Thursday, April 22, 2010

You Know You Have a Crooked Mechanic When...

One day you take the car in to the mechanic you've been using for years for a tune-up, e.g., new plugs, wires, fuel filter, and clean the injectors. After a few thousand kilometers, the car runs terrible. Dissatisfied on the mechanic's work, you go and find a better honest one (impossible?). By word-of-mouth we learned about "Chivo". I told my wife to take the car there to get it road worthy again. Besides having a real diagnostic computer, he seems to be an honest guy. This is what he found in our car's engine from our last "tune-up".
Three of the four spark plugs are of different manufacture. Unbelievable!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Meeting Place

This is at El Morro on the top of the Cerro climb which goes from about 8 m (26 ft) above sea-level to about 65 meters (212 ft) above sea-level in 1.6 km (1 mile). It is a moderate climb with steepish pitches in places. Usually there are a group of cyclists hanging out in the shade of the little police shed deciding where to ride to next. 

Yesterday I was riding with my friend Jacques and had just come down the "La Falla" trail and paused here just to see what everyone was going to do next. You can see by the bicycles, the ones pointing right, are all full-suspension free-ride type bikes. These guys are a sub-set of the group of mountain bikers who frequent El Morro. All nice guys with big bikes. The two bikes pointing left on the right of the photo are Jacques' Rocky Mountain and my full-rigid Merlin (I love that bike!). 

The more I look at this photo, the more I like it. I like the crude splicing job I did on it using Photoshop. It makes for a more interesting photograph in my opinion.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cancellara Attacks on the Hell of the North

I stole this from Gunnar's blog. His commentary is more clever and original, but I think this is one of the most impressive attacks ever I've seen, so I stole it.

Anyway, Cancellara leaves everyone stunned and unable to seeing the bikes bounce around on the rough pavement is very cool.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ciudad Bolivar

I've been in Venezuela as an outsider for 10 years. Its sad to see the country slowly destroyed by greed, ignorance, and stupidity.
I was just in Ciudad Bolivar, the city where I was married, and it has become one big slum. Really, really sad. I love that city, I have connections in that city, but now it is a prime example of a city in decay...a city doing everything wrong. It is a place of so much history and potential that it could be a mini-Paris on the Orinoco.
Sorry no pics...didn't take my camera (stupid me).

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Viva Mi Abuela (Grandmother) [updated]

My wife's grandmother died today. She was 92.

This is the woman who raised Tania from about 3 years old. She is the one who instilled values and beliefs in Tania. She is the woman who I went to ask for Tania's hand in marriage.

According to Tania, her abuela was a strong and independent woman who didn't need any help from anyone. In the 1970s, when Tania was a little girl, they lived on a piece of land on the banks of the Orinoco River where they raised chickens and pigs, and grew a few crops. Her abuela was so fierce and strong, she could kill a pig with a single wack of a thick stick between the eyes.

When I got to know her, she was already an old lady, blind, who loved me for taking care of, and being a good husband to her favorite granddaughter. She spoke to me in Spanish like I understood it. She spoke to me about the love of Jesus, and Hugo Chavez. She loved them both. I can't fault her for loving the former, but I think the latter had her fooled.

She was a good woman who lived a long hard life. May she rest in piece.

Viva mi abuela!

[update] I went to the funeral and it was very touching and nice. The whole time I was there, of course everyone is chattering in Spanish, so I withdraw into my own little world and this song kept playing in my head. Tania loves Billy Joe Shaver so I wanted to add this.