Messner On Tour
A resounding hello from Peru to you all! Previously Peru was the very essence of South America in my mind's eye. Hearing the haunting melody of an ancient Inca religious ritual flowing through the snow capped peaks of the Andes perhaps. Looking towards the sun and spying the ghostly outline of a Golden condor on its tardy flight to the lost city of El Dorado per se. Finding the remnants of an ancient civilisation with proud traditions kept alive after their valiant, yet alas doomed battle, against the superior firepower of the invading Spanish conquistadors an outsider....... What did I in fact find upon my arrival?........ Oh my tat on a stick. I have looked up the exact meaning of tat on the online dictionary of the Cambridge University Press for your attention: TAT! noun [U] INFORMAL anything which looks cheap, is of low quality or in bad condition: Like most souvenir shops, it sells a lot of old tat. It also threw up the option 'tit for tat'. The results of a little further research down this avenue proved very interesting to twitchers and sniggering schoolboys at the back of classes nationwide. Seriously though, those tat pedaling..... tat pedalers are on every bloody street corner. Walking down the street is like the backgrounds in The Flinstones when Fred would run after Dino in his house and pass 18 windows, 18 TV sets and 18 armchairs, except here it is panpipes, tat, poncho, tat, panpipes......... etc. Can one not eat in peace wihout a local chap bursting into a 'traditional' rendition of 'Love me do' on the panpipes down my lughole? Can a man not stumble home from a night out without trying to be sold a finger puppet of a lion? A lion, I beesech thee, a beast not even indigenous to these parts! I had to raise both of my two eyes to the heavens when a village was reached at 7 am (in the morning!) with a welcoming entourage of 'traditional' dancers (Note Inca women were in fact known to wear adidas tangos), children holding baby llamas, adults holding full grown llamas, and a women having a fine old time trying to staple a very bemused looking condor to her shoulder. The sound of American size 48 Levis, accompanied by the furious shouts of our friends from across the pond - mostly comprising of 'neat', 'traditional' and 'do we tip these guys?' brought a tear from my glass eye........ ANYWAY - Was there anything good in Peru you miserable %&$#? I hear you cry. Why yes there was - as you would expect Machu Picchu was in fact breath taking, not as I heard one American guy in a bum bag describe it as 'just a pile of old rocks'. I also loved the Nazca lines which are pictures of animals and geometric shapes, that can only be seen from above, etched ino the desert by some chaps many moons ago for an unknown reason. Front runners as explanations are space ship runways, shamanic dreams brought on by hallucinogenic drugs, pleads to the Gods for water after a long drought, or my personal favourite, just a bit of a laugh. So it was no great tragedy to leave Peru. The fact that I spent nearly 4 weeks here and spent the 2003 GDP of Oman within it's boundaries may also detract from my rant above, perhaps it wasn't all that bad after all........ It was good to meet up with my old muckers from India, Thailand and... well that's it actually..... in Cusco, Maz and Gaz. Marianne was denied British citizenship and declared French for the evening after being sick on her shoes on the way home.... T'was also here though that my travelling companion of nigh on 4 months, Mr Robert Drury, returned to his native Manchester. Many a good time have been had since I met him on my first day in South America, the ice well and truly broken after his opening gambit in a Santiago bar - "I can tell your Northern, you poo* in a pub!". A lovely lad. Well onwards and upwards to Ecuador, final port of call....... Love to you all Si x PS Anyone offering jobs or lodgings will be contacted soon in a sucky up style manner. Stand by your beds. * He may have used a stronger word than poo as he isn't 7 years old.