Day 33


Im the girl with the bike again!

Not having a car, arriving to events with messy hair, having huge strong thighs, not leaving the house when it rains, cutting through back roads, bumming rides…its always been my kinda thing. NOT having a bike has been like missing a piece of my soul. In Green Bay I could ride for hours, either around town or on the Fox River Trail – and take my mp3 player, some water,…maybe some pretzels to snack on when I got to De Pere, it was perfect. I used to live in Shawano sometimes. Theres a trail that connects GB to Shawano, and actually goes to Wausau. I want to hop on my bike with some crackers and peanut butter and a little tent, a flashlight and a pocket knife and ride GB to Wausau and back. Just go to Wasau to get a milkshake or something…something completely normal and leave right away…and have it be the ride thats the exciting part. Im serious. So if anyone reading this wants to go with me…early September would be nice a time.

But now I don’t have to be sad anymore! Becaaaause I bought a bike the other day! This whole bike buying business was quite the ordeal. First of all I knew right away that I wanted a bike. Im paying minimum 2 Euros everyday in transportation to go by bus to school and back home. I work 4 days a week. 4 weeks a month. Im here 8 months. Its worth it, not only for enjoyment and health purposes but economically speaking as well.

I was waiting at the bus stop earlier this week and a girl around 20, maybe younger maybe older came and asked about the time. We started talking. She said she was from Venezuela, and that her father was Spanish and her mother was Chilean. She was really pretty and very nice. She also happened to have a bike! I asked about it, and it was only 20 Euros. She told me I could find 2nd hand cheaper bikes at either the markets in Nerja ( the next town over ) on Sundays mornings or in Malaga at the store where she had bought her bike. The store she said also had many other 2nd hand things, with both bargains and junk.  I was planning on going to Malaga anyways to go and buy a phone and internet for the house, and when she said that the store was near the bus station I decided to check it out!

So I was determined to make it happen. I went to Malaga on Tuesday after classes, bummed a ride from Juanma and Conchi- teachers at school, and headed over to Tina’s place, after her and I had some pizza near Picasso’s childhood home :p At Tina’s place I started googling directions to get to this store.

The girl had told me she was unsure of the name of the store but she thought it was Cas con Verte. ok. So I googled that. Nothing. hmmm. Im thinking, that name doesn’t really even make sense, or sound Spanish. I don’t know what ‘Cas’ is…maybe she meant casa? and con means w ith, verte means to see you. maybe she meant verde? green? Like some sort of green house? I tried a whole bunch of combinations trying to guess what it was. The whole time these other results would pop up, but nothing I was looking for.

Then it hit me. The lightbulb went on. OH. CASH CONVERTER. Ha. One of the results that kept coming up, but I ignored at because I wasn’t thinking in English. lol. I had to laugh,…thats not the first time I’m been completely confused by a Spanish speaker, whose really saying something in English.

I went in search of this ‘Cas con Verte’ and was able to find it pretty easy. I felt rather accomplished. The store was cramped with lots of clutter and stuff all over, electronics, fitness equipment, appliances and random shit, everything just like she had described. The bike selection was pretty weak. The cheapest bike was 39 Euro, the next cheapest 55, then it jumped to 100. I went for the cheap one. I had the guy adjust the seat for me, and I gave it a little test spin, another guy scolded me for riding it in the store…I just smiled and gave him the “oh sorry, no Spanish” face- I mean come on.

I bought it though. Its white. Rusty. Missing a part of the left pedal, and a piece of the seat. The tires are pretty thick for everyday street riding. It has a Mickey Mouse sticker on it. This all put together means it was once used and loved at one time…I felt like I should buy it and give it love again. I do that sometimes, thinking Im saving the things that other people don’t want. Ex: I’ll buy the littlest apple at the store, like don’t worry little apple..I’ll take you home and eat you.

Now that I had found my bike I wandered around admiring the other items in the store. I came across some free weights. Perfect. I had found single 10 lb weights at a Chino near my house, but each 10 lb  weight was like 8,9 Euro. Here at Cash Converter I could get  a 10kg weight made of 2 5kg that I can take off…so first use the 5kgs and when I get stronger make it 10kg. It was a good price! I did stop and think about how I was going to get all this home. Briefly. Briefly only because I was so determined that I wanted the weights and I had to buy them right away that I just simply decided that Id figure out a way. End of story.

The store was near the bus station so I headed over and caught the next bus back to Torrox. I live in Torrox, but not the coast-where the bus drops you off. I live in Pueblo. The part you have to go uphill to get to. I knew that though. I was ok with it. When theres a will theres a way!? I got into town around 930pm,…the buses to pueblo stop running after 830pm I think it is…so it gave me an opportunity to try out my new bike!

Here I am, I have a backpack on my back, carrying my 5lb MacBookPro, my purse on my left side with at least 1 lb of junk in it, and my 10kg (actually 22lbs) weight. How I managed the weight, was I put in on my right shoulder, and balanced it…and holding it with one hand while I steered the bike with the other hand as I rode it. And off I go! The journey turned pathetic pretty quick. Being out of shape, and trying to balance everything, and going up these crazy hills was a challenge! I did my best though, I mean I used to ride my bike all the time in GB! I got off and walked though…It was unfortunate that this was happening during the Manchester futball match,…but fortunate because no one noticed me walking with my stupid weight panting up hill, everyones attention was on the game.

