Red pen week!


 Good morning to you

I trust you had a superbly superb weekend and that this Monday morning finds you in fine fettle. A busy old week in the land of chaos. End of cycle exams and a huge sigh of relief (by most students and all teachers!)

IMG_20160529_162741218This weeks blog was a team effort!

Not Tony Hawks, nor Jacko!

Whilst daydreaming in the half-light of an early Wednesday morning run, I had the misfortune to tread in a greasy pool of oil. It had looked like an innocuous puddle.
The genius who invented pavements in Lima used a substance somewhere between Vaseline, Teflon and axle grease for lack-of-traction.
(This recipe is still used today and it means that all pavements are as slippy as a slippery eel when it has the most minute drop of water on it, which it does on-a-morning).
No great shakes but it meant that I spent the ensuing hour looking like I was trying to moonwalk, or trying to ride an imaginary skateboard! (Neither skills that I would be able to master in 1000 years!)

2da57b5a57d9a0ce2ff9f039a47a6c73(Pic courtesy of Pinterest)

The C word

“The oil that makes the wheels of the great machine turn” (without which everything would grind to a halt here, apparently).

What C word am I talking about?

A recent poll (they love their polls here) showed that over 72% of punters thought that corruption in Peru was not only acceptable, but necessary! A shocking statistic.

Imagine a scenario that you´re going a little toooo fast in your motor and suddenly a baton-waving Busy pulls you over.

A pantomime-style conversation follows in which (always indirectly and in a round-a-bout way) a “present” may be mentioned by either party.

Never an outright offer of bra$$, more like a game of charades where each side has reasons and a possible scenario as to how the situation could be resolved.

Outcome: The motorist gets away without a ticket and a lowly-paid PC can substitute his meagre wage.

It’s a tightrope however. Offer too much and you might overpay for the “present” or offer too little and you may cause offence and get stung for the original fine (and a bit more!)

A good thing? I have thought about this for ages and ages and ages. I personally think it is not good, (and I’m not a model citizen by any means), but it is a bad seed planted.
The situation above could go in a very different direction if the person in uniform, wielding a ticket is actually not bent as a nine bob note…

 Traffic fines are the bottom of the pile &/or the tip of the iceberg.

It goes on everywhere (although I’ve never been offered readies for passing a cycle or exam at work, I must be too soft with my marking/grades!)

Business deals, “softeners” and a multitude of other activities happen every day here (and around the World), “helped” by the C word.

Without getting on a moral high horse, it is just wrong, but that’s how it works here.

base_image(Pic courtesy of

(All of which flows seamlessly into the next topic…)

Elecciones 2016 – Segunda vuelta!

Next Sunday sees Round II of the National Elections. A big day for the people of Peru.
As there was no clear winner in the first round, the top II go head to head in a second bout.
As voting here is compulsory, many punters could find themselves voting with one hand covering their eyes, as potentially they may not wish to choose either.

elecciones-2016(Only one will be smiling after next weekend! Pic courtesy of

I’m not a political expert (in fact I am a long way off being an expert in anything), but it is careering into an interesting fight.

The Presidential run-off will be between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski who are involved in a bit of a mudslinging contest right now…I won’t go into detail here, but one (allegedly) may have rather dirty hands in the form of money laundering, that’s not for me to say!

PPK seems to be a very switched-on, intelligent (Oxford, Princeton and Stanford educated) candidate with experience. He is Peruvian, but his European parentage (Polish/German Old Man and French Old Dear) earns him the title of being a gringo.
This may go against him, as in the ever-present IPSOS polls, Fujimori looks to be in the lead.
Her party won over 55% of the seats in Congress in the first round.

Her parentage is slightly different, in that she is the daughter (and was the former First Lady) of ex-President Alberto Fuijimori, currently in the Nick for a 25-year term for Human Rights abuse, corruption and murder.

However, despite being convicted for authorizing death squads, Alberto Fujimori is widely viewed as the president who saved Peru from economic collapse and restored security, by getting rid of terrorism.

Peru is a very different country to what it was back then, but a good/bad President could make a big difference here. Watch this space…

Food and drink!

The joys of bottled gas (running out at 6am!)

IMG_0344This week I have been mostly drinking…

IMG_0353Pineapple & Chia!

Plus of course…

IMG_0358(It’s been a busy week!)

