Se llama una llama, pero no es un perro

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
Trip End Jan 20, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This may be cheating. Lima Airport. Technically in Lima; in reality, a geographical non-place. Like stretches of motorway between towns. Or pubs at railway stations. Populated by transients, ghosts, people who are on their way somewhere else. But. It's 10pm, my flight to Cuzco is at 6am - I need to check in at 4am. I can either find a hotel for five hours, or sit here. So I choose the cheap option. Airport waiting. Joining the not-so-great unwashed. And find ways of passing the time. Pisco shots may be one, but I don't want to miss the flight. So beer and finishing off Iain Sinclair. And writing this. For the edification and instruction of my readership. Of whom there may be more than ten. This is good.
Anyway, I have passed through immigration. I have the official stamp in the passport. I have arrived in Lima. Psychogeographic qualms aside, I continue, unabated.
The flight was impressive. At least initially, whilst there was still some light. Over the Andes, great planes (seen from a plane) of clouds, punctured by the snow-covered peaks of mountains. Not too far below. And my fellow passengers - for some reason, there were a large number of bodybuilders. Men, women with bulging biceps, triceps, quadceps, quintceps (let's talk about 'ceps, baby, let's talk about you and me... ah, the 80s, again). And necks like tree-trunks. But thicker, and with more prominent veins. I was expecting some airborne 'roid rage. It didn't happen. Fortunately.
Prior to that, there were three nights in Quito. On one of which, the hostel held a "Rum and coke night". Which became confusing. Some rum and coke, some more rum and coke, then on to a bar. Or several bars. For some reason, we kept being dragged out by someone who decided we should pub-crawl, but without any definite plan. So much traipsing occurred. Not what was wanted - I got sick of it at some unknown time and slunk off back to bed, after having walked aimlessly past some perfectly acceptable bars for no good reason. The next morning, foolishly, I got up early(ish) to go to Otavalo market. 90km or so north of Quito, on the bus. Pleasant enough way to spend the afternoon, buying a woolen hoody with llamas on it that I'll probably never wear. Oh well. And then slinking back to the hostel and spending the evening slumped, unwilling to go out again.
Sunday involved visiting Ecuador's national museum. Because I hadn't been, and it was easy. Fairly interesting, at least initially, with the human development of the country. Up until the Spanish arrived. Then the history disappeared, and religious art abounded. Although that, too, was moderately interesting - a brief history of art from the 17th Century - the initial religious fervour, followed by an increasing naturalism (landscapes becoming part of the scene, then taking over as the main scene, and the development of the portrait). And the fact that God has a triangle on his head. It's true - I've seen the pictures. Never noticed it before. Saints with halos (haloes?), yes. But God's triangle, no. I presume it's meant to represent the Trinity (although that's just a guess. And will in no way prompt me to begin a diatribe on the fundamentally polytheistic nature of Christianity...). And then a curry to round off the evening. Very pleasant, too. Pollo Madras. Not as spicy as I'd have liked, but perfectly edible. No popadums, though. Or Cobra. Still, musn't grumble.
One final thought. Bullfighting. Let's talk about bullfighting, baby, let's talk about, etc and so on. It occurs to me that it isn't a fair fight. The bull always dies at the end, no matter how well it's fought. I propose a rule change. Two living entities enter the ring, one living entity leaves. There's a film there, although I can't quite put my finger on it. The bull, if successful, could become a hero. A celebrity in its own right. Appearances on reality television, even. And the sport becomes more dangerous. We need a "Rollerball" of our own. James Caan as bullfighter, James Caan's friend lying in a coma, a vegetable, because he's been beaten by a celebrity bull. People paying to see bulls as much as people. And, of course, the government succesfully doing what they like, as the masses have their ultraviolent circus. It's the future, kids. Get used to it.
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