cup equivalent).
Shaun Edwards was the only player to play in all 8 cups, but he is a different story altogether…
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I have an England RL shirt signed by Andy Farrell somewhere, a piece of history.
He was Wigan and England captain before his shock “defection” to the dark side (rugby union).
Other RL players have done this (and vice-versa) including ex Wigan Billy Whizz, Jason Robinson, but of you look at RU history books, they will probably say that Robinson was beamed to Earth in 2001 and not mention anything of his “dirty past”. He did the business in both codes.
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Whereas Farrell was so ingrained into RL history that it would have been impossible to deny where he came from…
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Is it possible to have a sporting regret about somebody else?
I do, I really do.
Farrell was at the top of his game, “Golden Boot” winner in 2004 and a very useful forward (as opposed to Robinson being a back. Obviously there are other RL-RU/RU-RL defectors, but I shall use just these two as an example).
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In March 2005 he announced his retirement from rugby league to move across codes to Saracens. Now most RL fans hate RU and most RU fans deny the existence of RL, but this move could have been something very special. Farrell, a 6’4″, 17 stone forward, playing union!
What damage could he do?
This had to be seen…
However, everything went very quiet. Farrell didn’t make his debut until 2006.
A car crash, resulting in a prolapsed disc, a catalogue of injuries and disputes about where to play him meant that RU never really saw the very best of Andy Farrell. What could have been…
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He is currently the defence coach for Ireland (RU).
I am not for one moment glamorising violence (or saying “bring back the biff” of old), but this is lipreading gold.
A normally level-headed Farrell is the No.13 in blue exchanging words with opposite number, Sculthorpe (after taking on half of the St. Helen’s side, singlehanded!)
I’m not a secret pie eater fan, they just played good rugby!
That’s all for now folks.
Have an outstandingly awesome week :-)
Cheers
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper
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