Oh, the agony of it all!

The bike felt a little strange when I disembarked the ferry in the village of Pargua - the steering was a bit weird - so I pulled off to the side when I reached the main road, thinking something may have been damaged during the fall that I hadn't noticed.  Checked the front wheel, all OK.  Checked the rear - flat as a tack!  Bugger!

Luckily, I was in civilisation, not stuck out in some God forsaken remote desert or whatever. I asked passersby for the "vulcanisado" (tyre fixer), and there, 30 or so metres from me, was a sign - Vulcanisado.  Off I went.  It was locked.  I knocked.  No answer.  Hmmmmm, what to do next?  I asked another guy.  He indicated I should go to the Carabineros (Police) located just over and along the road a bit. Off I went, and pled my case with them, in my mangled Spanglish.  Two of them jumped in their wagon, and drove to the bike. Hmmmmmm.  They located the lady of the house at the Vulcanisado's place who unlocked the shed.  The man of the house was no longer around, apparently.  The Carabineros then got the airhose out and pumped the tyre up.  Nope!  Air was fair hissin' and sizzlin' out somewhere near the valve, although the valve itself wasn't leaking air - spit tested!  The Carabineros indicated there were no other vulcanisados within 25km, and that I should take the bike to their station for safety, so it was pumped up, and barely made it the 150 metres or so before it went flat again.  But the bike and my gear were safe, in their garage.

I assumed by the amount and location of the air escaping that the valve may have torn away when the bike fell, or it may possibly have been the actual cause of the bike falling, if it had for some reason deflated at the right moment in the swell rocking cycle.  So, a new tube seemed a necessity.  No bike shops here, of course, in this tiny village.  But they did have an internet kiosk, albeit with a dial-up speed of 37.2 kbps, horror of horrors!!!!!  Still, it was better than nothing.  Out went the "Help" emails. I needed to know where I could procure a new tube - probably in the city of Puerto Montt, about 70km away to the north.  Having been told the kiosk would be open till 10.00pm, I walked back to get a room at the little hospedaje (guesthouse) 2 doors from the Police station.  So for the princely sum of A$9.20, I had a bed, and there was a restaurant over the road, and there was internet 2-300 metres away.  What more can a person require?

Walked back to check my email for responses - the kiosk was closed, at 7.30pm!  I walked back and sampled the sopa (soup) at the restaurant - WONDERFUL!  Chock full of seafood, although I didn't look TOO closely at what critters I was consuming, after I saw little claws etc.  I know there were at least a dozen, if not more, large scallops hiding among the thick brew of legumes and seasonal vegetables, and under big lumps of potato. YUMMY! A meal fit for a king, for about A$4.00, including 2 cups of tea.  I walked back to the kiosk - still closed, at 9.30pm.  It was time for bed, after a stressful day.

After brekky over the road, I walked down to the kiosk.  Closed!  I wandered down near the ferry loading area, and had a coffee at the cafe.  On an impulse, I jumped on a ferry going over to the island, thinking that perhaps there was internet and/or a vulcanisado in the little village of Chacao.

It was a lovely morning, warm with bright sunshine and no breeze, and the sea was calm, just the swirling tidal currents disturbing the serenity of the water - and the heads of many seals and dolphins seeking their daily meals of fish, popping up above the surface.  The seals were everywhere, covering the whole distance of the 30 minute crossing, lots and lots of them.  One inquisitive fellow popped up in the gap between two passing ferries, and stayed there, head swivelling from side to side, checking out the ferries for a couple of minutes before diving from sight.  Others would swim to within 20 metres of the ferry for a looksee, then disappear into the depths. Most, however, remained at a fair distance and just went about their business of fishing.  The graceful dolphins seemed to inhabit the waters closer to the coasts, bobbing along so gently through the water.  Such efficiency of graceful movement!

