Saturday, January 28, 2017

Getting Lucky in Mexico

So now my second mission,  2016, ah yes, I believe the luck o' the Irish was with me, at the very least, I had Fr, Bennet on my side, in Mexico once again. And it goes like this.....
What the flock?

Due to circumstances beyond my control, and a challenge to the flexibility of the mission director's life, I felt compelled to rent a car while out last fall, while based in Cancun, but travelling to a different village everyday outside of the big city, which took forever and many topés to get out of. Driving in Cancún is a tangle of one way streets that never seem to make sense, except that you arrive at your destination, but you don't know how. I was born with a decent sense of direction, which earned me the moniker "The Navigator" during my life. I instinctively knew which way to turn, without the guidance of a map.

Cancún has changed that. After renting a nifty Volkswagon Jetta, I managed to get back to our Cancún base safely with the guidance of one of my Mexican doctors, and it made sense. Following our Drag-a-pharmacy out to the main highway to go to a distant mission site, however, was a series of twists and turns that was lost in the spider web of my mind. Using the GPS on the way back in took me on a different more confusing route. To this day, I cannot reconcile that route in my mind as being fast or logical. Eventually I found my own way out, and my own way in, using a minimal number of turns and roads that made sense. To me. And God saw thankfully that it was good.
Don't try this at home....

One fine morning as I was following traffic, truly not going any faster than anyone else, I was pulled over by the long arm of the law. Apparently doing 86 in a 60km zone. And to my great advantage, I had in my back seat the best possible weapon: my lovely Dra. Iskia, who sweet talked and charmed my way out of a ticket. All I had to do was wait until another stopped car had gone on, so they wouldn't realize I had gotten off. With a smile and a "Slow down!" we were on our way.

Imagine my surprise at the law flexing its other arm another day, this time for doing 73 in the 60 zone. I won't lie to you and say I wasn't sh*tting bullets in my driver's seat. My car said rental, my face said tourist, enough to earn me a fine in spite of all the cars passing me by. And of course my driver's license was in the trunk. Dra.Iskia to the rescue once again. Pleaded our case of being missionaries helping the Mexican people, she got out of the car to retrieve my backpack and driver's license for me, and came back with another reprieve. Another smile and admonishment to slow down. And thankfully I did not have to show my license. Because it was back at the hotel.

People can be stink heads all over the world. Take the guy who parked next to me at the hotel with his lovely BMW, and scraped my driver's side quarter panel quite nicely when making an early morning getaway. there is no way he/she would have not noticed the scraping, such was the damage. And yet off they went. The hotel has security cameras, for a fee they could retrieve the videos, but when they looked at them, and would not let me look at them, they said they did not show anything. the owner's daughter, bless her heart, came by with an amigo, who managed to buff and polish most of the scrapes into oblivion. I had insurance on the car, but likely would just pay a deductible and not much more for the remaining damage. I hoped.
I think I like you better than a roach...I think. 

The night I returned my vehicle, my Mexican amigos had forgotten all about it and had returned to Playa del Carmen while we were in Cancún. While I have a bit of Spanish, and the car rental guys speak perfect English, I had wanted someone who could converse with them in Spanish regarding the ding. When I had picked up the car, we had driven during the day, but returning the vehicle it was night time, so I conscripted a German volunteer who spoke fluent Spanish to help me out. All I needed was to get to the hotel zone. He led me there in our mission pick up truck, and I took over once I recognized the now dark surroundings.

It is amazing how much the night time changes your perception of distance. After what I thought was a forever drive, I pulled to the side of the dimly lit road to confer with my buddy who was now following me. And what do you know, the long arm of the law stopped again. With my heart in my boots, I thought "What now...?" maybe they thought one of us was broken down. Apparently on the hotel zone road it is illegal to stop.  We were chided to get moving, and denied a ticket yet again. I asked the one chap on the motorcycle where the particular car rental agency was that I wanted. He looked at me like I had six heads. But it was "just over there." And off they and we went.
Always welcome in my clinic. 

I nervously pulled into the parking lot of the agency, while my German buddy had to find a spot in the crowded lot. The same gentleman I had rented the car from happened to be on. I held my breath as he went out to perform his inspection walk about. I might have even turned blue. I just about fainted when he said all was well, and in fact, he was going to give me a discount from the original price we had negotiated earlier in the week, but to por favor not forget him at tipping time. I gave him what I had in pesos. Which coupled with the new discounted price was still less than the original price of the vehicle. My buddy had not needed to speak for me. And me arse was saved yet again.
You had my shoe where? You can keep it now, I have 3 more...

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