Was That My Bike?
Ryan and I are beneath a tree, enjoying the final cool breezes of morning and putting away the first coffee for the day. Over the rim of my glass, I see a whirl of bright blue and red speed past. A second passes as my brain tries to register what my eyes just saw. Breaking the momentary silence, Ryan manages a sentence, â€œWas that your bike?â€
Yes, it is mine, and it is accompanied by another riderâ€™s bike. We leap from our seats, hop a short fence and run along a line of barbed wire. We manage to find a gap and wave down an already crammed minibus. Iâ€™m sitting on a womanâ€™s lap and Ryan has managed to squat on someoneâ€™s knee with his upper body jutting through an open window. We try to communicate our urgency, but no one understands.
Passengers are astounded by our rudeness and are not shy to let us know. I overhear someone in the back repeatedly say â€œcrazy peopleâ€ but we are too preoccupied to care. I am squinting ahead while Ryan scans each alley. From inside, I am shouting and pointing and Ryan, being half outside, is not hearing a word of it. We continue these antics for five minutes before we decide to turn back, regroup at the hotel and call the police. We switch to an oncoming minibus and return to the cafÃ© to settle our bill.
On our walk back to the hotel, Ryan and I discuss scenarios: did the thieves have the audacity to go into camp, steal the bike, ride down the long dirt road and not be stopped by any of the other riders? Were the culprits in cahoots with our hotel? As we walk, I know the thieves are removing components and repainting my bike. Iâ€™m not looking forward to riding the rest of the trip on a different bike.
We pass a familiar local in the street. I recognize him by a tie-dyed Jerry Springer Spring Break 2002 t-shirt. Weed or chat, a local narcotic, has blown his eyes into a glassy red stare. He was around the hotel this morning and might remember, depending on the amount of THC in his system, the people responsible. â€œIt will be worth your while to find it,â€ Ryan tells him. He bobs his head down then up and sets out down the street.
Back at camp, Henry tells us to call the police, organize a taxi and begin a search for the bike. We need to determine where it was stolen and then spread the word of a cash reward. Ryan organizes a ride back into town and Iâ€™m running to hop into the back of the already moving vehicle. They drop us on the main road and point in the direction of the police station. On the short walk to the building, we pass a restaurant and Ryan notices my bike resting against a tree.
How could this be? We walk into the cafÃ© and see the film crew enjoying lunch in the shade, much like Ryan and I two hours before. We explain the theft while they stare towards their shoes. Still trying to piece together all the information Christian interrupts, â€œWe took your bike this morning. Then we let two locals take yours and another bike to have a quick spin around town.â€