November 25, 2020

Step 3, the big one…

Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in mighty fine form.
A supershortandsweet blog this week. Apologies for lack of recent pics.
Potentially the last blog from Peru…
Miraculously we are packed and with 2 days to go we can actually sit back and relax and reflect.
(Although this fact does worry me a bit, I am convinced we have forgotten something so I will publish this bobbins now and not wait until Sunday night, just in case…)

Next stop Blighty (via Jorge Chavez, Madrid, Amsterdam and Leeds-Bradford). A mere hop, skip and a jump and we will back in sunny Yorkshire, albeit in quarantine for a fortnight. Not that I am complaining.
Here is the blog at your service!

House move No.43 commences…
I vaguely remember the days when one could just hop on a plane…

Lockdown latest…

Number of cases and deaths carry on rising (but possibly slowing down).
Restrictions are applied, relaxed, shifted and tightened (but hopefully will be relaxed eventually).

“Will you please just do what you are bloody well told!”

As news of Messi staying at Barcelona starts to take up more headline space here than Covid-19, tales of governmental spats, discgraced local counsellors and busted parties still flow through the gutter press. (I did hope that with the Bielsa connection that old Lionel would maybe sign for SuperLeeds, but then would season tickets cost around Β£5000 per year?!)

In a province of Trujillo, one mayor sent a letter to the President requesting annullation of the lockdown and signed it with his handprint in his own blood!

This damned virus looks set to linger for a while. We will all learn to adapt, we have to.
There is no endgame. Things will change, things will get better, eventually, but things sadly will never be the same.
It is a confusing time with so many question marks.
Que sera, sera…


In my naΓ―ve mind I had partly imagined this week would be a steady-away affair of drinking coffee and finishing a book I needed to finish before Saturday (today).
Needless to say I haven’t opened the book (and my trusty Mr.Bialetti finally gave up the ghost after being pushed for too long…)

Circumstances dictate everything right now (not just my caffeine habits!)

In Arequipa we had been sheltered for the last 6 months; a once-a-week trip to Metro, working, running on the roof, no real contact with anybody. We didn’t really see the outside world.

Here in Lima (where it is winter and feels wayyyy colder than AQP, despite having a higher temperature, freaky weather/microclimate that Lima is blessed with), it feels much, much busier and people seem to be out and about much more.
Obviously Lima is 11 times bigger than Arequipa, despite la Ciudad Blanca being the second biggest city. It would be like replacing Birmingham (population: 208,940) with Wetwang (population: 761). Restrictions were eased a bit here in the capital, then tightened again.

I have a tendency to associate Lima with noise (past experience) but I must admit that it does feel a little bit quieter. All social gatherings/parties are banned right now and the press/police are really on a witch-hunt to expose these fiestas.

We all know that things will never be the same for anybody, anywhere, but I do wonder how long lockdown here will last before the dam wall breaks…

For me personally, coming back to Lima has been far more emotional than I imagined. Arequipa was the city of unfulfilled dreams, half of my time there was spent in our flat, but Lima was a place where I lived for 6 years and it has a lot of (mixed) memories.

If you can survive the traffic, put up with noise and don’t mind sharing a city with 11 million other frenetic punters, there are worse places to live. Despite its faults it does have a lot going for it, it just wasn’t for me. That is why we moved to AQP, but that dream barely happened due to things outside of our control.

Monday morning will be tinged with a hint of sadness to be leaving this crazy-ar$ed land…

Tramites/red tape wrestling.

I knew that it wouldn’t be a feet-up cuppafest here in Lima to be honest. It wouldn’t be right to leave without a red-tape-tussle!

Thank the stars that I was able to renew my Carnet de Extranjeria (resident permit/visa) online.

The Bank was always going to be a major pain in the ar$e. BCP, the Bank who love to Crap on their Punters!