I didn’t enjoy the ‘ride’ ‘walk’ but it wasn’t so bad, I was just happy to have a bike. It wasn’t bad till I got back on the bike and reached the first downhill. I wasn’t going especially fast. I thought that I should go slower, just because the sidewalks are a little uneven, poorly lit, and I had all my stuff. It was because of all my stuff that when I reached a sharp sudden drop in the sidewalk and I only had one hand free to break, I breaked to stop a complete disaster, but caused myself to fall in the process.

I fell smart though, forward to not damage my Mac in my backpack, and I pushed the weight away to the side right away so it wouldn’t fall on me or hit me. But that meant eating dirt. The bike went one way, I the other, the weight rolled off into the street, and a few F bombs dropped as well. I got up slowly and got the weight right away. My hands were red and hurt. My knee hurt. I checked in panic that my jeans weren’t torn…the only pair of pants I own. My foot lost some layers of skin. A younger woman was walking on the street and saw me fall. She was close enough to me. She didn’t even stop walking…and obviously didn’t ask if I was ok. That upset me.

I realized that I had fallen in front of a car park area, and my bike laying on the cement was blocking the way of a car who wanted to enter. He had seen me too. I moved the weight out of the way, and picked up the bike. The seat was bent so I couldn’t sit on it,…and somehow I killed the front break completely, it didn’t work at all anymore. I tinkered with it, then just gave up and started walking home. I wasn’t too far at this point. The man looked at me, didn’t say anything and walked on ahead of me.  That pissed me off.

2 Spanish people just saw me fall and didn’t even bother to check if I was ok. Its not like this happened downtown New York or somewhere busy during rush hour, and people have places to go, things to do, and don’t notice whats around them. Im in a pueblo. People ride horses in the streets for heavens sake. It be like going to New Franken or Luxemburg-Casco…I would expect people to be a little more ‘neighboorly’. geesh. Was it because they didn’t care? Because I’m obviously foreign? I don’t know. But it really bothered me. Just the whole thing, having to walk/ride for at least 40mins to get home, breaking my already battered up bike, the Spaniards.

Sometimes when I go home I purposefully take the route that doesn’t pass the Moroccan bar. But thats another story. Walking home though after my fall I had a horrible attitude. I felt really lonely all of a sudden. This time I purposefully walked passed the Moroccan bar. The same Moroccan guys who are there every night where there that night, and as always welcomed me in with warm smiles. I accepted the invited Bacardi and Cokes and watched the end of the game.  Long, very long story made short the guys at the bar were really sweet and helpful and tried to fix my bike. They sorta did, but not completely, but its ok to ride, but it was nice having people that I knew would welcome me and help me. At home I felt bad for ranking them previously only a 6 on a 1-10 trust scale. I still think I should be smart about being around them, but their kindness was very appreciated.

I write this story to share my Tuesday night and bike problems but also for what happened Wednesday morning, and this afternoon.

The next day, I woke up and got the bus to school…it had been a long night, I wasn’t up for biking. I enjoy the bus ride in the mornings, the mountains are beautiful and the sun is warm and is just beginning to paint everything in its light. That morning I noticed a woman in one of chair/walker things on the sidewalk. She was older, a little more heavy than what she probably should be, she had stopped and was taking a rest, breathing heavyily. I only saw her for a few seconds, the bus passed her and she was gone. Maybe she just was going to the store, or heading home from someplace, who knows. Then I thought about me and my attitude that I got the day before.

Im very conscious of my age, capabilities, and health. Sometimes I temporarily forget though. Its amazing that I can even ride/walk a bike 5km uphill with added weight in the first place. Its amazing that I can fall hard and hurt myself and then get up and walk away like nothing happened…and be ok even if nobody stops to ask me. Things like that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and it was foolish of me to be so upset, because maybe someday riding a bike or walking won’t even be an option, and a fall fatal.

Then today I was walking to the store, I had already been to a couple other stores, and had lots of stuff with me. I passed this woman, she wasn’t old but she was struggling to lift her little cart thing with all her groceries in it up onto the sidewalk and she couldn’t get it up passed the curb(this thing was stuffed! She packed it good and full). I had the 2 Spanish people in my mind when I stopped and put down all my things and helped her lift her cart onto the sidewalk. It was very heavy, but we did it, and she thanked me and I went on my way.

Id like to think that I would have stopped and helped her even if I hadn’t been thinking about the people who didn’t stop to help me. Maybe I wouldn’t have though? Maybe I would have done what the 2 people did to me, and just looked at her and walked past, but I didn’t. Theres no reason not to help someone who needs it when your capable of it, regardless of how other people treat you.

I think things happen for a reason. Torrox isn’t a fast paced kinda place, and this week it made me slow down and reflect on things a bit more. Be grateful and help others. 2 pretty basic concepts, but important ones.


One thought on “Day 33

  1. Jennie says:

    Your story reminds me of my time of San Francisco this August. Richard and I were walking and an middle aged man was crossing the busy street and stumbled. Two cars stopped and one guy ran out and helped him. Mind you this is the Latino/Filipino side of town.

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