Day 58 – Mocoa, Colombia

We were hoping for good news this morning from the RMV back home, but apparently Boston just got another umpteen feet of snow dumped on it and the RMV is closed and the Governor has told everyone to stay home. So our friend will try again tomorrow, and we wait in limbo in Mocoa to see if we can get a new plate for Kay’s bike.

In the meantime, we went out this morning to explore the town and see what else we could accomplish here.

Carboarded motos

Surgically Augmented Mannequins

My SW-Motech TraX pannier has been held together by stickers through two falls now, and we decided to see if we could find an aluminum welder to replace the plastic cap that’s broken off with something a little more substantial. Wandered a bit, asked a cop, who sent us over a block, down a block and over a block – but the cop next to him said we should just go down two blocks and over a block.

Neither was quite accurate, but with one more stop to ask directions, we made our way to a welder who was working on something on the sidewalk. The trick is finding a welder who can work with aluminum – most only weld steel. We’d planned to wander over and ask, but the thing we saw him welding in the street was a large aluminum frame, that looked like in better days it might be a window frame. Check. They weld aluminum.

So we went back to the hotel room, emptied my pannier, peeled the stickers off (they came off in one giant sheet and didn’t leave any residue! Yet another victory for the stickers!) and walked back over to the welder. Along the way, we looked up a few words we wanted to make sure we got across – “strong” – “substitute” – we didn’t want them to try to fix the plastic, but we wanted a new strong piece of aluminum there. Even with our poor Spanish we managed to get our point across.

Damage to Trax case

In the end, it sounded like they were going to use the plastic cap as a template and machine a new aluminum cap piece for the pannier. We asked how long, and they seemed worried that we needed it “rapido.” “No, no, tomorrow’s fine” – and they told us to come back at 11AM tomorrow to pick it up.

Yay! So now, hopefully, my pannier will no longer need the stickers, and will be stronger than before. We’ll see what we find.

We went window shopping for little motos, which sadly took less than five minutes. We’d spotted a showroom yesterday that had a selection of Bajaj motos, which we checked out today. It turns out that they only have two models – a 135CC and a 220CC. Which both have the exact same body work, and seem to us very much similar to the new Ninja 250 we’ve looked at in the states. (We used to have an old school Ninja 250 – Kay had it before I bought it off him, and it was my first bike. I learned a lot from crashing and repairing that sucker.) Either Bajaj or Kawasaki ripped off a lot of the body work and design features from the other.

Then some poking our heads into the local supermarkets for Diet Coke. Diet Coke was readily available in Central America (although they call it Coke Light) and I’ve been missing it in Colombia where I can only get regular coke, or the rather odd Colombian brand sodas. Although Kay has discovered a soda called “Quatro” which tastes remarkably like Fresca, which we both like. But because our hotel room has a mini-fridge (did I mention $13 per night for fast internet, hot water and a… MINI-FRIDGE? Yeah baby. Luxury.) I thought I could grab some soda and keep it there for a treat. We did eventually find a two-liter of Coke Light, some snacky stuff and some cord for another bodge we want to do for our bikes, and then headed back to the hotel room.

All before noon.

While we may not be excited about our enforced stay while waiting for license plates, we’re certainly going to get the most out of our stay in Mocoa.

Kay’s note: I couldn’t help but feel like we were playing a real live version of World of Warcraft this morning. First we received a quest to go find an aluminum welder. Then the welder gave us a quest to go get, and prepare, a pannier for welding. When we did that we got a quest to take it to the welder. When we dropped it off at the welder we got a quest to return the next day. Dachary said “what filler quests can we do in the meantime?” We’re just hoping we don’t encounter any random mobs while wandering around town the next couple/few days.

The afternoon was spent updating our blog and generally being lazy. Went out around 2PM looking for lunch, and apparently that’s the wrong time of day to go out in Mocoa. Everything was closed and shuttered. The vibrant town that we had seen this morning was non-existent. In spite of the fact that we’d seen half a dozen restaurants whilst wandering around this morning, we could only find three open this afternoon. We sat down at one, which told us they wouldn’t be serving food again until 3PM. We tried another, but they only had breakfast and juices on their menu. So we went back to the same place where we had dinner yesterday, and got the same dishes we had then. It’s pricey but apparently it was the only place in town open and serving lunch at 2PM. Lesson: go earlier or later for food.

Got back to the room and spent more time poking around the computers. I got a new assignment from a client to write articles about this trip – YAY! and spent hours working on my first assignments. Kay tried in vain to finish the book he’s been reading on his iPad via the Kindle app (it refuses to end). We watched some Dr. Who and chilled. It’s been a very low-key day. Looking forward to picking up my pannier tomorrow and see what they’ve been able to do with it. And hoping for good news tomorrow with our friend and the RMV! (Although MotoAdventureGal has suggested a lovely Plan B that might just do the trick, so we’ll see what happens.)

Mocoa at night

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