Good morning folks
I trust this finds you in superb form and that you had a spectacular weekend.
Here is my rambling weekly round-up from the capital of chaos…
BIG Red Tape mistake!
There is one golden, golden rule in Latin America. Keep your papers in order and NEVER, EVER let anything expire. I made a schoolboy error on Wednesday and almost got caught with my pantalones down.
After a long, long struggle to get my Carné de Extranjería in order last year, I overlooked one detail. In my defence (your Honour) I was a bit misinformed, but essentially it was my fault.
There are two parts on the backside of this priceless piece of plastic. Two lines which need to have a sticker, but now the stickers system doesn’t exist and the invisible sticker is what caught me out.
I thought that I had until April 2017 to renew my Carné, but I needed to have a(n invisible) sticker covering that date to allow me to have until then. Confused? I was and I still am.
I tried to do a (separate) tramite (piece of paperwork) using my card, but a red light started flashing “Your residency has expired!” I was informed. But how?
Now the Immigrations Office is in the centre of Lima, I could walk there blindfolded, it used to be my second home. This was the only place I could sort it out and hypothetical/theoretical questions are not allowed (like “What would happen if a person’s carnet expired?”)
Up at 6am, shoehorned and sardined onto the early-morning rush-hour buses, I got there for opening at 8am. The first Official I spoke to was positive that I could resolve it, “No es un gran problema” I was reassured. I had taken every piece of paper (and multiple copies of every piece of paper) I own, except for a copy of Lina’s documents (which I needed!)
So, I left the queue, made a phone call, went to an overpriced internet café, get stung for an overpriced print-out and joined the queue again.
The next official I saw wasn’t quite as positive. A big/little (little/big) guy, who was a dead ringer for a Latino Charles Bronson. He was stocky as a stock car, but shorter than shortbread, and I stooped the best I could to not tower over him. For a man who uses a computer all day, every day, he was the slowest typist I have ever met. “Gran problema” he kept repeating. There was no humouring this guy, I tried and I failed and I shut up.
Pic courtesy of Stalkingmoon.weebly.com
He made me an appointment to see another official about it, then I had to go and join the biggest queue in town Banco de la Nación, to pay my fine/fee, get another ticket, queue, go upstairs, queue, sweat, wait and eventually see another official who took 3 sets of fingerprints, relieved me of my paperwork and after 3 hours I was given me the all-important (invisible) sticker.
Regular readers (both of you!) may have noticed a distinctly up-down-up-down pattern to my blogs. I try to keep it my ramblings self-effacing, honest and hopefully as upbeat as possible. I don’t have any kind of recipe/formula that I follow, I just write is as it is, as it happens. It’s a bit like a diary, in case I suddenly go doo-lally and forget everything/lose my mind.
As I’ve said before, it’s been a HUGE transition moving here, much bigger and harder than anything I’ve ever done. It was a big ask and quite ambitious moving home from sleepy Tadcaster to the madness of Lima, with wife and bairn. In a nutshell it hasn’t been easy, but life isn’t supposed to be easy, if it was it would be dull. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.
It’s taken me 18 months to “settle” and I do think that I am getting there. It’s been 18mths of moodswings, tantrums, frustration, rage, homesickness, frayed tempers, strained relationships and a few grey hairs! I spent too long trying to work it out, battling against the machine/traffic/shortsightedness/countless-and-mindless rules/people, plus fighting against a few demons of my own, tussling with the black dog, thinking too much and trying to get my head round the local psyche.
It got me nowhere fast.
I made some changes and stopped thinking so much, it seems to have worked.
By crikey I miss peace and quiet, some semblance of order and basic manners, but “you pays your money and you takes your choice”.
What does the future hold? Who knows! Watch this space…
One week ’til part II
Race II of the excellent Desafio Huarochiri is one week away!
Pic courtesy of Desafio Huarochiri
Runners are generally one of three types:
b) Coming back from injury.
c) About to be injured.
I’m possibly all three!
I picked up a strange thigh/hip/groin injury about two weeks back and had been resting until yesterday. It is no worse (but not much better), tried it out on the dusty cerros and it seems bearable, so it is all systems go for Matucana next Sunday.
Last race I was suffering like a dog with bad guts, trying my best not to go to the toilet in my shorts for the duration, so performancewise (hopefully) it can’t be any worse!
Find out in the next blog…
I started to put my feelers out for potential changes this week. A bad day in this big, bad city makes one think that there must be another way. It all drew a big fat blank!
Arequipa and possibly the last flight of the ill-fated/infamous Aero Continente (meaning a 16hr bus trip home !)
Peru is not (just) Lima, but Peru is very, very centralised.
In Blighty, I can count on two fingers the times that I had to go down the Old Smoke (Londres).
You can do most things in your own/nearest city, or via post (non-starter here), or online (catching on here, but a million miles off getting there). Most things have to be done in person and that means here in Lima.
There are other cities and some places which really draw me, especially Arequipa down south.
For now however, I’ll keep batting on in the capital. Until Britanico opens up in Huancayo!
When I first came to Lima in 2004, I lived with an amazing family who treated me as one of their own. It was a great place to be and the food was amazing. Breakfast and tea were provided, but as I was generally out and about (work or otherwise) I had to fend for myself at dinnertime.
There was a small group of us at the Orphanage and we somehow stumbled across a great little place called San Antonio’s. A bit like a bustling bakery/café. I say stumbled across it, as we could never really quite find it afterwards. It was walkable, but as we always got lost we took a cab, (which normally got lost too, there were in fact two branches, which we didn’t realise. A bit like the “Kashmir” curry palaces of Leeds. One group waiting in one, the other group waiting in the other. “Are you ready to order?” Before the days of mobile phones!)
Forgot my camera (again) so here is a pic from 2004.
My good mate Lloyd still lives out here. I don’t know how he has kept sane, but he has.
We meet up once a month to put the world to rights and this month we went to San Antonio’s.
It has suddenly become much more popular (and much pricier) and I felt distinctively scruffy in my Clunk gear, but it was a top bit of tucker and good to see my buddy. Gracias amigo
Pic courtesy of niallgrimes.com
After recently discovering the magic of the mighty JAM CRACK PODCAST of the funniest man in climbing, Sir Niall Grimes, this week I discovered another epic outlet/channel/podcast provider:
Adventure Rider Radio (ARR). A real mixed bunch of incredible riders with amazing stories; Ed March, Rachel Lasham, Nathan Millward, Lisa and Jason (the Two Wheeled Nomad) and the mighty Austin Vince!
Free to download and superentertaining. Check it out
A video to hopefully put a smile on your face/chill you out on a Monday morning.
Not the Cowabunga kind, but an incredible turtle’s eye view of the Great Barrier Reef, courtesy of the WWF.
Close runner-up this week was the Nipper’s giddiness at sailing a ship!
Have yersen an awesome week!
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper