like kylies…

June 27, 2007

…i´m a little behind (¿joke? for dad only)

i´ve also used up my allotted space for photos, which is a bit rubbish so i´ll have to get a new blog or something which seems like a strange idea as i´ll be home in a couple of weeks and am doubtful that i will be able to regail anyone with stories like jason mulgrew or jokes like the cavalry. i suppose it could be an incentive to do something every once in a while in a bid for new material.

ok i{ve set up a new site at

www.woodenballs.wordpress.com


lima or rimac?

June 23, 2007

so i was in lima this one time and then all of a sudden there was like this huge battle of the bands and stuff and everyone was like going crazy and just tearing it up and like i was just like whoa dude awesome!!

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the craziness hits the apex in an orgasmic creshendo, other battling band not pictured, though they were all wearing blue in a kind of wwf/fight night theme. maybe i`m reading too much into the whole situation. needless to say it was crazy…

so after the adenaline feast of the night before i needed something calm so why not a nice museum. lima unfortunately doesn`t have an underground system so getting from district to district can be a challenge, the roads are absolute chaos and although there are literally hundreds of brightly coloured buses all over the place they work on an unfamiliar system. no bus has a destination displayed in the window but has a list of the roads that it goes down on the side instead, each route is vaguely circular and is denoted by the colour scheme of the bus. so first you´ve basically got to miss the bus you need so you can read the side of it, then remember the colour scheme, wait for the next one and negotiate all of the other buses taxis and mopeds that are sent to foil any attempt to board. when on board a woman (or man) shouts incomprehensibly, alternately out of the window and inside the bus, presumably telling people where we are and are going. i managed to interupt her harridanian ullulations long enough to politely ask her to tell me when we are near the museum, she answers `it`s ave brasil `, i say`i know that but ave brasil runs for 12 miles` she says `yes` and goes back to screeching out of the window. i try to work out approximate distances but it proves impossible with the stop/start, drive/crash nature of the traffic. the only constant is the blaring of horns and i`m not sure i`m up to using the doppler effect as a means of judging distance. i figure that maybe i`m there when the polluted grime on my forehead has me looking like a minstrel, who knows? the shouting woman gets off at a junction and fails to return so i figure that by `yes` she was agreeing on the length of ave brasil not to telling me where to get off.

i figure the next stop is as good as any and go for it. as luck would have it i have no idea where i am and the map that i have is on such a huge scale that even if i did know i would be lost anyway as knowledge of location is worthless with nothing to refrence it to. option number 2; taxi, i figure i`ve got closer and probably saved myself about 5p anyway so all is not lost.

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as i was taking this photo of a taxi presumably waiting for the scrap lorry, the driver, who i hadn`t noticed behind his paper, got out and seriously asked `¿taxi señor?`. as there was another taxi behind that hadn`t just finished last in a distruction derby i was forced to turn him down.

anyway, museum; all the usual stuff, hoards of school kids screaming and shouting over one another with inane comments and observations about the artefacts, hoards of yanks doing likewise. it has a good section on moche culture which is my favourite (i know it`s not normal to have a prefered precolumbian culture so just humour me).

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not that anyone who doesn`t already know will be bothered but the moche had 5 distinct pottery phases all of which are interesting in different ways, this is moche 4, ok i`ll stop there. 

decided to take the bus back figuring that i would easily be able to recognise my part of a city the size of london after seeing it twice. i actually came off astonishingly well and got off 1 stop early. on the way home we went past a riot

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here`s all of the armed police putting their crowd supression stuff into practice. apparently demonstrations are a daily fact of life in central lima and they often escolate, no one else on the bus was remotely interested especially the driver who took no pains to swerve or break when the crowd surged into the path of the bus, pretty much getting crumpled against the side of the vehicle in the process. the buses are huge army style ones and if they ran over your foot it would be as flat as a barbequed guinea pig.

not yet feeling culturally fulfilled, the next day i visited huaca pucllana which was luckily within walking distance from the hostel.

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originally a huge temple complex in the lima culture built from 400ad till 1100ad it fell into disrepair and was just a huge pile of dust, adobe bricks and river rocks by the time of the conquests. in the 1970s the site was about to be developed into housing when someone decided to question why there was a huge hill right in the middle of a virtually flat city. excavation started and has continued till this day at an incredibly steady rate with never more than 35 people, at any one time, volunteering in the sites history. over time people have taken the bricks to build other structures but still many of the originals remain. the reconstruted parts are built using new bricks but where a wall was left of any significant size the original hand made, sun dried bricks are used. it`s really strange and touching to see the fingerprints, and sometimes footprints, of the people; men women and children, who built the structure captured in each if the 1000s of bricks on display.

feeling that a cultural overdose was close at hand i was forced to spend the night in an english pub followed by a bar where i led the 2 dutch and 2 swedish people i was with, plus about 20 locals in a funky chicken marathon, and ending up in a club having lost my compadres with just the locals and 2 hawaiian circus performers till the wee hours. regrettably no photos though as they take cameras off you when you go in clubs here, and you have to pay to have it looked after as well, no arguements when it`s always less than a quid for a drink though, eh?


