US sales of VW cars have dropped by 17 percent. Imagine any other product where a company ripped people off by not delivering what they promised, invented the category of crimes against the planet in the process, and after the scam has been exposed uses every legal trick in the book in the legal courts to avoid having to reimburse the customers (never mind the planet). If car buyers had all their marbles, VW's sales should have dropped by 100 at least 83% if not 100%. But when cars are concerned, the brains of a very large majority of even smart human beings seize operating according to specs.
Related: A woman I used to date wanted to sell me her very nice 2002 Golf TDI for way less than half of the Bluebook value. Reason? No, not that VW is an evil company, but rather that her 10 year old child was complaining about the exhaust smell. See, she has to back out of her parking spot at home right through the exhaust cloud that is emitted when she starts the Diesel engine and didn't know about the button that prevents the car from sucking in air from the outside, i.e. forces the car to recirculate the inside air instead. Instead of securing myself a $6000 car for a mere $2000, I told her about the button. And right there is the reason why I don't make a good business man. I don't believe in charging for knowledge or information.
T minus 3 days. I visited Grandma yesterday and as a reply to my musings about postponing or cancelling my trip only got one answer: You are NOT postponing or cancelling. You are going. Anyone knowing Granny will now know that have no other choice but to obey ;-)
I also picked up the new bike (Haibike II) a few nights ago It performed very well in the F-ing downpour from hell that Vancouver was blessed with AGAIN. Rain can be a tolerable thing in the country side but it isn't in a city with the atrocious noise being made by the tires of all those cars racing over wet streets. I can not wait to leave this place.
I'm sitting at Denny's again. This time it's not water-tap-voices that irritate me, but a couple of excessively pretty people smooching in the booth in front of me. Oh, just get a room! Also, there is something odd about having 2 extremely good looking people in a couple. It's so very exclusive. Almost like the white-white couples of olden days when interracial couples were a big NO-NO. Of course it is possible that the two are soulmates or attracted to each other's intellects, but the two being so good looking it just seems unlikely ;-)
On one of these evenings I ride the bike home along Boundary Road and I hear this sound. WHERE is it coming from. I pace along the roads crisscrossing the Bus Depot and industrial area until I have located the source of the sound.
And YES, you can listen to it too ;-)
The broken bike (Haibike I) went to the shop yesterday for its scheduled brake service. They confirm my suspicion that there is no chance to get the spare parts before Saturday evening, so I will have to take some remedial action today to ensure that we have 2 bikes when we leave on Sunday. Yes, that might involve throwing money at the problem, but that is what money is for, isn't it?
|Feeling lucky because my problem can be solved that way ;-)|
In the afternoon, I meet Mark, owner of Evolution Bikes (www.evoebikes.ca, and buy this equivalent of a war elephant from him. It looks like you could easily put a basket with 5 people on top and when riding it one gets a completely different feel than on the Haibike. The Haibike is a sporty cut-through-traffic-sleek-machine whereas the Evo City feels like a blend between an excavator and a war elephant. Better get out of my way ;-)
Friday, T minus 2 days. Van-rental day. All my stuff has to leave the hotel room today and only the bare essentials that will come on the trip will stay with me. Haibike I will be shipped from the shop to Grandma. Le Velo will be shipped from the motel to the inlaws. War elephant bike will be shipped from vendor to hotel. I'll be a bike delivery truck driver today!
Saturday. T minus 1 .. 5:40 am. Why do I have a headache? Oh right, drank bloody bubbly! What do I have left to do? LOTS!
In between doing laundry, shopping for Grandma, and collecting the last 100 pieces of belongings in my room, I take some time to look for promising hotels along the route of the coming few weeks. I've done that so often now, I'm getting good at it ;-)
|Hotel in Istanbul overlooking the Golden Horn waterway onto Hagia Sophia|
Saturday 4 pm. Wow. Pretty much all is done, just waiting for my travel companion.
That's it, it's time step out of my comfort zone and to discover new wonders ! Time to listen to languages that I don't understand, pay in strange currencies, smell unknown odours, witness strange customs. Time to see more, learn more, reduce prejudice and ignance, become a better human being.
As Gandalf said "The world is NOT in your books, maps, television sets, or internet devices (OK, I admit I added the last 2).
It is OUT THERE !
(Not my pictures of places somewhere in Euskadi )