Flush it Friday: Visas, Motorbikes, and Foreign Food

2010
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Buenas tardes, hermanos y hermanas. Welcome to our weekly tradition, Flush it Friday, the post the Toilet has traditionally set aside to air our grievances to each other in the spirit of mutual irritation and camaraderie. No holds barred, no judgment, only friendly hatred of the bullshit that exists in each of our lives and a quick upvote for those of us with particularly woeful issues.

The Good: For those of you who aren’t aware, I’ve been living in Bolivia for the past four months. My friends here were kind enough to extend their hand and allow me to live in the maid quarters in the backyard. I absolutely love living here; as my friend described it, I’m like “a fish in water.” However, and this may sound like a bad thing, but bear with me: the rules of Bolivian visas have recently changed, and I’m no longer able to renew my visa within the country. Thankfully I have many friends down here who are experienced with the Bolivian immigration system, which, like many systems across the world, is convoluted as fuck, and I was able to find this information out within an hour’s time (as opposed to the five hours the fine folks at Inmigración were trying to make me stay for). The silver lining in this (beyond skipping the line) is that I have to go to Argentina to renew my visa, which is a hell of a cool trip. We’re leaving on Saturday and taking a few days to bum around Argentina to drink cheap (and amazing) wine, see the sights, and to generally exist in a pretty amazing part of the world.

The Bad: I’ve been borrowing a dirtbike from a friend of mine. I know that sounds awesome, and it generally is, but the bike is in serious need of repairs. I’m more than happy to pay the money to repair it for my friend (since I’m the one using it), but none of the problems the bike is experiencing are my fault – all the issues that I’ve been experiencing were at a critical point long before I moved to South America. So I’m stuck with a fairly hefty bill to keep the bike in working order. This wouldn’t be a problem if my friend could organize to save his life. In Bolivia, you pick up your own parts for repairs. This keeps the cost of the entire operation down, but it does mean you need to have some form of vehicle to run around the city with. Since the only vehicle I have access to is the bike, I had to borrow a truck from a friend of mine. Thinking, like most folks would, that in one trip we could pick up all the parts for the bike, I informed my friend I would only need it for an hour. I soon discovered that we needed to head all over the city in lunch hour traffic, and some stores didn’t have the parts we needed, so multiple journeys across Santa Cruz de la Sierra were made. In order to pick up a tire, a tube, and a small sprocket, we took four hours of travel time. To make matters worse, the next day we needed to pick up bearings, and my friend’s truck wasn’t available. After hours of taxiing this morning to pick up two bearings (and no small taxi fee), I got a text from my friend to inform me that the mechanic also needs new spokes. Apparently changing a tire (and small repairs to the back wheel mechanics) takes three days in Bolivia.

The Ugly: While out and about yesterday to obtain bike parts, my friend and I picked up a cheap lunch (10Bs – roughly $1.45USD) of a steak, some rice, and a small salad. I immediately devoured my meal, at which point my friend questioned my decision to eat the salad, which, according to him, was unwashed. He claimed he’d lived here for 10 years and hadn’t once eaten a street salad for that reason. So the “ugly” today isn’t so much what I’ve shit out, but what I’m anticipating shitting out – and let me tell you, if my gas right now is any indication, the salad didn’t particularly agree with me. If I don’t comment by the time I come back from Argentina, assume I’m dead. I ask only for a small tribute on the blog: please make a post with lots of dumb jazz and poser metal, then pretend like you like everything for a day.

Well asshats, that’s been my week; now it’s your turn. Post your own Good, Bad, and Ugly in the comments below, and receive the coveted upvotes which will sooth the ache of the past week.

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