Good morning folks
I trust you had a mighty fine weekend and that this finds you in tiptop form.
It has been quite a week here in Lima.
A lot of (mainly terrible, awful and tragic) things going on in World news right now, especially the atrocities in London, but closer to home it has been Peru that has been at the forefront of my attention this week.
The ”huaicos” (a ferocious flood/mudslide/avalanche of debris) have been continuing here after a week of devastation leaving 90 people dead, dozens missing, 59,000 houses completely destroyed and over 627,000 people displaced.
Schools have been shut since Thursday 16th March.
For the first half of last week, none of the shops had bottled water and many districts were without running water, meaning l-o-n-g queues of folk waiting with buckets in line for the water tanker.
The huaicos are a common, annual occurrence in the Highlands, but never in such huge scale as this year. Buildings, vehicles and anything else in their path have been swept away by these unstoppable forces of nature.
The city of Trujillo (3rd biggest city in Peru) has been completely under water.
North, south of Lima and inland from the capital, thousands of bridges have been washed away and roads are destroyed. It is going to take months and months to get back to anything near normal.
In our little “barrio” (neighbourhood) we aren’t close to any rivers and we are about 800ft above the sea, so we haven’t been directly affected, apart from water shortages.
There have been some amazing demonstrations of solidarity with collections of items for the affected areas, and also amazing shows of selfishness with supermarkets/market stalls/bodegas (corner shops, not always on a corner and not always actually resembling a shop) having their stocks decimated by panic-buying.
The humble Lima lemon (which looks like a lime) has been in short supply, after skyrocketing in price by 500% and then simply being unavailable. As it is one of the core ingredients of many dishes here this has caused major consternation.
(National Lottery prize: 10 kilos of lemons!)
However, it has (hopefully) taught people to be more careful with water, (apart from one neighbour who left all her taps open and then went out, flooding her apartment and wasting gallons and gallons of the precious liquid, and of course those selfish buggers who insist on watering their pavements still…)
Reusing water and recycling it for various uses has become essential, but that is not a bad thing.
It is virtually impossible to get a straight answer about most things out here, some reports state that this could continue for many weeks more. The issue is the temperature of the Pacific, which, short of dropping ice cubes in the sea, is not going to suddenly cool down.
Aid has been coming in from other countries and there have been so many helicopters buzzing around, it feels like the set of a Vietnam film at times. The worst hit areas are villages that live on a very marginal existence anyway. The Nipper and I took some supplies to a local collection point midweek, but it is a tiny drop in the ocean.
Looking ahead, things are very uncertain. Whilst the capital is a bit more stable now, it is the remote locations that are in the most danger. The President has been called on repeatedly to declare a State of Emergency, but he has explained clearly that he wants to avoid this as it would “open doors wide open to corruption”.
This basically means that financial hand-outs would not get to the needy, due to sticky fingers on the way: Mayors, Councillors, Construction companies…
As financial aid has less legislation control (and laws change) during States of Emergency, it would be a disaster.
Things are a mess, but Peru has seen other natural disasters and somehow bounced back.
A boxer on the ropes, punch drunk at times, but not going down on the canvas, not yet…
Desafio Ruricancho – A week on!
Since last Sunday’s exertions in the vertical desert mountains of SJL, I haven’t run a step as I am officially crocked
“Bursitis” of the kneecap is the diagnosis. (For any Vic & Bob fans, this is also known as “Guy Fawking of the knee”).
I took a fall two weeks ago in the local hills and banged my right knee hard on a boulder. The scabs have just gone, but the internal damage is what is giving me a headache.
I took the decision to run the Desafio Ruricancho race last Sunday, but was seriously in two minds, even one hour into the actual race, for two reasons:
1) The recent Huaicos had been hitting Lima hard and part of me felt that it was wrong to be out running at such a time, but the organisers had been in dialogue with local communities and had their blessing.
2) My knee itself felt ok on the climbs (of which there were plenty), but not too good on the descents, so I hobbled round, ending up in midfield obscurity territory. On a better day, fully fit I’d hope to knock 45 minutes off that time.
Coming out of the race I felt ok, mega-dehydrated, but alright.
Until Tuesday, when I tried some core/ball work and my knee was painful to bend. 2hrs sat in the cinema was bloomin’ uncomfortable, sat in the same position, and then more ball work made it worse.
I went to see Super Maro, my Physio, who diagnosed it as burstitis, a swelling of the fluid sacs on the knee. No running, anti-inflammatories, rest and no running, definitely no running.
Local races have been put back, (due to huaico damage), so my next race is pencilled in for the 7th of May with my first big race in early June, so I am keen to rest now and get it right!
Watch this space…
An unexpected/enforced week off work!
As classes were first cancelled for the Thursday and Friday and then extended to Monday and Tuesday and then, again until Monday, it felt a bit weird to be off work (Lina too and the Nipper off school), we were doing our best to save water and make do with food that we had (and avoid any lemon based recipes!)
We couldn’t really go anywhere, as all the places we’d usually go to out of Lima had been hit hard by the floods. So it was a fairly quiet week off, with lots of trips to the park with the Scooter Queen!
There are now 5 buildings in construction on our street,where the noise usually starts around 7am, so a lie-in is off-limits. The flats being built opposite are advertised as 5 storeys high, but somebody has lost count (or paid somebody off) as they are currently 7 floors high and rising skywards!
Although I’m not too giddy about a 5:20am alarm, I am looking forward to getting back to work, but with all schedules/timetables in tatters, it is going to be a messy week.
Cameron’s Leaving Do (part II).
When is a leaving do not a leaving do?
When Cameron is involved!
My good amigo Cameron, is leaving town, in fact he left town and went on a big US tour and is back again, briefly, before another epic Peruvian adventure and then he is back once more, for a final farewell (Easter weekend, bring it on!)
It is always good to get out for a tipple with my amigos and with training on the sidelines, it was a good excuse to get Tosh Lyons out of retirement.
Miraflores was the venue and we concentrated on a very compact pub crawl, chasing cheap beer happy hours.
The only disappointment of the evening was that the bar with MONSTER-sized bottles, had no monster-sized bottles. Even the waiter seemed genuinely upset at their absence.
It was all over in a flash and getting home at 3am, I reflected on the fact that I had been getting up at the same time the previous Sunday, for the Desafio Ruricancho.
As I said, it’s been a funny old week!
I wouldn’t usually stick a running video in here, but this is a beauty, even if you don’t like running.
It reminds of salient things, ways to keep sane and the importance/benefits of simplicity
Have an awesome week!
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper