Learning to surf



It is said that surfing was invented on the shores of Huanchaco,  on the “small horse” reed boats of the fishermen 2500 years ago.

There’s a surfing, hippy, alternative culture there, and it’s not so evident at first until you live in the nearby city of Trujillo for a while. I feel more relaxed in Huanchaco, where the colour of my skin, and the length of my hair, isn’t an oddity, except on one occasion, where I was walking across the road with an icecream. “Gringo! Gringo!” a little boy shouted, his hand pointing through the open car window.

Last Sunday I went surfing with a friend of a friend. We did push-ups on the beach and then went in the water. It was a lovely temperature but the bodysuit helped.

I have to have the pose right.t

There was something in the constant failure of never quite making it, of never managing to stand properly, that was different to every other hobby I tried. In most circumstances I want to be perfect. I take the speed of learning personally, whether it be speaking Spanish, or dancing, or learning shorthand, but in this instance, when my tutor shouted “stand!” and I hesitated a second too long, and I fell forwards or backwards in the water…well…it didn’t bother me. I didn’t take it personally.

My closest attempt.

For a while, and then my arms were tired and I had had enough. My tutor kept saying “one more!” after I fell, and like a fool I said “sure! One more!” and after that failed attempted, he would shout “one more” and I would say, “okay, only one more!” And we did that another five times. I kept falling, and I kept trying, because I didn’t really care about the defeat. It was supposed to just be fun. And it was, in a way, if only that anxiety of trying a new experience had never existed.

My arms were tired, in the end, and I wanted a break and a rest in the hopes of returning to the challenge one day soon.


Another friend watching, Adriaan, showed me a neat local restaurant afterwards. I had ceviche (a national dish), and wanted a cold beer to wash it down with. There was a referendum that day though, and on voting days, Peru bans alcohol. Pepsi was fine.


I tried to kill my roommate Sydney

chris - trujillo.jpg
Although this picture of me with Trujillo in the background has nothing to do with the story about a rat, I didn’t really want to show a pic of my toilet which was the other option.

Forgive the clickbait title. It’s just that my roommate Sydney is a rat. I don’t like him.

When I say he is a rat I mean that. He is the biggest rat I have ever seen but I have only met him properly once. Two weeks ago I was full of innocence when I opened the toilet lid to, well, you know, and there he was. Staring up at me with a grin on his face and I swear he was as big as the bottom of the bowl. He dived into the water and crawled into the pipe as I roared in horror and jumped back.

I have been searching how I am supposed to get rid of rats from the toilet bowl since then and the only advice I could find was that bleach would help. He returns sometimes in the early hours of the morning, and I know this by the random splashes, the oil stains, the smell, and the splashes on the lid the following morning (and no. Don’t blame me!).

One time at 3am I heard the splash and jumped out of bed. “Die you rat bastard!” I shouted, pouring the bleach into the toilet and flushing, hoping it would reach Sydney stuck in a hole somewhere.

I call him Sydney not because I miss Australia while at the same time hating that Sydney, but because it’s a cool name for a rat. I first wanted to name him SG (for Shits & Giggles) but I did actually miss Australia. I thought it was a bit cute to name my fear. When I was a kid I used to hate going to the toilets because of the spiders (the red backs and the daddy long legs and the occasional huntsman), but that’s nothing to the fear that a rat might jump out with a “taadaah!” and bite your bum.

Sydney and I have an arrangement. I knock on the toilet lid before I use it to give him fair warning and if he’s lurking in there he will nick off down the drain for a while. It’s happened twice.

But the last few days there has been no sign of him, and I wonder where he has gone. Sydney could be anywhere….

If my housemates still read this they are going to murder me. Possibly with the bottle of bleach in my ensuite.





People you see in Huanchaco | Photos

DSC_3883.JPGHola to you, my sexy readers! It’s me, Burnzy, and while it’s my second blog post within 18 hours I just have a few photographs around the beach town of Huanchaco I can’t wait to share.

My brother Aaron encouraged me to send him through some photos. I haven’t done that (sorry ol’ mate), but yesterday I walked around to fill in some time, and these are some of the results.

I don’t really photoshop except to filter for Instagram because I’m lazy and I have limited skills, and I know that’s a pity. Still, I hope you enjoy them.

The first photo is of a man on a reed canoe, which Huanchaco is well known for. When he sits there it looks like he’s posing. I must have stood out, a gringo with a large camera on a beach looking right at him, and he was yelling at a mate as if to say ‘look, I’m famous!’ But when I showed him the pic he seemed surprised.

Shortly afterwards he takes the canoe and paddles out into the ocean, far beyond the surfers and pier.


“Cuanto Cuesta?” I ask when I see the stand of bananas (great source of potassium, filling, healthy, delicious, and awesome with Greek Yoghurt. Mum is going to snort with laughter given that I’ve only started eating bananas in the last three months. Never before!)

The signora and her son say “uno soles” (if it’s singular, is it sol, sole?) and then I ask to take the picture. She’s a bit startled. Large cameras aren’t so common here.

DSC_3936.JPGI’m on the pier taking photographs and just as I’m leaving a woman walks up to me and asks me something. It’s to do with photos.

I thought she was asking if they could take my photo (perhaps she was feeling sorry for the fact i was alone).

“No gracias,” I said, and the faces of herself and her friends fell. In fact, she was a little deflated, and I realised something else was happening. Maybe they wanted me to take their pic. So I said, “okay, si! No problemo” and suddenly they stand around me and keep swapping the photographer around so they could take a pic of tall whitie.

Oh we were standing so awkward, so on the last photo I put my arm around one of the women. And that was that! They all needed to redo the photos with my arm around their shoulder. #egoboost

Of course, they couldn’t leave without me taking their pic. “Uno momento!” I said. Afterwards I apologised. “Lo siento. No hablo espanol” and the first woman bowed to me, and I left. I wish I properly said goodbye.