a question

June 18, 2007

if someone offers a service at a ridiculously low price and then completely fails in their task is it still a bargain?

i have been trapped in lima for tthe last 4 days, not the worst place in the world admittedly, in fact it`s brilliant, because of the ineptitude of a bunch of guys in a laundrette. clothes go in on wednesday, it cost a pound for virtually all of my clothes, collect them on friday he says. seems like a bit of a long time but i think i can amuse myself till then, and book a bus for friday night. come friday, the clothes are ´not dry´ when i go to pick them up obviously i can´t leave without my clothes so ring the bus company and explain, no sympathy, lost the 3 quid bus fare (i know 3 quid boohoo and all that but 3 quid is a night out here). return for my clothes at 6 when he said to and the place is shut. go back saturday morning and wait 45 minutes just standing in the shop with noone around after i have given a guy the ticket, he comes back with 2 t-shirts, a pair of trousers and 2 pairs of boxer shorts, now i might not have even noticed that i was short some clothes if it wasn`t for the fact that i had put my coat in and you can kind of tell when something that big is missing. so i tell him and off he trots and guess what `it`s just drying`, this is a lightweight coat you could dry it in 2 hours just by leaving  it hung up, nevermind that a full day in a dryer would reduce it`s man made fibres to the size of a cock warmer.  not wanting him to be short of work while i go and wait the requested hour longer i compile a list of the other clothes that are clearly absent, 8 socks, calvins, 2 t-shirts complete with drawings. an hour later i return and recieve the clothes that i had drawn and a coat that has literally been dry cleaned about 20 seconds before still stinking of chemicals and silghtly mis-shapen. as ai`m rushing to pack to catch my bus, which i missed, i notice that low and behold the last bag of clothes hasn`t even been washed at all. it was cheap though.


anything free round here?

June 13, 2007

finished off my time in chile in puerto varas, most of the time was spent holding a turtles head as i thought that i wasn`t going to have enough money to pay the departure tax and was going to be stuck 2500  miles away from peru on the day of my flight. luckily the parents (thanks mum and dad) came to the rescue and bailed me out, again.

i got up on the last day like any other day;  hauling my carcass, unwillingly, and with much internal hystrionics to the shower to change my adult sleeping nappy, and decided to spend some of my newfound, and parents recntly lost, wealth. as soon as i opened the front door there was a dog jumping up on me and barking excitedly like it had been waiting for me all night or something and i was late for its customary feed.

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this dog followed me round all day, even to the point of the supermarket staff telling me that i couldn`t bring it into the shop and me having to explain about 5 times that i knew nothing about it. just before i got on the bus to the airport it suddenly sensed it was time to go and did one. very strange, thought i.

got to the airport in plenty of time for my 6.25 departure and was supprised that the bender on check-in seemed to be aggitated about something to do with my plane, it involved a lot of `nunca` which can never be a good thing. a glance at the board was all i needed to realise that my flight had been changed to a 5.00 departure, which would have been terrible if the plane wasn`t delayed till 6.30. i think he was probably saying that he had never known someone so forward thinking as me that they would turn up 2 hours late for a plane on the assumption that it was going to be delayed. unfortunately the whole schedule had been brought forward and now my plane to peru which i had to connect with in santiago now departed at 8 instead of 9.30. with a hour and 30 minute flight time and a change of terminals i was going to be cutting it fine. the plane eventually left at 7.45 giving me 15 minutes to fly for an hour and a half and change terminals. suffice to say, i missed tha plane. 

obviously when something like this happens the visions of myself as tom hanks pushing carts to earn quaters for b.k. and sleeping on those special airport chairs with more arms than a hindu god spring to mind first. fortunately lan airlines had different ideas.

i was whisked away to the crown plaza in santiago city centre in a taxi with vouchers for a room, snacks, breakfast and a return taxi with the only stipulation that i had to stay in the hotel to wait till they could find me a new flight for the next day so they could ring with the details.

unfortunately the hotel had no single rooms  left so i got one with 2 beds

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which i immediately trashed by bouncing on them. remember i`ve been in bunks , hammocks or straw on floor for the last 10 months. after playing at being a child what else is one to do but don a cravat and stroke ones chin for a while in one of the preposterous number of chairs. 

having rubbed my chin raw i went down to inquire what snacks my voucher could get me and woe again the snack bar was closed, but wait a minute! the restaurant was still open; i`m sure we can arrange something sir, quod she. i was forced to he humbled by the 3 course set menu; smoked salmon, steak and then a cake that looked like a 5 year old had drawn it. i decided to go mad and have a glass of wine; unfortunately sir we only do wine by the bottle, quod he. but surely i couldn`t manage a bottle? bear in mind i`ve already been on a plane- when i`m on a plane i press the service buttom so much for beer that the attendants end up like pavlovs dog and take a can of beer with them to answer the door for a week afterwards. one attendant got so tired of it on cathay pacific she just gave me free reign back of house for the durating of the flight. to show my gratitude i missed her feet when i threw up on the floor and wet myself in the aisle instead of my seat.

