A Limo in Lima…

…something that ought to be a cautionary tale.

It was a long time ago, now, but I am sure these things still happen. I was sent by the company I then worked for, to Lima, Peru. My role there was to carry out some training of half a dozen local men who had been recruited to operate the computers in our branch office.

Now, I have never been what could be described as a ‘snappy dresser’. I incline towards what can best be described as a ‘casual’ look, although I have at times been unfairly described as a ‘scruffy bugger’, and no one looks their best after a journey of over 24 hours, with a couple of flight changes and a certain amount of time spent hanging around in airports.

And thus it was I emerged into South America haggard and unshaven, sporting a pair of old jeans and a tee shirt, picked up my battered rucksack from the carousel, then looked around for whoever was meeting me.

IMG_0001

We’ll blend in. No one will us notice us in our big, clean, shiny black limo.

I was accosted by a smart suit and tie which was housing a short man who looked like a mafia boss, but who was affable and friendly and directed me to my transport.

A huge, black, limousine.

Now, in some other circumstances I might have quite enjoyed the ride, since it was an experience I had never had before (or since, as it happens), but we then proceeded to drive through massive slum areas where most of the ‘housing’ appeared to lack even a roof. The road was pitted with potholes, most of the traffic consisted of battered buses, lorries and cars, and poverty seeped out of everything that could be seen.

I have never been so embarrassed.

Every time the car stopped, I wondered whether we would get attacked and robbed – we certainly attracted a lot of attention, all of it the wrong kind as far as I was concerned. And after I was dropped off at the hotel where I would be staying, I was left wondering just who the hell that was meant to impress?

Me? If so it failed abysmally. My (already somewhat low) opinion of the company I worked for simply plummeted further.

The locals? If that was the case, then God forgive the b*stards that thought of it.

Can anyone enlighten me as to the thinking behind that?

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34 thoughts on “A Limo in Lima…

  1. I bet the guy on the ground at the company just wanted to show you respect. I bet all he heard was “westerner”, “experienced trainer” and “coming from head office” and decided to pull out all the stops. He didn’t know it was you! I bet he knew for the next trip though. And yeah, I would have crawled under the seat in embarrassment too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Unfortunately, they knew perfectly well I was just a trainer, and certainly not a ‘bigshot’, so they didn’t have that excuse. And the office was run by a mix of British and Americans.

      Like

  2. I know exactly how it happened. Somebody brokered a contract with Joe’s PrettyGood Limos which benefited their friends/family/selves and then “we always use Joe’s” becomes the rule.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems like the decision lacked awareness. There is something to the idea of blending in to your environment. Kind of like driving a monster truck through New York City. Probably not the best decision. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. delphini510

    They probably wanted to impress you but failed abysmally. 😉
    Don’t you think that even in Pedro’s Crappy Old Buses you would stand out in spite of your very casual jeans and T-shirt of 24 hour travel.:)
    Oh the joys of king haul.
    Mirja

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was probably meant to impress the guy who made the decision to send the limo – stroking his own ego by trying to appear impressive. Such folks have little regard for those who live outside their circle, as anyone outside is not in a position to prop up that same ego.

    Remind you of any politicians?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It beggars belief, Mick! I think the limo was designed to impress you but then wonder if the driver took a detour to show-off…sounds like you were lucky not to get robbed! How did the rest of the trip go? An interesting well-written post and you capture the younger you and Peru brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Annika. No detours – just the normal route from the airport, as I was to discover later. the trip was okay – it was work, so I never got to sightsee. We worked a seven day week and all I got was the odd free afternoon to look around. And yes, we were warned never to drive with the windows down, be ultra cautious if we had to stop and to never wear rings and watches – apparently they could be snatched off of you at road junctions, although I wonder in hindsight whether that might not have been an over-reaction,

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That is embarrassing. I had a similar experience in Venezuela and it wasn’t even a limo. I imagine the limo was to impress You. Or, giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they thought it was what you expected. When my daughter lived in Thailand for a year, her host family wanted to make her feel at home and prepared American hotdogs every night for dinner. She finally told them that she would prefer Thai food. Her story always makes me think of how we misinterpret expectations, especially across cultures. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, it would be a reasonable interpretation, other than for the fact the office was run by Brits and Americans. I think it was all about image, and that everyone would get that treatment.
      You’re right, though. It is very easy to misinterpret expectations – you need a lot of knowledge and background information to get it right.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What an insensitive and seemingly thoughtless decision made by ‘those who should know better!’ How embarrassing for you and how cruel to the poor destitute people living there. You obviously have more sensitivity in your little finger than the people responsible for that bad decision have got in their equally little minds.

    Liked by 1 person

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