News from the Bottom Half of the world

Well, it´s official- this trip has now completely abandoned any pretense of being a bike tour, as I just sold my bike. Due to the fact that I can´t really ride any great distance, it was more of a hinderance than anything else. I originally wanted to sell the bike in order to buy one of the many 125cc motorcycles that swarm the roads of Chile, but my enthusiasm was tempered by the fact I would need insurance and registration, and the additional fact that I don´t “know how to operate a motorcycle.”

So it happened, the trusty old Surly Long Haul Trucker is gone, traded for a sizeable stack of Chilean Pesos, 450,000 to be exact. Because the US dollar is in the tank right now, things worked out quite well in my favor and I got about $950 out of the bike, which is more than I would likely get for it in the US.

I sold the bike on a Chilean approximation of ebay, and an eager buyer snatched it about a week after posting the bike. He came to my house, quickly examined the bike while mumbling approvingly at the components, “Ah, Ritchey, Sugino de Japon… hmm, Brooks!” After a few minutes of pawing at the bike, he handed me a stack of Chilean cash with a grin, dropped the seat as low as it would go, and dramatically overtightened the seatpost binder bolt while I winced at the bike-geek incorrectness of it all. With another big grin and a final handshake, he wobbled off down the sidewalk, and there I stood, suddenly and undeniably bikeless.

Sure, I felt a little bit nostalgic and sentimental about selling off the bike, but in a more practical way, I got about as much as I could get for the bike anywhere. Not to mention that the thing is about as useful to me as a boat anchor at this point. Plus, it´s kind of cool to pass along my bike to someone here in Chile. It isn´t possible to buy one here, so it´s likely the new owner has one of very very few in South America.

In other news, bike-related of course, yesterday there was an awesome bike event here called Valparaiso Cerro Abajo, which simply means downhill. If you can guess from the name, the event involved downhill-style mountain bikes through the twisting streets, stairways, wall-rides and big jumps that the unique topography of the city provides. I can´t say how many times I´ve though about how cool it would be to do such a thing, and yesterday I saw it played out in the best fashion, as a bunch of pros from South America and abroad went after it in full force.

Pictures? yes.

From Chile and Argentina Bike Tour 2011
From Chile and Argentina Bike Tour 2011
From Chile and Argentina Bike Tour 2011
From Chile and Argentina Bike Tour 2011
From Chile and Argentina Bike Tour 2011
From Chile and Argentina Bike Tour 2011

Click through to see full sized images and more from the set.

I´ve also been getting after it, in a different sort of way. Chile, as some might know, is located directly adjacent to the ocean. As such there is a wealth of good sea food here, and I´ve been doing my best to sample what I can. Yesterday after the bike event I went with my friend Alejandra to the port district of the city, where I got a Paila Marina, which is a grab-bag of shrimp, abalone, clams, Conger eel, and other sea food in a delicious broth, served with chopped cilantro and a wedge of lemon, all for 7 dollars, including an appetizer of ceviche, cold raw fish tossed with onions, cilantro and lemon juice. Very good, and not stingy on the portions either!

well… that´s about all there is to tell in my short internet-café session, rest assured I´m doing fine with cheap seafood and wine!

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