martes, 2 de octubre de 2007

Part time bums

23.41 and I've got my MP3 folder set on shuffle: Perfect.
It's been a good night though a long day and I'll quickly recall the rest of my week-end before jumping back to today, the day that started yesterday and counting.

Friday wasn't too exciting. I had my second class of Fundaments of Animation, actually a very interesting course on the art of drawn animation. Old school style. Before Flash made such fast-food-animations such as South Park (albeit hilarious, I'll admit). No we're talking drawing by drawing. In fact, our first homework was to make a flipbook of at least 60 drawings (good for a good 10 seconds of animation, at 6frames/sec). Since I can't draw for shit (nor money), I decided to make use of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, characters which I could copy from internet examples. Then again, I discovered it's fucking hard to make your drawing look like bugs bunny, and not a chinese-type imitation probably named bogs bonny and sold for 89 cent at the market. So, I came up with a little idea for my story: I'd let daffy duck do a magic trick, but of course, mess up and end up being tricked by bugs bunny. This, plus some nice changed of camera angle, I thought 'couple of hours of work'. Turns out, if I start drawing at about 5pm, I finish drawing at 5.40am. Hence, my long day, but I'll get back to this.

Coming home, me and little brother wanted to watch a movie at the cinema (still have to see the Bourne Ultimatum) but it seems most movies are dubbed in spanish here. So we styed home, rented Nacho Libre and had some home-decorated pizza's (gotta turn those frozen doughs into a nice meal) and laughed our asses of at occasions. The humour was not too bad, perhaps a tiny bit more alternative than usual, but from the maker of Napoleon Dynamite, it was to be expected. Still, a great night among brothers.

Saturday late afternoon at the beach. Not much to say. One cool thing though, is that the shore is quite flat, and you have to walk a while to reach deep water. But then again, 20 meters past the deep water, there's another sandbank where again, the water is only but waist-high. That explained why we saw a german looking dude sticking out so far out of the water, while we barely touched ground. I mean, no one is that tall :) Then tapas in the evening. Ahhh, this place called Monto Tanto, just behind the corner in my street. But let me introduce my neighbourhood first. I live near Plaza Xuquer. Plaza Xuquer, is basically like... The place to be. At least, in this neighbourhood :) No seriously, it's a really cool little plaza, with cooler cafes around, one of which is the tapas bar called Monto Tanto. Very popular, very tasty. And very busy. We arrrived there, maybe 10 people in total, and there were no tables available outside. Which was kind of bad, because inside, is not that big at all. Add a few racing waiters into the mix, and you understand why we didn't But the vibe was great and the tapas fucking delicious and mmmmmm, delicious! Cool combinations like roasted turkey and blackberry jam, all on a little slice of toasted baguette... We finally got a table outside and then we could just relax and enjoy the food, conversations flying around across tables and laughing. Then we headed up to Verena's place (I can't really remember why) but some erasmus-type-house-party was going on there. Just some friends and sangria. Then again, I couldn't stay that long, seeing as I was heading to the black market in only a few hours.

Alright, so the black market is kind of hard to grasp at first. Although the principle is quite easy: strange people selling strange stuff at strange hours. The people, don't ask, I have no idea. But everyone knows the hours: between 4.30 and sunrise, behind the football station. Apparently, everyone gets the fuck away by the time the sun shines down on the various lost-and-found-or-stolen goods which are laid out on old blankets on the floor. So, what was I planning to do there? The answer is: getting a bike. And I wasn't the only one. Early scholar year, every one is looking for a bike... At least, the erasmus students. Somehow, the spanish people either don't care for one, or already have one. But bikes aren't too popular here, it seems. So imagine this: a big parking lot behind a football stadium. All around, strange people sellling what-ever. Then, lots of students, walking around like junkies in need, searching for a bike. The bike market is both easy and tough.

Whatever the hour your arrive at, there will be some bikes. But those are expensive, say 50 euro's. Obviously, the sellers know that one moment or another, a erasmus student desperate enough will pay the price. But that's not what the mass of ambulant students has in mind. No we're looking for a bike between 20 and 30 euro's, that's just as good as the expensive ones. Most are mountain bikes, but sometimes also old classic ones. Thing is, to get your hand on one of these, you need a lot of luck, and keeping your eyes open. Because as the mass of students walks around the merry-go-round, once in a while a strange guy will arrive on a bike, that he's willing to sell cheaply, if you negotiate. As soon as you spot one, don't think just walk fast and ask how much. Of course, whatever he asks for the bike, you say 30. 25 maybe. 20, if you can, but there's also the factor time. Obviously, you're not the only one who noticed the newcomer. Therefor, you better agree on a price fast, before someone else (more desperate, always these damn desperates) will take the bike for a higher price than the one you were negotiating. And voila, you just lost your first opportunity. Happened to me once, not twice. By some miracle, I spotted this dude on a nice racing bike and rushed to him before anybody else.

Now, everyone I had spoken to so far, had had some kind of cool story to tell about how he negotiated and got his bike. Since mine wasn't that great, I decided to come up with a better one. The following part is loosely based on blurry memories of real events.
So, I asked this guy (part bum-part thief) how much for the bike. I was looking at an original Peugeot racing bike, complete with old school gear switches on the main frame, lightweight wheels and a sleek race seat that makes your ass so sore, taking steroids is almost justified, if only to stop the pain. So, I looked down at this beauty, then back up at the ugly dude, and asked: Cuanto cuesta? (how much?). He looks at me and says: 5 euros. This guy can't be serious. A pearl of a bike like this, for 5 euro's, that's really sketchy. So I say: 15 euro's. He curls his upper lip as he ponders on my offer, and says 'Listen, if I'd give it to you for as much, that would just be an insult to the peugeot engineering wizzards. To honour this bike like we should, I'm gonna ask you 20 euro's. I looked him in the eyes and said: Fact is, you don't have much credibility as a part-time bum-part-time-thief, how can I know that this is a good bike you're selling me? I need some kind of guarantee. So how about this: I'll give you 25 euro's, but I want you to look me in the eyes, maybe put your dirty hand on my shoulder, and say 'Hombre, this is a good bike'. The bum looked up and told me: Hombre, I haven't eaten in a few days, right now I'd sell my left leg for 25 euro's. If you wanna look into my soul and hear me say those words, you're gonna have to lay down another 5 euro's. And so it was. I gave him 30, and he whispered his promise to me (afraid the other bums would hear him and call him a bum-wuss), before handing me the beauty over. And this is the story of how I got myself a two-wheeled prestige for 30 euro's.

Having arrived at the market at 5.30 am, and finally bought a bike an hour later, I drove home happy but tired. And getting lost on the way. But all ended well. And now I bought 4 kilo's of solid metal to lock my bike with, protected even from hammers, steel bars and other barbaric tools used by bike thieves. Oh well, if it ever gets stolen, I'll just go back to the black market and buy my bike back. But this time, I'll only pay 5 euro's for it, since I know it's a good bike. It's a damn good bike :) Hmm, maybe I should buy one more lock :)



editors note:
- All similarities to existing bums are purely coincidental.
- No bum was hurt during the transaction of the aforementionned Peugot bike.
- Peugeot filed a judiciary complaint concerning its suggested link to bums.

1 comentario:

Micha dijo...

Though I heard the negociating story one or two times, I could laugh my ass off again and again and again...