At the Maya Mountain Research Farm, one of their trucks is a work of art. Not only is it totally dented in on the outside, the inside is full of broken equipment as well; namely the speedometer and gas gauge. It is loud and feels like you are driving a monster truck of sorts. When I had to take it into town for the coffee run, I was not really prepared for that driving experience, but as always, up for another challenge. E led me down the short cut trail to the truck cutting off about 10 minutes of our hike. We got there and when I could not get the key to open the drivers door, I was informed that that door did not unlock from the outside; only the passenger door.
Once inside, I prayed that it would start and it did, luckily…because the other day, the battery was dead. Map in hand I started out. We made it out of the village fine and continued on the very rough dirt road until we hit a paved road and a road block…Policemen were checking ID’s and handing out a couple of “wanted posters”. I handed the officer my Kansas driver’s license and hoped for the best. He kind of looked at it for a moment and then motioned for me to pull over to the side. He walked around the truck inspecting it. I could see in his face that he wasn’t quite sure where to start. He finally leaned into the passenger window and asked me where I was going. I said to PG and he contemplated that for a moment…probably accessing whether the truck would make it or not.
He then told me that I had a right headlight hanging from the truck and that I would need to fix that. I assured him that I would and he handed me back the ID. As we drove out of the block, I was cracking up with E. as we were going over all the things we could see wrong with the truck!
As I approached the town, I pulled over in a driveway to look at the map and figure out which way to go. As I was sitting there a young boy came over to the truck holding something. I figured that he was trying to sell me something but he then held up a large headlight. He said “Miss, this is your light”. Dumbfounded, I said, “What? MY light?” which he replied, “Yes, Miss, your light was on the ground.” And he handed it to me. I started laughing and told him thank you over and over. He then trotted off. I tried to figure out where he came from, this little brown angel. It was just too perfect of timing…had the light fallen off on the road, had we not stopped at that moment, had he not come along just then, I would have arrived back at the ranch with one less light. I found which way to go with a renewed sense of a higher power leading me on.
At one stop at a store in town, I was told a couple time by passerby’s that “your tires soft” while pointing at the drivers side back tire. I was like yeah, I know, as the other day we had to fill it up also. After the next person pointed it out to me I decided to actually take a look at it. It was flat! I stopped the next car which was full of nuns and one of them told me how to get to the nearest gas station. As I got back into the truck a guy walked to the window and told me that my tire was soft. Restraining a sigh, I said that I knew it and was heading to the station to pump it up. He then said to back up into the driveway across from where I was parked because he has a shop and can air it for me. My second angel of the day.
It was funny as 3 burley fix-it guys watched the smaller guy air it up with a small compressor. After 5 minutes of filling it up, I stood next to one of the guys and with my arms crossed I nodded with my head towards the tire and said “think it will make it back to Columbia?” He told me that there was air available at the dump which I would pass on my way back to the village. I took that as a no. With a full tire, we headed to the vegetarian restaurant in town and ran into (by chance?) the karate teacher. He was on my list of people to talk to regarding lessons for the girls. As we talked I told him about the tire and he suggested going to Pedro’s to get it fixed. As he was giving me directions E. piped up and said she knew where it was because they got their dog Belaya from Pedro’s.
Tofu tortillas in hand, we headed down the road to Pedro’s. We got there and while Pedro gave his grandsons a lesson in tire repair we munched on the 25 cent choco-bananas; a completely delicious chocolate covered frozen banana. After paying Pedro a whopping 5$ for the tire repair we were back on our way. I parked along the beach so we could kill time in a coffee shop. I shut the driver door and then remembered that I didn’t have my bag. I grabbed the handle and pulled….pulling the handle completely off the truck. As I regained my balance (barely escaping falling down a small hill into the water below) I stood there and became lost in a hysterical sort of laugh. As my 7 year old passenger joined in my laughter she said between breaths, “Mom is not going to let you drive here truck anymore.” I wiped away my tears of laughter and we proceeded into the shop because I really needed a cup of coffee at that point!
After our truck adventure we arrived safely back with no more mishaps and after much laughter, I was informed that my driving privileges will not be revoked.