suffice to say i had a bottle of wine, which set me back 6 quid, but it was a low yield, single estate carmenere (not to heathens; this is good) and the best was saved till last, as i was leaving the restaurant i was given another bottle as all wines were 241 (where am i 5th ave? krazyhouse?)  for hotel guests. i retired to my quarters and ran a bath, putting in all of the free soap stuff regardless of label, suffice to say there was a lot of bubbles. just as i was settling onto the bed, post soak, the phone goes, obviously to tell me what time my flight is tomorrow afternoon,

`hello señor murphy, your taxi for the airport is here, be down in 5 minutes please`

oh well, you can have too much of a good thing and all that…


ringo starry night

June 9, 2007

oh yeah i forgot, the view of the stars on to of the monutain at the springs was incredible and had me thinking so hard that my ears were buzzing when i got into bed. unfortunately my camera refulsed point blank to photograph them, 8 seconds in the maximum shutter open time, so you`ll have to deal with this recently discovered photo of god;

`let there be light`, wow i really was made in his image.

ps this makes no sense unless you read the post before 1st yeah!


done something at last!

June 9, 2007

yes!

yes, you heard me right, i did something in chile!!

i`ve really had a good time here but i was looking through the photos yesterday and i realised that the talking points of what i have done in the last 4 weeks could probably be renacted in 3 hours, oh well.

so last night i took the only spell of good weather since i got into pucon, the adventure capital of south america (not if it`s raining though we don`t like getting our hair wet) ™.  and went to the local naturally volcano heated hot springs.

now by good weather i mean that it wasn`t raining, the temperature was still somewhere in the 2-3 degree region which makes a thermal bath all the more of an experience, there are chairs set out where you can volunteraly freeze yourself in the cool night air;

for 10 minutes before submerging yourself in the superbath.

i feel i`ve been neglecting this pose again. lots more to come then.

the clearness of the air meant that the local volcano villarica was on display, this is the view from outside my cabin;

the volcano had 3 major eruptions last century the last in 1971 which opened a 3 mile long fissure spewing out 30 million tons of lava into the region and destroying the old town of pucon. the volcano is one of only a handfull in the world with a lava lake in the crater. i was relieved then that the early warning system was on green throughout my visit,

 

though they do test the siren at noon every day which had me spitting my tea all over the o.c. on the 1st day.


risin´from the dead, big bevvies, huascos ´n´ huevos.

June 8, 2007

this post is brought to you by pap, mmmmm, pure refreshment, though with the size of the cans you can´t get too refreshed.

 

so we were playing pool, me and issac. in the hostel there is a party of 3 old women; 2 sisters and their mother who has come to the city to go to hostital. issac is one of these africans who is so polite and quiet that it´s almost painful. day 2 of the womens visit and only the 2 younger ones appear with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. later that night our suspicions are confirmed by the security man, the older one has bought the farm.

back to the pool, i´m kicking issacs ass when suddenly the dead lady walks through the door, dodders up the steps and starts talking to the security guard who lookes just as puzzled as us. it´s issacs shot and the white is against the cushion beside the dead lady, not wanting to disturb her even to ask her to move so he can take his shot, issac decides to hit the white like this;

first try he misses completely so i encourage him to give it a little more power. taking my advice he takes a full blooded swipe at the white and cracks the recently deceased/risen lady behind him right on the top of her head at full whack just as her 2 daughters come into the room. officially the best thing i´ve ever seen.

i was coming home from a hotdog and beer dinner in the market the other day in chillan where i had met a nice couple of lads who had been playing 5 a side football that about 200 peole had turned out to watch amongst the fruit and veg stalls.

 

the game was precariously close to this egg shop which i don´t understand purely for the range of prices, does the egg of one type of chicken taste that different? which ones have i been eating all of my life? not a normal set up  but probably normal in the rural backwaters. to tell the truth, i was hammered, the bottled beer here is so much cheaper if you get the litre refillables and for once we had an attentive person supplying us. the only people that are ever even slightly bothered about service (this applys to most of the world) are the people who actually profit from the sale of stuff to you. as soon as you have to deal with ´employees´ it all goes wrong, the most you can get from a shop assistant or waiter is a grunt but a woman selling socks in the street will run off, like micheal j fox after a pepsi (in ´85 not now i suspect), to get your size. anyway, in my circuitous route home i happened upon an actual bar, with stools and a bar and music and stuff so decided to pop in for a drink. already feeling it a little i opted for a medium sized beer, and got a litre, wandering what a big one was like i asked to see the full range and

my god! am i in heaven or what. look at the size of that glass. obviously it´s expensive here then, what! 60p a pint, a quid a litre and 1.50 for the monster. i´m moved on to pucon now and getting touristised, the biggest beer here is a 6ooml heineken, it´s only 1.50, but in the words of james, if i hadn´t seen such riches i could live with being poor, oh sidown, oh sidown, oh sidown….

pucon is trad cowboy country, heres one eating chips.

 

the chileans are so westernised, they practically live on chips and loads of them smoke, though they do get some things wrong for example; in their desperation to be westernised they seem to think that turkey and pumpkins are food for all year round instead of just being associated with ancient british holidays.