Sunday, December 15, 2013

I'm Getting Lazy

Lazy and Melissa, two words that go together as much as water and oil! It was unheard of to use them both in the same sentence, but recently I have to admit, I’ve become a bit lazy.  How can that be if my legs are in motion 6 hours every day pedaling away, and then I’ve got my little routine and rituals when I arrive at my destination every night,…there really isn’t time for being lazy, right?

A month ago, the day before I crossed into Vietnam from China, I got my second flat tire.  I found the nail that punctured the inner tube, so it would be possible to patch.  I’ll do it tonight, I thought as I put the inner tube back in my material bag, and continued on my way.  Famous last words…..Well, more than a month later, and the inner tube is still in the material bag, with a hole, yet to be patched.  And for some reason I knew it would turn out that I would get a second flat tire without repairing the first. 

Puncture number 2 in China

Today, that is exactly what happened.  A flat tire was on my mind, I don’t know why…..Maybe things were going too well, I was flying, making great time, 115 kilometers in just five and a half hours, flat terrain, and my destination was 3 km away.  All of a sudden I thought, man I’m sure going slowly, what happened?  I looked down at my back wheel and noticed it was low.  I had just put air in 2 days ago, so it didn’t seem right!  I tried to play the game of denial,…no it’s just low, not flat because strangely I hadn’t heard anything, I just noticed I was lugging along a lot of weight.  I was getting so lazy, I didn’t want to stop and change my tire, I could see my town up ahead and I was so excited to arrive at 2pm, a new record for me!  I stopped at one of my good old Rua Xe’s, motorbike shop here in SE Asia.  I thought, I’ll just put a little air in the tire, and then change it when I get to my hotel.  The guys pumped a bit of air in using my adaptor, and pulling away, they shouted at me and kept pointing to the tire.  Darn,….it wasn’t going to work.  So I pulled over calmly to a building where I saw a guard out in front and I had plenty of space and really no one around.  Since I hadn’t repaired the last tube, I didn’t have one handy so out from the bottom of the pannier I got an extra tube, took off the wheel and had at it.  I must say, for being the second flat tire that I’ve changed in my whole life, I went fast!

This guy was great,..he babbled in Lao while I chenaged the tire. He lent a hand when I gestured.  Made his day I'm sure!

I think I admitted that in my last blog post.  During a bike race, I spend a good majority of the competition looking down at my wheels and saying a little prayer so that they don’t pop.  It has worked, I must say, because of the four flat tires I’ve had in my life, none have been on my road bike.  I’ve had 4 flats on my touring bike, and two of those I had help changing, although my companions weren’t allowed to touch anything, just coach!  The first time I changed a tire without any help whatsoever was in China.  Even today, a nice gentleman decided to get involved and give me a hand.  It was pretty funny, he was babbling in Lao, and I was walking myself through the steps out loud, what a combination.  I changed the tire and was on my way to town, 2 kilometers away.  The tube, of course has gone into the bag with the other one that needs a patch.  I swore I would do it tonight,….yeah right!

The patch kit is in the bag with the tubes,...I'm halfway there, tomorrow I will do it, PROMISE
Another example of my unheard of laziness.  Back in Bosnia, about 6,000 kilometers ago, a dog bit a whole in my pannier.  I was thankful it wasn’t my leg.  I thought a great fix would be to put a bike patch on the inside of the pannier.  After all these bags are rubberized, right?  Well, since I wasn’t getting those patches out for anything else, I got a piece of duck tape to stick there in the mean time, to cover it from the rain.  Well, my duck tape was from the “todo cien”, the Chinese dollar store in Barcelona, and let’s just say the quality wasn’t the best.  Today, while reaching down to pull out another inner tube, I noticed a gooey and sticky film on the inside of my pannier.  My duck tape had slipped down and left this nasty sticky residue on the inside of my pannier.  Bummer, if I only had all my cleaning solvent along with my on my trip.  Duck tape is really the fix all, and a must have in your materials and gear kit, but when it causes a problem,…what to do!  I might have to hit up a hair salon for nail polish remover as it has a bit of solvent in it and might get rid of the tacky feeling.  Then I promise I’ll patch it!

I just patched this while uploading pictures,...a bit silly on the outside, but the inside is gooey at the moment, have to find a solvent....hmmmm

Lazy,….well, now that I’m not in the mountains and sweating a ton climbing up those grueling hills, I don’t sweat as much, hence I have the urge to go to the bathroom more frequently.  Of course the timing is all off, because I’m not hungry at the same time and I don’t like to stop unless it is a multi-purpose stop, like pee and fruit, or pee and picture, or picture and lunch, but to stop just to go pee, well, it isn’t quite justifiable in my book, so I end up waiting until the last possible moment to go to the bathroom, then I can’t wait any longer and I make it about 10 centimeters off the side of the road and hope that a car doesn’t come along and pass me.  The other day, I politely waited for a truck to pass, but I didn’t realize the back of it was filled with people.  Boy did they let out a good holler as I squatted!

When I left for my trip, I treated my feet to a pedicure.  It was good thinking, a bit of luxury for my feet before I put them to work for the next 14 months.  Only problem is the polish didn’t last long.  For the last 3 months, I had just the remnants of a bit of pink polish on each big toe nail, which looked a bit odd, especially with my Keen tan line on my feet.  I kept thinking, I need to paint them again, to give a bit of a feminine touch and perhaps take away the attention from the tan lines.  Well, I kept saying I’ll paint them, for about 3 months, and last night, I finally did.  I had to find nail polish first, which was no easy task in the towns I’ve been passing through here in Laos.  In this case, being lazy did me more good than harm, because the polish didn’t help out that much! You tell me?!?! Those tan lines are never going to go away, not to mention the bike short one as I am approaching the beach! Maybe they sell spray on tanning cream.

And this is the foot that doesn't get as much sun as the other....does the polish really help?

At night I can get a bit lazy as well.  There is always something to do to keep on top of my trip.  From route planning, to writing in my journal, recording statistics, uploading photos, emailing, skyping, I’m a busy girl out here on the road.  Pedaling is just a tiny part of what I do every day! Lots of times at night I find myself just wandering the streets, looking at stuff in stores, going from stand to stand having Asian “tapas”, sitting and having a beer and zoning out, avoiding getting down to the nitty gritty and doing some work.  This might be procrastination than laziness, but I do admit, sometimes it takes me awhile to get in gear and start my work.

I know, a lot of you think that I’m on one big long vacation.  Sort of like when one of my brothers would ask me while living in Barcelona…..“So when are you going to come home to Oregon, and start your real life?”  Funny, but this is my real life for the moment.  My reality is the fact that I start every morning not knowing where I’m going to sleep, if I will have hot water, or even be able to take a shower.  I have no idea who I might find out on the road during the day and what sort of scenery awaits me.  And chances are, I won’t ever roll pass the places I see today ever again in my life!  There is a lot of uncertainty in my life right now, a lot of random things happen on a daily basis, yet this lifestyle has become my daily routine and reality, so it is only fair to say, yes,….I can be lazy too!!!  An active lazy that is!

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