Thursday, December 18, 2014

Catching Up

Seriously Large monastery somewhere in a place no tourists visit.
Leaving Atlixco was unnecessary and probably foolish. It's paradise on earth. But my goal was to write my Santa Cruz epic novel and that floundered amid my punditry and online wars with other pundits....a failing I blame on my moral weakness.

No need to photoshop this one of Monte Alban.
 And I had studied all the options for Spanish classes and the smart money goes to Guatemala, specifically Quetzaltenango...otherwise known as Xela, pronounced (ShEHy-la). And I'd developed a goal to visit Guatemala for about 20 years and was planning on a book titled, How To Not Visit Guatemala describing my multiple attempts to visit Guatemala and the failures involving heartbreak, corruption, moral failings, car trouble, lack of funds, a civil lawsuit, ignorance, mental fatigue, etc. Really, 20 years of failing to get to Guatemala has made for an interesting early adulthood but I don't recommend it as a goal.

'60s vintage effect for comparison
The road from Puebla to Guatemala has been traveled by others but I had serious doubts about the van's abilities during the great descent from the mountains to the Pacific Ocean. How trustworthy were the brakes that I fixed over the course of 2 months while moonlighting as an Industrial Electrician? It turned out I fixed the shit out of those brakes. The moped is another story.

Van wasn't allowed in Monte Alban
I shouldn't even post photos of Monte Alban because the internet is saturated with them. This is another trademark community that developed rock by rock, crumbled, was redeveloped, usurped, attacked, crumbled and was rebuilt, then lost to dust and ruin during a long drought until it became some strange mounds of dirt that locals probably figured was better left untouched....and then an archaeologist did some digging and discovered construction from 400 B.C. to around 900 A.D. and what they uncovered had to be reconstructed as best they could figure out.
Who built it? Well, there are better histories already written than what I can come up with so educate yourself. In 1000 years people will ask who built New York.

Picked 3 foreigner hitchhikers up out of Oaxaca.
I pick up hitchhikers as a rule to return the favor of those who helped me cross the continent a few times and to give me some moral support during stressful driving. The pretty girl from Idaho accidentally left behind this real turquoise and silver pendant and I have no way to return it so I hung it on my guitar until we meet again randomly. That's what I get for not immediately trading social network identities with everyone.

New Talisman
These 3 were going to San Cristobal De Las Casas and I was almost convinced to follow them but didn't want to reclaim the altitude I had just lost so I stayed on the beach drowning in my own sweat. That got old pretty quick so I pressed on down the coast in a blur of heat and mosquitoes and humidity and terror at the approaching border. The whole border crossing event needs an exclusive essay because it was not pleasant and involved many steps that deserve detailed explanation.

I am newly established in an apartment in downtown Xela, the van will probably be stolen soon as no matter what disclaimers I offer the Guatemalans, they all want my 40 year old moped. They actually think it will run for more than a week on these river rock roads. It would be in pieces in a few days if I tried to ride it around, but it barely starts for some reason so I can't ride it and I don't want to ride it since my van has been nearly ruined by the roads and speed bumps. The moped would probably last about 3 hours before falling completely apart. "No hay suspension" I say and point to the lack of shocks. And they nod but I see pure mechanical lust in their eyes, they all ask, "How much?" and I say, "It's not worth any money here, it would be scrap metal in a week. Please buy a Honda 125 or a Suzuki, they have suspension and good brakes."
They nod and say, "Yes, but how much will you sell it for?"
And I try and try to convince them that as much as I want to ride it and they want to buy it, the moped can not survive in Guatemala. The very fact it is in Guatemala actually is some kind of insane alignment of stars as I know this Vespa brand was not imported to this insanely mountainous region since it has only one speed and has no torque and can not climb any serious hills. so Vespa crossed this whole area off its list in 1972 and anyone with half a brain would just buy a dirt bike or a cool Honda 125...and not a weak Vespa Ciao.
"Si, pero, quantos quieres?"
"Yes, but if you sell it, tell me so I can buy it."

On and on. I know what they are thinking because it's the reason I keep the moped; it's vintage and rare and obviously crafted as a thing of beauty, but it will never survive in this particular city. Maybe if I go to Guatemala City or Antigua there are some flat areas there. But here it is useless. It's possible they see the pedals and think they can simply pedal it like a bike when it runs out of gas and that is technically true but you go about 1 mile hour when you pedal it and it's like riding a clown bike and you still will be rattled to death on the rock roads and speed bumps. It's absolutely out of the question so my feet will be getting a work out, which is why I chose a centrally located apartment.

And that's where I leave you for now.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.