Into a headwind on the plains
Into a headwind on the plains
The climb up onto the plain and over the subsequent pass, into a headwind was as tedious as reading another WanderWheels entry about bicycling over another Peruvian Andes pass into a headwind.
The monotony was broken by an unexpected encounter with Lee and Thomas on their way down from the pass. Thomas left us to meet up with Lee a few days ago and the pair had been cranking out the miles like I expected.
Despite another day of spectacular scenery including snow capped mountains and clear lakes, I was in a foul mood as a result of the culmination of several daily frustrations.
Feel free to skip the following rant and look at the pretty pictures.
Scott has had enough
- Dogs. Perú seems to have bred in a particularly nasty aggressive trait into their dogs. Luckily we have not been bitten, however a cyclist within our rolling acquaintances has. A series of rabies shots is not something I look forward to. On two different occasions I’ve had dogs clamp down on my back bags. Sarah’s been surrounded by small packs of dogs on a handful of occasions.
Today, two dogs came running across a field, at least a quarter of a mile away (~400m) and out into the road to chase Sarah.The only thing that dogs seem to respect is rocks. Grab a rock and most dogs turn tail. Peg a dog with a rock and the yelp sends it and the others running most of the time. Today I had at least two satisfying yelps from well aimed rocks.
Before the PETA backlash begins, understand that these dogs are not ill-behaved pets (and in the case that they are I throw a rock at the owner also). A minority are working animals are kept for herding, protection or a cheap version of an ADT house alarm. The majority of the dogs are feral.
Evolution has put me at the top of this food chain. I’ve eaten dog before. If you are a dog and step into the road, you are going to get a rock thrown at you. My throwing arm is getting stronger and correspondingly, the rocks I pick up are getting bigger. My aim is also getting much better.
- Look at Me! Peruvians love their car horns. In cities they are the outlet of frustration just like they are in the USA. Other times they are alerts that a vehicle is around a blind corner on a mountain switchback.
We are getting tired of the honk that is the equivalent of “Look at me.” It is as annoying as a little kid yelling “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Look Mom! Look Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Look! Look! Look!”
Likewise the “Look at me” syndrome extends to the puzzling, constant yelling of “Gringo!” We get a chorus of it coming into a town. If we are in a shop, sometimes right to our faces, above a normal conversational level.
So far, depending on the situation, I’ve interpreted this exclamation as meaning:
Surprise – “Oh my goodness, a Caucasian is in my presence.”
Awe and wonder – “This tops the Yeti I saw last week! Two mythical creature encounters in my lifetime.”
General greeting – “What’s up my non-brown homie?”
Fear – “Gringo! Hide the children and dogs, they eat them! They also spread smallpox and tuberculosis.” [The last point is a historically valid fear]
The source of an inside joke, especially with small children – “Gringo!” is usually followed by peals of laughter. Or, alternatively, the pair of little lungs that is somehow disproportionately loud, goes into overdrive:
“Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo! Gringo!”
Three minutes and fifty-three seconds is the record. I timed the “Gringo!”s during a slow climb.
It is just not children. One “Gringo!” is not enough. If there is a crew of road workers, guys just lounging about, or a queue waiting for a bus, they seem to compete with yells of “Gringo!” to see which lucky person gets acknowledged. I think there must be a Bingo type game on the back of the national identity card with one spot occupied by a “Gringo!” symbol.
When I’m in a dark mood like today, I answer a call of “Gringo!” with “Peruano!” This usually receives a look which is a combination of puzzlement and disappointment. “Why did the Gringo just yell “Peruvian!” at me?” Now I won’t win Bingo.
Peru, we are officially acknowledging you. You no longer need to be so insecure. You don’t need to follow the trend in the USA where everyone gets a participant ribbon, where there are no winners or losers in little league baseball, football or soccer.
Love & hugs, the Gringos! from WanderWheels