Saturday, November 19, 2005

Lima: Lost in Cyberspace

I've spent so much time on the internet this past week, I might get lost in cyberspace.

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Today, as much to get some air as anything else, I went over to "Direli", the importer of Pirelli Tires. I wanted to physically look at their inventory to be sure we weren't just overlooking a potential solution. But the manager, Juan assured me, 19" front tires like mine just aren't available here. I asked when he could have them. It would be about February, when he receives his next container! "Wrong answer."

So now I have brothers Drew and Jeff looking at the shipping costs from Washington and Vermont (respectively). These tires are simple to find in the U.S.

Suggestions are also coming in from "Adventure Rider" and "Horizons Unlimited" members. So, there's no shortage of ideas. It's now only limited by my own effort. Once stalled, it can be a challenge overcoming inertia.

Two other riders are coming into town this weekend, also in need of tires. Maybe we'll bring in a container and set up a re-tiring center for GSs?

***

I think I comment about how every city is crazier than the last. Lima is a pretty amazing place for sharpening your defensive driving skills. Everyone seems to describe driving here in the same way: peligroso.

You have to be careful about becoming inured to horns. They're used constantly and it's easy to just disregard them. But the one you ignore just might be the one that counts. And I've found using mine is meaningless. It does not alter another driver's behavior one iota. They're still going to take my lane, so I had just better move.

When at an intersection, and the light turns green, be ready for anything. This is the moment when drivers decide whether to turn left, right, go forward, or even reverse, no matter what lane they happen to be in. Taxis and buses are the worst! They have no rules, other than "leave no potential fare behind." (Which is great if you're a rider - with a wave, you can stop almost any available taxi or bus instantaneously.)

Buses and taxis are the dominant mode of transport. There are three basic types of buses: the big "micro", which carries 50 or more, the "combi" which holds 20 to 25 and the "custer", a small bus which typically carries 10 to 12 people. It's wise to give all of them a very wide berth, because they're unpredictable. I often find myself close enough to these guys to reach in and honk their horn (or maybe punch their lights, if I'm in the mood.)

***

Tonight, I walked over to Parque Centrale and wandered among the crowds. Took a seat around a central patio and just watched people for a couple of hours. Saturday evening and the park is full of families. On the sidewalks, children play with a football (soccer ball). When it gets away from them it's fun to see how anyone, no matter the age or gender, knows how to field it and kick it back to the kids.

In another sunken circular patio, couples are dancing to a DJ's Latin music, while a crowd encircles the dancers and claps out the rhythms. Most of the couples are seniors.

Children pedal candy, refusing to let you ignore them. They are barely audible as they talk in a mournful monotone, showing you the shoes they are trying to replace with the proceeds.

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