Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Windshield or Dog?

No harm was done to this dog.

I´m almost beaten by the change in misfortunes. I told the man at the Mx-Guatemalan border that because I had no solution for his situation that I was going to pray for him and he should also pray. Indescribably bleak, like Karachi or Sao Paolo. My prayers were kind of answered by a short term solution involving a guide cooperative at the border to offer services to those crossing by vehicle. I write the whole process out in English, translate it to Spanish and then set up a booth where the guides can be hired to facilitate the process. That makes sense even if it probably won´t work. Right now the situation is beyond hopeless and is getting worse and violence is soon to follow. 100 people fighting over a bone that is still on pig´s leg walking around. But all my notes for that project soon were lost on the streets of Queztaltenango. I hunted for them but could not find them. So what kind of a sign am I to take from that?

Real glamorous night in Tapantepec, Mexico 

The difficulties soon began after crossing the border as the verticle climb out of the border valley is a sheer cliff that El Conquistador bitterly tackled. A sailboat can technically navigate a reef or rocky shoals...and technically El Conquistador can handle this terrain. But in both cases one mistake and it´s a long ride home on a bus full of broken dreams. I felt this way in Labrador, that I´d pushed the limit of the van and myself, no funds, no support, tires falling off, the wolf soon extinct, but I pressed on. Now I feel that it´s a one way trip, that no one could navigate the van backwards. One problem will follow the other until the final straw sends the van to the bottom of a cliff.
The second casualty of Guatemala
One night in Guatemala and the funnel(cap) to my spare fuel tank vanished while I slept. I wish they had taken the whole tank as it cracked in the sunlight. Why steal the funnel part? Pointless. Then I lose all my notes for saving the economy of Guatemala...The moped would not start in my desperate attempt to avoid driving. The plugs were fouled...maybe the altitude of 8000 ft is the problem. I drive off and the rear view mirror falls out of the frame and cracks in half on the ground...
I find a place that is flat to properly get my hands dirty fixing the moped....spend two hours cleaning everything....it starts at the exact moment near dusk that a large dog is struck by a truck about 30 feet away from me. The dog´s leg flies off like the animal had stepped on a landmine. I see the leg arc through the reddening sky,...the animal has broken back, no leg, motionless, starts to whine. A volcano nearby has erupted but the busy highway brings no serenity. I think, ¨travel means fixing petty bullshit in exotic places.¨

There are thousands of stray dogs here..that make the Mexican stray dogs look as healthy as Odie and Marmaduke. To make my point about 15 stray dogs came out to bark at the dying, 3 legged dog in the road. Maybe they were mocking him. But to see one maimed and killed in front of me still pained me. It whined pitifully until it was run over repeatedly by another truck or two. I kicked the tires of the moped in futile anger, unable to help. I had no resources to drag the dog to the side and didn´t want to risk my life for a dog corpse. And I was disappointed in myself and the world. I should note that Guatemalans like Mexicans and other Central Americans have a high tolerance for stray dogs. much higher than Americans. Americans think that by rounding the dogs up and executing about 90% of them that they are more humane. How the fuck is that more humane? Well, dogs run free and wild in Central America and locals do not mistreat them and do try to avoid hitting them with their trucks and buses. But in this case it was getting dark and the dog was dark and picked a busy time of day to dart across the street...so it died. No one tried to kill the dog and it was probably dragged to the shoulder when traffic died down. Locals do not deign to interfere with dog survival. It is more a "live and let live" situation. In some towns there are so many stray dogs that their corpses are burned to generate energy. Imagine 200,000 stray dogs. I should also note that people approach me daily who are undernourished. I'm wearing a ridiculous Mayan bracelet that I had to buy out of pity. Guatemala is not like Haiti, but someone from Haiti might just prefer to stay in Haiti if they were offered the option to immigrate to Guatemala. My point is that resources are stressed here and dogs obey the Pope too so the result is rough.

All the signs pointed for me to get away but there is no away. Oggy has come to the end of the road and he can´t go back. Surrounded by volcanos.

Of course it´s my fault for trying to find a culture that isn´t poisoned and I accept that. I´m hungry now and can not adequately type on this broke ass internet cafe keyboard. Now I remember why I like my own computer.

My advice is to Pray.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.