A false start this morning

flat tyre in Italy
Here I am, waking up tickled by sunlight. I get a shower, water the plants, clean up the place a bit, get into the car, drive up the highway. And then I hear a funny noise in the back...

Oops, punctured tyre.. No problem I have done this before... A Smart does not come with a spare tyre, but with a handy electric pump. I park on the emergency lane. 30 ton truck racing 2 inches past you. You "pump it up" and drive off..

Oops... puncture too big.... I barely make it to the next gas station. All flat again. No problem.. I have a can of tyre glue filler (how do you call that stuff?), made for just that. Except that there is no tool to get the valve off the tyre. No way to fit the glue tube onto the tyre.

flat tyre in Italy
Well, this is a gas station, so I ask the pompista. Nope. "No tools." He points at the gas station at other side of the highway: "Ask there". Luckily there is an underpass. Off I go.
I explain with the best of my Italian, that there is a problem with my "bomba" and I am looking for a "bombista".. The guy gives me a funny look but no luck. "If you get the tyre here, I will fix you up with a second hand one", he says. I think that is what he says.

Meanwhile next to my car, a queue is forming. Three buses of Dutch tourists wanna go to the loo, and line up right next to my car. And each has a comment. Not thinking I would speak Dutch. We're in Italy after all. Until I comment on their comments.

Long story short, my luck comes in the form of an angel, a friend working close by. She dropped by the local garage, picks up a wrench and a tool to remove the valve. When she arrives, I introduce her to the Dutch tourists as the representative of the local automobile club. They all comment they want to change tyres too.

Anyway, glue goes in, but as soon as I pump up the tyre, it comes out of a dozen different holes. It seems I drove into every single nail in Rome. Tyre has to come off. Smart no come with jack. Back to the pompista to explain I have a problem with my 'bomba'.. No tools. Friend's car has. Fits well. Off comes the tyre.

flat tyre in Italy
With tyre and friend back to the other side of the highway. I ask again for the 'bombista'. Friend asks me what I mean? I say "a guy who fixes tyres".. "Ah" she says, 'GOMMISTA', you mean. 'BOMBISTA' is someone who makes bombs..." No wonder nobody had tools for my "BOMBA" (bomb). Oh well.

The GOMMISTA gets the tyre off, and fixes a second hand one he has laying around. "Should get you going to the next garage", he says. 20 Euros. Cheap to get back onto the road.

Back to the other side of the highway (thank God for underpasses), fixed the tyre while realizing this is not the typical picture: Normally you would have a blonde saved by a mechanical savvy guy. Here I am being saved by a female angel..

Anyways, dropped the car off at a garage, and got a ride back home. Back where I started off, four hours later. Car to be picked up in the evening.

Will give it another try tomorrow morning...


Pablo (yo) 07 September, 2009 21:11  

Great blog!!
if you like, come back and visit mine: http://albumdeestampillas.blogspot.com

Pablo from Argentina

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