The sun was going down fast, and clouds had moved in. It was very windy, and a bit chilly too but only 7:30 pm. The weather was mirroring my mood, but I was too far inside myself to even notice the similarities. I was still holding on to some anger about getting ripped off 130 km before.
It was the 280 km stretch of road without any petrol that I had heard about, and I thought I better not take a chance. It was the 2nd day in a row of me saying I was getting to Mulege, and failing. The bike's odometer was at 230 km, and I thought I was getting excellent mileage on my primary tank, until I leant over to turn the fuel lineand noticed I was still on my reserve tank. This meant that I was sucking the gas out of the tank at the bottom having forgotten to turn it back at the last fill-up. I had made this mistake on a quick return road trip from Vancouver, to my home town in Stettler last summer, and paid for it dearly. A fellow stopped by and had to drain the diesel out of the carbs I had inadvertently 'borrowed' from a farm quonset. I thought "Never again!"
A truck with a large white plywood sign saying "GASOLINA" was parked on the side of the dusty road near a store. I thought it was a good enough 'sign' that I should pull over. Even though I had a 5L jerry can full, I justified the move by thinking it would be a good experience to buy gas out of the back of a truck. There was a man, and a woman looking at me from the verandah of the house, or store, I couldn't be sure. Their stares were made all the more intense as I was taking a long time to take off my gloves, helmet, ipod, and sunglasses. "Cuanto Questo por Gasolina?" I query to the man. He turns around, and starts discussing with his wife, who is looking at him with various facial and body gestures to presume she was unsure of the 'gringo price' as well. He comes over to me, without answering, and walks towards the truck. I ask him to hold my helmet, being too lazy to put it back on. He takes it, and motions to throw it away. I'm not liking this guy already, and unsure if he's joking.
The bike won't even start by now it's so low on gas, so I push it over to him. "Cuanto Cuesto?" I ask him again. "Ciento sesenta," he responds quickly, and repeats after noticing my puzzled look. 160 pesos, or about $14 CDN. He points at a fair-sized red metal jerry can in the back , and I'm thinking "How do I say I only need 10L?" It sounded like a lot, either way. I begrudgingly opened the tank, and he came down with the hose and handle to insert it in. We're in close proximity now, us two combatants, forced into cooperation through necessity.
I give him 200 pesos, expecting some change. He gives me a 20 back and walks away, defiantly mixed with a slight sheepishness. It was an uncomfortable mix of unwanted emotions, the inability, or desire to complain or defend myself, and knowing I was out of my element. I was alone.