Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Nathan Lawrence - bringing civilisation to the savages since yesterday afternoon

Although as far as I'm concerned any culture with cheesecake readily available already qualifies as civilised. Creaminess is next to godliness in my book, especially when presented on a biscuit base.

Anyway, I have a job - teaching English at the Excel Language Centre in Cuzco. Technically I start Friday, but I have two three hour workshops (unpaid) with all the other teachers first.

So the next thing I need to sort out is a place to stay where I'm not paying tourist rates, but I need to have a better idea of the city first.

I was cursing, too, because it felt like the Lawrence effect had struck again. Apparently the rains have been particularly harsh lately and all the trails I was considering trekking are washed out. There's no kayyaking just now, and the whitewater rafting trip I was looking at has been cancelled because it's too dangerous. Wimps. The only trips they're running are one dayers over class I-III rapids, and if you've ever been then you'll know that classes I-III all describe various states of mill-pond. It's not until you get to class IV you even get any ripples worth worrying about.

I had to part company with the Canadians because I was starting to like the accent, I don't know what that's all aboot. Plus one of them was sick and you'd be amazed how much less fun someone is when they're experiencing mind altering diarrhoea. So, in the true spirit of togetherness and unity I said "scr*`w you guys, I'm off".

I'm also on my second cheap watch of the trip. The last one disappeared from a hostel bathroom. I took it off to take a shower and forgot to put it back on. By the time I remembered it had taken a wander. I hope it was stolen to buy drugs, because that's some hit that a knocked off five dollar watch will buy.

Touch wood I've never had a problem with things going missing from dorms, and I've only ever had one problem with a communal fridge (mentioning no names but Roturua, you know who you are with your sausage stealing fiends) but anything you leave in a bathroom is fair game. On the same day I forgot to take my soap, and although it was there when I returned two hours later, I calculated that every single inhabitant would have had to shower three times, lathering luxuriantly, to account for the usage. It wasn't even nice soap, since I'd already used that up myself - it was a nasty little bar I'd liberated from New York.

I'm having ongoing fun wearing my arsenal shirt, mainly with Peruvians trying to trade it with me for items of around a thousandth of its value, and seeming genuinely surprised that I won't barter.

I've so far seen six Peruvians wearing Man Utd shirts and absolutely loads of Barca shirts with pictures of Ronaldinho stencilled on the front. I think they love him here because there is something of the alpaca about him. I've also seen two Peruaños wearing England shirts; you could tell they were genuine because they said "Inglaterra" across the back. Three llamas on a shirt and all that.

I don't want you to think I'm spending all my time watch football, either, but I do love the commentary style here. It's in Spanish so a lot of it is lost on me (although Spanish for goal is "GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" apparently) but it tends to be along the lines of "Walcott, Walcott, Walcott, Fabregas, Walcott, Henriiiiiiii, Henriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, Henriiiiiiiiiiiiiiii GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Come back Motty, all is forgiven.

Or not.

All the best


Etiquette update: it's obligatory when you great someone to assume they speak Spanish, so to say "Hola" or "Buenoes tardes", even if they have the kind of alabaster complexion that Snow White would be proud of and a Union Jack flag on the rucksack. Once this formality is over, then you can ask "¿Habla inglés?" and move forward from there. Especially if they reply "Si, porque yo soy inglés" as I like to do.

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