Excuse me Meeester…

Due to minor Clunk damages, I’ve been waiting to pay-day to get the necessary Clunk bits and so I’ve been walking to and from work. To be honest it’s been good to have a bit of time off from the insane traffic. However, there is a very familiar (and revealing) pattern to human traffic on the sidewalks of this mad old town.

yield(Pic courtesy of

On the road, cars/vans/trucks/buses/combis NEVER ever give way, ever. I don’t know if it is seen as a weakness, or what. People say it is cultural, like most things here, it is just accepted. The sad thing is that it will be like this until the end of time. The driving population of the city/country simply couldn’t/can’t/won’t change. It is not physically possible to improve the roads, as shutting them for a short time would cause a complete gridlock.

There was a conference here last October and due to one of the major roads being closed (for the conference) a 2-day national holiday was declared, as it would have affected too many commuters). The roads were designed for horse-and-carts, by a blind and insane road designer.

So, giving way is simply not the done thing.

This also is the case when walking it seems. I used to think that people were either blind, drunk or just stupid/ignorant. Now this may be the case, or not, but people simply do not move.

Now I’m generally a polite person, I’ll hold doors open, and will move when somebody is walking in my path, but here people just walk right into you. I tried an experiment one night by doing the same and not giving way, four blokes crashed into me (one was a bit of a hefty bruiser type too, so I gave it up as a bad job!)

It’s not just me though. Every day I see collisions between people, but there are never any fights, cross words, just acceptance. It is strange to say the least.

People will spread 3 wide across a pavement and simply not move. Most people are glued to their phones, others are later than late and in a rush, others I don’t know. It does my nut in!

Close the bl00dy window!

After outstaying its welcome somewhat, the summer has finally gone and the general populace are happy! In a complete contrast to Blighty, people here don’t really like the summer here.
It is hot and sweaty. Brilliant if you’re at the beach, not so brilliant if you’re working, stuck in a snarled-up jam or walking a million blocks in the midday scorchio sun.

4124405853(Pic courtesy of

In the summer, I sweated cobs throughout all but my evening lessons. Put on the air conditioning and people start coughing and then mysteriously being off on the Pat-&-Mick for a few days with “flu”. This week, I have had my students actually ask me to turn it on!

The thing that puzzles me here (well, one thing of a thousand things) is that despite most folk complaining about “Que ffffffffriiiiiio!” (How cold!) People have their windows wide open and wear hats and scarves in their houses. It’s about 24°C in the day and down to about 16°C at night, but the famous “cambio de clima” (the time when the weather is still making its mind up and there is an ever so slight variation in temperature) takes its casualties and most folk are complaining about having a cold, sore throat, flu or all three.

I run in a morning at 7am in shorts and vest, plus I brought two jackets and a jumper with me which I haven’t worn yet. I’m still waiting for winter to arrive!

Into the montañas.


With just 13 days to go until the DESAFIO HUAROCHIRI, I have been escaping into the hills most mornings and I love it. It takes about 20 minutes of taxi dodging each way on the pavements to get there, but then after scaling the barbed wire, trying not to wake up the wild dog and 5 minutes of hands-on-knees clambering, I suddenly find myself above the traffic, horns, buses, smoke and into the mist, cloaked from it all. Blissfully oblivious to it all.

They’re not glamorous hills. Barren, dusty, rubbish strewn (litter louts get everywhere), but they are off the tarmac and I feel like a million miles away, it’s an escape.

I’ve been plotting a big route for weeks now, but haven’t quite worked out how to link it up. I can’t get hold of any maps, so I’m working off Google maps and (my shocking) memory. Pics to follow if I ever suss it out!

I don’t think it’ll be enough in the way of hard work, altitude training and hill climbing for the race, but I’m curious to see how I do (how much I suffer). The blog in a fortnight will tell all!

imageCarbo-loading in progress!

Nipper’s Outing!


The Wee One was invited to a birthday party on Saturday. Twin nippers of my friend Declan were celebrating their 3rd birthday in a nice little park across town, so we went and enjoyed a Peppa Pig theme party. Valentina was in her element and had never been to a party with quite as many other bairns.


There was a Peppa-Punch & Judy show which amazed her. All in all it was a Top Do :-)


And finally…

Every day I see some incredible videos on facebook and youtube. However, every now and again something a bit special stands out.

This week I spotted this little beauty, which took me right back to the happy days of the Silver Streak heading eastwards…

Enjoy and be inspired this cracking VIDEO.

Have yersens an awesome week.


Johnny, Lina & the Nipper

p.s. This week I bought something I thought I would never wear, unless I became a dab hand at Poker, a Pro Golfer or a money counter for the Mob. A visor!
The Nipper has taken a liking to it too though, so I may not get to wear it much…


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