the first spot i picked to camp seemed to have good coveratge and a level spot for the bike without getting stuck. there was a path there up into the woods with a fenceñ seemed a farmer´s field. i pulled the bike backwards to get it into place, but iwas hard work so I repositioned. as I did that, I dropped the bike. I dropped it again, and thats when a dog started barking. my position was sdiscovered and i had to find another place. the dog sounded like he was right ther.
half a km down the road there was a sand pile high enough tot cover me from lights both directions. pretty proud of myself. i set everything up, and despite my flat mattreess felt very comfortable. it took a while for me to get to sleep but i did eventually because i woke up a few times in the night holding up the tnet to avoid the heavy rain. i muset have sensed something worng but went back to sleep. at 3 am after it rained all this time i realz
Drillbit Taylor was on in Spanish, and I went to sleep.
The bike was still there the next morning. The bellboy noticed my front tire was flat i thought it was just because of how it was parked on the edge of the cement. When I moved it back, the front end was very heavy. Another person said it was flat. Ok agreed. Did someone pull a prank and leak it? There was a calling card saying Villamontes taped to the windshield and I thought for sure that´s what happened. I drove away after saying goodbye and a few people wanted pictures. Asked another fellow where some air is, and he motioned for me to follow him. There was a 16 year old on the side of the road with a compressor. I stopped and he was a friendly kid asking all sorts of questions. I gave him 20 bolivianos twice as much as he asked for. Its about 3 bucks.
260 km later, I stop on the road for a break. The tire feels heavy again. Oh no. I remember the tire repair can I bought back in Venezuela and carefully insert it onto the stem. It worked.
I loath going into cities in the evenings but I had to. I got into Santa Cruz about 4 oclock. After several questions around, I found another young guy at a dirty roadside shack, between 4 blocks of roadside shacks. Traditional Bolivian women with two ponytails and long skirts abound. Sexy!
I ask him if he can do it, and he smiles and say yes. How much. Depends. Mas o Menos. 15 bolivianos about 2 bucks. Then the boss comes out a dirty little fellow resembling a bolivian patrick swayze dirt from head to toe, wearing flip flops and a gold tooth. They set to work. The neighbour gets me a coke, although I originally thought he was a halfwit kinda guy. He and his wife ran the shack next to it and were really nice and friendly. Ended up buying the coke he protested I insisted then an empanada banana and cornbread all for 1 buck.
The tire was back on the bike in a little over 20 minutes. This little guy was an artiste with the tire, and he quickly yet meticulously found the leak, and the culprit. Cost? 3 bucks. I doubled it, feeling like Bill Gates in Africa doling out the millions. The culprit? A piece of metal the size of the end of a pencil lead.
On to Cochabamba........
Feel genuinely proud of myself for the first time in the journey, as I feel the past 48 hours have tested me beyond my limits, and I got through it in one piece. Very satisfying feeling and again if the journey must end now I would be severely disappointed but happy in my accomplishment.
Plenty of gas stations and I´m wondering if Michael wasn´t a bit overcautious about the state of Paraguay roads. Although the quality degraded severely, it was still rideable pavement with good stretches. Good fortunes continued, as I stopped at a gas station and was told immigration and customs were actually THERE, 250 km before the border. I would´ve had to drive all the way back...... The guy looked kinda american, and the girl was a coin collector so I dumped a handful of coins from all over central and south america on the counter. She was happy and surprised.
150 km later, I was expecting the gas station they promised me but now the pavement is gone, and I´m driving on a pretty shitty dirt road. That shitty dirt road turned into sand, then space for two trucks either direction, then one small car one direction. The tracks were so deep and the edges were so hard I could´ve broken a leg trying to stay upright. The places I fell were graciously open enough to avoid it. 3 times.
Then, a sign saying 34 km to the border. I see colors down the road and I think it´s a person and I hear horses hooves. Good sign. One guy peers behind a tree down the road and I wave and say ola. They take forever to meet me and I speak spanish. My spanish was rough, having speaking portuguese only for 3 months straight. They didn´t understand a word. I didn´t think it was THAT rough.
