A man is nothing without string.

Mr Froog, don’t you have anything better to do?

My apologies for being so slack with my postings lately. I have lost my camera for the time being and cannot post pictures, and really there has not been much to talk about. I stay at home and work endlessly on the piddly details of the boat’s rigging, somehow I make very little progress in each long day (this largely because it is my destiny to do a thing wrong at least four different ways before getting it right, often more by luck than judgement) and many other things interfere and take up my time. For example, two days ago coming out of Veracruz I punctured a tire. I managed to limp the bike back into Boca del Rio where I found a tire place. Two hours later I was still there, up to my elbows in filth from taking the wheel off (Mr. Tire Man doesn’t do that part, it would cut into his beer time) and helping get the tire off the rim.  After a long struggle I got the wheel, with it’s brand-new inner tube, back on the bike and was tightening the last nut when – phewwww… it blew and went flat in seconds. I took the wheel off and when the tire was removed we found that Mr. Tire man had damaged the tube with his tools. He repaired it, but it did not even get me home, I drove the last few miles on a flat. This ”service” cost me $17 US, and an entire afternoon.

Yesterday I returned to Boca del Rio with the wheel, passing through on a dog-repairing trip into Veracruz in a friend’s truck. I dropped the wheel off with the guy and asked him to make good his work. Two hours later on my way home I found it with the tire off again but not repaired, and there were now four holes in the new tube. I asked him why he had not fixed it, what exactly I should be expecting for my $17, why exactly he didn’t feel it was his responsibility to make good his work. He had no intelligible answer and refused to refund any of my money. After quite some time I stuck my middle finger under his nose, called him an unprofessional clown and a son of a whore, and told him not to cross my path in the dark. I have never in my life been that rude to anybody. Er, not intentionally anyway.

This morning I’m back at it, on the bus with my wheel, which I am thinking of hanging from my neck as the millstone that it has become. The tire place in Anton Lizardo says he can’t fix the ”new” tube, so I had to walk across town to the hardware store where to my delight they had a tube. I’m out $27 and I haven’t paid the Anton guys yet.

I only mention this as an example of how little things can take over your life. This seems to happen a lot here. A person’s time is not considered a thing of value in Mexico. In the States you can pay your electricity or phone bill in any number of easy, quick ways; here you must go in person and line up, and bill-paying can take a whole day of your life every month. And that’s with utility companies…try the government offices for real horror.

Another thing difficult to adjust to here is that there is no liability. I’m as against frivolous lawsuits as much as any sane person but there is no question that the ability of Americans and others to take each other to court to exact restitution and retribution has made it a much fairer and safer place to live. Here there is really nothing you can do if maligned, maltreated, ripped off or injured, and this happens to a great many people every day. So remember next time you curse the legal profession or make jokes about lawyers and rats, that without them we’d really have something to complain about. I have had my head much turned on this subject.

Today was launch day, but we are in the grip of yet another norte blasting through and it seems unwise not to mention uncomfortable to test a new boat in these conditions. I have raised the sail with the boat parked in a field and it all seems to work fine; this after much mucking about with ropes and pulleys and bits of string and rubber. I have a great deal of string.  The boat is frankly bitchin’ as Gringo Jack said the other day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cooler-looking vessel. But I am far from sure that it will actually sail. Next launch attempt will be on Monday I hope.

Mr Froog I actually hope you don’t have anything else to do.