Friday, August 04, 2006

a taste of Bolivia in Omaha...

this story is about the little mishap that happened to me and my friends the other day. What happened reminded me of this time in Bolivia where you think things are going great until the wheels fall off...It goes a little something like this .

My friend Ian is on a road trip for a couple of months in the US before he settles down and gets a "real" job. Ian is a cool guy that had a delicious mullet. The mullet may be gone but the attitude is still there. Ian was a mountain biking guide for Gravity Bolivia in La Paz where we met and got to talkin while riding the World's Most Dangerous Road. Now the WMDR is freakin sweet! It is a one-lane road with two-way traffic, no guard rails, hairpin turns, blind hairpin turns, human stop lights, waterfalls on the road, very uneven terrain and just about every climate. You gotta be a little wacky to ride this 40mile road that's 98% downhill and a little more crazy to actually guide people down it a 100 plus times a year. The ride was a blast and we got to have a pretty good conversation on the way up. I invited him to Omaha to partake in madness of the Thursday Night Ride and he actually came and crashed a few nights in Rafal's and my house. Ian is also the guy that introduced me to Douglas Copeland's Microsurfs, a book that is very similar to Office Space and really helps you keep what is important in focus.

Before this story gets any longer I think I need to point out the coincidental portion of the story, and that is all that the story really is. To get to the WMDR you need to get out of La Paz. La Paz is a bowl shaped city that rests on the Bolivian altiplano at just around 12,500ft. It's so high that you lose your breath walking up the stairs. Well, as our tour group was driving up the steep mountain roads out of La Paz when we had a little bit of a breakdown. No, it really wasn't a little breakdown...but more of a major breakdown where the ride was not gonna continue unless another van came and picked us up. And it did. "Welcome to Bolivia," said Ian. He advised us that vans breaking down in Bolivia is pretty standard procedure and that we would only be delayed by an hour or so. And yea, we waited for an hour while another jeep picked us up and took us to the start of the WMDR.
So Ian gets into Omaha on Wednesday night and Rafal and I are going to introduce him to the Homy Inn. The Homy Inn is the only place in Nebraska where you can get champagne on tap. The true dive bar that. Sad to say it, is sometimes overrun by too many trendy west-O foolios that have popped collars and too much gel in their hair. But most of the time the people in there are pretty relaxed and cool to talk to.
Back to the story. Since my car was makin a little bit of a sound that night I decided to have Rafal and Ian follow me to Exclusive Acura to fix my little Integra. I am traveling on Grover and turning north on 42nd when I hear a deep thud and then there is no power to the wheels. No amount of shifting or on the spot handy work was gonna smooth this one over. There I am on 42nd and Grover at around 10pm with Rafal and Ian pushing me up the street. "Welcome to Omaha, Ian." I said after they pushed me into the Bucky's Express parking lot and I advised them that this is normal. "'s like we are back in Boliva" we both said. I thought it was a pretty funny coincidence that each time Ian and I have been in a car that we have had pretty major car problems. As it turns out, I had a broken axel! no wonder things would go snap-crackle-pop every time I turned the wheel.
Not too sure if this story was even that funny, but it sure was funny at the time. It was also really nice of Ian and Rafal to push my car 60 or 70 meters into the gas station parking lot. thanks guys! It was also very nice of my Dad to help me out and pull my car two miles to Exclusive. thanks dad, love ya!
Anyways, I am now a little bit poorer after replacing an axel. laters!


McNerdius said...

hey what's up... i'm a soon-to-be unicyclist, from omaha ! on blogger ! yeah, i was googling around about unicycles and saw your video... about the third time i watched the video i noticed there was a URL... a blogspot URL... then i dug deeper and the omaha thing popped up. oh my GOD. wait till i tell my wife this. she thinks im going to be the only guy in omaha with a uni. well... turns out i'll be the only one without a video showcasing my abilities... anyways... i'm out i guess... just wanted to drop a fellow uni-fan a line. keep it cool !

A Bolivian in Omaha said...

Hey, it sounds like your trip to South America was a great adventure! I am from Bolivia and my wife goes to UNO and I was going through the UNO website and read the article. I hope you enjoyed Bolivia, with the high altitude and Bolivian time :) My wife also thinks we Bolivians have a diferent sense of time, but oh well, you have to be from Bolivia to understand it. Buena suerte !

Anonymous said...

Great to see the tales of a fellow Omahan and UNO alumni member. South America is truly a great place with incredible sights and wonderful people, while backpacking is certainly a fabulous way to get out and discover this environmentally and culturally diverse continent. But be advised, it´s only for the adventurous and good-hearted folks who are open to the striking differences of life than that found in the States.
I´ve been living in Bogotá, Colombia since November and am not certain when I´ll return home. I work at a beautiful Swiss highschool teaching English grammar and literature to students in 7-12 grade. I found out quickly once again that stereotypes are merely that, and that the truth can only be known by experiencing that which may be considered taboo. Although Omaha is truly one of the greatest places on this marvelous planet, after passing a lifetime there it´s refreshing to get out and comprehend life outside our tightly guarded borders.

Best of luck to you and your future, James.

Most cordially,
David Gash