I felt nervous, and said goodbye. I could only go 30km-hr so it took 5 minutes to go 500 metres or so it felt. Then, more people, more nervousness. Finally a child flags me down with something and I decide to stop. I then realize these are indigena, and they speak only Guarani. I do what any nervous north american does and give him 10000 guarani or about 2.50. I thought he was selling me his mask, but he was apprehensive about giving it to me. I will keep that mask with me to remember how stupid I was.
I put my finger on the push start and it sounds like I have no gas left. My tank is under all my bags. So I get up to start pulling everything apart and now there are over 20 people standing there staring. One guy with a gun and a bag of dead pigeons he killed with a slingshot. He speaks spanish. I ask if I can have a photo. No. When I´m filled up, I go around and shake everyone´s hand, kids and all. And I´m off again.
Another 5 minutes and I´m at the military post, and there´s a metal fence stopping me from going further. One guy speaks some english. There´s some kind of masculine, feminine going on, as one has his shirt off, and another has his 70s style short shorts hiked up around his pelvis. The shirtless guy says speak spanish. I do my little dance and look them all in the eyes answering all their questions. I ask for some water, and they give me a full cold 2 L bottle.
They said there was no gas at the next town, and there was possibly 200 km of sand before the next town after that. Now I´m screwed. With only enough gas to go about 50 km I was seriously stuck. They suggested asking the guarani if they had gas. Ok good idea I´ll go back. Then the shirtless guy says something about camera. Yes I have a camera, but I looked around and couldn´t find it. I thought it was a joke they were playing. Actually I had left it at the guarani village, and a kid had walked all the way to tell me.
So I turned back, and cut through the forest to go directly to their village. At a side road, I looked left, and saw all of them waiting for me on the main road. I went over there, and indeed they were all keeping watch on the bag with camera, laptop and money all intact. Some of the people had cross eyes and I was seriously feeling like I was in the movie Deliverance, Paraguayan style. Had to be some inbreeding there in a small isolated village.
I asked about the gas and he pondered deeply then said yes come to my house. half way there, we´re talking about things and he mentions the tractor. I stop. You know my moto takes gasolina not diesel right? Theres often a gap with my spanish understanding but I made that really clear. He pondered again, assured me not with a lot of confidence, and we continued walking.
What a surreal experience. This wasn´t your national geographic village. Everyone was wearing tshirts and jeans, but the surroundings were amazing. We walked through a tall clover like field over a hill, past the slingshot hunters house whose wife was plucking the small pigeons he had shot, then this man´s house. He must have been the leader because he had a small tank covered with a black plastic bag. He sucked the gas up and started the vacuum into a 2 L pop bottle. Smelled like gasoline. On our walk back he was suggesting I sleep at the militaria because of the arena. I didn´t know what that was but I hoped it wasn´t a jaguar or banditos.
We returned to the 20 people waiting at the bike. It was also a defining moment, being stared at by these strange people. I must have looked strange too tall, kinda white but full of dirt with this kinda shiny strange machine. After the fill up I had to ask them to push the bike back out of the sand to get to the main road.
Then the journey continued. My arms and legs were spent from the 4 hours of sand that day, so I stopped every 10 km. That took 20 minutes. On my 2nd 10 km, I was laying on the ground in pain and exhaustion. I saw some lights come up, and thought I was in no position to meet a malcontent. I would´ve had to give them everything and put my hands in the air. It was actually the one truck I had seen all day on that sandy road returning. I waved hello, and was eager to have him pass me so I could continue. We talked for awhile, and he said there was gas at La Patria, and I thought it was about another 50 km. We said goobye.
By the time I had all my gear on, his taillights got closer and closer to me. I´m not sure about that gas station he said in spanish. I was too tired to listen anymore finally he said siga me (follow me) then he said you go ahead, and when I flash my lights, thats my turn. about 4 km we turned left and Jose Migueletes stopped the truck after the gate, which his wife got out to close for us. What is arena I asked. Sand. Uh huh.
