What’s up Doc…


Good morning folks

I trust you had a fantastic weekend and you’re in fine fettle.
Here is the latest loony-bin round-up.
Not the best of weeks, but on a positive note, as Howard Jones/D:ream both sang, things can only get better! (Feel free to skip the first three parts! It gets sunnier further down!)


Ten temblores!

Whether it’s a a result of Global Warming, or not, the weather has been going crazy worldwide of late; hurricanes, cyclones and tempests.

Peru is on the Pacific Ring-o-fire and “temblores” (tremors) happen all the time here, to the point where they aren’t a shock anymore, (but are still very unnerving).


This week about an hour out of Lima, in the hills of Matucana, there were 10 “temblores” in the space of 24hrs. Worrying.

On May 31st 1970, Peru suffered a catastrophic earthquake, which in turn caused a huge chunk of ice to break off Huascaran, the highest peak in Peru (and in the Tropics) which triggered a landslide/avalanche, burying the city of Yungay. The city has never been excavated and it is estimated that 70,000 dead lay beneath the buried city. The biggest natural disaster in Peru’s history and the worst avalanche in the World.

Peru more recently suffered a more recent earthquake in the coastal town of Pisco in 2007.
Over 500 people died and some towns never really recovered.

Experts have been saying that a major earthquake in the capital cannot be ruled out.
Now, that is a possibility that does worry me. As the “huaicos” showed earlier this year, Lima does not show much solidarity in a crisis (panic water buying emptied the shelves almost immediately) and the number of “invasion” properties (homes built without permission/planning) hit by the floods, due to being build on riverbeds/floodplains is a huge worry. Although we do have our “emergency rucksack” by the door, just in case, I really wouldn’t fancy anybody’s chances if a big quake hit this place…


Spatial awareness

If I was ever made King of the World, I would bring in compulsory “Walk the line” testing here!
(A bit like the Police used to use on driver they suspected of having been tippling).


I walk to work, which avoids traffic, but always involves some kind of collision.
Not just people wrapped up in their phoneworld, people seem to have no spatial awareness of people around them and slam into each other, big hits abound, but people just carry on, “normal” as they say?


A dark place – Salamanca

I don’t want this blog to be just a rant, moan or a Smith’s song cover by a Radiohead tribute band, but there are some things I need off my chest, skip this bit if you like…

All week I have been trying to think of how to put all this into words, but even now, I’m not doing a good job of how to express things, so please bare with me.

I normally have a weekly “dip” around Wednesday. It is never really a perfect week, nor do I expect it to be, but this week has been tough. I started in a black cloud and it never went away.
I don’t know what it is, it’s a combination of many factors, but I’m just in a stinkingly foul mood all the time, with a sharp temper and a very short fuse. It is a nightmare, as I have to completely hide this at work. Not just a case of trying to be professional (for the first time in my life I’ve found a job I love), but also having to do a Jekyll and Hyde for the benefit of my students and my colleagues (who are the absolute salt of the Earth, another reason I love my job).

Outside work I’ve given up trying to find sense in the senselessness and looking for logic where logic never lived. It is not just an ex-pat/immigrant moan, I am extremely grateful to be given the chance/opportunities that I am given here, but I just despair on a daily basis, things could be so much better, better and easier for everybody, but sadly they never will be.

Lina’s work (Nipper’s school) is 5 miles away, but it sometimes takes an hour to get back home.
Four (marked) lanes of traffic crammed into six/seven lanes (road paint is a massive waste of time/money/resources here), always with taxis/buses squeezing up the hard shoulder and cutting in at the last minute. Some poor sod in a stationary ambulance who nobody gives way to, yielding is never done here, is it seen as a sign of weakness?
(I sometimes, mistakenly hold a door open instantly becoming the World’s most underpaid/overworked/underappreciated doorman!) Lima’s traffic has no solution, I’ve spent/wasted too much time thinking about it.

21769952_10159382793225302_988897651_nFlogging sweets in the fast (!) lane, a risky business!

N-O-I-S-E is what is killing me here. Incessant, high volume racket.
Our delightful neighbours had what they might call a party, but I’d call it shouting over the volume of nightclub-sized speakers until 4:30am last night, people “whooping” and hollering from down in the street. Friday was similar.
I had a misguided idea that I might just top-up my 2hrs sleep from last night with a sneaky 20-minute afternoon kip, but non-stop reggaetón (the very worst kind of music ever invented) foiled that plan. Right now, above, some other “vecinos” are having their nightly ding-dong, I could go on…

I try to block it out with music, earphones in, head down, but that all ended up in a bizarre Peruvian stand-off on Monday. I’m not a fighter (or much of a lover), but it could be summed up as “tense”. Conflict is never the solution (look at North Korea) and what would happen if I got in a fight on my way to work? I’d get my at$e wooped, probably lose my job, who knows.
Calm down, calm down…

I’ve tried so hard to adapt, but I still find it hard to just accept some things. (I’m not a prude, but people pi$$ing and spitting in the street does make me frown, but no amount of my frowning will stop that!) A good friend of mine told me not to just dwell on the positives, but to “live the positives”, there just ain’t been many this week, nor for a while to be honest.

I had an absolutely brilliant fortnight in Blighty in August, it was so good to see my mates, family and just chill-out. No chance of chilling out in this madhouse. I think the trip back there made my problems here increase. I am constantly thinking “What IS the point? Really, what am I doing here?”
I love my job, but is that enough? Lina is committed to her studies here and the Nipper doesn’t really know any different. My black moods hardly make for domestic bliss, I appreciate Lina putting up with me and my moodswings.

