Friday, March 19, 2010


As I approached the dinghy landing today the outboard quit working. I restarted it and noticed there wasn't water emerging from the coolant spout underneath the powerhead, so I turned it off. It was really hot. I checked to see that I still had compression by pulling on the starter, and I did. So I took my single oar and proceeded to complete the half-mile journey to the beach, rowing the catamaran shaped Livingston dink as if it were a canoe. First one side, then the other.

Jesus, the guy who is working the beach today, got out into the water at chest depth to bring me in. There was a pretty good surf today and I was glad he did. I gave him my usual 10 peso tip and he was pleased. Jesus didn't know of an "el mechanico." so I grabbed my dirty laundry, my backpack and my floppy hat and went in search of an outboard repair.

On my list today: get the bus schedule for the only Directo Bus to Manzanillo, buy spare drive belts for the diesel engine, replacement caps for the heat exchanger (automotive radiator caps), a better bolt for the alternator, some toothpaste, floss, and whatever (without an outboard motor, the whatever list had to be very portable). One cruiser sent me to one guy who is known for knowing everything about everybody. He told me the nearest laundry was on the other side of town, and called a mechanic who told him he might show up in an hour, so I got a cab to Centro de Autobuses and the auto parts store nearby. The parts guy had the belts and the caps, but no bolt that would work. So, the cabbie took me to the bus station. The bus line is called Estrella Blanco (White Star) among 6 others at Zihua, and it's Directo daily leaves at 8:30 pm and takes "7 to 8 hours" to get to Manzanillo. Right behind the bus station is the Commercial Mexicana,  a really huge Walmart-type super shopping center, so I paid the cab and walked around the block to shop. I just picked up my dental items and a bunch of bananas and a bottle of ice tea, and grabbed my dirty laundry and the backpack with the car parts from the "paquetta" to catch a cab back to connect with the mechanic.

The cab driver wanted to stop to get some lunch on the way to town and before I could say no, pulled into a taqueria. "Comida rapido," he assured me.

I'm no rank tourist. I know that any sentence with the word "rapido" in it is an out and out lie.

I gave him 5 minutes, and then got out of cab with my stuff and flagged down another cab. I told the cab driver I was going to "El Muelle" (the wharf) and I would pay him 20 pesos (the standard rate). He said, "25?" and I said "No, 20 pesos." (I'm taking command now...)

He did a good job (no taco stops) so I gave him a 5 peso tip, got out and waited for the mechanic to show, which he didn't. I said I'd check back in an hour, when my cell phone beeped. I had a message that the 1st Mate had tried to call.  I tried to return the call, got a message and the phone battery went dead. I thought it might be time to replace the battery, but they don't sell them anywhere. I tried 3 Telcel stores, spread over ten blocks of Zihua. I knew it was pointless. I had gone through this with the 1st Mate's phone (eBay was where we eventually got the battery).

I kicked around for another 15 minutes and went back to check on the mechanic. No show.

Walked down to the beach and found some guys selling tickets for boat rides around the bay. They knew a mechanic and in 10 minutes, the guy, Adel, was pulling the motor off the dink and to his shop. I had him write down everything and we agreed I would call him tomorrow at 9 am. Then I went off to Rick's Bar for a coke and scrounge for books. After two cokes, I wandered down to the beach where I met a couple who were headed back to their boat and gave me a tow. I owe them.

Now, I'm back in my comfortable home with the phone on the charger, my dirty laundry and an uncertain future.

Nothing really changes much.


1st Mate said...

My feet hurt just reading about all that traipsing around. The town looks nice, though, hope to see more photos. Glad you're making friends there, with all these problems cropping up like weeds.

Chrissy y Keith said...

sounds like a full day.