Just some miscellaneous tidbits combined together in one post....kinda like a grab bag at a garage sale.
The top of my radiator cracked. It's was made of plastic....thank you Chevrolet. But, the good news was that it could be removed and replaced without having to get a whole new radiator. My mechanic refered me to a radiator shop about the size of a dining room. They work on cars in the parking strip on the street. I took it in about 10:30am and he said it would be done by doce y media (12:30). So, I walked home and killed time until 1pm then took a taxi back. He was just starting on it. Apparently, I misunderstood him as he said 'dos y media' which is 2:30. Not wanting to go back home again, I stood around, went and bought an ice cream, stood around some more, then finally sat in the car and got a bit of shuteye.
I thought they were going to install a new part, but they had a used metal one that would fit. They did some cutting and soldering and grinding and crimping, etc etc and even had to cut a hole in the top to solder on a throat piece which the radiator caps twists onto!! STRANGE He sent me on an errand to buy a new radiator cap about 5 blocks away. Around 3:30, the car was done. Price? $45.
THE 'G' CURSE
Sometimes I wonder how things that seem so apparent, so on the ridiculous side, end up bypassing the part of every humans' capacity to apply the 'common sense test', then decide to keep it, throw it out, or challenge it. It's inevitable anyone who's moved here from another country ends up observing how things are done differently here vs there...it's just human nature. There are lots of things that have had ex-pats wondering 'HUH?', most of the time resulting in an 'oh well' shrug. But, there are times it's just too whacky, you just gotta say something. Case in point:
The first letter on a vehicles' license plate indicates the province the car was licensed in when initially purchased the FIRST time. It doesn't change during the life of the car, even if the car moves to another province. I live in Cuenca, which is in the Azuay province. If I bought a new car here, the plates would start with 'A' even though I might choose to live in Quito which is in the Pichincha province. Get it?
Guayas is the province where Ecuadors' largest city, Guayaquil, resides. Try selling a car with plates starting with 'G'. You'd think the car had cooties. First question out of peoples' mouths....'What's the first letter?'. If it starts with a 'G', forget it....it's a bad car. They don't want to touch it. WHAT??!!! It's not bad because it was manufactured there (it's not) and the plant is known for bad workmanship...noooooo....it's bad because Guayaquil is bad (no mention of all the other towns in Guayas province). Everyone drives badly there. It's humid there. They don't take care of their cars there. Or, so the naysayers say when they see 'G' plates.
WHAT!!!??? I could buy a car brand spanking new and be assigned 'G' plates and move the next day to Timbuktu, never spending more than 1 day in the 'G' province, and my car is doomed for all time? You mean ALLLLLLL the over-million people in the 'G' province are bad drivers? And, NONE of them take care of their cars?
UMMM....didja ever think maybe you could EXAMINE the car and look at all the indicators as to whether it was taken care of or not? Upholstery clean, no rips, dents/scratches, tires worn properly, no rust, functional stuff still works, examine maintenance records/receipts??????? Nope. Brain does not compute that logic. Press Control/Alt/Delete.
I was talking to a person in his mid-20's and he said he can remember this 'rule of thumb' existing back when he was a kid. Aye Caramba!!!
Luckily, I sold my 2009 Peugeot to an American couple who moved here from NW Washington State and engaged their brain and saw past the 'G' curse.
GROCERY SHOPPING AT THE MERCADOS
Mercados are the big open-air markets where farmers and indigenous folk sell their fruits, vegetables, meats, animals, seafood, etc etc and vendors have booths selling just about everything else from spices, to eggs, to shoes, to sunglasses, to DVD's. Those who can't afford the supermarket chains, generally do all their buying at the mercados as it is far cheaper.
Examples of one of my recent sprees:
- 10 lbs potatoes $5
- 16 bananas $1
- 11 lbs chicken $13
- 1 lb shucked peas $1
- 1 mango (free…negotiated with potatoe price)
- 1 lb grapes $1
- 3 huge avocados $1
- 5 rose plants $10
- sunglasses $3
- DVD $1.50
- 2 lbs of large strawberries $2
- 5 apples $1
- 20 juice oranges $1
Back home in the US of A, just the 5 rose plants would've cost me $40.
SELLING A CAR IN ECUADOR
Let's go back to the car subject for a smidge...which also correlates to the common sense reference I made earlier.
When people sell their car themselves, they stick a sign in the window of their car saying 'Se Vende' (For Sale) and their phone number(s). What's wrong with this picture? Or, more appropriately, what is MISSING from this picture? How about:
- # of miles/kms?
- Transmission type?
WHY would I want to waste my time calling a bunch of people, often playing phone tag, to ask questions that, many times, will result in a 'no thanks' from me? For example, I may want a car with less than 100,000 kms on it, but theirs has 200,000 kms. Or my budget is less than $10K but they're asking $15K. Or, I want an Automatic, but theirs is a Manual transmission. Wasted my time. Wasted their time. Wasted cell phone minutes.
Out of millions of people in Ecuador, no one has thought outside the box enough to think they might sell their car faster and not be bugged with useless calls if they provided more information upfront? REALLY??
PS. It seems I've irked someone with this post. If you're interested in 'why', see the Comments section. As always, please feel free to post a comment following any of my posts.