Saturday, May 30, 2009


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5/30/09 Stuck in Antigua, Junkie Mechanics, and Goodbye to M

So the last time I wrote I think I mentioned that I was having problems with my bike. Well a lot has happened regarding this. The problem turned out to be pretty serious and the local dealerships wouldn't even touch the bike. Through the grapevine, I heard of a local moto-mechanic who might be able to help. Frank is a German ex-pat living here who speaks English as well as Spanish. The one catch is that Frank is perpetually broke, most likely because of his serious drug and alcohol problem. The upside is that Frank wants to get my bike fixed as quickly as possible in order to get paid, and that the price we agreed on is REALLY cheap for the work being done. Frank is immediately anxious to pick up my bike from the dealer and I give him a small deposit which he uses to buy oil and make a stop at the "pharmacy." The next day Frank shows up at the hostel I am staying at and says the problem is a lot more serious than just the carbs, probably the valves. This is a little beyoond his range of expertise so he has 2 or 3 local guys working on the bike. I take a ride over to the shop with him, but first we have to stop by the market where I give him 25 cents to buy some local fire-water. Back at the shop I walk in and see my bike in 1000 pieces all over the floor of the dirty little shack/workshop. At this point the guys are tearing the top end off completely and discover the pistons covered in crud. This is not looking too good. When Frank asks for more money I explain that I'll pay when the work is done. Frank is also completely drunk at this point and I have a hard time communicating with himI leave and show up later that evening for a briefing and there is a little good news. Seems the problem is some bad piston rings which is good because the parts can be reused. Getting parts down here would be almost impossible and jerry-rigging/fabricating is often how these things are taken care of. Anyway, we agree on a total cost of around $150 for everything which is unbelievably cheap, especially if I can actually get back to the States on the bike! I leave the shop feeling better, when my friend Jens and I run into a girl he knows named Ariana. Ariana is half-German and happens to know Frank and proceeds to tell me about his bad reputation and the problems her mother has had with him fixing her bike. Shit. Ariana agrees to go by the shop with me the next morning to feel the guy out, which is quite a generous offer. Sure enough, the next morning I stop by her clothing store which she actually shuts down to take a walk with me. The trip is uneventful however, the bike is mostly back together and a few things need to be sorted out. Frank seems a little agitated that Ariana is with me, but fuck 'im. While we are walking back to her shop, Ariana tells me she knows a good local mechanic who she will ask to come with us later on to make sure everything is cool with the bike and that I am not getting ripped off. I'm so grateful to this girl for helping me out and not even knowing me. The fact that she has had a really interesting life and has a smoking body and a pretty face doesn't hurt either :-) While all this has been going on, I've spent most of the rest of my time with a girl here in Antigua, I don't want to say TOO much about this, partly because she will read this and partly just to respect her privacy, so I'll just call her "M" here. M is from Scandinavia and is here working with charity orginizations, studying Spanish and doing some travelling. Beautiful, nice body, intelligent, sexy accent, athletic and good-hearted, what's not to like? We ended up getting very close and spending a lot of time together until late last night, when she had to say goodbye and head off to Guatemala City for a couple of weeks to work while I wait for my bike to get sorted out and head off myself. I will miss her and will do my best to stay single for the rest of the trip. It always sucks at the end in these situations and I'm just feeling like getting home at this point without anything heavy thrown into the mix. At least I get to write all of this poolside at a luxury hotel on the outskirts of town where I splurged for one night at the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. It was great spending all day yesterday with M and I hope we stay in touch!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009




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5/27/09 Still in Guatemala, Thoughts on Women, and a Fucked Motorcycle!

So, I'm sitting in Antigua again but this time I'm trying to figure out how to fix my bike and get out of here. I went to Xela for the weekend where I saw Guisela (a whole 'nother story) and on the way back the bike started cutting out. Luckily I was close to Antigua and able to limp home. After that the bike wouldn't start at all. The next day I discovered the airbox filled with gasoline, which I drained and then traced back to a carburator with the float stuck open. Damn, I needed to get this fixed and have the engine flushed. I got a tow from a local guy on his little 125cc motorcycle and a length of rope. The mechanic said later that I needed to get the bike to a local Honda dealer because he wasn't farmiliar with the bike. I figure this is going to be a problem, my bike has most likely never been seen down here, even by Honda dealers. Sure enough, I drop the bike off at the dealer and this morning and they tell me in so many words that they can't fix it. I'm actually starting to get pretty pissed off for several reasons. These guys should really be able to take care of this problem. So I'm sitting here typing and pondering my options. I may have to take the bike to Guatemala City 45 km's away to the big-ass Honda dealership there. In any case, it looks like I may be stuck here for a while.
On another note, I've also had some other things weighing on me having to do with the women and the temporary relationships that happen and inevitably end when I have to leave town. I feel like even though it was good to see Guisela this weekend I probably shouldn't have gone back to Xela as I already said goodbye to that place. I'm going to have to go home soon, why drag things out? I've been seeing people here in Antigua as well, and I've become especially close with somebody. Again though, it sucks in a way because I have to leave soon, and she lives in Europe although she is down here for several weeks. I've pretty much decided that I'm not gonna spend the rest of this trip looking for some kind of temporary relationships. It just sucks too much knowing things are not gonna last and takes a lot of energy that could be spent doing other more productive things. However, that is not to say that I think my time has been badly spent or that I haven't been enjoying things greatly. It's especially satisfying to finally be over the girl I was really upset about before I left for the trip. So anyway, I'm going to do something really different for me and go to a local orphanage today. My friend Tom is down here from San Francisco and doing all this charity related type stuff. Basically, I feel like a selfish dick around the guy because he is helping so many other people and I think it will be a cool experience. I asked what I would be doing there and he said that basically just showing attention and love is the whole point of the deal, so I guess I'll try to do that.