It was good to hear from sunny South America this morning because here it is dark, wet and very windy. Strangely, though, it is incredibly mild for December – about fourteen degrees Celsius at seven o’clock in the morning (we could easily expect it to be zero degrees at this time of the year).
So, you are a gold mining engineer. My daughter was interested immediately! Gold, you see. Teenage girls, eh? She asked me to ask you what sort of project you are currently working on. Actually I’m interested to hear more about what exactly a mining engineer does.
After I had read your blog I went immediately to my atlas to look more closely at Peru. As I told you yesterday, I have worked in almost all European countries, I know Scandinavia very well and I have even worked in Siberia and the Far East. However, I have never been to South America. Sorry. The nearest I have been to Peru is probably Cuba. I went there about eight years ago for a study visit. I do have a friend, here in London, from Bolivia, which is not so far away from you, is it?
So I have to learn more about Peru now. Well, I looked for your hometown of Talavera but either my atlas is not good enough or Talavera is VERY small. Perhaps you could tell me a bit more about it.
Like you, I spend much (if not most) of my time travelling – but not to work, because I work from home. Also like you, I like to read when I’m on a train or a plane. I really enjoy thrillers, especially detective thrillers, so we seem to have a lot in common. Do you know authors such as Michael Dibdin (an Irish crime writer whose thrillers are often set in Italy and who has a wonderful detective character called Aurelio Zen), Carl Hiaasen (an American journalist who writes ironic thrillers set in Florida) and Ian Rankin (a Scottish writer whose detective John Rebus works lives and works in Edinburgh)? These books could be difficult to read in English but I am sure they’re translated into Spanish. Try reading one in Spanish and then reading the same book in English.
When you cycle each morning is that to keep fit – some sort of training programme? Is there somewhere in the city centre where you can cycle for pleasure safely? You mentioned the traffic in Lima. Do you know about our Congestion Charge, here in London? There is a large part of Central London where you must pay to go in by car. Next year the Congestion Zone will be enlarged. The system has reduced traffic in Central London and although it’s expensive to drive there at least the traffic usually keeps moving. Public transport has also improved quite a lot and we now have rather comfortable buses and a reasonably good rail network. Have you ever been here?
I will think about you on the bus tomorrow morning. Four hours on a bus is not much fun. And 4,900 metres is extremely high. But I suppose you are used to altitude. How high above sea-level is Lima? I told you I’m training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, didn’t I? That’s almost 6,000 metres above sea-level, and the only thing I’m really worried about is altitude sickness. Evidently, there is nothing you can do to prevent it. My Bolivian friend, Bruna, drinks coca tea and she is convinced that it will help me to overcome altitude sickness.
OK, I think that’s enough. It’s easy for me to go on writing all morning. If this is too much for you please tell me and I will write a bit less. Meanwhile, there are a few words and expressions, which I have typed in bold, and which could be useful to learn.
a book of maps
have a lot in common
if you have a lot in common with someone you are interested in similar things
when you do something for pleasure you do it because you want to do it, not because you have to do it
said, told (me) about
a charge (fee) you must pay to enter an area which is normally congested (so busy that the traffic hardly moves)
height (above sea-level)
sickness caused by being at high altitude (e.g. dizziness, nausea)
stop something (before it happens)
beat, recover from, get over, deal with, manage
Have a good day at Castrovirreyna (do you go underground?). Don’t work too hard!
Very much looking forward to hearing from you tomorrow.
Bye for now,
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