Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just another day in the slow lane OR how to find auto parts in Costa Rica

Obviously since we were driving around with a missing side window and it rains everyday, we figured it would be a good idea to replace it as soon as possible. Our first stop was Joel’s Used Car Parts which is right around the corner from Azure’s school and as it happens, the only place we’ve noticed for used car parts. I figured it would be too good to be true if “Joel” actually had what we were looking for - a rubber piece to hold the piece of glass into the car. The place always has several cars parked around the entrance so my fingers were crossed; guessing he must have a lot of the right parts or it wouldn’t always be so busy. Unfortunately, it turned out he didn’t have the correct part.

But, Patrick met a gentleman that explained that he knew exactly what Patrick needed and drew him a map to a place in Tibas that he usually goes to when he needs this part. Patrick appeared happy when returning to the car with the hand drawn map and said we would drive to Tibas on Friday since the drive there and back would take a while and he doesn’t like to drive in the dark. After I saw the map, I expressed my concern that we would never be able to find the correct place. Patrick, undeterred, spoke to his bus driver friend Friday morning who agreed with Patrick that there should be no problem finding this place. I still was unconvinced…

So, after dropping Azure off at school in San Pablo, we drove to Tibas and attempted to locate this mysterious auto-parts store. We stopped at many potential places and no one had the part or could make heads or tails of the map. The first place we stopped had given Patrick the name and address of a Suzuki parts store in San Joaquin de Heredia. This seemed like a likely place to find the part but we were currently way south and east of Heredia and figured we would head back that way if we exhausted our current search.

After driving around Tibas and then Santo Domingo for 2 hours we were quite grumpy and hungry. We grabbed a quick lunch of plantain chips and orange juice at Mas X Menos (grocery store) in San Pablo and headed for the Suzuki parts shop.

We easily located the Suzuki parts place a few kilometers west of Hipermas and Heredia. But again they didn’t have the part. A young guy gave Patrick a phone number for a guy named Leo that may or may not have the part. Patrick’s lunch didn’t help his mood and he was about to leave when I said that we should have the store call Leo for us since we didn’t even have a phone. I was quite determined to end this fiasco instead of prolonging it another day or more. Grudgingly, the young kid at the store called Leo. Apparently, Leo could help!

Long story short, we met Leo at the gas station in San Pablo –he actually waited for us to drive over there. Then he took us to his shop which was the backyard of his house. An associate of his directed Patrick to a store that sold the exact rubber piece he needed by the length while I waited at his house and tried to converse with Leo’s wife in Spanish. Shortly they appeared with the part and grabbed tools to install the window. A quick 10 minutes and 4000 colones ($8) later, the window was installed and looked as good as new.

The whole incident cost us $4 in parts, $8 labor, and $10 gas. The funniest thing happened to be that Leo’s shop was about 4 blocks from Azure’s school and 1 block from Joel’s where the whole adventure started!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey guys

Miranda finally found the letter you sent with her stuff so now we can keep up. WAY TO GO AZURE for the great soccer game. Miranda was happy to see you play the same postion that she does . We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and Hope you are all nice and warm....its snowing up here at the moment....

Have a great day and we will leave more later.

Deb and miranda