We drive for 10 km and I´m thinking its taking all my gas just to get to his house. His road was better, but I could only go about 50 km-hr. Another 10 and we´re finally there. We get into his house and we talk for a couple hours, with some wine and pimento. I recognized his Spanish accent from Spain. He bought this section of 70,000 hectares 3 years ago and now they are ripping it apart to make cattle fields. Jaguars and cobras are killed on site. Only the biggest trees stay in this pristine but bug filled part of the country. Biggest producer of cattle in the world in Paraguay. All going to Mcdonalds I´m sure. He´s about 45 and his wife is get this 17. common in Paraguay. Love the guy big time but I can´t help wonder about the extent of devastation in these unknown areas, and how much we really consider this when we eat our mcdonalds hamburger.
The next day, after as good a sleep as can be expected, I walk out and see all of Joses workers looking at the bike. Pretty soon the truck came over and they were filling the tire with air. Then, there´s air sounds coming out of the valve. I was floored and crushed. What am I going to do? The nearest yamaha dealership is in assuncion 800 km away. Then I changed my mind and put my faith in the situation.
Jose said bring the bike under the verandah. It was cooler there. The mechanic guy a short fellow with flip flops had us lift the bike up and put it on some shaky blocks. then he´s ripping the tire off. I look at his eyes and their really red. I wanted to pull jose aside and say are you kidding me he´s totally drunk or hung over he can´t do this! but I didn´t. It was tough getting the tire off the rim without proper tools but it happened. Then the leak was discovered to be in the worst place according to Jose. The stem. We took it back to the mechanic, and he looked at it, and went over to his house for the umpteenth time. i learned patience.
He came back with some wire, and wrapped it tightly around the stem. What about the metal digging into the tire I asked. No problema. Tire remounted, and then the bike won´t run unless on full choke. ´
Lets have lunch jose says.
I think about the bike for those 10 minutes and get back after some wine and pimento. Still couldn´t get it. Jose was the idea guy. clean the spark plugs? we couldn´t find a tool to get them out. Air filter? clogged FULL of sand. Washed it out. Still the same. I get frustrated and take it for a drive. I think the tribal gas is bad. I remembered a strange hissing sound when I moved the bike after we filled it there that never happened before. After a tough drive around the settlement, same problem.
Its early afternoon now, and I stop at the mechanics house. He was sleeping. He finds the same valve that Luiz in Mexico adjusted and boom that did it. Shitty gas needs a richer blend I guess. Said goodbye and faced the long road back to the pavement.
Both Joao's and Kike's dads were inspirations for these thoughts. Older guys who have been steadily successful in long careers. Both calm, very calm and very comfortable to be around. I'm sure they don't always feel like being around people, but they do it anyways, and deal with it on their own terms. Just like the rest of us.
There's a time and place to be a jackoff. There's a time and place to blurt something out. There's a time and place to try and be funny. Save that for the family and close friends, and then at that, there's really no need for it. People will accept me as long as I give them space to live in their own world without feeling a cringe whenever they walk by me. Most people will not tell you if you've upset them, they will just stop dealing with you. So, the key to success with the general population is to not even go there. Life isn't about constantly proving if someone likes you or not.
I also remembered the healing power of deep breathing. All of what I've learned in the last almost 7 months go down the drain when I'm in pain. Pain is a direct result of a lack of oxygen to that part of the body. Anxiety and stress are both a cause and effect of short shallow breathing, which makes the whole experience that much more intolerable, as well as harmful to the body, causing pain after the long term.
So, how will I celebrate, and practice my new found calm and peaceful skills? Well, Kike's friend owns a nice restaurant, so we'll go there. Then, maybe a pub and some talking in a language I hardly know but will resort to english if need be - lots of them speak it here.
Clinton left the White House with all the class of an XFL halftime show.
