“The rear shock linkage has snapped.” “Whaaat?!” I verbalised, fearing the next response. “Your suspension is to-tal-ly ruined,” Jason exclaimed. In a state of grudging acceptance, my happiness soured as I discerned that Pearl, my motorcycle was going nowhere; she had the ground clearance of a piece of paper having expired quietly like a campfire at dawn.
While Jason blasted off to seek assistance, a trucky pulled over. His actions revealed only good-hearted intentions in trying to mobilise a moto-damsel-in-distress. Deferentially shrugging, there was nothing he could do to improve my situation. I disagreed wholeheartedly. A chivalrous chap for stopping and one who’d shared his watermelon. Cars hurtled past, blowing dust in my face as I sat marooned. Just as the whiff of worry started to pirouette around my head, Jason returned with the Peruvian police. I was utterly indebted to Pearl that we were two miles from help not 200.
After a chunk of clock failing to flag down a truck headed to the closest garage 50-miles away, we aborted the hunt. Within minutes Damian, an Argentinean rocked up on a Honda. At his suggestion, he and Jason prised the faulty parts from Pearl in an unrelenting heat. Smeared in sweat, dirt and oil, Damian insisted on accompanying us two-up in sourcing a welder with translation-on-tap. You really do meet the nicest people on a Honda.
Entering the urban sprawl that was Chimbote, traffic police hailed us aside. Becoming acquainted with the boss man Igor—and him with our predicament—we were police-escorted. Complete with flashing lights to the nearest welder, who took one look at our convoy-head, dropped everything and prioritised my job for a few bucks. What boundless gratitude I had for our growing rescue party in that single moment. I allowed myself to be governed by the spirit of compassion, needing zero confirmation that my true faith in humanity still held water. Before wishing us farewell, Igor even arranged for his friend to lead us to a hostel. As we started processing the random chain-of-events laced with good fortune post Pearl’s mishap, over walked a local full of fondness towards both bikes. “Would you mind if I treated you to a coffee? I’d love to welcome you to Peru.” Wow, muchas gracias!
Learning important attributes on the road—patience, faith and resilience—is one thing. Immeasurable hospitality to which we’d become unexpectedly acquainted, is quite another. On the receiving end of gestures of goodwill and proactive concern from strangers, seemed to dislodge an inner-emotional logjam in me, and while I didn’t fully know how to pay it forward—it was good and I’d find a way. What had we absorbed? Something warm, intimate, genuine. That friendship has no linguistic barriers. That’s the essence of goodness, which in our case stemmed from the fellowship of the road. The unforeseeable weave of human action. It left me flabbergasted to be a member of such a camaraderie-driven family. Isn’t it always the fruits of serendipity that taste the sweetest?