Friday, December 30, 2005

DHL: Deliver Here Later

No water in the hotel. Apparently a feeder line from the main broke.

Beautiful day. Went outside to try to change my rear tire. Tried Helge Pedersen’s technique of using the sidestand to break the bead on the (tubeless) tire, but numerous attempts failed. Hopefully, I won't have to try that in the middle of nowhere.

Taxied to “Daci” with my wheel assembly and the new tire. At 9:00, they were just opening their doors. They told me previously, they would change my tire, but one look and the mechanic said he couldn’t change it. He gave me the name of a shop that could: “Socoser” in the Cristo Rey neighborhood.

Taxied up the mountain to this modern tire shop, but the manager said they were busy and couldn’t do it until 2:30 this afternoon. Not accepting this answer, I remained with my tires, taking a seat in their waiting area. An hour later, they took care of me. For a few dollars, they changed and balanced the tire.

Stood out on the curb with my wheel and hailed another taxi. It’s kind of funny how often, when you tell a taxi driver where you want to go, they simply shake their head and drive off. Such was the case here. They weren't too eager to drive into the mess downtown. Returned to the hotel and re-mounted the wheel.

From a phone center, called DHL to check on the status of my parts shipment. It is still in Ohio! It should reach Bolivian customs Tuesday. "Crap. Well, now what?" (I learned Monday is a holiday here.)

With the water restored, showered and did laundry, then went out to visit the Goethe Institute (not knowing what it is, but it sounded interesting.) Taxied downtown. It was closed until 4:00. Went to “Alexander Coffee Shop.” It was quiet and, with at least eight employees, way overstaffed.

Talked with an older gentleman, "Fernando" who has an English/Irish accent, but is Bolivian. (He spent time in England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.) He loved having someone to talk with, and wouldn't let me leave. "Aw, come on. Sit a while longer!"

He's not very happy about the election of Evo Morales (or Don Huevo, as he refers to Evo.) Fernando builds highways, and "these indigenous just tear them up," (referring to some of the blockades, I think.) When I mentioned I was going over to the Goethe Institute, he asked "what for? It's just a German school. There's nothing to see there." So, I decided against it.

Wandered back towards the old city, making my way up to the “Rosario”, and camped out at the computer until dinnertime. Ran into Michael (the Kiwi) again. He and his "mates" had just climbed the nearby 6,088-meter peak, Huayna Potasi. They were relaxing in luxury at the "Rosario" after the grueling trek.

Tried llama tenderloin for the first time. Served in a mustard sauce, it was excellent.

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