Curious people are interesting people, I wonder why that is.
Everything that used to be a sin is now a disease.
Fame has sent a number of celebrities off the deep end, and in the case of Michael Jackson, to the kiddy pool.
Hi, I'm Bill. I'm a birth survivor.
I do think the patriotic thing to do is to critique my country. How else do you make a country better but by pointing out its flaws?
I don't want my president to be a TV star. You don't have to be on television every minute of every day - you're the president, not a rerun of 'Law & Order'. TV stars are too worried about being popular and too concerned about being renewed.
I never thought I'd say this, what Obama needs in his personality is a little George Bush.
I think capital punishment works great. Every killer you kill never kills again.
I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder.
If you think you have it tough, read history books.
Iraq now says that it will, after all, destroy its missiles. President Bush said, 'Please, I used to pull the same trick. There'd be an intervention, I'd make a big show of pouring out the liquor and then there was a case under the floorboards.'
It's all been satirized for your protection.
Jim Bakker spells his name with two k's because three would be too obvious.
Kids. They're not easy. But there has to be some penalty for sex.
Let's face it; God has a big ego problem. Why do we always have to worship him?
Let's make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake - you know, to send the right message to kids.
Maybe every other American movie shouldn't be based on a comic book. Other countries will think Americans live in an infantile fantasy land where reality is whatever we say it is and every problem can be solved with violence.
Men are only as loyal as their options.
It was wonderful to reconnect. He' s a young, strong, bull-headed man ready to do what he has to, without any fear or thought as to consequences of humanity's actions, unlike me. We're somewhere above the 20th floor, and I had thoughts of jumping. I wouldn't, although I locked the patio door in case I tried in my sleep. It's challenging to hold two opposing views of the world directly in my own mind. The capitalist and the communist. I really want the world to settle down. Stop. stop going. But it won't. It just won't. Nobody, or nothing will stop it. It is an anthill of activity. This city of 23 million is just one of 6.5 billion. That is a big number. Jelly beans that could fill 1o skyscrapers, and each one of them ready to die for a new dress, or a new car, or a new house.
Am I just afraid of competition? Am I simply feeling inadequate? Would I feel differently if I was a high-powered lawyer with a bevy of beautiful models at my beck & call? Were I Charlie Sheen, would I really care about how much garbage one little human being produces?
This upset has to go somewhere. Stop caring. Stop carrying the world on my shoulders. Let it be.
I've heard a thousand people's advice over the years. I can only take from one: create my own life, in my own vision, and do what I feel is best. That is powerful to me.
Sit or lie down, breathe, and relax deeply. Starting with your toes, feet, legs, pelvis and so on, put your attention on each part of your body in turn and tell it to relax and let go of any tension. Feel all tension dissolving and draining away.
If you wish to, do the meditation on opening the energy centers in order to get your energy really flowing.
Now imagine golden, healing light energy all around your body....... feel it.......sense it....enjoy it.
If there is a particular part of your body that has been ill or in pain, ask that part of you whether it has a message for you. Ask whether there is something you need to understand or to do, right at this moment or in your life in general.
If you get an answer, do your best to understand and follow it. If you don't get an answer, just continue with the process.
Now send special loving, healing energy to that part of you, and any part of you that needs it, and see or feel it being healed. You may want to have your guide, or any master or healer, there to help you do the healing.
Picture the problem dissolving and flowing energy away, or whatever iage works for you.
Now imagine yourself in perfect, radiant, natural good health. Think of yourself in different situations feeling good, active and healthy. See yourself as divinely, radiantly beautiful.
I have now transcended all patterns of illness. I'm free and healthy!
I am now full of radiant health and energy.
I love and accept my body completely.
I am good to my body, and my body is good to me.
I am energetic and full of vitality.
My body is balanced, in perfect harmony with the univverse.
I give thanks for ever increasing health, beauty, and vitality.
I am a radiant expression of God. My mind and body now manifest divine perfection.