Most know me as artist, writer, adventurer, but I love to ride my competition bike. It’s a cross-country bike style called a Specialized Epic Comp. I put 15 miles on it almost every morning riding up into the Andes Mountains. My favorite route is to follow Via Soldados as I trace the path of the Río Yanuncay, upstream, in its natural valley. I fly when I ride as this provides my morning cardio workout. Half the time I ride the route, I complete it in an hour flat. It is steep going up and steep coming out and I let my blue rocket unwind the hills touching 40 miles per hour on the descent.
So, now you know how I like to get my exercise. And, because of where I ride and my personality, I know many people along my route. Exchanging morning greetings is standard. I’ve got some indiginista friends who like me to slap hands ”high-five” style as I come rolling by. Lucky for me, they live in steeper areas where my bike and I are moving slower on the ascent because they really like to give my hand a good whack. I swear they’re going to crash me but I love the interaction and so do they.
Well, yesterday morning when I was high-balling it out of the mountains, I came upon three nurses. I race against my own times in the morning and I have a small computer on my bike that keeps up with my performance. Friends, I’m a pretty serious guy about most things so I do not stop to chit chat when making stopwatch times. But this was a little different. The nurses had shots, pens and clipboards. They were young and cute and waving. I shifted my butt off my bikes seat and back placing most weight on the rear axle as I slammed into the brakes for a showy stop.
The nurses smiled at me as they were giving shots to some other women who were weaving baskets. One of them asked me immediately if I would like a flu shot. She explained they were with the municipality and giving free flu shots to the people who inhabit the countryside. I announced with sorrow and deep regret that I was a resident of San Joaquin but that the people of El Campo were my friends and confidants and that I spent much time there. Well, they smiled and laughed and said they would love to vaccinate me. So, as I gave my name and age to a woman, another administered the shot. It was a painless, kind gesture they provided, a great experience with our interaction.
So, here’s my take-away from today. Stay in good physical health, you can do it. I’m in my mid-sixties and it’s not tough. Stay in good mental health too. Practice your Spanish. Know your neighbors and community, interact with them. Get some sun on your head, greet everyone you see. And, remember to get your flu shot and stay healthy this Holiday Season!