Yesterday was no exception. We started off a trip to Orange Walk to see Dr. Craig, the Dermatologist, for our annual checkups.
Bruce and Colleen drove Colleen's little red bomber over to our place and parked it. Their Isuzu was in the shop for some radiator repair. So far, so good. We all (Dianna and me, Bruce and Colleen) piled into our Isuzu and made the treke over to David and Elizabeth's.
The wimin-folk decided somewhere along the line that they were all going to ride together in David and Elizabeth's newer Toyota something or other (I think). Again, so far, so good. That is till somewhere before the turn-off for Orange Walk, we got a call from Dianna telling us that David's car was experiencing some sort of problem in the wheel-well and that he was duct-taping it back together.
Bruce and I were trying to imagine what the problem might be. Anyway, Bruce and I made it to the turn-off and pulled into the parking lot of the now closed restaurant at the turn-off to wait for David and the girls.
It was no more than five or ten minutes and we spied them coming along, so we pulled out and again began continuing to Orange Walk.
We got stuck behind some slow-moving cane trucks, so David took the opportunity of better visibility and whizzed by us heading on into Orange Walk. Somewhere along the way, David pulled over to give us the chance to lead the pack again, as he wasn't sure where the Northern Medical Specialty Clinic was located
We made the turnoff at the new round-about just fine and then promptly over-shot the next right, so both vehicles had to turn around. Once we got on the right road, it was a simple straight shot to the Clinic.
We found parking right beside the building and went inside to air-conditioned comfort, and inside was also more or less dust-free. Outside, just about everywhere in Orange Walk is dusty. Their roads are in terrible condition. They are working on them, in similar fashion to the work being done in Corozal, but...
At the Clinic, we ran into Vegas Linda, who had just completed her appointment with Dr. Craig.
|Chatting With Linda At the Medical Center|
Once we were done paying the bills, we decided it was time for lunch. I'm not exactly sure of the sequence here, but apparently Dr. Craig recommended we try Luigi's down past People's Market store.
For some reason, Colleen thought it was an Italian restaurant, and that got us all salivating and champing at the bit to get there, get parked and chow down.
One glitch became apparent right away. Dianna and my Isuzu wouldn't start, or even crank. It just sat there. Plenty of juice to run the radio and for the dash lights, etc., to all come on. Just no crank or other noise at all.
Well, that was irritating, but no real surprise. It had happened to us before. I usually just waited a bit and it cranked right up and we'd be good to go. So, we all piled into David and Elizabeth's car for the short and bumpy ride down to Luigi's.
We parked almost right in front of the place and immediately, our suspicions about Luigi's began to rise.
For one, there was no mention of any sort of Italian food on the painted menu signs around the door. Just the famous variety of rice and beans, stew-chicken, baked chicken, beans with rice, tortillas, and the like. Strange these Italians. The menu read just like any other Belizean restaurant.
Still with some hope, we entered, and asked the waitress if there was anything else on the menu. Hah! We should live so long. No, that was it, it seems.
So we ordered, some folks had baked chicken, some stewed chicken. Bruce and I each ordered Chimole, black soup. It was all passably edible. I heard through the grape-vine that Colleen has been barred from suggesting any new restaurants for us to heat in.
After that delightful interlude, with the appropriate Italian-Belizean jokes, we made it back to the Medical Center and our Isuzu. Still no go on the start process.
It's now approaching 2:15 PM or thereabouts. Speedily runing out of time to effect repairs. While we had been at Luigi's, I had called Rick, our mechanic, to see if he knew anyone in Orange Walk that he could recommend to fix our Isuzu. He laughed and said he didn't know a soul over there.
I also asked at the auto parts store next door to Luigi's. They suggested a mechanic that was just up the road. Well, of course, we couldn't get there because of the road work being done all over Orange Walk.
Suddenly, there was a taxi in front of us letting out a couple of fare's. I jumped out and asked the Taxi Man if he could help me find a mechanic to take a look at the Isuzu. Everyone else went back to the Clinic to wait for my return.
The Taxi Man and I went to at least five or six mechanic's shops and/or electrician's shops. All were busy and not interested in taking time to help us. Finally, we managed to find a 'grease monkey' mechanic who was willing to help. He wasn't much to look at. 'Grease monkey' was an apt description. This guy looked like he had been rolling around in his repair yard for days.
Unfortunately, I had left my fanny pack and camera in David's car, so I was unable to document the places we went to looking for help. Anyway, beggars can't be choosers, as they say. We piled him into the taxi and made it back to the Medical Center.
He had brought a fist-full of tools with him. I popped the hood, and he laid his tools up on the air grill and started sniffing. "It's burn. The starter, is burn," he said calmly. I came over and could smell it too. I had no idea what to do. He did, thankfully. He took a long screwdriver and crawled underneath the engine, and in short order got the engine to fire and keep running.
I paid him $15 BZD for his services, and $25 for the Taxi Man, because he essentially gave me several rides. The additional $5 was for him to take the mechanic back to his shop. It was probably all at least double what I should have been charged, but the time of day, the heat, the dust, the fact that the mechanic came out at all, and was successful in getting the Isuzu started - hey, it was all good.
We're ready to head back to Corozal. Dianna rode with me, everyone else with David. We all were going to stop at Rick's, our mechanic, so I could drop off the Isuzu (assuming it made it that far), and they were going to ferry us the rest of the way to our house.
It was an uneventful trip to Rick's. The car ran smoothly. I pulled into his yark and as I was backing the Isuzu to try and park it out of the way, it died - right in the middle of the yard and totally in the way of everything. Oops!
I gave Rick the keys and wished him luck, then trotted out front to climb into David and Elizabeth's car with everyone else.
Five minutes later, we were saying goodby and thanks to everyone for their help and understanding. We had joked earlier that betwen the three couples, we almost had one functioning vehicle. On that note, we invited everyone in for a cold beer, but everyone wanted to get home, shower and jump in their pools. That worked out fine for us. We could go in and veg for a while. What a long day.
Talking later with Dianna, as they came out of the Medical Center, when I had come back with the mechanic and Taxi Man, she said she noticed the Taxi Man leaning over the engine compartment and got confused, wondering if he was the mechanic or the Taxi Man. About then, the car started and she was absolutely shocked as the mechanic came out from underneath the car. But, hey! He managed to get it running and didn't charge me an arm and a leg, so it was perfect. He did the job.
What a day. What a long, tiring day. Now, how long will we be without a car... again?