Before Justin and I departed for our 3-week trip to Boston, we had a flat tire – front left. Pretty typical here in Nicaragua. The roads have improved dramatically over the last 5 years (so I’ve been told). Nevertheless, flat tires are a common occurrence. While we were gone, we were fortunate enough to have a friend help to repair it.
Fast forward 3 weeks to our return…we are back in San Juan and the front left tire is in great condition. My friend, Emily, is due to arrive in Nicaragua later this afternoon and Justin and I are planning to depart for Managua to retrieve her from the airport. Justin and I are both trying to cram in some work at Aurora Beachfront Realty and Vacation Rentals Nicaragua, respectively when Pedro (the persistent bearer of bad news when it comes to our car) strolls in to announce that we have a flat tire – a very flat tire. Annoying? Yes? Terrible? No. All we need to do is put on the spare, drive the car to the mechanic, and get the tire repaired. It’s only noon, so we’ve got plenty of time before we need to head to Managua.
There’s only one problem…The spare tire is locked to the back of our truck, lovingly nicknamed El Gallo Rojo. Okay, no problem, we’ll just unlock the spare…except that when we purchased our beloved used car, Justin threw out the little key to the spare, not understanding its very important purpose. Well, we’ll just drill off the lock. *Note, that I use “we” pretty loosely here, as it’s really all Justin running around doing the work, while I sit back and watch. However, the reality is that I’ve done this to preserve our marriage because I know that if I get involved, I’ll only aggravate the situation. So, Justin, with the help of Giovanni – who works in the office – acquires a drill from a friend, and begins drilling, only to discover that the drill is losing juice quickly and he doesn’t have the battery pack to recharge the drill. Justin is a very happy man.
2 pm – Justin has stripped down to his shorts and is sweating in the mid-afternoon sun. The clock is ticking and we haven’t even gotten the lock off, let alone taken the car to the mechanic. The drill is dead and the drill bit is completely worn down. We need to leave by 4 to make it to the airport in time.
2:30 pm – Justin rides the office bicycle down the beach road to pick up the charger to the drill and to buy a new drill bit.
3 pm – It’s now raining and a group of men have gathered around the car to “help,” which really means that they are all watching and giving advice, but not really doing any manual labor, except for Justin who is now under the car, still sweating, and covered in grease.
The spare is off the back of the car and the leaky tire is off the front of the car.
In the meantime, our friends have called and emailed to offer their help in picking Emily up from the airport, which has relieved some of the time crunch in repairing the tire.
The car is operational again though we fully expect to wake up to another flat tire tomorrow morning. We are heading off the Happy Hour. Just another typical day in the life of an Expat…