She’s back, my good old girl, in one piece and raring to go. And I’m amazed to say it, but in the end it was pretty easy.
At the gate I said no thanks to the fella offering to help me get my package. But security wouldn’t let me in without one of these ‘official’ helpers so he got the job and we wondered in to this huge hanger full of people jabbering and waving about this and that. It was like an auction house or a night at the horse, that sort of crowd. My man shot off with my passport and carnet, darting into this room and that while I stood there calling her name;
‘Dorothy, I’m coming, just sit tight.’
I knew she was in here, somewhere, boxed up and breatheless after her flight from Bangkok. What state would she be in; happy sad or heroic having made it this far?
But her mood I would not know for another 2 hours because before then I had to sign a thousand forms and follow my man as he led me to customs, then men with more forms and finally to a table where I sat next to an old-ish man who seamed totally disgruntled that I was there, in his country, at all. ‘What are you doing here’, he barked not caring with what I answered. Misreable git.
Still we waited. Then finally, the drums flared, dry ice fired, trumpets roared, a crate appeared, Dot was here….
The forklift sat her down and immediately the crowd formed. A foreigner with a box and helmet in hand; this was something different from a normal day at the docks. What’s inside, they must have wondered looking at my tiny package and questioning what there could possibly be to ride in there.
A man with a crowbar then attacked. He bashed and smashed while I stood there bemused trying to figure all this out. I’m in a warehouse in Nepal collecting a bike I’ve ridden from Sydney with a stamp in my passport for Pakistan and a destination that lies only west. How the hell did this fantasy trip turn into reality? What walls have come down for me to say sod it, I will fight the urge no more, find reason to anchor my heart no longer, I’m off. So to be here now, in the middle of it, alive, still breathing, with a bike I’m really starting to love.
When the box fell, Dot was revealed, my pride and joy – strapped tight in cling film and hammered to the deck. Slowly we peeled her free, let her breathe, the crowd grew. People gathered closer and began asking the obvious questions about power and price. Low on both accounts.
Finally exposed, a whole team of us set to work putting her back together again. I couldn’t stop them, they just picked up spanners and tossed them at nuts i wasn’t sure should come off or not. It was chaos, a crime scene, but gradually she came back to life; footpegs on, handlebars, wingirrors, crash bar, front wheel, front mudguard minus a few plugs I’d lost. Then the petrol went in from a couple of water bottles I’d filled with unleaded on the way.
She was alive. Ready to tick.
But would she start. Of course not. The crowd was deeper now, maybe thirty. And I kicked and kicked and kicked and and bloody kicked. Dot you bitch just start. But no, she was playing for the crowd, caughing delicately, suggesting she just might, then turning and looking the other way while telling me in her ‘own time’. This went on for 15 minutes before her followers pushed her outsdie for a bump start. Down the ramp we sailed, neutral now, then first, right fist to the gutter, a cough and a splutter. And there, in the warm afternoon glory, she lived.
The man who helped with the paperwork took her for a spin around the block after taking the $12 or so he’d asked for. Fair enough, he’d earned it with all the running around he’d had to do. While he tickled Dot, everyone else stood around trying to plot with fingers the route from Sydney to London in the afternoon air.
Dot returned, I climbed onboard. It was good to have her back.