Saturday, May 30, 2009

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!

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