I only had to close my accounts and sort out my CTS, a kind of saving fund whenever you leave a job. (A lot of football fans left their jobs and cashed in their CTS to go to the World Cup in Russia!) My CTS was in the same bank as all my other banking gubbins so it should have been pretty straightforward. All I needed was a letter from work and spondoolies would hopefully come my way…

I finished work on Monday. The letter was sent by HR on Monday night.
Tuesday morning I tried to open my work email, to find it blocked :-/
A slip-up on my part, (thought I had forwarded the mail, but in my dizziness I had just CCed myself in, thereby not having the attachments, d’oh), but thankfully I had the email of Saint Felix! The man who everybody in Britanico loves, he sends out the email saying we have been paid and one great thing about Britanico is that always pay on time or early!
Felix kindly resent the vital letter and we marched to BCP, to join the queue.
I won’t bore you with the details but the feetdragging buffoon at BCP whose job it was to click a few buttons must have been having a day off being helpful and did everything in her power to stall us, but 24 hours and 4 visits later, thanks also to Felix, we had the Nelsons.
I had a credit card which was at zero the day before, but after having given up on a refund from the Lima Marathon organisers, they threw a spanner in the works by refunding the day I tried to close my account! (It is not possible to close an account with a debit or credit balance).
It would have made sense to just have the cash transferred to another account but that would be too logical, so after 90 minutes of phone calls, I was told to call back 24hrs later, then 24hrs later I was told to call back 24hrs after that. I have to check on Tuesday that somebody has actually pulled their finger out and done what was asked a week ago.
First Direct could do that in a 2 minute call, I know because I used to do it!

I will not miss the fecklessness of BCP.

I did meet local celebrity, Susy Diaz though!

All about the bass.

The bass has gone to a good home, but I miss it πŸ™
Let’s see what the future brings…

Lockdown rooftop trotting.

No running this week. No time and all my gear is packed or has been given away!
Did manage a trip to my Physio/magician, Maro.
I have been very wary of visiting anyone. We don’t want to infect anyone, nor get infected! It is a $h!te state of affairs to be in, but that is how it is now. I had had the test before we came here, so as far as I am concerned I am ok.
Maro agreed to an appointment and all H&S protocol was followed.
It was great to see the person who has helped me so much with my running here.
Not just a Physio but a coach and a good friend.
Without her expertise my knees would have ground to a halt/exploded long before now.
Thank you Maro πŸ™‚

Next run will also be in lockdown, but not on a rooftop!

Adios Peru.

An emotional week.

I first came here in June 2004 as a volunteer at the Puericultorio Perez Aranibar (orphanage) and it was a brilliant life-changing experience. Peru had been a badly researched jump into the unknown for me. After watching Touching the Void whilst hungover after a Christmas Works Do, when I should have been Christmas shopping, I just thought, that’s it, I am off to Peru.

So 6mths later after flogging my worldly goods, I was on a plane, bumped up to First Class (sorry Lloyd!) Landing in Lima at dusk, half-cut (I swear they ply you with booze and try to get you tiddly in the posh end of the plane), wondering just where the mountains and llamas were, and why it was pitch black at 6pm!

Expected this…
Got this!

The first 3 months were a brilliant mix of complete confusion, some solid drinking and working out how to teach this strange lingo we call English. It was a steep learning curve, despite my TEFL training, but I loved it. Nothing quite went to plan, I was supposed to be teaching in the Amazon but it collapsed and I ended up back in Lima, maybe it was destiny.

After that I travelled round South America, New Zealand, Australia and a tiny bit of Indo.

Long story…

I had 2 options.
1) Do the full trip and land back in Blighty with no job, house or money.
2) Head back to Peru and try my hand/luck, with the pocketful of small change I still had.

So, Peru won the toss and I fumbled through a very tough time juggling 6 jobs and at least 5hrs daily commute time on the Combis. It was character building!

Then I met Lina…

Embassy Do!

We got married in 2005, went back to the UK in 2007, lived in a caravan for a year, and 12 years later we were back in Lima with the Nipper. I got a top job at Britanico. After 4 years we moved to AQP. Now we are going back to Blighty.


Full circle? Who knows!

The infamous night!

It has been an up-and-down-rollercoaster of a ride. High highs and low lows. Some absolutely brilliant times and some bloody horrendously black times. I made a handful of really good mates who I am sad to be leaving behind. I had a fantastic job which for the first time in my life was a job that I actually loved doing. I ran some ridiculously hard races in amazing places. I had some off-the-scale-crazy nights out. And now, it’s over…

Couldn’t resist that!

No, we really are super genuinely excited about a new start. The Nipper cannot wait to see my folk’s dog. I am looking forward to Yorkshire Bitter and running in muddy puddles. Not sure what Lina is looking forward to?

I have less than zero idea what I will do for work (found myself looking at the Co-op website today, I will do anything to be honest!)

It is a new start for all of us, but not stepping completely into the unknown (maybe just into the uncertain).

I am just looking forward to unrationed Yorkshire Tea, HP sauce and one-of-each with scraps, curry sauce and mushy peas!

