June 26, 2006

Western Union? Never Again!

Thank you everyone, for taking a huge load off my mind and digging deep to make sure that I'm going to be ok. I have the list of people who pitched in, and I've got something up my sleeve for all of you! I won't be able to tell you what it is, until we all gather at the Blue Fin on Friday night in Laguna Seca. I don't know many of you by face, or name (because everyone is using alias' these days on their emails), so please introduce yourselves to me at the track or at the party.

After a hectic day, I have received the monies sent by Jim, and what a day it was! I crashed pretty hard last night when I returned from Amsterdam, but not until after I had gone to dinner with the Aoyamas in the Port Olympic area. Seafood and salad, and all of us were tired from the weekend. I don't know how many of you saw the 250 race, but some riders crashed early on, and both Aoyama brothers were driven from the track and into the gravel, rejoining in 22nd and 23rd place (dead last). Both put in great rides to recoup positions, but Shuhei wasn't as lucky in the end. After dinner, we walked and talked for a bit, and in typical spanish style, the night didn't end until after midnight - at which point we were all walking dead and ready for sleep! A loooong night's sleep and I was up today to find the ever elusive Western Union location - because apparently the website for the company is quite outdated and several of the places I visited were no longer in business with W.U.

I received some monies from my parents, and that was good, however, I wasn't able to access the "barf fund" and no one could tell me why. A couple hours of walking around the city on a hot, hot day, and I made it to Planet Cafe to use the wi-fi and give Jim a skype call. We confirmed that everything was correct, and I went back down into the Raval (off las Ramblas area) to find a couple more W.U. locations. I was actually thrown out of one because an argument started with the teller, who was offended when I asked him if is was indeed a Western Union or not (shady place). He slammed his fist and declared that the computer wasn't working, so I walked out to find another place. At this point in the evening (thanks to waiting in lines and dealing with other hassles), several places were beginning to close and I was getting worried. I, frustrated as all hell, made my way back towards home, and chanced upon a place with the W.U. sign. I went in, waited, and put my information in once again. This time, the problem surfaced when the teller showed me that Western Union had my name mis-spelled in their database! WTF?!? @#*($^&)Q(*@#$^&*(!!!!!!!!
I quickly fought my way through the crowds of people mindlessly ambling about, and called Jim again to double check and have him call W.U. to see what was up. Jim was on the phone with them when I called him, and after things were explained, they pledged to get it right this time. Even after Jim gave me the ok, the website still didn't have any information about my transaction, so it was very worrisome for me as I went back to the Raval area (not known for being very safe). I made it back to the place, everything went through this time, and I'm back at Planet hanging with Kenny Noyes and Iana. Kenny has just returned from Italy from a Pirelli tire test, so expect an article in RoadRacing World at some point. I'm going to get some quality food in my system, but I expect to post later tonight about some of the races I've been to and some of the other cool experiences, meetings, and things that I've manged to do despite my troubles.

Once again, I want to thank everyone who helped me and I also want to say that "officially", I'm ready to put this chapter behind me and concentrate on the present and the future! A special, special thanks to VTRWeasel (JIM) for handling all the crap with Paypal and Western Union. It was far more difficult than advertised, on both sides, and if any Barfers here work with W.U., I expect an explanation.

Expect more race wrap-ups, reports, and glimpses into my life as the Wild Ride continues! It probably won't be quite the same as before, but I'm growing and learning every day, and I have a much deeper understanding of the way things work, and how I'm going to make my way through everything. The main difference will probably be less photos, as I'm busier now and don't have the time to get to all the corners like before. Putting together quality "reports" also takes me a lot of time, and sometimes, like these three race weeks in a row, there simply isn't enough time in the day. Also, because I'm in such close contact with people at the track when I'm working, it just doesn't seem appropriate or "right" to whip out a camera when I'm talking with my friends or having dinner with people.

Alright, time to eat - but I'll be back later!

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