Sunday, November 4, 2007

My new wheels

That’s right, it’s my awesome new mountain bike! “New,” I suppose, is a relative term. I bought the bike used at a little repair shop just off Calle San Diego, a street in downtown Santiago that adopts a new commercial personality every few blocks. The stretch directly south of the Alameda, Santiago’s main east-west artery, is by far my favorite: If block after block of used book stores isn’t heaven, it’s pretty darn close. At first glance, each shop or kiosk is a barely contained chaos of paper and dust, but some incomprehensible order permits the vendors to unearth practically any title from sagging shelves or precarious towers.

As one continues south, San Diego lines itself with discount electronics and clothing stores and then—once the towering Santísimo Sacramento church has been left behind—bike shops. Last week, I rode out of one of these shops with 18 speeds and safety lights that flash enough to illuminate a rave. Since then, my bike has accompanied me on a number of urban escapades. It’s also allowed me to bypass Transantiago, the confounding new transportation system that has been experiencing some glitches, to put it euphemistically. I frequently wax nostalgic about the good old days when Santiago’s buses were yellow and I knew where they went; I feel like someone’s great aunt who gripes about the evils of those new-fangled picture boxes.

Today, my bike will roll into its new home. I took advantage of Thursday’s All Saints’ Day holiday to move into my new apartment, which is located in a historical neighborhood in downtown Santiago. More on that to come!


Alan said...

A new bike a new apartment and book shops what else can a girl ask for? Watch out for buses they don't like bikers

Leigh said...

they certainly don't! i spend about half the time i'm riding looking over my shoulder.