September 26, 2020

The 3 phases of riding a Clunk in Lima, “Victor Meldrew says” and a possible Clunk trip on the horizon…

Good morning Folks

Happy Bank Holiday to all you Blighty folk & a very Happy Monday to the rest of yee.
Another week in Chaos Central, albeit a fairly steady one…

After too many tarmac miles over the last 6 weeks, I had been half-expecting my legs to drop off halfway round the marathon course. They didn’t, but walking down any kind of stairs was entertaining on Monday & Tuesday.
We live in a flat, so I had no idea how jeffed my thighs were until I got to a set of steps on the way to work. Rush-hour (pedestrians have them too here) & I suddenly realised that I was unable to walk downhill properly. A few impatient punters got even more impatient, but nobody died!
Been for a few easy outings this week, & they have been easy.

Sights & sounds…
There are times I wish I had a small, quick & decent camera on me at all times.
I’ve got Lina’s old i-phone 3, but it’s on its last legs & getting slower & slower.
I see some things that make me smile &/or shake my head. Health & safety is on a permanent holiday out here & personal sense of preservation is low on the list of priorities.
On Thursday I saw:
– A bloke on an ancient Yamaha with some gigantic legshields made out of sheet metal, stretching out at least 3ft either side. I don’t want to imagine what would happen, if something happened, but if it makes him feel safer!

– A chap who had parked his bus on a part of the Via Evitamiento (Toll road/motorway) just after the part where the hard shoulder ended & it squeezes into 3 lanes from 4, causing a huge tailback, with no lights, taking a leak on the front driver side wheel, (is that an old law?)

– A young lad, who looked around 10yrs old, who had “borrowed” somebody’s bike & helmet, but couldn’t quite reach the ground. Not sure what would happen when he needed to stop.

– The “fast hands” technique of a team of builders unloading bricks from a truck & up to the top of a 5-floor building, impressive stuff!

In addition, a new speed ramp (more like a 2ft high “Tabletop”) came as a surprise on the slip road between the Panamericana & Av. Javier Prado. It made the starting sequence of the Dukes of Hazzard look a bit tame!

The three phases of riding a Clunk in Lima.
On my way home from anywhere west of my house, there is an especially nasty, fume-filled, snarled-up, hellhole of a crossroad junction, where the lights are either not working/out of sync, meaning that it is complete mayhem, always.
It’s in a less than savoury part of town, but it’s the only way.
The first time I rode through there, I’d only had the Clunk about 2 days, it was at night & at that moment I was seriously wondering if I had made a huge mistake!
Fast forward to this Thursday. I was overtaking a wagon parked in the middle of the road (whose exit was blocked by a FLT), with an oncoming coach, bellowing his horn, coming straight towards me, on the wrong side of the road & a Combi hitching a ride on my back seat. I flicked the handlebars of the Clunk, lurched right & squeezed in a (very temporary) gap between a taxi & an ageing removal van, pouring out thick black clouds of diesel fumes, hopped on to the pavement for 10yards & then back onto the road home…
I realised that I didn’t even give it a second thought (until now).
It made me realise that riding here comes in 3 distinct phases:
1 – Fear.
Sheer terror! On 2 wheels in completely unpredictable traffic, lurching like a drunkard. On a bike you feel completely vulnerable, so one tries to ride as carefully as possible, which is completely pointless as any gap yourself just gets filled. Forget trying to ride like a car (i.e. In the middle of the lane), as you’ll just get squeezed up both sides!
It’s not like being in rush-hour Blighty traffic, (even London standards), nor is it like the aggressiveness of a Russian ring road, it’s just a huge mass of wayyyy too many vehicles, all fighting for limited space. A huge pile-up feels like it’s imminent, but somehow, it doesn’t happen (most of the time).
I once said to a friend “These folk are either the worst drivers on the road, or the people with the quickest reactions in the World!”
Now I’d say they’re somewhere in the middle!
2 – Fury.
Blind rage. An anger that I never knew I had, deep inside of me.
I’ve never been one for confrontation. I avoid it at all costs. Not in a cowardly way, but I just prefer to get on with as many people as possible (& have nothing to do with the rest!)
On Black Tuesday, I was almost killed, 4 times. At 10am, by a taxi jumping a red light & completely oblivious to the world outside his cab. Then another taxista coming round a blind bend on the wrong side of the road. Then by a partially asleep Combi driver, then by a 4×4 who just pulled out into the 5’x2’ gap I was filling. Something snapped inside of me & I vented my spleen at the clueless/careless driver, obviously bemused by a motorcyclist, shouting from inside his helmet, in a foreign tongue.
Half a dozen motorists behind instantly started honking their horns, so I rode on, seething (& equally relieved that I wasn’t squashed on the road!)
I started to analyse my riding. Was it me? Possibly. I was just getting too worked up by it all. I found myself ranting to anybody that would listen & all I tended to talk about was the traffic (as most punters do here!)
3 – Follow-the-frenetic-free-for-all!
It’s a circus & I’ve joined it!
I don’t know if one actually gets used to it, but I feel that I can ride around the crazy place, without being a bag of nerves/having a hissy-fit.
Is this all such a big deal? It is for me 😉

Auto of the day x 3!
I always keep an eye open for an unusual &/or classic motor.
On Friday I saw three parked together!
Lima seems to be a bit of a Herbie hotspot.
Everyday I see several really tidy VWs, in really good nick.
This duo was sandwiching a 2CV 🙂

Victor Meldrew says…

“Nobody likes a queue-jumper!”
Maybe the Brits are a bit obsessed with queues, but there are quite a few punters out here at the very opposite end of the scale.
I’ve lost count of the number of times that somebody has barged in front of the Nipper & myself in the queue at the local supermarket.
Usually goes something like this:
Me: “(Clears throat) Excuse me”
Queue jumper: “Oh, are you in the queue?”
Me: “Yes” (resisting temptation to make a sarcastic remark).
Queue jumper “I didn’t see you”
(Which part, the fact that I’m 6’4”, or the pram with a boisterous bairn!)


A punter elbows their way in front & then makes out that they were in the queue.
Now the queues in my local Plaza Vea Supermercado are that of legend, always.
I’ve honestly seen smaller queues at Free Bars (although Free Bars always have a price, but I’m going off on a tangent here), so normally you’re in a queue for 15mins+
With no sign of the queue jumper/luck-pusher above in this time, you can assume that they are just being plain cheeky.
I’ve noticed it in a lot of places, but when challenged they get all indignant.
Victor Meldrew says “Piense Varon!”

Potential Clunk trip in the offing ☺

Nothing confirmed yet, but potentially I may be escaping the clutches of the big bad city & heading off into the sticks, next weekend!
It all depends on work, but I’m keeping hopeful.
Just a 2-day/1-night jaunt, but if it happens I’ll be giddier than a giddy kipper.
If there is no blog next Monday morning, it’s because I’m out of town, but will fill you in with the details next week, midweek.

That’s all for now folks!

Have yourselves an awesome week ☺
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper x

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