The Caboose was still in need of some work.
Born around eight years ago in Zhangye, China, she had gotten a slight tweak a few months later near Dunhuang and then a major overall shortly thereafter in the desert city of Shanshan. This year in July she had gotten a new paint job at the border of China and Kazakhstan. And another month later, in Almaty, Victor had carefully readjusted her.
But now she needed another general makeover. I had failed at my previous attempts a few days earlier, but that wasn’t going to stop me. So I took her out of the hotel garage for another walk around town:
We came past some of the same places as a few days earlier:
I had given up on the various velomasters in this town, so I went to a large sporting good store instead:
They told me no, they couldn’t do it. But they said there was another sporting goods store a little further down the road where they would be able to fix the Caboose. At this point I had been walking for an hour so I thought: okay what the hell.
So I went to the second sporting goods store:
It was around nine kilometers from my hotel. And I hated every step of it.
But here’s the thing: here, too, the people told me they couldn’t repair the Caboose. They were able to fix the spare wheel though, which was nice. And then the dude who ran the shop told me to go to some obscure auto body shop somewhere in a backyard.
So I went to that obscure auto body shop, which was in this backyard:
The owner, a guy named Zafar, looked at the Caboose, grunted approvingly and went to work, which meant cutting her up:
When he started sawing I was scared as hell. What was about to become of my beloved Caboose? But after a while I decided to simple have faith in the abilities and in the good will of this gentleman whom I hardly knew. Also, the guys at the auto shop were awesome:
So Zafar proceeded and made the Caboose a bit wider:
Then he made the suspensions totally new, restoring the Caboose to her old awesome self:
When he was done, it was already dark outside:
I walked the nine kilometers back to my hotel, and on the road I stopped when I saw a Santa (or rather: a Grandfather Frost) and his helper:
And then I stopped at the little restaurant where I had had the awesome pahlava during my first failed attempt to fix the Caboose a few days earlier.
Of course I had more pahlava, but first I had a burger:
And then I hung out with Rafael, maker of the pahlavas:
And everything was good.