Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Monday 7/6 to Wednesday 7/8 - El Pinguino sees the `Vet `

El Pinguino (my trusty Kawasaki) was sorely in need of medical (mechanical) care, and Alberto came to the rescue. He came and picked me up on his trusty Yamaha and took me to see Ven, the moto mechanic. Ven arranged for a pickup taxi to take me back to my hotel and get my motorcycle. So once again, a truck trip back to the mechanic. Fortunately this one only cost me twenty bucks.

Ven immediately started pulling the bike apart and confirmed what the Suzuki dealer in Sao Mateus had diagnosed? yes indeed a gasket had blown. The difference was that Ven actually knew what to do about it. For the next three days he worked on the bike, getting a new gasket made, and other maintenance like replacing the chain and sprockets. These guys get very clever here when necessity is the mother of invention. While I had a semi-used front sprocket in my parts kit, a rear sprocket for my bike was not available in Salvador. So we bought a sprocket with the right number of teeth and took it to a machine shop to have the right size center hole machined and the correct bolt holes drilled. Quite clever.

Wednesday morning I decided I had to actually see some of Salvador, so I arranged a tour of the historical area. Salvador was the first capital of Brazil, before Rio and then Brazilia. My guide, Armando, spoke Spanish and was very informative. In fact, just a little TOO informative. I finally had to tell him that while I found the history interesting I was getting just a little bit too much information. If I asked him about the government in the colonial times he would proceed to tell me where the term government came from, why there were colonies, and the color of the third Vicount de Fulano?s second daughter?s petticoats. Anyway, you get the idea.

There are, like in most colonial towns, some very impressive churches. This is how the Church used its money instead of helping the local populace. Also probably why the impressive churches have survived while the local populace died off. But interesting from a tourism perspective

The local population in Salvador is heavily Afro-Brazilian and there are a lot of reminders of the slavery of the past. The traditional dress of the Baianos (people from the state of Bahia) iis heavily influenced by the Carribean roots. Many of the women are simply heavily influenced.

That afternoon it was back to the mechanic`s. The bike was put back together and after a final wash to get the rest of the oil and grunge off, on Wednesday night I was out of the mechanic shop.

I went with Alberto to meet up with the group that gathers by the Farol de Barra (lighthouse). The lighthouse itself is quite impressive at night.

After a half hour of normal BS with the guys, we were off for a few beers. Other than a few drops of oil dripping from the air box, the bike seems to be running fine.

Then it was back to the hotel with my trusty steed, and tomorrow I am off to Fortaleza.

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