April 7, 2011
Today I wanted to get to a town called Tunja.. It is a university town. One in five people is a student. Should be cool. The first thing I did was check the tyre pressure. A little low [5lbs] but good to go.
I should mention the reason why I don’t want to buy a new tyre is that this one is bald. Really really bald. To put HER in my living room with a bald tyre is much more appropriate that to put her there with a new one. She only has 350km’s to go. And now, in Tunja 220km’s.
When I fueled up I also put in 10lbs. The front tyre was good to go.
On my way here I stopped at a little town called Arcabuco for a bit to eat. I found this amazing little Swiss/German delicatessen. It was…oh my God… I had a turkey/mozza sub on wheat with mayo. I should have gotten one to go. Doh!! Stupid brain. I stopped in this town once before when I got lost leaving Villa de Leyve but never saw the delicatessen.
I arrived in Tunja around 2pm. It’s a 4 ½ hour drive. No rain, cool weather, twisty roads, unbelievable terrain, little traffic – all made for great riding. As I was trying to find the main plaza a taxi driver was being a dick and we just about got into a row. So much so, I shut off the bike and was about to get off. He fucked off. The cop on the sidewalk, to my right, 8ft from me, was wide eyed. Yeah, unless that fuck has gun. I have to dumb it down at little.
I am all settled in at a very nice/cheap hotel in Tunja. It is run by an old woman [widow]. She told me that she bought it off of a doctor years ago and that the house was built in the 1600’s. It show’s. Cool as cool gets. There are carpets in the rooms!! Ha ha ha ha. I can’t remember the last time I seen a carpet in a hotel. USA? I couldn’t imagine the wood under the carpets. Pure rainforest. When I pulled the carpets at my house, underneath was pure rainforest.
When I was in Arcabuco I was reading the local rag and it mentioned that some students were protesting. Of what I have no idea, my Spanish is not that good. It also mentioned that some of the FARC had started mingling with the students and things were getting violent. This would explain all the military and police that were stopping buses all the way from San Gil to Tunja. I was wondering. This type of security is really uncommon for Colombia. The FARC are done here.
I really want a cop cap. “POLICIA” - in florescent yellow against dark green. Something for my trunk – I would never wear it.
The Ohlins are finished on the rear. She is just running on the spring now. It’s not leaking any oil but the valves are blown. 220km’s.
It’s sad. I don’t feel right. So - I am to give up a bike that likes to run? Likes trot? It’s kinda like an execution. She has done everything to the best of her ability.
People that read this need to realize this is what I feel at this moment in time. I am sure some, if not all think, “How can he speak of a machine as if it were real?” ANYONE is welcome to take a drive with me in October. I am flying both myself and new bike to either Bogota or Quito. Live with it and depend on it for a few months then decide. Or better yet fly with us to Cape Town and see who you depend on getting your ass through Africa. In the end you will have a name for HER just as I have for my caballo.
April 8, 2011
Day two in Tunja and it’s not as cool as I thought it would be.
Most people around town are very smartly dressed and there are a lot of great clothing shops. I have not seen a gringo yet. Yesterday it was hot so I wore a t-shirt and shorts. I don’t think the locals see too many a blond long haired tattooed gringo in these parts. After a while I put on a long sleeve shirt. The shame of all tattoo aficionados. Later I went to the local market; I wanted to buy a pauncho. A lot of the elderly men in town dress nicely in dress pants, button up shirt and a pauncho. I knew I would find one at the market. The market is a long way from where I was staying [down town] so I took a cab. When I arrived I knew it was going to be rough [visually].
It was a very dirty market and most of the food stalls were full of men and a few women getting drunk. The majority of the stalls sold produce. There were also a lot of stalls selling used clothing. This clothing has been donated by developed nations for the poor and what happens is that a politician gets wind of the container, intercepts it and sells it.
I found a sweet old lady that was selling paunchos among other things. I paid $COP160,000.00 for a thick black wool pauncho. I asked the lady if she ever saw a gringo in the market and she said no. Black paunchos are worth more because there are less black sheep. She told me that it took a campesino one day to make. I got took but wasn’t into bargaining with the old lady. She needs the money a lot more than I.
That was it for the 8th.
April 9, 2011
Today, I decided to do the tourist thing and visit some churches and colonial houses. I first went to Casa del Fundador Suarez Rendon, the founder of Tunja. It was built in the mid-16th century. The guard gave me a tour in English! He was a cop so I asked him if I could buy his cap. A got a polite, “No.” I then went to Cathedral Santiago de Tunja. I walked in – nothing new or exciting and walked right out. I am getting sick of churches. It has to be pretty great for me to look around and this one was average. Next stop Casa de Don Juan de Vargus. This guy was a prick as were most conquistadors.. I got a tour here too but by a young girl who only spoke Spanish. That’s OK.
Both of these old houses have their ceilings painted with some really usually scenes. Elephants, lions and all sorts of animals form Africa. The paintings wouldn’t make the chapel at the Vatican but it was interesting. Everything was original.
I wanted to go to Iglesia de Santo Domingo but it was closed until 1:00 mass. It’s supposed to have one of the most richly decorated interiors in all Colombia. There is lots of gilded wood carving, I am thinking baroque style and these are pretty cool as I don’t see much of this style often. There is also a statue of the Virgen del Rosario in the alter niche that is encrusted in mother-of-pearl and clad with mirrors. For some reason I thought of India when reading about this. The more I see off this shit, the slavery and the plundering of the indigenous that went into their God the more I hate it. But it was a different time – I suppose. But then again some in Florida think it’s OK to burn the Koran.
I asked a cop on the street if he would sell me his cap and he said no. But he did tell me where to buy one and if they wouldn’t sell it to me he would go and buy it for me. I went to the shop[s] and they sold me one! Now I have a ‘Policia’ cap! Cool as that! And it fits good too. Not that I would ever wear it. Not here but maybe at home. Or I could give it to my Dad.
ITomorrow I go back to Bogota and on Monday I go to the carga terminal to arrange for Her flight home. Once she is all settled in I will book my flight. I should be home no later than Thursday the 14th of April, 2011.