In a little town called San Alberto Ceaser we stopped for a nice breakfast of cheese breads, sweet breads, and juice. Content from a full belly, an early start, and friendly people all around, we pulled away from the restaurant. I was listening to some Beirut and smiling as I methodically pedaled. After going over a couple pairs of speed bumps my bike felt very awkward. I looked back and was horrified to see one of my large panniers, containing nearly every piece of clothing I had, was no longer attached to my bike.
Desperately I hit the breaks with my heart pounding and turned around to start pedaling up the hill I had just ridden down. The breakfast place where we had just eaten, and where I was sure all of my bags were attached to my bike only 5 minutes ago, was less than half a kilometer away. My eyes scanned the road, left and right, no bag. As I rolled into town I started asking everyone if they had seen my bag; no one had.
Returning to the bread shop, no one had seen my bag there either. The owner, and waitresses, and cooks all came out to help, but with no bag to be seen; it was of little use. I made four more passes up and down the road, looking dejected, and shouting expletives here and there at no one. Eventually I let the police know; they put out a reward that I offered via radio, but still no response. After an hour of waiting and only one brief moment of hope, it appeared to be a lost cause.
Over the hour my attitude changed drastically. From devastated to demoralized to accepting. I went back to the breakfast place and took pictures with everyone and made jokes for a while. I then went to the police station to get a police report, which was quite an experience in itself, and finally we headed out of town.
Preparations for filling that bag with clothes likely took days of my life and certainly a good chunk of money. The bag included specialized biking booties to protect my shoes from the rain, a full rain suit, clothing made out of special material to resist bacteria, specialized cotton, and many more things. Losing the bag itself was also a costly loss. Now I will replace one piece of clothing at a time as I need it and lighten the load in the meantime.
This is another lesson in lessening my attachment to things; things come and go. They are impermanent and largely unimportant. As long as your body is healthy you have pretty much all you need; I have a feeling I’ll get by.