We have often stated we write about the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of living in Mexico. Today we are going to talk about the BAD. Tomorrow the UGLY.
It started on a working day Saturday. Stubborn that I am, in spite of cheap labor, I was pouring concrete I had mixed in the driveway into a tall, small chamber to create what I hoped would be a cement post tying a pair of walls together on my building project – the Beach Bodega.
By 1:30 in the hot afternoon sun I was spent. I had mixed a lot of 5 gallon buckets worth of cement, sand and gravel, hauling them from the street to our backyard, hiking it up to a scaffold and dumping the concrete mixture into a tall wood form.
I sat on the edge of our patio steps exhausted. A half day of bread labor is about as much as I can do these days. I have come to grips with being 66. In that moment Anita called out that the ‘water people’ were here.
I jumped up and gathered the two 5-gallon empties taking them to the gate. We had read a story about this particular water company’s employees allegedly robbing a customer while the delivery guys were in the customer’s house waiting for the owner to find change. It was reported a laptop and wallet were discovered missing. Thus we had made it a practice to not have them bring the bottles in the casa, “Leave them there at the gate, por favor.” Another heavy lifting task that I had taken on to protect ourselves from a potential theft or home invasion.
The bottles delivered at the gate; the solo delivery hombre was paid with tip. I went upstairs to get another t-shirt to replace the soaked one I had earlier removed. I heard a loud CRUNCH. Looking out the window I saw the water truck skimming by our Jetta. We had been hit!
By the time I reached the street, our neighbor was calling out to us, pointing to our car, shouting it had just been hit by the water truck. They thought the driver would stop – but he sped away.
With his cell phone, our neighbor immediately called the water company right there from the street, He was quite furious. He was told the jefe would be contacted and someone would be out to see us within a half hour or so.
They never came.
About 5:30 that afternoon, Anita and I from different locations in our casa saw an Agua Marina water truck driving slowly below our street. Anita whistled and called. The truck lit off. I grabbed the car keys we headed down the road in chase.
Now aware we were behind, the truck proceeded down the many tope sand road at breakneck speeds. Not to be out gunned, our little Jetta over took the truck loaded with water bottles. We drove along side of the truck demanding they pull over. There were now two hombres in the truck – when there had only been one during the delivery and subsequent smash up four hours earlier.
There we were in the street demanding an explanation.
The driver immediately confirmed remembering our buying two bottles of water earlier. He was young and had beads of sweat as he first tried to blame our neighbor and then a couple other stories finally admitting he hit our car, and had no explanation for why he drove off.We were pretty sure he was driving a different truck from the one now stopped?
The fellow now with the driver took over from the obviously nervous and somewhat disoriented young fellow. He suggested we go and get the car fixed right now. We reasoned it was late Saturday afternoon, further that we wanted to take our Jetta to the Volkswagen dealer in town for parts and repair. We agreed to get an estimate and go to their office on Monday.
Monday morning we went to the Volkswagen dealership here in Puerto. We were told the mechanic was in training this week. We would have to drive the nine hours to Oaxaca City. Eighteen hours of driving did not appeal to us. We would have to find a good body shop in town.
We proceeded on to the Agua Marina office in Chila – about 16 kilometers (10 miles) to the west of our casa in La Punta. The jefa was not there. We were told she would be there at 2 PM. We would return then.
Returning for another 30 kilometer trip, we were told we just missed the owner.
A woman at the office handed Anita a phone. Anita spoke briefly on the phone with the owner who was very busy with classes. She stated the driver would have to be questioned to admit responsibility and compare paint and damage location. Anita explained we had photos of the truck a license number. The owner said, “Yes, but you got that when you stopped them, not at the scene”.
Anita explained we saw your company’s water truck hit our car – there are witnesses. Why are we going through this? It was starting to appear like this was going to get bad – maybe even ugly.
The owner asked us to return at 6 PM at which time the driver would be detained to await questioning. At that time paint could be compared to determine if in fact the company truck had hit our car. We suggested what is the point the driver admitted he hit our car. We were offered the option of going to fix the vehicle out in the street when we had pulled them over – WHY would we need to do this now?
We agreed to return at six.
Making our third trip of the day (100 kilometers worth of driving) we returned at 6 PM. The parking lot of the rather shabby facility was now full of water trucks and hombres.
Tomorrow the rest of the story – you won’t want to miss it. Stay Tuned!