It’s hard to know where to start this story. It could be when brown/black liquid started spraying onto the windshield of our Galloper, or when Hernan said to call El Cubano, or with the condition of the road and the thrice broken hinges to the hood. We might as well start with the malfunctioning horn that honks at will, usually when slowing down.
Since the road is in a constant state of disrepair we slow down often and as a result do a lot of unnecessary honking. Hernan, the tattooed pierced Argentinean real estate agent that John and I were driving around with the other day, thought the honking was great. In a thick accent he says- “You know, it’s like ‘hello we are coming, it’s nice to see you’.” That is, until the horn wouldn’t stop. We turned the engine off, but kept right on honking. It’s not even our real horn, it’s the alarm horn that we don’t use, don’t want.
We carefully opened the broken hood, found which horn was making the noise and tried to disconnect it. Mind you, it’s not easy to concentrate when you are being blasted with such noise. I grabbed the yellow wire, Hernan held onto the box it was connected to, and we pulled. We unplugged two boxes but failed to disconnect the wire and, in the confusion, dropped one box into the engine. It was visible and I was able to reach an arm down to get it. Reconnected, the horn was silent. I jumped back in the car leaving John to put the hood back down. He lowered the stabilizing arm, brought the hood half way down, and as you normally would, dropped it. Because the hinges were broken it fell askew and didn’t close. Having done this myself I hopped down and helped it shut.
Back in the car, the engine starts no problem and we’re on our merry way. That’s when brown/black stuff spews onto the windshield. I say oil, Hernan says mud. It gets worse so I look onto the hood, which is covered in black and then see the oil light brighten on the dash. We pull over immediately and that’s when Hernan says to call El Cubano. We needed to call somebody. The Galloper looked like it had barfed oil.
In 15 minutes El Cubano shows up with a helper in their own Galloper. Being in Costa Rica and hearing the name El Cubano I was a little surprised when he and his friend ended up being two rednecks from Florida. El Cubano is missing all his front teeth so his tongue curls to one side when he talks. He’s somewhere between 35 and 50. In two seconds El Cubano said it was the intercooler. The latch from the crashing hood had punctured it, and since it is high pressure, it needs to be welded with aluminum, something that can only be done in Bri Bri about 30 minutes away. El Cubano said it would be $90.00 to tow it to our house, have the intercooler welded in Bri Bri and re-weld the hood on site. This, compared to what it costs at our mechanic for a days work, seems like a huge rip-off; but what are our options? We’re immobile, don’t know anyone else who will tow us and do the work in any kind of reasonable time and need the car again within two days.
With the Gallopers hitched we head down the road towards home when, a little predictably, El Cubano wings an empty can of Imperial (read Bud Light) out the window. In the driveway he and his helper, who’s main job was to buy beer and fetch wrenches, work steadily at finishing a six pack and taking out the Intercooler. They then headed to Bri Bri, John along for the ride, guzzling Imperials the whole way, to get it welded. They were successful and after El Cubano reattached the Intercooler with much effort to compensate for the quantity of Imperial consumed, they were gone. He came back later in the week to weld the hinges himself and have a few more Imperials. Everything is working well and now we know another Puerto Viejo character who happens to be a traveling mechanic.