A little bad luck, a lot of good luck and good people, and an interesting day.
I have a 97 Mazda, not fancy but a sturdy little car. I have had a number of people beg me to sell it to them so I have the feeling I’d better hang on to it. It also holds the bicycle rack, and today my bike needed to go to the shop for a couple repairs.
After we dropped off the bike, I called my friend Cedo who was on the bus coming back from her farm. It was starting to rain, and I thought it would be nice to pick her up so she didn’t have to wait for the local bus to take her back to our neighborhood.
The bus terminal was crazy! It was full of people, buses, taxis, and tons of noise and activity. We finally found each other, got back to the car, made our way out of the area, and headed up the street towards home. Then suddenly, kaput! The clutch went out and we were dead in the street. But, thankfully we were in front of some stores and there was an open parking space right in front of us. Joel only needed to turn the steering wheel and push it a few feet into the space.
I called the mechanic. Side story – when I arrived in Panama my friends knew I needed a car so they put their mechanic on the job. He couldn’t find anything suitable in my price range so he sold me his wife’s car.
The mechanic tells me to call my insurance company. Here in Panama, towing is covered by your car insurance policy and if you have a problem, your insurance people arrange for a tow truck. This involved a number of phone calls back and forth, and Spanish is more difficult on the phone and we are on a noisy street. But Cedo is with us and I was able to just hand her the phone. What a great help!
Everything is arranged and we are told the tow truck will arrive in 30 minutes, so we sit on the curb to wait. In 20 minutes, here comes the truck! He has to go around the block to get to the correct side of the street. As he is coming back the insurance company is ringing my phone to see if the truck has arrived, and the mechanic shows up! I just wanted to give him the heads up that our car was coming to his shop. I never expected him to come to us. But, he checked that it indeed was nothing he could fix on the spot, and he was also able to help load the car on the truck and explain to the driver where it needed to go.
By now, the rain is barely a sprinkle, the car is loaded up, and a taxi sees what is going on and beeps to see if we need a ride. We gather our things and pile in, and finally all make it home.
The bad luck – a car problem, and I never thought about taking a photo of anything. Sometimes you are busy living life rather than documenting it.
The good luck – we didn’t get stuck in the bus terminal or on a hill or in heavy traffic or some other totally inconvenient place, but rather on a flat and main street right in front of an open parking space. Cedo was with us to help me with the phone calls. Our mechanic went above and beyond for us. Our insurance company took very good care of us, and the tow truck guy was very professional. We are in Panama where it was only sprinkling, not snowing or cold, I am not on a schedule, and everyone was so helpful and things were taken care of faster than expected. All in all, it’s been a very good day.