To Huarochiri and beyond!


Good morning folks

I trust you had a superbly brilliant weekend.
Here is the weekly round-up from the city that never sleeps (although maybe it does want to!)
Recovering from the exertions of plodding round 26-and-a-bit miles of Lima’s crumbling concrete and a right royal knees-up.

A week where pretty much everything that could go wrong, break or simply mess-up, did. My dodgy back is playing up again too, but ‘nil carborundum illegitimi’ as they say ;-)

Post marathon.

After a zombified Sunday afternoon following the marathon last Sunday, I woke up feeling not too bad at all. Had expected to be unable to walk, so that was a bonus. (Not sleeping due to nightmares at the moment, but that’s another story). Even slipped in a few short, steady plods, so it’s all eyes on Huarochiri! Three weeks away.

huaro1 (Image courtesy of Desafio Huarochiri) 

I’ve entered 3 races up in the yonder hills (big hills) about 2 hours away from Lima. It is partly known territory, as I headed up that way last year on the Clunk a few times. However, both the Clunk and I suffered with the altitude. It is a strange thing; breathlessness like that of an 80-a-day asthmatic, a splitting headache and stomach rolling nausea (I’m not really selling it am I!) I have always suffered like a (sea level) dog. It’s nothing to do with fitness either, it is purely down to how your body deals with it. Some people are fine, others aren’t.

bolivia“I think I left my inhaler over there!” Breathless in Bolivia.

When I first lived here I used to hop the border into Bolivia once every few months. Not to sample its fine cuisine, but to extend my Visa. Bolivia is a landlocked country (having lost its coastline to Chile many moons ago) and has the World’s highest everything. Only once, after spending 2 weeks there did I finally get used to it. Apparently Coca Tea (it doesn’t contain cocaine) helps and the suggestion that you take it easy when you first arrive to a place at altitude helps.

So I’m going to run up a big hill, let’s just see how it goes!

huaro2(Image courtesy of Desafio Huarochiri) 

Distancewise it is only 12 miles with 3800ft of climbing, but it’s sunny season in the hills, so the heat and the altitude will be out to get me. Watch this space…

huaro3(& watch out for the prickly pears!) (Image courtesy of Desafio Huarochiri)  


I always ask my students what their plans are (future tense practice) on a Friday and what they did (past tense practice) on a Monday. Most of them say “nada” (nothing) or sleeping! In fact when I first worked here, “sleep” was always a hobby that most people said they enjoyed most.
However, I am starting to wonder whether this is actually true.

Peruvians are incredibly hard working people, who work long hours. Well, maybe not everyone, but people have heinous commutes. 1-2hrs is normal (one way), but here in the city of chaos a 2hr commute can become a 3-4hr commute in the wave of a traffic cop’s fluorescent baton!
The horns start-a-honking around 6am when the school buses pick up bleary-eyed students.
I am still at a loss exactly what time schools start and finish as there seem to be school kids in the street at all hours, but they do start early and then go on to night classes, then go home and do their homework. On a weekend it is normal for kids to do a 4hr English class, followed by a 4hr French class. No wonder they are falling asleep in class. (It’s not just my classes being boring!)

Any kind of party/social gathering here starts late (11pm) and finishes mega late (early?)
On average people seem to get about 5hrs kip (that is what we get, on a good night).
Why? Because the noise all starts up again around 5am, car horns, radios blaring & slamming doors. I tiptoe around like a mouse (although I’m not sure if mice can tiptoe), but I’m in a minority of one.

So, sleep. Is it just a dream here? (Sueño is the word for dream and sleep!)

Asbestos Alley!

I’ve been enforced to walk to work these days, my near-miss on the Clunk a few weeks back stretched an already fully stretched clutch cable and I’ll have to wait ’til payday to buy new Clunkbits, so on foot it is. I’m not complaining, it’s not far and it’s good to have a break from the traffic madness. It’s not a particularly scenic walk. I have to pass through a bit of a ropey “barrio” (“hood”) where years back, a gang of people bumrushed a piece of land and started building houses/shacks. This is what is called an invasion here, and the punters did it so fast that it caught the authorities on the hop. Time passed and somehow (due to the sheer number of people) the powers-that-be didn’t do anything and let the people stay there.

There is an alley that I cannot avoid, if I ever did get mugged/done over here, this would be the place where it would happen. It is dark and seedy, even on a sunny day, but it is unavoidable.
A few months back somebody dumped a huge heap of asbestos waste there and it just sat in the breeze for weeks (I used to hold my breath and cover my nose). One night I was walking back from work (headphones in)  and suddenly walked around the corner onto the stage of a Mariachi performance! All eyes were on the gringo!

On Tuesday afternoon the entire alley, (bar a 1ft squeeze-through space at the side) was taken up with a huge gazebo, with a funeral taking place. The wake was in full-flow when I passed by at nighttime, and still going the next day (and night).

I’m not sure when or where they were (eventually) buried?

Sights and sounds of Salamanca.

On Tuesday we had no electric, or water, so when I saw this truck doing its daily drowning of the park, I was tempted to take an impromptu shower.


Wandering round the streets, a few things took my eye.

IMG_0336The safest window in town!

It’s very easy to stick your earphones in and put your head down, but you do miss things if you do this.

s1The annual hair pulling contest was hotly contested!

It’s not Beverley Hills, nor is it Beverley, but it’s home (for now!)

blog 22The Nipper subtly saying that I needed a shower!

Back on the pop!

After a self-imposed alcohol ban during the Lima marathon training, all the good work was undone in a big way on Saturday night!


I don’t have many mates out here, but I do have some good mates and James B (not Bond) is one of them.

After a hectic 8hrs trying to control/teach kids, I was ready for a tipple, so a quick one hour (a whopping 8 miles) and a stop-off at the Offy, it was party time!

House parties are dangerous things (if you drink like an idiot) as you basically have a drink on the go at all times. It was a late finish and I was rougher than a rough haired Lurcher the next day, but an awesome fry-up by James D (not Dean), I was set-up for the day!


(Well, at least for the bus ride home), think I’ll stay off the juice until after Huarochiri…

And finally…

Every now and again, you see a band who are a bit different. I’ve never seen these in real life, but they caught my ear on youtube.

Watch THIS at the earliest opportunity :-)

The streets of Brighouse, entertained by the inimitable Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners.
“I love you baby…”

Have yourself a spectacular week.

Johnny, Lina and the Nipper

p.s. I now have a new surname, pronounced ParsOn!




Rose tinted specs

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