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A very good friend of mine who goes by the handle Charlie Ransom got a subscription to a motorcycle magazine for me called Cycle Source. He rides in a motorcycle thrill show called the Wall of Death where motorcycles and go carts ride inside a wooden barrel on vertical walls. If you have never seen this it is a blast to watch and will make you realize how little you know about riding bikes even if you have done it all your life. In his travels he meets a lot of folks in the industry one of them is the publisher of Cycle Source.  My buddy Charlie sent me a subscription because of a series of articles that was published in it called An American Harley Rider In The Middle East. Hang on over the hump  

The title of the article is "Riding the Middle East". This article is a three part affair in three different issues of the mag. In part three of the story the rider has a problem with his front wheel in Syria. There are no Harley dealerships is Syria and you could probably count on one hand the number of Harleys in the country. Having a part like that shipped to Syria would take weeks if you would even ever get it.

I didn't hold out much hope for getting a Harley Davidson wheel in the middle of the syrian desert....The man who ran the parking lot at the hotel sent his young son with me to find a tire shop. While walking to the tire shop the boy said, "Damascus is very happy that an American is visiting." Every Syrian I met wanted to let me know that the Syrian people were their friends. Having lived under oppressive governments for so long the arab people have learned to distinguish between people and governments. Unlike the tendancy of Americans to identify people and governments as one entity the Syrian people would separate the two and harbor no ill feelings...Syria changed my outlook on the people of this land; they are not my enemy...

The entire article is an education in people helping people. The author asks the question "How would Ameicans treat a stranded Muslim in the U.S. Most likely with distrust" or more probably with hostility. I have not begun to give this article it's due respect. I myself worked for an Egyptian Muslim for eight years and he was the most fair and honest shop owner to employees and customers I have ever seen in twenty five years of being a mechanic. These people are not our enemies, The governments may be less than ideal but the people are just that people trying to get along in life, raise thier kids and grow old. I will not tell you what happens with the wheel you will have to read the story for yourself. The wheel however is really not the point of the diary. The only way to get the whole story is to get all the back issues of the mag from Dec. 06 to Feb 07 as the web site does not have the story.

Originally posted to panmandan on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 11:55 PM PST.

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