10.11.2014 - 10.11.2014
Every Sunday Valerie and I take each other somewhere special to write. This week I took Valerie on a bus ride to El Centro. El Centro is the part of town that in the 1920's was a hot spot. Now those terrific buildings have become giant planters for local flora and fauna. Including the man without any pants on sitting in the middle of the square.
Anyway, I have had a hankering for a bike. Now that I think of it, I do not think I have ever been bikeless. In these three months I have been carless, and phoneless, but not having a bike has been what I have missed the most. Every day I have been plotting a route to work that would avoid Hidalgo (the six, seven, eight, and sometimes nine lane avenue in the city). I finally found a route, that seems relatively safe. Today, as Valerie and I were walking to our destination, I saw a rack of bikes hanging above the sidewalk. The only bikes that I had found previously were at Walmart. But this was a classic hole in the wall shop. After our writing session, I went to the shop to check it out, and I fell in love with a one speed. It was cheap, but it was too big for me, and when I took a ride about the square, it was too much to handle. I am not sure that the bike owner knew that I had every intention of bringing the bike back after a test ride, because suddenly he was in the square with me. The bike was not for me, so I convinced him to get another one for me. It is yellow, and the name on it is Heaven. In order for me to take it on another test ride, he had to fix it up. Remember that I know bikes pretty well after riding 4,000 miles around Europe, and working in the Bicycle Exchange in Cambridge. He fiddled and fixed, fiddled and fixed, and suddenly there was a rush of customers. I was getting a little antsy, so I decided to check out the barber shop hair salon next door. I love watching people get there hair cut. There was something different about the place, but it was bustling with a lot of people, so I watched while I waited for the bike guy to get things organized.
In one of my earlier blogs, I sent pictures of a market place that I had visited. That was where I was, at a bike shop, in an open-ish market, next to a barbershop/ hair salon. I am becoming familiar enough with Spanish at this point to carry on a present tense conversation, if the speech does not get too fast, but one thing that I have realized about living in a country where you do not speak the language is that my observation skills are developing. It only took me a few more moments to realize that everyone who worked in the hair place was transsexual. They were beautiful, and dressed in a casually stunning way. High heels, tight jeans, and gorgeous hair, with a slight five o'clock shadow. Finally, I asked for a haircut and they laughed as they decided who would cut the gringa's hair. So I sat in the chair and watched my dancing hair dresser chop away at my hair. My hair was pretty long. Now it is short and long all over the place. I do not think one hair is the same length as the other.
Finally, my bike was ready, and geared with a bright pink helmet and Heaven, I took off. I felt free. My life had taken a turn. My glee was contagious as swiveled around Tampico. I planned my new life with my bike. I would ride to school. In fact I would ride to school today to see how long it would take. I would learn how to drive over speed bumps. I rode through quiet neighborhoods, I passed tons of dogs, people smiled at me, my joy was infectious. I took a right to get to Faja de Oro... and my pedal fell off. All of me dreams dashed in that one moment. But not really. I just need a new wrench and a nut that isn't stripped, which I can get from Tavo's hardware where I got a key made when I lost the last set on the bus.
I needed to get back to my new house anyway. I moved on Friday, and I need to unpack, unwind, and eat food that