Saturday, 31 January 2015

Moments in Atacama Time.

It's Copa de Sud America time. "Football" the Navigator dismissively snorts as if it were an annoying pestilential gnat. We're sitting in a 'polleria', a roast chicken 'n chips shop in a classic Peruvian rice town.

It's Sunday evening, and families are streaming back from the beach, retreating back up into the high country and Arequipa city. Tico taxis with four generations crammed into their underpowered minuscule interiors lurch around bends, collectivos with death wishes overtaking around corners. Mototaxis ply incessantly for trade.Some are coming into our evening eating place. Skewers of chickens are rotating on spits, spitting grease onto the flaming coals, the atmosphere hot and sweaty. A fan is switched on for the relief of the two pink gringos. The service is fast, efficient and friendly. The television is chuntering up on its pedestal, totally ignored. All totally normal. Which is strange, as Argentina are playing Peru. And they're be being hammered. Still, they score another consolation goal. Still no reaction, total concentration on shredding their quarter carcase, salad and chips. I did wonder if we were being entertained to edited highlights. The result no longer news. Not so. The commentator was infinitely more aminated, than the disinterested trencherfolk all around me.

Now it's well known that a South American football commentator is recruited for his lung capacity, his ability to elongate a simple four letter word, into a five line eulogy. Goooooooooooooal Peruño.....Goooooooooooooooal Cocacola.......Goooooooooooooooal Peru....Goooooooooooooooal CocaColaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa......It must be galling to have your national football team's efforts against a past world champion, diluted, cut in half by a soda pop company.

Then again, maybe it's not so inappropriate, given that that selfsame soda pop company now owns the Peruvian national soft drink: IncaKola. The same company that has invented the irrational concept of the 'big half'. Marketing a dumpy 650ml bottle as 'a half litre gigante', in so doing reignited a buried schooldays memory of a maths teacher who vehemently argued against the impossibility of the unequal half. Only to be disproved by an ill-advised pupil, who suggested that the second half of the football game can have an extra four minutes added on. It's 6~2 as we leave the restobar, the commentator's elocution well exercised.