Ulan-Ude - August 11, 2015
"My God Jim... I've starting to think that I can heal anything!"
And a good thing too Scotty. Now, can you fix Sam's windshield and left mirror?
God, so much excitement by 6 in the morning. So I was still awake from the domestic quarrel that had taken place in front of the hotel at 5 AM, but then just as I was getting back to sleep I heard a bit of a crash. Uh... I'd better check. So I looked out my 5th floor window and sure enough, the cover is off the bike and the bike is lying on it's side with some staggering drunk next to it. By the time I get dressed and downstairs, the hotel security is there. Where were you 5 minutes ago buddy? But the guard helps me lift the bike but the windshield is in 8 pieces and the mirror is broken off the stem. I have no idea what the guy was trying to do. But two minutes later the cops arrive, both with Kalishnikov's slung over their shoulders. Oh shit, now there's gonna be trouble.
But I have to say that the police were very professional, and in fact very polite and kind to both me and this guy. Communication was quite tough as my Russian doesn't really hold up in these situations, the police spoke very little English and the night clerk only spoke a little. Anyway, the policeman asked me to write a statement with an estimate of the cost of the damage, which I did, but why? Like the policeman said, if I write a statement I would have to stay in Ulan-Ude for a couple of months while this went to court. Not like I would ever recover any damages anyway from this guy. But I think they wanted a written complaint so that they could deal with the guy at least for now even though later, nothing would come of it. So they were very nice, as was the drunk guy, but they handcuffed him and took him off in the cop car.
So I'm left with this bike to deal with. I did bring a spare mirror as I knew that they were vulnerable but the windshield would need to be repaired somehow. The prospects of driving 10,000 km with the wind and bugs blasting on my chest is not all that attractive. I've done it before on shorter trips and it's exhausting. And I would not be able to find another. Even these I have trouble finding at home, and after that, they have to be cut and shaped to fit.
So after breakfast, I started piecing the windshield back together with superglue and tape. Superglue works well because both the glue and the windshield are acrylic, but it's hard to get all the pieces to fit correctly, especially since the metal frame and supports were all bent. I can only think that the guy tried to pick up the bike by the windshield, hence all the damage.
But it's back together as well as it can be. I used up my Superglue supply so had to go out and track down some more. It's apparently called Super-Klei here. I used some JB Weld to fill the gaps, bent the supports back as best I can and put it all back on the bike. I've done a temporary repair on the mirror, and will see how far that will get me. Hate to use the spare too soon. There's still a long way to go and who knows what excitement still lurks in the shadows. I may need all my spares.... of everything.
Anyway, all of the morning's action did get me down to breakfast late. And just after a bus crowd showed up. So some guy and his wife came to share my table. Both very nice. He spoke English quite well as he was a retired Linguistics professor from Istanbul. He and his wife were on a train/bus tour across Russia, Mongolia and into China. Sounded like a whirlwind trip. They live along the south coast of Turkey where I was in 2010, so of course mutual invites were exchanged. I told him about the "Twilight Project" and what it means. He said that in Turkey, they call this stage of life, the "Second Dawn". I guess that's OK... but whose got the energy to start all over again!! That's not even realistic.
So I'm here in UU expecting this to be a rain day. It's now 1PM and no rain yet. They really need it as the visibility is near null in smoke from forest fires near Lake Baikal. I'm headed that way tomorrow. Ugh. So hopefully the rains will come soon.
Still have to send out a spot, so will do that this afternoon. Gonna require sitting outside in the yuck.
I should have picked up that puppy and turned him into a guard dog. Killer puppy.