Tag Archive: incas

Back in Lima and sweating like John Leslie. Partly because of the humidity, but also due the existence of millions of insane drivers. Having been a passenger in a car driven by my good friend and holder of the world land speed record between Milton Keynes and Oadby (on the back roads), Jonathan Gorvin, I am no stranger to four-wheeled fear. However, the ride from the airport to Miraflores, where I am now staying, means my bottom now resembles a wind sock – and not for the first time this trip either. Just last week, I once again fell victim to both-barrels-in-the-bathroom (BBB) syndrome – a hideous experience that leaves the sufferer stark bollock naked, sweating and close to tears in the WC after enduring constant exits from both orifices (barrels). The cause? Alcohol. In my case, copious amounts of Pisco, consumed at high altitude, on an empty stomach. No amount of Gatorade, water, pineapple juice and Coca Cola in the mini bar could shift the inevitable, nagging dehydration the next day.

After an extended period of recovery, it was time to fulfil a lifelong ambition and visit Machu Picchu – one of the “new” Seven Wonders of the World. Waking at 3am to catch a bus to Ollaytantambo, the departure point for trains to the mountain top city, was predictably unpleasant. I should, however, put this unpleasantness into perspective as I realise my blogs have thus far made my experience in Peru sound well, erm, unpleasant. If truth be told, the early start that day paled into insignificance as the sticky dawn mist gave way to bright sunshine revealing the majesty of these most remarkable of Incan ruins. My words could never do the vista justice, so the picture below will have to suffice.


Stone walls at Machu Picchu are like curry houses in Leicester – everywhere. Although much of the masonry is undoubtedly astonishing, the yank couple who repeatedly clasped hands and shouted “wow” each time they saw some nifty brickwork made the thought of hurling myself down the soft green slopes and into the muddy river below an extremely attractive proposition. That was until I encountered the Japanese, who absolutely fascinate me. I have often silently pondered just how many units of memory exist on SD cards housed in cameras belonging to the entire Japanese race. If said memory were stacked side-by-side, would it exceed the length of the Great Wall of China? My guess would be yes. Just what is it that compels the Japanese to take photographs of absolutely everything, no matter how bizarre? Picture the scene: There I was, enjoying a tube of Cheese flavoured Pringles and admiring the breath-taking scenery, when a chap unfurling a karate uniform caught my gaze. The chap then donned the uniform and instructed his girlfriend to take photos of him adopting several iconic poses in front of the ruins. Then they swapped places. I just had to take a sly snap – even though I was fearful of being castrated by a perfectly executed kick in the bollocks for showing such disrespect. My punishment was actually severe sunburn as stupidly, I didn’t wear any sunscreen that day and was to spend the rest of the week with a face like a baboon’s arse.

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After Machu Picchu, it was time to make up for time lost due to BBB by embarking on a couple more tours. The first took in several sights in the Sacred Valley and the second was supposed to consist of a whistle stop tour of the city of Cusco. I say “supposed” as despite being scheduled to arrive at 3pm, the bus that was to transport us around the city had still not arrived at 4pm. Vexed, my girlfriend and I decided to ask for our money back, which was to prove an extremely arduous task. Cue another heated argument in Spanish. Determined not to be outdone this time, I chipped in and gave the tour operator some feedback which I think may have consisted of me threatening to remove his computer to sell to passers-by unless he returned our money. 20 minutes and 30 Soles later, I was enjoying a pint of Old Speckled Hen in the nearby Irish pub. Happy days…

Not for long. After taking all of my clothes to the launderette, I then forgot to collect them at the agreed time. By the time I had remembered, the place was closed and I only had a small window of opportunity the following morning to collect and pack everything before a mid-morning flight back to Lima. After hurriedly shoving the lot into my bag in order to get a taxi to the airport in good time, I was then told by a check-in attendant that the flight had been delayed and that I had been sent an email informing me of this. I hadn’t. As such, I whiled away the hours playing Stick Tennis on my phone and subsequently went on to dispatch the likes of Anna Kournikova, Mark Phillippoussis, Carlos Moya and Amanda Coetzer with consummate ease.

Upon our arrival in Lima, I helped a nun retrieve her luggage from the overhead storage bin. If you’re reading, God, in return for my good deed I would appreciate it if you could see to it that I suffer from no more shits, sunburn, mosquito bites, birds crapping on me, mysterious aching shoulders, argumentative Peruvians and laundry being shrunk in the wash.

Why Does My Shoulder Hurt?

Why do people of a certain age find it acceptable to pass wind in public? It’s like there’s absolutely no shame factor involved once you pass a set point in life. Whilst looking at some ancient Incan ruins the other day on a day-long journey from Puno to Cusco, an Italian geriatric decided to interrupt the tour guide by floating an audible air biscuit. Not one, but two. The latter changing key several times on its entrance into this world and causing me to erupt into a fit of hysterics. Clearly, I am only 29 years old in a physical sense and not mentally.

Another interesting part of the aforementioned journey was the presence of a chap who bore a passing resemblance to Flavio Briatore in the seat across the aisle from me on the bus. It was not so much his appearance that I found amusing, but his decision to air a spare set of (dirty) grundies and socks on the curtain cord. Although I can’t say for certain, I’m sure that if you look closely, you’ll see that that’s not Marmite or Nutella smeared on the gusset (copyright David Brent)…

“Pants man” as he was thereafter referred to, then decided to gnosh off the tour guide with a series of regular, irrelevant questions clearly designed to showcase his trilingual language abilities to anyone within a five mile radius. Being bilingual myself (English and bullshit) I was not jealous, just extremely irritated. I’ve encountered many a gobbler in my working life thus far and all have a special piece of my unique brand of hate reserved especially for them. I’ll not name names but if you’re reading, “Cecil”, I always wanted to tell you that you really are, an insufferable bellend.

Two days ago was interesting in the fact that we stayed in a grotty hostel complete with dirty sheets, paint peeling off the walls, dogs barking all night long and a rather concerning stench emanating from the bogs (I wasn’t responsible). Still, it was worth it to witness the missus shout down the receptionist in what seemed like a competition as to who could speak the fastest Spanish. I’ve no idea what was said but I loitered in the background, confident that if a situation arose, I would be able to talk down the receptionist with my superior linguistic skills to convince him he was in the wrong. In a decent hotel now – there’s even a phone in the loo.

On a more serious note, I’ve had a wander round Cusco and am impressed by its selection of pharmacies which have proved extremely useful as today, I awoke with a searing pain in my shoulder. Christ only knows what happened but being a hypochondriac, I was convinced that last night, I was having a heart attack. Thankfully due to the existence of said pharmacies, I am now being soothed by Ibuprofen cream and a bottle of Cusqueña. That said, it’s a little chilly here at night and lager is only suitable for warmer climes. Fortunately the Irish bar up the road serves Abbott Ale on draught and I may well have to pay it visit.

I have six more days in Cusco before heading back to Lima where I will doubtless be able to top up my sunburn (and learn some Spanish). First of all, I need to find a place to live, and by “place”, I don’t mean a hostel. I’ve seen enough save-the-world white rastas carrying their lives on their backs to last a lifetime.