DSC_3915.JPGI’m walking on the pier when I see this pic. Maybe it’s of big brother looking after his little sister? Regardless, I like it.

DSC_3875.JPGI have seen this man in black stand almost in this same position two days in a row, but this time I had my camera. I think he must work at one of the restaurants across the road. I’m unsure to that. Also, can you see the mountain in the background? The top is more often covered with fog than without it, but to be honest in this case there’s just too much light in the lens.


I saw this gardener watering the garden. At first I just thought he was a senior citizen with a heavy coat on, but once he agreed to have a photo, and saw the result, he decided it was best to take the coat off so he could identify his council or local government. I suspect that’s why. I’ve taken enough photos over years to understand the promotional side of things.

My regret is that he put the coat on the ground. Afterwards I should have picked up the coat to give to him, but my mind was only on my pics. I’ll be more thoughtful next time.

DSC_3878.JPGBecause it’s all about the surf.


DSC_3925Fishing and music on the pier actually sounds like a fantastic idea. I wonder what he is listening to?

These are my three guesses:

-Aqua. Probably Cartoon Heroes.

-Iron Maiden (I always put Iron Maiden into any list. You’ll soon see).

-Guns & Roses. Possibly November Rain.

-Bonus guess: Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Please let it be Animal Bar.

Burnzy’s nine reflections today

Photo: Adriaan Bornman. 

1. I must learn Spanish before I ask for a hair trim in a Peruvian barbershop. Bye bye hair 😦

2. Ego weighs you down (like hair). Beauty is never only skin deep. Only the bitter claim that. It’s pride that’s shallow and paper thin.

Photo: Adriaan Bornman. 

3. I’ve learned the definition of Schmoodel and I think I am one of those, and I shouldn’t be proud of that.

4. I could learn the blue steel move from this dog! Her name shall be called Mrs Peanut Butter. How on earth did Mrs Peanut Butter get on the roof?!?! I always see her on there every time I walk past.


5. Amy is awesome. Lutie is not (that’s 20 soles, por favor, Amy. I’ll use it to buy our next round.

6. We can test ourselves, and we can throw our own bloody image on the ground to be swept away by a broom.

7. Huanchaco: it’s all about people and the places you go to get wreckety wreckety wrecked.

8. I should have spoken to this man. He seems to know all. But I didn’t, so now he’s just a shadow in my mind. This is a tragedy, and who knows by how much.

9. I’ve realised that a few mothers of some delinquent teachers are reading this blog (three if we count my own mum). So for your sake I must give you the honest picture of what we do here:

-Day drink sometimes, night drink always. 

-Op shop

-Buy suits!

-Sitting around bludging

-lose a lot of shit

-Ice creams on the beach. 

-Selfies. So many selfies. 


-Rock and roll all night and party every day. 

We eat healthy salads at home and save our money. We play a little bit of monopoly without cheating or blackmail or death glares   before we all go to sleep by 9pm-ish  . Also we go to church and do laundry and look after the cute abandoned animals. The end.

Life was gonna be this way / da da da da

top of the apartment.jpg
The top of the apartment that we’re going to be getting. 

Five of us have found an apartment house to live in in Huanchaco, a beach town near where we work. Halfway between Trujillo and Huanchaco is the Chan Chan (world heritage listed ruins!).

The place we are getting is a lovely four bedroom place relatively close to the beach. Amy, Nicola, Adriaan, Lutti and I have the makings of a sit-com. Three South Africans, a Canadian, and an Australian share a house together for six months. What can go wrong? How many seasons will we get before God cancels on us?


We inspected the place and discussed at the bar whether we would take it. Adriaan decided he will sleep in the lounge room but it turns out he’s not allowed to do that.

After discussing prices and house rules we had to determine which Friends characters we were.

Adriaan is Chandler, apparently, but I’m not sure why. Probably because he’s the smart arse. Amy wants to be Rachel but the boys and I think she should be Monica. She is the leader of the group. Nicola is without a doubt, Phoebe (she gets the best lines). Lutti is Joey apparently (dammit), and they all made me Ross. Ross! (outraged and gobsmacked expression).

“Why are you Joey?” I asked Lutti this morning over panqueques.

“I say stupid shit and I shag,” he said. “Facts of life. You cannot deny that.”

“How come I’m Ross?”

“You’re deep and in six seasons you’ll probably have six divorces.”


Personally I prefer to think that we’re in a How I Met Your Mother arrangement. Except they reckon I’m Ted. Ted! Preferable to Ross, but I’m not Ted, thank you. Sure I like museums and mock outrage, and I was the one that bought the guide books and the fanny pack, and the architecture of the churches in Trujillo is fascinating considering the clearly defined Middle Eastern influences and sure I take forever to get to the point of a story…okay, point conceded. And maybe I’m a little chuffed come to think of it.

Lutti, me and Amy.jpg
Lutti, me, and Amy. 

Lutti gets to be Barney, sonovabitch. As if. When is the last time Lutti has worn a suit. I love suits. I wear suits. My Instagram proves it. The only thing he’s been doing lately is enforcing the bro code. Adriaan is Marshall, which is cool but I suspect it’s because he’s a giant. There’s some debate as to who the girls are, because Amy is Canadian, like Robin, and Nicola may well be teaching kindergarteners (like Lilly), but I can imagine Nicola smoking cigars with Lutti, and brawling in Canadian bars.

Okay, I’ve spent way too much time analysing this, but mainly because I’m so excited to live with the others and be part of some group adventure. I’m keen to step back, watch, wait, and witness what happens next in our life.

And if nobody will write a TV series about us, I will write about it. Da da da da….