Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tired of Tires


"Carolina", the wonderful receptionist at "Hostal El Carmelo". She, and others here, work six twelve-hour shifts a week. No lunch breaks, no smoke breaks. And she must conceal the fact that she has a small child, because mothers who wish to work are discriminated against. She has the patience of a saint, and has been an incredible help during this tire fiasco!


(I almost hate to connect Carolina's picture with the sad tale that follows!)

Carlos at “Inchcape” has let me down, failing to respond to calls. Carolina finally reached him late this morning. He told her to call back “in five minutes.” When she did, he had left for lunch! Carolina's now on the phone directly with Santiago, Chile to see about getting tires shipped up to Peru. The price in Chile for the two tires is $800! But they say that the price should be less if imported in Peru.

Considering that I may have to substitute a different size tire on my bike, I went back out to re-examine all the options I had come across locally. First at “Barbacci”, then Honda and finally “Inchcape BMW”.

“Barbacci’s” nearest fit would not work on my rims. The Pirelli samples were still at Honda. They too were too narrow for my rims (and too tall). At BMW, Carlos, who was under the weather, pulled out a tire he had already shown me: an old Metzeler MCE Karoo dirt tire, taken from a wrecked bike. “Maybe this is a possibility. I will check with Metzler.”

I wrote to Metzeler in the U.S. They replied the tire will not fit my bike. They added that Metzelers are available anywhere in the U.S. “Just have your favorite dealer ship them to Peru.” Simple! They added they would like to help but could not.

***

This evening, I was still searching for tire solutions.

Late in the day, the word came back from Chile: it would be $1,600 to import the two tires!

Now I'm looking more to the U.S. for a solution, writing to "BMW of SF", “Frank's” in Vermont, Metzler, “Iron Horse” in Tucson, “BMW of Daytona”, seeing if anyone has experience shipping abroad.

Returned to wander Miraflores again, stopping in at “Café Z” for a coffee and sandwich. My seat was right next to South America on a wall-sized U.S. Defense Department Mercator Projection of the World. Had an opportunity to sit and study an overview of my South American journey.

Around Parque Central, the prostitutes are very aggressive, working the streets in full view of the police. It's just another part of the economy. In the time it takes to walk a few blocks, you're likely to get a dozen propositions.

Feeling a bit lost, as I sense the trip losing steam, and the website losing steam. But I know the obstacles are surmountable and the "state" is only temporary.

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