Day 83 Khabarovsk

P1030178

Just as I decide to try Vlad instead, I get word via the HUBB that the road south is actually pretty bad, the road to the ferry port in Zarubino even worse. I’m simply going to have to get repairs here. I arrange for another night in the hotel, and head into town to a couple of biker bars but everywhere is empty, I assume because of the rain. I don’t see a single biker riding around town either. This sort of thing is so much down to luck. Sometimes you ride into town and immediately meet someone like Farid or Igor and you’re all set. Other times there’s no-one around.

Back at the hotel I tire of fruitless web searching and read the Sibirsky Extreme blog instead. Those guys make me look like a wuss out for a Sunday jaunt! As I read, I realise that even stuck in a rainy town with a broken bike and a visa countdown clock ticking, I’m still having the time of my life, and that one day, hopefully sooner not later, I will be off on another big trip. Bigger. Bolder, longer, further.

In the morning there’s another ray of hope from a HUBBer. Contact details for Marina, the English speaking administrator of the local bike club. I make a call, and I’m told that the man who can help doesn’t get out of bed till about 12, maybe 1pm.

While I wait I go for petrol and another quick ride around on the look out for bike shops etc, but don’t see anything. I try a couple of car places and get nothing but shrugs and “nyet”s. The back of the bike is now really sagging, so I return to the hotel to wait for the phone call from Marina. Fingers crossed. I really hope she calls back and can help.

She does. A guy called Alexander will come to the hotel to help me. I wait by the bike, and a guy appears and seems to be trying to help, but I don’t think it’s Alexander, I think this one works in the hotel. Then Alexander turns up. There is much talk in Russian, some phone calls, a lot of standing around, and I don’t really understand what’s happening. It does look like they’re trying to help, and it seems patience is required. Eventually they indicate that a taxi driver is coming and I should follow. It will take me to Genie, who they seem to be describing as “The Maestro”.

A few minutes later I’m racing through the traffic trying to keep up, and before long we arrive in a industrial estate. There’s a big sign with a picture of a bike on it, and just around the corner there is a workshop full of bikes, parts of bikes, and a man with a welding torch. This is Genie, and he seems to know what he is doing.
P1030176

There is then a very anxious few minutes as he takes a look at the bike, talks in Russian to the taxi driver, and there is much folding of arms and shaking of heads. I’m fearing they’re going to say it can’t be done, when the taxi driver hands me his phone. On the other end of the line is the receptionist at the hotel, who translates.

“Your motorcycle will be ready tomorrow.”

Relief! What brilliant news! I suddenly feel calm and happy again. I can tell from the way Genie conducts himself that he is the right man for the job. Remains to be seen what it will cost, but I don’t care about that.

They’re even going to replace my split fork gaiters and do an oil change. Brilliant!

I return to the hotel, and the rain begins again, but I don’t mind it now.

I don’t mind it at all!
P1030177