My (first) encounter with the Peruvian police…
March 3, 2010 (continued)
And then the single line opens up onto wide open space and the race is on…gravel, bumps, throttle to the max…the adrenaline is high…
I attempt to capture Mr. Big cop for record (and fail miserably)
We are racing, I am accelerating hard, running through the gears, god it’s been hot waiting in the sun…
And WAHM! Clunk? What the hell? Pull in the clutch.
OMG, I think my chain broke?!? (How the heck do I know what this is? never happened to me before) PLUS I just got a new chain in Panama…
vroooooooooooommmmmm…and down to nothing.
I pull over.
I shut the bike off.
Bike won’t go into Neutral…
Did I wank the engine? Am I done? Is my trip over?
All traffic passes, the dust clod finally passes, and I move the bke out of the path of travel.
What to do? Wait, here comes another wave of traffic…
but wait, its another Indy 500 and I realize that NOBODY is going to stop to help me after they have been waiting int eh hot sun for at least a half hour to get moving.
So I do what a gal has to do, and step in front of a moving car…
Lucky me, it turns out to be surveyors for the construction, 3 of them. I explain my situation, ask them to call someone to help me. I tell them I worry for my saftey out here all alone, that I do not want it to become dark and I am stuck here with a broken bike (It’s not 3:30 and I am feelling pressed for time)
They are preplexed, but drive off, and I have high (?) hopes I will get some help.
Another construction worker comes by, on foot, I give him the same spiel, he tells me to walk to the gerente over there…Um..I ain’t leaving the bike.
Well, I repeat this process telling eveyone who I can get to stop my plight,
And highly agitated, and waiting in the hot sun (yes, folks I made the HUGE mistake of not having ANY water with me…) I take my panniers off, put the bike on the center stand, take out the tools, and brace myself for a whole in the engine because the chain is all wadded up there and I cannot get the bike to start…
Luckily, just some shear marks on the engine case.
Ok, take a look at the chain…master link is AFU and bent. I cannot get it out with the multitool. Grrr. Sometimes I hate being a girl.
and after a while the surveyors come back in their truck, and after much discussion, they decide its best to load me and the bike up in their pickup and haul me back to the Comisaria de Policia…
Well I make a grand entrance hopping out of the truck and telling the nice policement I’d been so chatty with that “I’m Back–I missed you guys”. Then I explain about the chain.
So as it turns out, there’s a wee mechanic there in the wee spot on the road, and one of the policemen is dispatched to fetch him.
Well, after several trips back and forth from the bike to the “shop”, the mechanic tells me there is a problem…that the spare master links I am carrying (520) do not fit on my 525 chain.
More trips back and forth, more pieces of chain taken out of the pannier, another master link, the mechanics take it upon themselves to shear off the “lips” on the exposed 525 link, and voila’! 520 master link fits. Bike goes back together, I argue with them over my preferred chain tension (none of the macho guys, now a crowd of about 12, is man enough to sit on the back of my bike and act as my luggage) I tke it for a test drive, all seems ok, although I am just *nervous* at this point.
Go back to the comisaria to fetch my luggage, and they suggest that I spendd the night there. One of the policemen offers his bunk, they ask me if I have a mosquito net, they keep bringingthis up. I try to gauge the oncoming, darkness, as its only 18 km back to bagua Granda…what to do…
Oofa, then they tell me I have to talk to the Jefe…I am busy paying the mechanics (um, they ask if 5 colones, about $1.75, is too much?), putting luggage back ont he bike, etc.
Then they tell me the police jefe wants to talk to me…as I walk into the comisaria I see it’s Mr. Big Policeman….oofa. he wants to chat. Oofa, darkness is coming, ( have an iffy chain on an overloaded bike, and I KNOW I am not going t be able to spend the night here because i actually laughed at the guy and shook my head and took a pic when I passed with all the traffic….
Well he insists that I sleep there…
No one will bother me, I will have my own bunk in with the others, I will be safe. After all , tehre are many “asaltos” on this lonely stretch of road…etc.
Wow, ok. The adventuress in me figures if nothiing else it makes a good story, the cheapie in me says “yeah!” I do not have to pay for a hotel tonight.
So here’s the bathhouse:
And the toilet
And the bunk, lower right
And my “secure” indoor parking
And my companions for the night
Now the guy on the right, Jorge, was my constant companion and body guard all night. Need dinner? He took me to a little hospedaje and he paid. Need internet? He walked with me to the Ciber and waited. 9 pm need a bottlle of water? We mount the police bike 2 up and ride down the road to a little store…
he ws so cute…he was told to go to bed at the same time as me, because he had the 2-6 am night vigilance shift…
I get all tucked into my mosquito net, hope to hell I am so dehydrated I do not have to get up in the middle of the night and posibly fall into cesspool that the toilet drains into…
And then I hear Jorge ask me if I fot on the bed (because I am, after all, so big…)
At one point int he evening Mr. Big Cop wanted to kiss and make up, so he spent about an hour with me going over my map giving me inaccurate information on far away regions…and he also confided in me that because of my size, and being alne on the bike, he thought I was a HE-SHE when I pulled up.
I take a couple of beauty shots with the policemen because, well, how often do you get to do that???
And remember I promised to take a group pic at the mechanics, but only one is around at this early hour
And off I go, GENTLY, before construction starts again….