Thursday, January 12, 2006

Afoot, but not lighthearted...

The nights in Las Condes have been so refreshingly cool. I keep the windows wide open. (This hotel doesn't have air conditioning, but they do have windows that open!) It's so comfortable.

There must be a reason I so often end up in empty hotels. They provide a quiet opportunity to "catch up" (whatever that concept means); last night working until 1:00 a.m. The past couple days, I've laid low, working on the blog and e-mail, reorganizing gear, taking care of laundry, reconciling bank and credit card accounts.

The staff busies themselves cleaning the hotel, but for whom? Though the restaurant hasn't operated for two years, the space is maintained and looks open!

Over to BMW. After a long wait, I received some bad news: the rear brake disc and splined hub must be replaced. The disk is cupped. This will cost about $650.

Also, they don't have a replacement for the rear seal that is leaking. (Now they tell me!) Marcello doesn't know how long it might take to get one. He mentioned it could be nine days!

I remained at the dealership trying to clarify everything through an interpreter. I was advised to wait until Paul returned from lunch, for a complete explanation.

When I later met with him, I expressed disappointment that they first saw the bike Monday, and only now realized they don't have the part. Paul defended his service department, explaining that this is a crazy time of year: the start of vacation, when people decide to have their cars serviced prior to taking off on excursions.

Returning to the hotel, the manager asked "when are you departing?"

I replied that it now looked like Saturday.

He said there was a problem: the hotel is fully booked tomorrow!

"This hotel, which is now empty, is fully booked tomorrow? Crap!"

"Si." He explained that a Jewish group from the States had paid in advance for the entire hotel. I have until noon tomorrow to vacate.

Walked back to talk with Marcello. "I 'm being kicked out my hotel. I need the bike tomorrow at noon." He said they would have it ready no later than 1:00 tomorrow.

I returned again later to take him my old magnesium valve cover (deciding not to keep it as a back-up) and aluminum panel from the pannier to toss in his scrap bin, then scrounged a box in which to ship stuff home. (Apparently, the name "Balfour" is a subtle baseball reference meaning I would be walking a lot!)

At the "Sony Center" next to the hotel, bought more CDs to copy photos to and ship them home for safe-keeping. Worked on the computer until 8:00, then walked to "Lider" to gather some dinner ingredients: fresh bread, sliced turkey and cheese, olives and soda. In the produce section, I passed a bin full of nuts, and paused, failing to recognize what I was looking at. They were almonds in the shell. It has been years since I've seen almonds in the shell!

Watched The Bourne Identity, the first movie that's held my attention for a while (but then I really enjoy Franka Potente, who is well known for her roles in Run, Lola, Run and Princess and the Warrior!)

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