Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
into them. One horse was used three times before loss of blood and partial paralysis made it
impossible for him to stand, and only then he was given the coup de grĂ¢ce , which was done
by stabbing him at the back of the head with a sharp instrument.
Undoubtedlybullfightingisagreatart,anda matador requiresextraordinaryagility,grace,
and sang froid to make a name for himself, and if his judgment and knowledge of 'bull psy-
chology' ever fail him, the chances are that he will wake up in hospital, or possibly that he
will be the star turn at a funeral.
Betting on cockfights is another favourite 'sport' among men in Lima, where several im-
portant cockpits flourish and are crowded every night. Here the birds are trained to fight with
a very sharp, half-moon-shaped blade which is fixed to their left legs, the blades being held in
place by means of tape wound around the cocks' legs. Betting is very lively and keen, and the
dividends are paid on a totalising system.
An indoor tennis court also attracted many. There, four Cuban girls played every night
whilst the spectators made their bets by means of a clever system of placing their money on
games or sets.
The race track is another favourite place for Lima's crowd of gamblers, and every Sunday
thousands of voices are strained as the swift thoroughbreds dash towards the winning-post.
When the meeting is over one can see the losers returning sadly to town on foot, whilst the
smiling winners laugh and make merry in taxis.
Lima is situated at some distance from the coast, but about half an hour's run by car takes
one to Callao, Peru's principal seaport. Both these towns have a considerable Chinese popu-
lation and, as in most coastal places in the country, Chinese merchants make it difficult for
others to compete against their extraordinary thriftiness. I happened to make the acquaintance
of an American gentleman who had spent some years in China, and as he spoke the language
fluently he took me through the Chinese quarters, where he had many friends. We visited a
Chinese theatre, but as their show only consisted of two gloriously dressed men who squatted
onthestage, making noises like babies whohaveswallowed tin-tacks, Iwasnotkeenonstay-
ing long. Obviously their conception of art is beyond the range of my understanding. It must
take a foreigner as long to appreciate their art as it does to learn their difficult language, and
to me, for not only were their kitchens exceptionally clean, but the dishes were as good as any
I had ever tasted.
Chinamen, Japanese, gringos, and other foreigners are allowed to enter the strictly illegal,
but officially sanctioned, opium dens, and as Iwas keen onseeing what these places were like
my American friend took me to one. We walked along a busy street, and when we came to a
door that was wide open my friend halted. A screen was placed behind the door and thus one
could not see the interior of the place from the outside. My friend entered into the semi-dark
room and I followed him. Along the walls, some two feet above the floor, were boards, like
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