My bike is broken. Four years riding on the back of a trailer and it disintegrated. It was new when we left. Burt’s bike, pushing 25 years old, still runs fine. I was kind of bummed because I was really getting into hoping on it in the morning and arriving at yoga in 12 minutes. The car takes 8. Two weeks ago when I made the turn to head up hill I did an poorly timed gear change and the stress snapped the chain. The local repair shop looked at it and offered to fix it but said it was likely to break again because it was thoroughly rusted. For $10 bucks they fixed the chain. It broke again two days later. There’s no chain the right size here and, as I understood it, there is not point in getting a new chain anyway. Wear and tear and corrosion have created a situation requiring an overhaul; new gears, new derailer, new chain. The bike pretty much isn’t worth the investment. Maybe. It has a good, comfortable frame and shocks. I don’t know what to do. Haul it to the US and try to fix it or dump it here? And Burt’s bike is fine. It makes me think I bought a lemon.
So without a bike I’m back on foot. Walking is a high risk sport in Mexico. Sandy sidewalks undulate and a rife with ankle breaking holes. Eyes must be glued to the ground at all times. New holes open up hourly. My daily commute has stretched to 26 minutes more or less. More if the dogs in town decide I’m trouble and I have to negotiate passage. Less if they sleep while I pass and nobody else tries to talk to me. A few years ago I did this walk every day as I walked to the bus station to catch a ride to Spanish class in Todos Santos. Dogs were a problem then, too. At 7:15 AM there is a new annoyance. Men working or waiting for their rides to work. Without women around to moderate their catcalls it’s open season on the gringa. The dogs I deal with by using my mean voice and stooping down to pick up a rock to toss. This is the universal sign in Mexico and scares almost every dog. Sometimes I wait too long to stoop and the dogs are too close and I feel uncomfortable lowering my neck to their level. I stop, face the dog, kick (only one kick this year, today) and yell, GIT. That wakes the homeowners and their neighbors and the dogs turn away. The barking men I ignore. The first few early morning works had me reconsidering the car, global warming, the cost of fuel and my growing waistline. Maybe I should throw rocks at the men, too. I realized after a few daily passes the men gave up and stopped hooting and whistling. The dogs are less predictable. Today I was swarmed twice. It gets the adrenaline going. Friends have told me they’ve all but given up after bring bitten. It scares me, too, but then I remembered in all my years walking in Montana I was bitten twice and neither dog barked first. I never saw either of them coming. They lunged from their hiding place and took their flesh toll (no skin broken either time) without a warning. I was bitten one other time by a dog at Burt’s work site. Rocky, the bulldog. He was a neighborhood terror. Once he broke into a neighbor’s house and assaulted the little dog that lived there. One time he took a mighty chomp of my thigh and left a bruise that lasted weeks. I got away by hiding in the bathroom. I was trapped there for twenty minutes. Burt was off working on the second floor somewhere and couldn’t here my screams for help until he came downstairs. That dog snarled at the door the until Burt dragged him away.
For now I’m going to keep walking with my eyes peeled and my NO voice ready. I think the adrenaline rush might increase the calories burned. And for a little color consider the nicknames I have given the dogs I routinely see: Beagle/boston terrier cross with tongue permanently hanging out, Ugly Elvis, Olive/Elvis Cross or Ugly Elvis II, Twiggy II, Two Deaf to Hear Me, Two Tired to Move, Sleep in the Street Dog, Dog-Magi-Might-Have-to-Adopt, Hungry puppy 1-8, Is that a dog? and lastly, Why won’t you leave me alone?