I thought I’d write a quick blog while I remember about two things that when I started this tour of South America that really pissed me off;
The first thing was vehicles tooting at me in Peru and Bolivia.
In Peru and Bolivia the car, truck, motorbike and cyclists toot at everything. Don’t take it personally is what I have learnt and don’t bother waving or in fact acknowledging the tooting in any way. In fact once they’ve tooted at you they will be tooting at the cow or dog down the road or for that matter the used plastic bag blowing in the wind.
So after a week you will be totally oblivious to it.
Along with the tooting in Peru and Bolivia I have learnt to totally ignore anyone whistling at me. The locals in these countries if they aren’t in reach of a horn will whistle to get your attention. My advice is to totally ignore them since in our culture you whistle at dogs and not humans. In fact for me it’s rude to whistle at a human. So don’t encourage them by turning around.
Along with that in Peru you will get people, mainly kids shouting out “hey gringo”. Same advice. Ignore them, as even if you were to respond they can’t speak English anyway so will be of no help to you when you are hot and looking for a hotel or camping spot.
The only people I do respond too are people saying hola or hello or if they go to the bother of waving. (See I’m not a complete bastard).
The Brazilians are not so horn tappy so it’s not such a problem here. I still ignore it through force of habit. Usually here they are actually saying hello. But I have to say as I’m labouring up a hill in 35degree C I couldn’t give a rat’s arse. So I still ignore it. (See I am a bastard after all)
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The next thing that really used to piss me off did not happen in Peru or Bolivia but started in Brazil. And Adi and I used to get it a lot in Italy when we cycled there. And that is people staring at me. Now in the past it used to really piss me off because my parents brought me up thinking that it is rude to stare. So I either stare right back or when that doesn’t work I explain to the starrers in English that they are right to stare at me because I am one of a kind. I am Niel the Wheel and am famous for cycling the seven continents. Or I make up some other tripe about how they should take it all in because they will probably never again cast eyes on the king of the South Island of New Zealand. When you start making games like that it actually becomes really funny. One day I will meet a starrer that speaks English but it hasn’t happened yet.