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  • Writer's pictureUNI

Solo Missions 1.3 - Motorcycle Diary - Homeless, pickpockets and broken parts

I'm riding down the high way 100 kmh when I hear a laud BLAOWW! The back of the bike starts sliding and shivering. "Damn" I said when I realized the back tire blew out. It's just few hours since I left the mechanics who repaired the electrics and some other engine stuff on the bike. Now, there would be a town ahead but it's still 50 km away. Driving 10-15 kmh it would take 4-5 hours. But there was nothing else to do than to be patient and keep going.

The tire that would soon explode, Santiago de Chile, 2015 Soon enough I hear a horn and a white pickup slows down in front of me. I new the car. They had passed me before, and deep inside I hoped they would stop and take me in.. the driver told me they had made a U turn in the junction 20 km down the road, drove back 40km to another junction and came to pick me up. I was amazed and extremely grateful again! In the car was a father with his 10-year-old son. Finding a right size of tire was not easy but finally we found a repair shop to do the job. I expressed my gratitude once again and continued driving up towards Antofagasta. I knew from experience, Antofagasta was one of the more sketchy places to hang around in Chile so I wanted to pass it and arrive as far away up to the mountains as possible. Hopefully until Atacama, before the night. Some kilometers to Antofagasta a smell of gasoline came up into my nostrils and again the alarm bells started to ring in my head. I drove to the side of the highway, turned off the bike and hopped off. I found out there was a leak in the gas tank.. the bubble of freedom of travelling on a motorcycle started to stretch and I could already see how it would burst soon. But again, I had no choice than to duckt tape over the leak and drive until the city to look for a repairshop. Just in time for closing, I found a guy who promised he could instruct me to fix the tank by myself if I would show up there at his repair shop tomorrow at 8 am with the required materials. Cool, thank you I said, tired and knowing that I had to find a safe cheap place to stay in that huge city where just one year before a guy tried to break in our camping van on the move. In the middle of a bright day. I asked the guys at the shop for one more favor: please show me an affordable and safe place to stay over night.. Following the lead I drove to this place, that I thought would be a hostel. They told me they sometimes stayed in there after a party night. When we entered the place I noticed it wasn't a hostel but a shelter for homeless people.. which, to be honest, seemed to fit my profile as I had been homeless for a while already. So I accepted the chance to experience a night with the people from the streets of Antofagasta and embraced the shelter.. As I was travelling light, with long beard and hair and clothes more or less as dirty or clean as theirs I didn't really pop out that much either.. except I arrived there with a rusty motorcycle and originated from other side of the world.

A look under the seat of the Colombian beast, Chile, 2015

Once again Peruvian Mapacho (jungle tobacco) turned out to be a valuable luxury and sharing it generously with the crowds was a good way to break the ice and socialise with these interesting people. It turned out the people there were mostly kind and humble human beings and nice company to talk with. The evening and night went all well and I could actually sleep more than the two nights before combined. In the morning I got up with everyone else, had shower and breakfast and went to line for my bike and backpack from the locker. One of the younger residents of the shelter offered to help me to lift the bike out and politely waved a good buy as he went. Just when he disappeared around the corner I noticed that one sholderbag felt rather empty. It was the one where I carried my SLR camera that I had been hiding during my stay there. Fuck.. I thought at first but soon realized that this guy probably needed it much more than me. And he had some balls and talent pickpocketing a rather big camera straight from my lab. I really hope he bought some food or even saved his fingers and knees by paying back to a dealer.. or what ever. Only thing I was really missing was the most recent photos I had taken from this trip on bike. I had made backups earlier and I had a few low quality photos on my not so smart phone from the bike trip (which by now I can't find anywhere). That would be enough. So I accepted what happened, decided to not make a number of it and left to repair the gas tank. To be continued.. Ps. If you would like to support my ongoing journey as an artist, please see the Store page or contact to order an artwork, Thank You! #uni #blog #travel #art #motorcyclediary #chile #bolivia #santiago #antofagasta #atacama #streetart

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