I enquired of a young girl about internet, and she directed me along further.  I asked a taxi driver about vulcanisados - nope, none here, none till Ancud, 33km away to the south.  That's that, then, I thought.  It's Puerto Montt or nowhere! At least the internet was just a little faster (50.6kbps), and there was a response, advising of a moto shop in Puerto Montt who would have tubes.  Wrote down the phone number, then translated into Spanish a plea for the Carabineros to ring the moto shop and ask about a tube on my behalf.  Nope - the number wasn't connected.  Back to square one. What to do now???  Down to the internet kiosk, which was now open (hours of 2.00pm to 10.00pm, apparently) and sent off a few more emails.  Checked till closing time, but no more responses. So after another wonderful soup (big chunks of beef, this time) it was off to bed.

Brekky, then over to Chacao on the island to check email. It's a 5 minute walk to the dock, a 32-35 minute ferry ride and a 15-20 minute walk to the post office, just to check my email, and all in reverse returning to Pargua, of course, so I'm getting used to all this walking, which won't hurt me, I'm sure. More information received from a respondent about the shop in Puerto Montt.

On the ferry ride back, while watching the mammals at play and feeding, I decided to remove the rear wheel myself, and take it to the moto shop in Puerto Montt, on one of the many buses assing through Pargua.  Out with the wheel (easy as, I thought), remove any bits that were loose and may get lost in transit, and go wait for a bus, one of which was due within minutes, according to my landlady.  I spent the time while waiting and during the hour long trip in conversation - in English - with a young university educated lass who worked in Pargua, but lived in Puerto Montt. It was good, getting insight into a local's opinion and knowledge, and she gave me some very helpful hints re getting around the city and which bus to catch on the return journey.

To cut it short, there was the initial bus journey, a taxi to "the" bike shop [the one I'd been advised of apparently didn't exist, but the taxi driver had brought me to this one, almost at the same address], they seemed at a loss as to what to do, and no tubes were available after a few phone calls, so the chap hailed, then put me and the wheel into a taxi and gave the driver instructions, bound for a vulcanisado about 1.5km away.  No glass fronted tyre repair business, this, just a small open fronted, almost derelict, shed with myriads of old tyres everywhere outside.  But he was efficient, and almost immediately indicated a "pinchado" (puncture, or pinch) about 6 inches from the valve.  Phew!  It wasn't the valve torn away, so I wouldn't need a new (unobtainable/unavailable) tube. It was rapidly repaired, thoroughly tested then refitted into the tyre and inflated to the normal running pressure of 40psi.  A job well done, for the grand sum of A$4.60!

But he also then tried to hail me a taxi back to the bus terminal, but after several futile attempts, he put me and the wheel on a bus bound for the main city terminal (where I had to catch the country bus) and told the driver where I was going.  Such good service, for so little recompense!

Eventually the right bus appeared, disgorged passengers, reloaded with new ones, and we were off, headed for Pargua.  On arrival, I went straight to the Police garage to refit the wheel.  Immediately, a (very) young Carabinero in uniform appeared.  He was the owner of the Kwaka ZZR1100, which I learned was inoperable due to failed internal electrics, also parked in the garage.  He spoke a tiny amount of English, and insisted on helping, so together we managed to get the wheel back on successfully, and it felt great to be doing "high-fives", both of us with very greasy hands, with a Carabinero in uniform, on completion of the job!  Such are the wonderful people we meet along our journeys in far flung places.

This morning, I thanked the "Boss" Carabinero profusely for his assistance, and gave him and the bike owner small koalas in appreciation.  Then I checked out of the hospedaje, loaded up, said goodbyes to all and sundry, and headed, slowly at first till I "proved" the tyre, for Puerto Varas.

I have learned a few things, though, from this incident.  I should carry a spare tube and appropriate "instruments of destruction" eg: tyre levers.  I now know how to remove and reinstall a rear wheel.  I know that it is very difficult to get the 650 (unloaded) onto the centre stand with a flat tyre.  I know that vulcanisados can probably fix punctures faster, easier and cheaper than moto shops.  I know that I SHOULD check the brakes before riding away, instead of almost crashing into a truck when it stopped suddenly in front of me because the brakes weren't yet pumped up.  I know that all sorts of people are prepared to help a foreigner, willingly.  Life is good!