I’m just moaning about my particular “barrio” Salamanca, other parts of the city are actually quite nice.
Peru is an amazing country with so, so much potential. I just worry it may never reach its potential, which would be a huge shame.

A move would be the answer (not quite straightforward sadly) but in the meantime a bit of kip/P&Q would be amazing.


Hoping that the arrival of spring will lift these black clouds, it’s been a bloody long winter.


Monkey Runners

The 2017 Peru Monkey Run is under way!
Our man on the road, Sir Dave Fry, is buzzing his way away from Ayacucho, to somewhere.
Here are some pics (courtesy of Dave).

d1 d3 d4



At work on Friday, I’m doing a repeat of my “UK Sports” talk (gravy wrestling, black pudding throwing, cheese rolling, work charming, Cumberland Westmorland wrestling to name but a few).
I also have two weeks to create a new talk/topic for next month, “The Great British Spirit of Adventure“ watch this space…


A daring/foolhardy move!

I have only had four interviews in Spanish.
1) A job interview in San Miguel, which resulted in a job in Comas (like commuting to Birmingham from Leeds every day).
2) A job interview where I thought I was working 9-5, but only turned out to be 5-9.
3) A live TV interview at a football match in Arequipa, when too much Dutch courage tripped me up bigtime.
4) A TV interview (same weekend) when the airline I was hoping to get a flight back to Lima with, was grounded/disbanded due to narco-trafficking (Aero Continente) and our flight was the first to go!

So, I am a little wary of being interviewed in a language that I don’t really know and can’t really speak.

However, on Tuesday I will be showing myself up at the University of Lima, in some kind of interview, as a favour for a student, I have no idea. Update next week…


Winter loitering

The grey cloak of winter is supposed to be shifting, as spring is supposed to be on the way and Saturday was the first sign of this possibility, after a week of rain, rain and more rain (although folk will have you know that it never rains in Lima). It is not cold, just crappy, grey and damp miserable weather.

Ask 10 punters about winter/summer preferences and:
- 8 will say they prefer winter (which puzzles me beyond belief).
- 1 will say spring/autumn (dodging the question)
- 1 will say summer (although they probably spend all of January-March/school holidays, at the beach).

Give me sun and a blue sky any day of the week please.


Obsessive Compulsive Disease?

Next week, I promise! It’s a tricky subject and my ideas are not clear enough to ramble about here right now. It’s not a light topic and this blog has been bleak enough already this week. Next week…


Running, where is it going?

Relating to above, I can use any of my obsessive activities as a barometer for how psyched/positive/happy I am. With my running (in the UK) I always used to have a wobble when the clocks changed, as I don’t like dark nights (who does).

In July I started a new training programme, first time I’ve trained properly since I was 17!
Right up to leaving the UK I was really psyched, but I have lost it completely now.
A hamstring injury stopped me in my tracks, but I’ve started again, light stuff, but I am just losing interest. Training on the roads is a stressful business, an assault on the senses and probably the equivalent of smoking several packs of Senior Service per run!

Potholes, punters, pavements and psychopaths (anybody in a car) mean that a chance to think things over is a non-starter. Not been into the hills for a while, think I need to escape, if not who knows? The thing is that I am generally crap at everything else (and not especially good at running, with only 2.5 races this year under my belt). Need a kick up the ar$e I do…


Into the 21st century I boldly go!

My trusty Nokia will be phased into retirement this week, as I have now joined the 21st century and have a smartphone!


I have been threatening/thinking about the idea for a while now and after doing hours of research, which basically told me that I’d have to spend over 2000 soles for a decent phone, when skinflint here really wanted to spend less than 200 soles (£50), then out of the blue,  a friend kindly gave me a phone, which I am trying to work out how to use.


So, at last I am now on What’s-up! No stopping me now…


Nipper’s day out!

Due to my schedule, I leave the house before the two little ladies wake up, after my 7am class, I’m home by 10am. Clean, wash, shop, train and cook, just in time for a quick lunch (when the Nipper is often asleep), when they get back, before going to my afternoon/night classes, getting home at 10pm, when the ladies are in bed! I love my job, but my schedule is a million miles off perfect!


So, with Lina away all weekend studying, we had a big day out planned on Saturday. I let the bairn choose, so it was (as you may guess) a train/facepainting extravaganza!

21844249_10159382786820302_897059242_o 21767657_10159382784800302_894583161_n21705911_10159382785885302_1458303436_o

Being Señora Nancy’s best customers, we went there for inking and then did two laps on the 1926 Surcanito 237 steam train.



Then we did something new, scaling the 29 metres high “Arco de Amistad”, topping out in the sunshine to a semi-extensive view of the locality, to the Nipper telling me that she needed the toilet!


As she has a habit of leaving it to the last minute, it was a mad dash/freefall back down and a sprint to the bathroom (made it).

View-from-the-top pics next time!

Ice cream of course played a part in proceedings.



Plus, the bike came out of hibernation too.
Two days with the bairn certainly lifted my foul mood :-)


Next week…

Staff medical!


And finally…

Two songs that the Wee One insists on me playing (over and over and over) are “Set on You” by George (as she calls him) and Herb Alpert’s “Zorba the Greek”. Things normally get a bit dizzy towards the end, as this VIDEO shows :-)

Have an awesome week!

Johnny, Lina & the Nipper

p.s. Hoping my presentation doesn’t go like any of these…

Powerpoint disasters!!!

One thought on “What’s up Doc…

  1. Nick

    Great post Johnny – I can relate to the noise issues, that’d drive me nuts!

    Chin up – at least it should get warmer whilst we in blighty feel that winter chill.




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