Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Surfing the tsunami

After the Chilean earthquake on Saturday, the pacific zone was at high risk for a tsunami. I had my camera ready and waiting to film the city going under water in order to sell the video to the BBC and make a fortune. Sadly, Lima stayed dry and I'm still moderately rich.

The tsunami made me think: how could I escape it if it ever actually happened? And I found the answer, surfing! Lima is an important place for surfing and since a tsunami seems to be a real threat, I figured that I should be prepared.

So there I was in my bathing suit walking down the Costa Verde and going surfing. There is only one requirement: to be cool. Seriously, look how cool the surfers are.

I had to be part of this crowd because let's face it: I am cool. I found my spot, got myself a teacher and a wetsuit (carrying the surf offsets the ridicule of the wetsuit) and I was ready to slide on water - even better than walking on water like Jesus did - that's so last millennium.

Surfing itself wasn't really complicated. I did everything wrong and still managed to get on most waves and actually look cool. I did it for about an hour and was surprisingly better than most beginners - thing that never happens because I am usually bad at sports - so I was somehow really proud of myself (that's not me below). 

The time was up, and as I was going out of the water, people were giving me the thumbs up - not just to me, I guess these guys are paid to give people compliments and boost their confidence - even though many sucked at surfing...I wasn't part of this group. 

But something had to embarrass me at some point. The beach is a pebble zone, and I have sensitive feet. It's true, it's not a lie, I cannot walk on pebbles! My feet send some sort of a signal to my brains which makes me unconsciously lift them up and it really hurts when I fight my instincts and keep walking on them. I can only go to beautiful sandy beaches (just in case you wish to invite me sometime). 

Walking down to the sea was tough, but I was excited about surfing so I coped. However coming out was not a piece of cake. You may not know this but surfing requires a lot of physical effort, especially from your arms. So I was rather tiered after my hour of Jesussing on water and could barely lift my arms to give back the thumbs up to the hypocrites. 

There was a long process before reaching my final point and enjoying my Inca Kola on the beach. I had to get out of the wavy water, carry the surf, walk on pebbles and look cool at the same time! So I started, but the (strong) waves kept pushing me and I couldn't get a stable position to start walking out of the ocean. Then my arms were almost dead making it hell to carry the surf. And finally walking on the rocks as if they were fire stones made me look like a freaking moron! I only had 10 meters to walk, but they seemed endless - it reminded me of my hike.

I didn't look around me fearing embarrassment after my good performance, but as soon as I lift up my head to measure the distance between heaven and hell, there was a TV crew with a coast guard wanting to interview me. I was barely walking straight...well if we could call that walking, dragging the surf behind me and swearing in Arabic "ayré bil surf bi ayré akhou charmouta" - and nothing could be worse than appearing on national TV looking un-cool. 

They were asking people about the level of the water because after the tsunami, the level of the water drastically lowered on Peruvian shores, and it was the case here in Lima. I didn't even understand the question immediately so I just answered that I'm a foreigner with a fake i'm-in-extreme-pain smile. I ran the last few meters and finally made it to the sandy part. I think all my awesomeness had been cancelled in just a few minutes of walking on the beach and could picture the people behind me laughing at my miserable performance - but that's just because I'm self-centered, they probably weren't even watching!

And so ended my surfing experience in Lima. I enjoyed it but noticed something rather odd about it. This sports seems to be exclusively practiced by the "white" crowd of Lima. I say "white" because they're not really white (I remain the only Scandinavian king here), they're from European decent. And since there is a rather obvious social difference between the Europeans and the Cholos (local people, more indigenous looking), it was impossible to find one on that beach. Well, there were the cleaners and this lady just looking at the surfers. The poor people are easily recognizable in Miraflores, not only due to their physical appearance, but also because of their cheap outfits with non-matching colours:

But it's true, there is a lot of racism in Peru, particularly coming from the Europeans. There is a place called Asia a 100 Km south of Lima, it is a beach resort with private villas, night clubs, shops, etc. and the Cholos are not even allowed to get into the beaches over there. I haven't been yet, but I have been told by many people that this is the treatment they get here. 

Anyway, that gives me more work here in Peru. I will not only help the poor acquire debt, but I will also help the Cholos (the majority of the country) get  better treatment...I should probably start by not calling them Cholos.

I'm such a nice - and cool - guy!


  1. cholos & cholitas; collas & collitas...beatrizzzzzzzz???

  2. beatriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiz, te llaman! juazz

  3. The pic with the surfs and the guy is really good!

  4. looooooool it's always nice to hear your stories. Interesting to know about the racism there! anyways practise your divide and conquer skills, and lend those Cholos more money so that they can get those white people