Of Crocodile Tears and Being "Done in"
Lima Travel Blog› entry 15 of 115 › view all entries
Lima is the capital of Peru, but also a capital of scam and we, but of course, were on the receiving end of a well-practiced sting one evening in the touristy Miraflores district. Whilst searching for a restaurant serving some different cuisine (i.e. one offering anything other than a bit of meat with rice, potatoes or chips), we "bump into" a guy called Marco who promises us a local restaurant with veggies and fish on the menu. We warily agree due to the lack of other viable options and he leads us to a place just off the main strip.
Marco asks if he can join us for a drink, and being the pleasant English chaps we are, we agree. 5 minutes later, two of his amigos arrive in the forms of the portly, moustachioed Pedro and his "daughter" Anna Marie (reputedly 19 but looking closer to mid 20s) who are apparently local salsa musicians who are going on to do a show later. They´d also like to join us for a few drinks if we don´t mind. Of course we don´t mind, we´re English after all!
Coquettish (read sluttish) Anna Maria begins to come on strong straight away and after about 15 minutes feigns a kiss on my cheek before instead diving in and slipping me a slice of tongue. Not a pleasant surprise. She then tells me my eyes are a beautiful blue colour, like the sky. I inform her that my eyes aren´t actually blue, more grey. Like the clouds. This seems to cool her ardour somewhat. Meanwhile amidst much backslapping and drinking of enormous bottles of beer, our food arrives and, not wishing to appear churlish, we allow them to share some of it.
Then things start to go a bit Pete Tong. To kick off, Marco offers me first grass and then cocaine. I refuse and start to smell a big fat Peruvian rat. We decline repeated suggestions for more beer or food and ask for the bill. When it finally arrives, the bill is for 250 Soles (about 85 Dollars) which is ridiculous for what we have had. All three of our new "friends" begin to protest that they have no money and we should pay the bill. Andy goes to see the owner of the restaurant who caves in quickly and gives us the real, itemised bill: a still not-inconsiderable 120 Soles.
This is where the real fun begins. We ask for 60 Soles and all three of them refuse to pay, claiming they are totally skint. Marco, sitting next to me, begins to get angry and loudly insists that we should pay the bill because:
1. He´s going to tell the police that I bought grass off him and I´ll go to jail for a long time. (But he´ll go down for longer for dealing - a fact he doesn´t appreciate hearing from me).
2. If I get clever with him, he´ll "do me in." (I doubt it - he´s not a big guy).
3. He also knows people he can pay to "do me in." (Perhaps he does - I´m willing to bet they aren´t just round the corner though).
4. English people are rich and 120 Soles is nothing to us but a lot to them. (Partially true but wholly irrelevant).
5. If the police come, he´ll go down for possession of drugs. (I couldn´t care less, it´s not our problem, he´s not our friend, we just want 60 Soles).
Throughout all this, he keeps on clutching at his groin in some pseudo-Michael Jackson way and yelling: "I have cock and balls!" This makes things a little more surreal than necessary. Eventually, after about 30 minutes, Marco walks off frustrated (although not, regrettably, with a cry of "Chamone!"), leaving his partners in crime with us. What follows is a section of the subsequent conversation between Me and our good mate Pedro:
"We want 60 Soles, that´s all, then we walk away."
"I don´t believe you."
"I don´t believe you."
"No money, search me if you want!"
"I don´t want to, I´m not the police. 60 Soles."
This continues for another 15 minutes, Anna Maria begins to cry at one point. I suspect that the tears, if examined, would contain high levels of crocodile DNA. Eventually we give up on 60 Soles, switching to 40. After another 15 minutes and loud mentions of calling the police they finally give in and we pay our 80 and walk.
LIke the nice rich English boys we are, we then calm down over a few beers in another bar. We figure that it´s a pretty expensive meal (just over 25 dollars) but it could have been a whole lot worse and we got plenty of entertainment out of it.
We leave Lima the next day. At the time of writing, I´ve not yet been done in.