...and I haven't a CLUE what to write for this momentous occasion!!! Maybe if I take a few more sips of my scotch-n-water my brain will loosen up.
Well, I could tell you about yet another episode with my car. I've sort of become a driver-for-pay. I told my real estate agent if he needed someone to drive him and his clients around to consider me. He has a 'car' but it's really not conducive to showing clients. It's a rough jeep-style bangedy-bang-bang 4x4. He has to shift and talk and pay attention to traffic all at the same time. Plus, I broke his door handle off over a year ago. Anyway, I thought it would provide some boredom relief, plus I love to look at real estate, and it would free up his hands and mind and I would make a few bucks. Hired drivers usually go for a whopping $10 an hour and the cost of gas comes out of that, though at $1.48 a gallon, it's not so bad.
My agent, Michael, referred me to a couple from Colorado (Hi Rex & Cheryl!!!) who were spending some weeks here scoping out the possibility of retiring here. Without a car, they didn't have means to see places outside what you'd use a taxi for. I drove a total of 13 hours for them over 3 days. It was fun showing them around, providing them important information (like what motels are for), sharing stories, turning them on to restaurants, etc. We even ate Cuy together! More on that later.
Then Michael asked me to drive him and a charming young lady from China and another guest to view some listings. This was fun as he invited me to join them as we went through the houses. I love to see what is selling for how much and where. We drove about 30 minutes out into the countryside to see a hacienda on a few acres with fruit trees and a small river running along the backside of the property. The property had lovely manicured yards behind gated and private walls, and the interior was an exterior of sorts. The primary living area was as if it was outdoors, but had a pitched roof over it....lots of sunlight and LOTS of planters billowing with colorful plants. I saw a Geranium plant over 6 feet tall inside the house!!! Price? About $160K.
On the way back to town, I thought my car was acting a bit pukey. But, I chalked it up to 4 passengers which I'm not used to having. But, I have a V-6. Hmmm. We got back into town and I was driving on an arterial with a slight hill. Hmmmm....sure seems gutless!!! Odd.
By the time I dropped off the client and took Michael back to his office, after 3 hours of driving, my car was dying fast. I figured it was fuel starvation. Maybe I got bad gas. Maybe the injectors are clogged. Maybe the gas filter is dirty. So, I drove to the gas station and put Super grade in ($2.13 a gallon) and a bottle of injector cleaner, then headed to the autopista (freeway of sorts) to try to resuscitate my engine. My car sounded like it was gargling phlegm. The fastest I was able to reach on the autopista was 30 mph and that was on a flat. I pointed the car to the Chev dealer....AGAIN. This was the THIRD visit this month!!! When I pull up to my Service Manager's kiosk, he just looked at me and dropped his jaw. Back AGAIN??? Por Que??? By the time I arrived at the dealer, my car was barely moving.
Fast forward...2 days. Diagnosis.....catalytic converter (one of three) gone bad....clogged. Cost...$363.
Ok...Driving Miss Daisy Services LTD 16 hours @ $10 hr = $160 income (don't tell the IRS!!!!). Car repairs $363. Net profit -$203.
Ohhhh....about that Cuy. Cuy is considered a delicacy here. It's pricey. It's Guinea Pig. You see them on spinning roasters everywhere here. They are even in grocery stores, laid out on a styrofoam platter and covered in shrink wrap....hairless Guinea Pig....WITH the head and feet. Locals giggle when they ask you if you've had Cuy yet. I think it's because it is so freaking ugly. Picture a large rat....on a skewer...with its mouth agape (usually stuffed with something) complete with UGLY teeth, and little rat-like paws. Who'd want to eat THAT!!!??? Well, Rex/Cheryl and I did. Actually...Cheryl passed (not as in 'out'). We asked the waitress to please NOT bring us the head and feet. We order a 'presa' which means 'a piece'. Luckily, the plate came (along with salad and potatoes and such) sans head. It was like ordering a quarter chicken...a thigh and leg...but this one still had the rat-like feet on it. Rex gave me a small piece to taste and it was yummy. So, I can now say 'Yes' I've eaten Cuy, but I'm not sure you will ever see me with a plate with the whole thing on it. I just don't want to see that ugly face on my plate...with it's last expression before it was...well...you know.
WARNING....photos ahead. May make you puke.
CLEANUP!!! AISLE 7!!!!!
|Before image. They're cute BEFORE you eat them.|
|Egads. Not so cute when they'e being cooked.|
|Cuy ferris wheel??|
|Cuy....formerly known as a cute guinea pig. Makes you wanna dive right in, eh?|