Back and forth in the Wingle

I am flat out.

It’s a long way from Punta del Este to central Montevideo. This morning I woke earlier than usual just naturally because jetlag etc. I rolled onto site with all the things I had found before rushing back to take 4 powerlog guys back to the airport. One of them will be back in 2 days time… He had two days down and he flew home, 15 hours or so each way just because he wants to run his bikes. I totally get the level of obsession about something, as I’m like that with my acting. But fuck. 30 hours in the air and untold hundreds of pounds for about 20 hours at home? I would pay not to have to do that. “I think I’m gonna grab a Macdonald’s at the airport,” he said.

After dropping them off I went to the Montevideo University District in a last ditch attempt at stationery. There is no office culture in Uruguay. This is why they are all so happy. There are no good office supply shops because that particular blight has not taken hold. Unlike the UK and America where the bulk of the populace have to be crammed into horrible rooms full of bullshit and status in order to stop the streets from being too crowded, Uruguay is not overpopulated yet. Human-Calming measures haven’t been implemented. People are free to move around and be themselves. But the knock on effect is that you can’t get an A3 transparent plastic wallet for love or money. I’ve attempted a workaround.

There are no huge monopoly hardware stores either. This is a country of opportunity. Independent businesses. It’s a total coincidence but the Bazar San José, where I got my canisters yesterday? I went back for two more and, having asked a million times, they had exactly two galvanised metal buckets. Sure, the staff member shook their head and said “no” when I showed them a picture of such a bucket. But I have long ago learnt not to trust staff members over my own eyes. They are moving around in a hardware store, talking to strangers and exerting common sense etc. But this doesn’t make them any more useful than Oakley in the office who has been there for twelve years and is telling everybody what to do despite being an impressively useless specimen of humanity themselves.

“Here! You did have galvanised metal buckets!” I smile and attempt to tell them in my awful Spanish. They pretend not to hear. They don’t care. Would you? Would I?

I’m back home. I covered a lot of ground in my Great Wall. It’s a pick-up by Wingle. A Wingle Great Wall. A Chinese Pick-up. Well named. Driving it is more or less the experience you would have if you were driving a great big wall.

There are lots of these Wingle cars on the road in Uruguay. There’s a statue of Confucius in the centre of Montevideo. Are the Chinese looking at the emptiness here? There’s obviously trade, as nobody in their right mind would purposefully buy one of those Great Wall pickups. The first two gears do nothing but roar, and you plateau at about 120kmph (140 on a downward straight). At that speed the engine is labouring so much its only really the considerable weight that makes it worthwhile. But the suspension doesn’t match the weight, so if the road surface is in anyway pockmarked then you and your passengers are going into orbit. Obviously I haven’t tried this for myself, that would be illegal. I spoke to someone who had.

But I’m flat out, as I said. Bedtime. I’m happy to be here, and covering ground. But. Fuck. It’s not a relaxing car to drive.

“ok Google take a photograph”

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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