My first tattoo … well, sort of.

Scene 1 – The part where I didn’t think
In a casual conversation while helping Sue hang the washing one morning.

T, spontaneously while pegging a pair of Roy’s shorts on the line ‘ Hey, we should get our eye-liner tattooed’

Sue in a slight Peruvian accent- ‘ Yes, do you want to do it today?’

T, surprised at how quick and easy the decision was – ‘I’m game if you are’

And that was that.

Scene 2 – The part where I did think
That afternoon we’re at the beauty parlour.

Sue, 61, anxiously –‘ Let’s not tell Roy (her husband), he’ll come at us with a whip!’ laughing, then adds in a matter-a-fact tone ‘ … Actually, he won’t even notice.’

We’re given a choice of who wants to go first and as I was still struggling with the word ‘permanent’ I graciously, if not cowardly, gave Sue the honours.

I watched nervously as Sue lay down on the reclined parlour chair with the spotlight shining in her face, looking ever so calm and relaxed as the beautician prepared her tools.

The beautician shows Sue a needle, then proceeds to inject an anesthetic into her eyelid.

The loose anxiety I felt turned into a tight ball of fear – needle?! I didn’t know this would involve a needle? In my eye!! As usual, I had only thought about the outcome and not the process.

I then watched the beautician tense Sue’s right eyelid while using the dentist drill sounding device to tattoo the eye-liner. During this time I could see Sue’s eyes flickering wildly underneath.

Brave T thinks, ‘Come on, if Sue at 61 can do this then so can you’

Shit scared T thinks, ‘Be reasonable, the womans had 3 children – she can bear anything!!’

Scene 3 – The part where I cried and discovered I had no balls.
Before I knew it, the beautician was helping Sue to the recovery bed with two white cotton patches over her eyes. It was my turn.

She didn’t even need to get to the needle part, only the topical numbing cream part, when my eyes started weeping heavily.

T, face covered in tears but not actually crying – ‘Is this normal?’

Beautician in Spanish with Sue translating – ‘ You have very sensitive eyes’

Answer equals abnormal. . . shit shit shit shit shit!

I felt a stinging prick as the needle entered my eyelid. More tears, now accompanied by a runny nose – Not pretty.

The beautician, who I hoped wasn’t feeling tired and sloppy from her hour session with Sue, started tattooing the corner of my right eye.

T, doing deep yoga breathing, thinks – ‘ooh, this tickles, but it’s not so bad, I can do this’

As the beautician made her way to the centre of my eye-lid, the tickling sensation became almost unbearable and my eyes started to flicker wildly as Sue’s had done. I could see a white light shining through my eyelid and started to fear that my eyes were going to fly open from the irritation, and then the tool that sounded and felt like it was making thousands of tiny incisions all at once was going to go directly into my eye!

T, panicked – OMG, any second now she’s going to tattoo my eye-ball!’

I seriously thought about getting up and leaving. Then I had a flashback to the scene in the movie ’40 Year Old Virgin’ when the guy leaves in the middle of his painful chest wax looking ridiculous with a chest full of thick black hair except for a couple of bald strips across his nipple. No, I couldn’t leave, not with only one eye done.

I lay there and took it, making low whimpering wounded animal noises every now and then, and slight head jerks whenever the tickling or sting got too much. Much respect to our beautician – a talented professional who when doing my left eye injected an extra load of anesthetic. Smart move!

Scene 4 – The part where we look like bad drag queens
Sue and I arrive home sore and tired, wearing large sunglasses to cover the immense swelling in our face, a swelling that was visually intensified by the black dramatic lines that now framed our googly eyes. We had that surprised, punched in the face without smudging the eye-liner look going on.

Roy, anxious, to his wife Sue – ‘Come on, show me what you’ve done’

Sue reluctantly takes off her dark glasses.

Roy, 71, standing nose to nose with Sue, stares at her face in high concentration and finally says – ‘I can’t see nothing… what did you do?’

A different point of view – Life in Lima

While sitting at Mangoes enjoying a beer on a beautiful day in Lima, I met an interesting man named Jellin (pronounced Yellin). Originally from Holland, he had been selling mining equipment to the Peruvian goldmines in the late 90’s, married a Peruvian lady of the European class and settled down in Lima to start a family.

Today at 44, Jellin has a 6-year-old son, is getting divorced and can’t wait to exit Lima, which he will do in February to go to Spain.

Jellin, blonde haired, blue-eyed and able to speak Latin American Spanish fluently – ‘I hate Lima. The rest of Peru is beautiful but Lima is only a stop-over. Everyday I’m picking garbage off my driveway. If you cross the road at the pedestrian crossing, they will speed up to try to hit you. It happens here all the time.’

The Europeans are moving out of the affluent areas (like Miraflores) because they don’t want to mix with the new middle class that has started to form from the locals that are getting educated and working, earning some money and can now afford to live in the better areas. Its wrong.

The other day I was driving through a toll highway, in my white jeep – It’s the biggest and whitest jeep you can get – when the police stopped me. Now I knew I had done nothing wrong and have all of my paper work in order, and he stood there looking through my papers trying to find SOMETHING because they want to get anything out of you, 5 soles, 10 soles even, and you know what he said? ” your car is meant to be white”, it was ridiculous, but I joked with him and said “You know what the weathers like in Lima, you have to wash your car every second day, if you like I’ll wash it for you now”. He then asked me to get out of the car, and you know what he found? He pointed to the thin door outline which is grey and said ” you call that white?”. Now I got angry, and started asking for his rank and who his superior was. I said “I want you to write down in your book in front of me that you think my car is not white!’

Jellin, paused and smiled – ‘ Now, anywhere else in the world the police would either get heavy-handed or start writing lies and can really get you in trouble. But not in Lima, you go offensive and they will back down.’ Then adds ‘and if he doesn’t, you look away, reach into your wallet for 10 soles, and when he takes it out of your hand, you can look up, and hopefully he’s gone.’