Car Trouble

”Luck ain’t even lucky, gotta make your own breaks” (Bon Jovi, It’s My Life). Well sometimes you do have good luck. We were headed to Boquete for a gig, driving our big Montero beast loaded with our equipment. There was squeaky noise, belt problem kind of noise, then a burning rubber smell, then everything on the dash lit up.

This happened as we were approaching the new gas station half way up Via Boquete, so we pulled over there. The main belt was gone so we weren’t going any farther under our own power, but we had a roof and protection from the light rain, lights, friendly people, and a location easy to describe. That’s definitely lucky, much better than the shoulder of the road in the dark!

Here, towing is included with your car insurance. Our agents answered their phone immediately (on a Friday night) and called the tow truck place. The tow truck manager called me to verify our location, and even spoke some English. He said the truck would arrive in about an hour.

So, we hung out and waited. The gas station employee put an orange cone behind us since we weren’t going to move, and offered to contact a tow truck driver nearby (which wouldn’t be covered by insurance but if we needed them, would be great). In just over an hour, the tow truck arrived, loaded us up and took us back home.

We found out later that it rained all evening in Boquete, hardly anyone was in town (still slowest season), and it would have been a very slow night so if we were going to miss a gig, it was the best possible time. We play this coming Friday and then Tuesday for Fiestas Patrias so we definitely need to show up for those!

(November is full of holidays and the joke is nothing gets done in November. Then, it’s December with Mother’s Day, super important in Panama, and Christmas, also a really big deal. But, would you rather get stuff done or have a lot of fun? Yeah… they work really hard for long hours most of the time, but they don’t feel guilty for having fun and enjoying parties, holidays,  family and friends. There’s a lot to be said for that)

Anyway, we got towed home, which woke up the neighborhood including our neighbor who can fix everything, including the number of Monteroes  in his own family.  He picked up new belts in his morning travels, and installed them last night just in time to make it to our Saturday evening gig. The car is now running perfectly and we had a great gig last night.

On a different subject – I am very concerned for my California daughter and the people in her Santa Rosa / Sonoma County area. There is a huge fire bearing down on them, very high winds and extremely dry conditions. Tens of thousands are under evacuation orders, shelters are full, and roads are clogged. Even some of the shelters and the area hospitals have been evacuated. My daughter is in one of the very few areas not evacuated but they can see the glow of the fire from their house, and they are ready to leave on a moments notice. Ugh. Thousands of people lost everything in Santa Rosa, IN the city,  and people died. This was just two years ago so one can only begin to imagine how stressful this is now for everybody.

We should complain about being at a gas station on a warm evening with friendly people nearby, tow truck on the way, and a number of people we can call for repairs? I think not!

Send hope that people aren’t burned out, or killed, in California. Unfortunately that’s all we can do at this moment.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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5 Responses to Car Trouble

  1. carole says:

    You are lucky your neighbor helped you and you have towing as part of your insurance. I had to get a jump and it cost us $40 twice. Ended up needed a battery. Then at the store yesterday car dead again. Luckily after trying for awhile got it to start. I Think it has something to do with my alarm. I will bring it back to service next week. I have been trying to disconnect alarm, no one here eeems to know how to.


    • Yes, we are lucky to have those neighbors who have also become very good friends! $40 jump? Sheesh. Here if you are by the side of the road, people will just stop and help just because that’s what’s done. It’s really really nice. Good luck with your car! Always something, no matter where you live.


  2. Great experiences and great stories!
    Kris, Marlene and I are looking for a housesitting job in your area or somewhere in Panama. We are very experienced house and pet sitters. If you know of anyone or see something out there it would be appreciated. March, April and or May.
    Bruce Montrose


    • Hi Bruce. I don’t get involved with housesitting much, but you might post your availability on one of the many Facebook groups. There are a couple Expats in Panama groups, a couple for Boquete, Gringos in David, and I’m sure many others for specific areas. The more out of season months you look (when it’s not cold up north) probably the better luck you’ll have.


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