And pies πŸ™‚

And finally…

Peru is a heady mix of chaos, beauty and adventure.
I have done some stuff that I never imagined I would do and did pretty much nothing what I set out to do.
No plan is a good plan here most of the time. (By that I mean having no plan, as opposed to saying that zero plans are good!)

Saturday morning (in Lima) was usually a trip into the dusty, dog-filled “cerros de Camacho” (and La Molina) that rise above the city near to Salamanca. One day I dodged a “Huachiman”, scrambled through some rusty barbed wire and found a new world. There is very little beauty up there. A friend once compared it to the moon.

Discarded rubbish, crazed hounds, overzealous jobsworth Huachimen, hidden sticky-out-trip-yer-up sawn-off bolts in the ground, even an impromptu tomb at one part of a narrow ridge, it never felt comfortable stepping over a grave, but there was something amazingly liberating about rising through the grey winter clouds to suddenly pop out into a world of sunshine and blue skies. On top of the world for a moment, albeit a dusty one.

“El muro de verguenza” (the wall of shame) is a not-so-great wall of Lima that shows the way along a brilliant ridge route I dubbed “The Doubtful Round”. Doubtful in that when I started it I knew not if there actually was a way round. I knew nobody who ran, there was absolutely no information nor maps. “Why would people even go up there?” people would ask me.

Yet there was an intrigue about doing something new and unknown. Slowly I worked out a route, through the shantytowns, past the wolfhounds, past the huachimen, past the dead dogs (at least those couldn’t bite my shins off) and the Doubtful Round was completed, about 13 miles with 6000ft of climbing (once did a double round, almost killed me!)

One day I went off route and stumbled across the Magic House. A mystery until I found out the dark secret that it was one of several local visual-from-a-light-aircraft obvious drop off points for coca paste (the foundation of Peruvian marching powder).

From the air, the bright flash of green grass is easy to spot (even on Google Maps) and it is far enough from the prying eyes of the city but close enough to send a few recovery bods to pick up an airdropped package.

I did wonder why I got chased by a furious whistling security guard and a huge dog until I could escape down into the mist.

This video shows everything and explains nothing! As I said, most of time here has been confusing, but always an adventure… – The future???

(Overuse of question marks justified by the fact that I really have no idea about the future!)

In the beginning/once upon a time a long time ago (2011), this blog was originally born as “” as a vehicle to be towed by our Nissan Micra dispersing the news of our trudge eastwards from Morley to Mongolia.

I had no idea what I was doing (nothing new there then) but big thanks to my brother, Dannyboy (graphic design/decals magic) and Roberto (internet magic), we managed to dish out a bit of our story from the blog

This was carried on after the rally on an ad-hoc basis and then relaunched as a weekly effort in January 2015.

Fast forward to April 2016, and with eternal gratitude to my amigo Neil B of Wandering Desk for his endless patience and priceless guidance, SUPERCLUNK.COM was born. I had a lot to learn, at first the blog looked diabolical and unfortunately it became a weekly rant about noice, $h!tty neighbours, traffic moans and news about the occasional trip, but eventually through trial and lots of errors, I got into a groove and it (hopefully) became a bit more appealing to read

Personal issues forced a sudden halt, I dropped off social media, then the move to AQP inspired a revival, then the same personal issues forced another halt, then the Pandemic hit and I thought “Why not start again?”

Now I have a laptop of this century technically things are a bit easier, in the past I would have to write on a typewriter, send it through a washing machine via fax and print it out on microfiche before scanning it onto the blog. Time consuming work.

It does take a chunk of time, but I love scribbling , I do find it extremely cathartic. I never actually did work out just how to find out how many folk read my dribble, but feedback and comments from many of you kind folk has been extremely uplifting. (I have the crappest of crap memories so don’t dare list people here for fear of missing somebody. You know who you are and I love you for it!)

That’s all for now folks. Fingers crossed there may be a Blighty blog soon…

Look after yersens. Stay safe, stay sane.
Over and out from Peru.
Johnny and the girls x

Happy times πŸ™‚
Happy times too πŸ™‚
The adventure continues…

6 thoughts on “Step 3, the big one…

  1. What a journey dude, long will it continue!! Great, great memories, looking forward to making lots more. All the best to you, Lina and the nipper in blighty!

  2. Wow last blog from Peru crazy!! Love reading as always. All the flashback pics were so fun. The one of you w the big black thing on your head like some stereotypical englishman had me cracking up. ☺️

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