Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Treading water in Lima

For Drew: The beach at Miraflores, Lima, Peru


Andreas Dossier called the hotel this morning to report that “Barbacci” has the tires I need. Well, not precisely, but close enough. The front is slightly taller (as I've been seeing.) I told Andreas that Orlando had called “Barbacci” yesterday and determined they did not have the correct tires, but Andreas was quite certain of himself. “They’ll work!” I didn't want to reject the tires without first seeing them, so I told him I'd go check them out.

“Barbacci”, only a couple miles from the hotel, is a good shop for motorcycle supplies, accessories and generic parts. The tires they had were racing tires, for the highway (pista) only, and, as I already knew, the wrong size. Even if they were to fit the rims, they won't work for the Andes. At this point, the miscommunications are almost comical.

When I called him back to reports the news, I was asked to hold. In the background I could hear a car alarm going off outside his shop. “I just can't get away from those damn things!”

So, it looks like I'm counting on “Inchcape” in Santiago to come through.

Didn't sleep well, my body fighting a "bug".

11:35 p.m.

In kind of a “funk”. It could have something to do with that full moon overhead. Or the absolute frustration trying to source tires, being stranded and falling further behind in my (loosely-)planned itinerary. Completely stalled here in Lima, I'm unsure of the next steps.

Had lunch in the hostel’s restaurant (which is good, and very inexpensive), then lay down for a nap. My body felt pretty run-down. Slept heavily, waking at 5:00 p.m.

With Carolina’s help, called Carlos at “Inchcape” to see what he found out about tires in Santiago. He told Carolina he had found a rear tire locally, at "Barbacci", and he offered the phone number of another shop that might have a used front tire that would be “better than the one I have, and permit me to drive to Santiago.” He hung up after reporting his success. Carolina called regarding the used tires. The shop said they didn’t have any in the correct size.

My frustration was taken out on Carolina. “Carlos was supposed to be calling Santiago! I’ve already been to 'Barbacci'. I know the tires I need aren’t available in Lima!” She called him back. Carlos said he would call Santiago tomorrow. Another day “down the drain.”

Once I know the tires are on their way, I can plan some local trips without taking all my gear. My current tires should be okay for that. If Santiago doesn’t have the tires, then what? Try to have them brought in from Panama or the U.S.?

I hadn’t thought that far ahead. There was nothing to do but wander around. After 3-1/2 days here, I finally went down to the beach. There's a similar feel to Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica (though today the air here is much more polluted.)

The beaches here feature famous names such as Redondo and Makaja.

Miraflores, Lima Peru. This area reminds me of Pacific Palisades in Southern California.

At a mall, atop the bluffs, security is a bit oppressive. I was even escorted from one level to the next. “It’s that bad here?”

Looking south from Miraflores

Felt pretty isolated by my negativity, which only exacerbates the problem – no one wants to be around someone who’s so unhappy.

Found myself back in the Parque Central area, looking in at restaurants. Competition for diners is intense, so walking the restaurant-lined streets and alleys, you’re nearly assaulted by men and women trying to lure you into their establishments. They walk along with you showing the menu, explaining specials and free drinks they’ll give you. Even when you wave them off, some persist.

Unable to decide among the options, I went for a gelato. Sitting with my ice cream across from a large shoe-shine stand, decided to give my boots some much-needed attention. I don’t recall ever paying someone to shine my shoes, but for about $1.50, these guys do a pretty outstanding job.

Getting my boots shined in Miraflores. He spent about twenty minutes on them. The cost was about $1.50 (and that's probably on the high side, due to the affluent neighborhood.)

Nearby, about twenty middle-aged-to-elderly men sat at chess tables absorbed in their games. A couple of them merrily sang songs (probably one of the tactics to distract their opponents.)

Even a chilly evening doesn't keep them from their chess game.

In the end, I returned to “Si Senor” for some dinner – pretty quiet there. Someone had remarked that they wondered how this restaurant survives; it is rarely busy. A “pisco sour” chicken dish was very good.

Competition for the one internet line at the hotel is constant, so I can’t monopolize it as usual. If the guests aren’t using it, the staff is, so it has been difficult getting time on-line. I may need to find a café. I haven’t been able to get reliable wireless signals, though there are some wireless networks in the vicinity.

1 comment:

Dicky Neely said...

Buenos tardes!
I am enjoying the pics very much.
Have you heard of a place, in Peru, called "Chicama" or maybe "La Chicama?" I think that's right. It is known as a great surf spot, a left breaking point with a super long ride.
Just curious.
Have fun and be safe!
Dicky Neely