Posted by: rlearmonth | February 24, 2008

Left in the lurch by “Flush”

This weekend, nearing the end of February, the rains that have prevented much exploring beyond Dili halted, and my friend and colleague Kim and I rode our motorcycles west along the coastal road toward the Indonesian border. Our destination was initially modest, just to Taci Tolu (Three Lakes) where there is an abundance of birdlife (Taci Tolu is not a place Timorese are fond of, as it was the dumping site for bodies during the occupation). We did not see much birdlife though, since by the time we got there it was late morning and too hot for most birds.

But the day was spectacular, the road was good, and we headed further out to a place called Bubble Beach, so named because gases seep through the sandy bottom from volcanic activity deep underground. Think about swimming in warm champagne.

We didn’t get to the beach, because I was running low on fuel, and there is no place to buy gas along the road. So we turned around and started back toward Dili. Still about ten kilometers from Dili, my motorcycle, Flush, blew a front tire. Standed in a beautiful spot next to an expansive bay with crystal-clear water, we were fortunately able to get a cell phone signal, and Kim called our friend Geofrey, an entreprenuerial, young Asian mechant who runs a garage/car rental/car dealer/contractor…you get the idea. The project has leased several cars from Geofrey, and a staff member bought one from him.

Geofrey sent his guys out to find us and change the tire. Hours elapsed. After Geofrey’s guys looked at the tube and pronounced it unrepairable, they called Geofrey and he drove out, too. By then, we had four guys (plus Kim and me) and two vehicles to repair one motorcycle tire. Geofrey drove back to Dili and bought a new tube, which was promptly installed.

Our caravan slowly returned to Geofrey’s shop. Since the blown tube was, according to Geofrey and his guys, of inferior Chinese manufacture, we all agreed that we should change the rear one before it had a chance to fail. So Geofrey went out and bought another tube, and his guys changed the rear tire.

This enterprise took most of the rest of the afternoon, and for the record, cost me $37.




  1. I trust this episode won’t harm the chances of the Flush passing inspection…

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