Freedom has never felt so sweet! Its one thing to move to a totally foreign place, but then to be stuck, depending on taxi’s can really be tough. We are glad to report that we have purchased a car! Adios Cell Block 7! We are ready to hit the road with the wind in our hair, the salty ocean spray in our faces as we furiously dodge the myriads of crazy moped drivers on the island! But more on that later.
We had a great experience buying a car. Albeit very different from what we are accustom to. The friends here said the best place to look is Facebook. So we’ve been watching the ads looking for a very cheap car. They are hard to come by here since everyone is looking for a cheap car to get around. But I have to say that cars here on the island are very different. Our friend Morgan said that for some reason, many people here just don’t care to maintain their cars. In fact its not uncommon to never change oil. They just keep adding new when it gets low. But the really unusual part for us in the interiors. It is the CRAZIEST thing to me and I can’t even explain it very well because I can’t understand it. But I will try…..
Just imagine all the interior panels of your car. The ones covering the sides of seats, the pillars of the car, the panels by your feet, all the center panels around your shifter in-between the front seats. Take them all off, drive over them 10 times, and reinstall maybe 1/3 of them but with out screws. And imagine that anything that should move, such as seats, doors, windshield wipers…..don’t. And overall its pretty normal. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the price, but still most cars when you get in them are just really beat up on the inside. Another factor is people here can’t really afford nice new cars. I have only seen a few new cars maybe 2010 and newer, and most were driven by foreigners or taxis. But my favorite parts are the seat covers and dash covers. You see them in virtually all cars. But the car itself often looks as described above. Hilarious!
But we did find a nice car for the money.
Introducing……… our NEW (to us) 2004 Ford Fiesta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was really cool how it worked out to get it though. “Technically” we can’t register a car here in Mexico because we’re not full residents. So we were worrying about explaining this to the current owner, and properly get the documentation switched, how to get insurance, etc. So we looked at a few cars and didn’t really like them. Mostly because they were advertised as 100% working condition, but when I asked to test drive the response was usually…..”Weeeeeellll, the radiator doesn’t work right now”, or “Weeeeeellll, the windshield is shattered and you can’t really see”. But, we found this one. It seemed the nicest, and ran well. So as we started talking we noticed they were dressed up and they ended up going to one the local congregations. Her name was Marita. And she helped us out through the whole process! Wow, what a blessing!
There were a couple problems that I needed to get sorted out today. Thanks to the help from Brandi and our awesome neighbor Morgan who took us out to breakfast this morning we got some work done….
1. There was leftover wiring from a Subwoofer system. I needed to make sure it was disconnected from power. I’m glad I checked because it was still connected to the battery. and you can see the red cable just happened to be laying on the rubber tire and not anything metal. Glad that I checked, and I can’t believe it didn’t short out!
2. Drivers seat position. For some reason all the mechanics that move the seat front to back, and tilted the back of the seat didn’t work. (Or the handles were missing) It could be driven without any problem by someone that was 5’2″ and liked to rest their chin on the steering wheel. After messing with it for a bit, we couldn’t really get anything to work, but were able to “gently” adjust with vice-grips and made it usable. Woo-hoo! No more having my knees activate the turn signal every time I shift!
3. Drivers Side Rear door panel. The first time I opened the rear drivers side door the inside panel came off and was hanging by the wires for the window button. Upon closer examination, all the screws were missing, and all but one panel clip was still in tact. Morgan suggested some superglue. But I was worried it wouldn’t hold up to the rigors of being pulled on to shut the door. So, following the previous craftsman’s preferred method of reattaching panels, I slammed in some drywall screws in it. Time will tell how it holds up. I repurposed the drywall screws from a board that was “holding” 1 speaker up in the trunk….
4. No windshield wipers. Not one working wiper in the car. Not the front or the back. I can live with no back wiper, but with the rainy season just starting, I’ll need the front wipers. I thought maybe it blew a fuse, or maybe a bad relay. Nope! I looked where the motor should be, and not only was it missing, but so are the wipers themselves, and all the mechanics that run them. Hmmmmm… No driving in the rain for a while I guess. Or maybe we could do this????
I asked Marita, and she is going to talk with someone about finding the parts. Although it might be a good arm workout for Brandi, it will make life easier.
We really appreciated all Morgans help! (He serves as a MS in the English Congregation and as you can see, is enjoying the same laundry services)
In a future blog post we’ll explain more about driving in Cozumel and the crazy mopeds on the island. We are still trying to figure out how they fit an entire family on a moped. And we will also talk more about the meetings and field ministry and try to get more pictures of some of our new friends. We have really appreciated all their help getting us situated and helping us get to meetings when we didn’t have a car.
But until then we’ll keep screaming around in our NEW (to us) Ford Fiesta. Yes, the sweet, sweet taste of freedom for the low, low, LOW, cost of $36,000 pesos!
P.S. We need a new name for the car. Everyone! Put your suggestions in the comments below and we’ll let you know the new name we select soon!
Blog Credits: Author- Johnathan Paxton; Photography- Brandi Paxton