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100# When you don't see it coming

- You have to go to sales

- There is nobody in sales

- Just wait a bit... ahorita ahorita


The alarm rang at 5:00 am. I prepared my coffee and turned on the engine. The town was still asleep. In the central square of San Cristobal, my two travel buddies Leonard and Jade were ready for a roadtrip. Mazunte was our destination on the southern Pacific coast, ten hours away.

I had Gerardo the mechanic pamper la Chichona for two weeks for this trip. He repaired every known problem and anticipated potential ones. It costed me $ 1700 to get his green light. Leonard and Jade were on time. We skipped the morning traffic of the loud and hot Tuxtla Gutierrez and began our descent towards the coast.

On the highway, a truck was losing power uphill and slowed down the lane. I pushed on the gas pedal to pass him when... nothing. Release, push. Release, push. Nothing. La Chichona didn't respond. Not even two hours and we were already in trouble. Really Chichona?

I called Gerardo, trying not to alert my two companions. He said there was a Mercedes dealership in Tuxtla. It would be more expensive but it was our best option. We couldn’t drive back up the mountains to Gerardo's garage anyway. We took the first exit and headed back to Tuxla, at a steady 40km/h on the highway. La Chichona had let me down… again.

A security guard in uniform opened a huge gate and showed us where to park. A young man wearing a white shirt and skinny pants came out of the office. His black hair clashed with his perfect, shining smile. He felt sorry for us but relieved we came to the Mercedes dealership. They were the best and it was thanks to their bulletproof protocol, he smiled. Protocol meant doing a diagnosis with a Mercedes-certified computer, by a Mercedes-certified mechanic, at a Mercedes-billable hour. Protocol started at 100$.

The mechanic they assigned us moved like a sloth. It would take him four hours to fix the car if he had the part he said. Jade was getting impatient. She had a few days left in Mexico and spending them in a garage was not part of her plans. Leonard and I went for breakfast while she checked her options. Leonard decided to wait and Jade found no better option. They both stayed. I was relieved.

The mechanic could not order the part, the salesman had to do it...protocol he said. I looked for the man in the entire office in vain. His colleagues left me hanging on "ahorita viene, ahorita". I called out my urgency and walked into the inventory. The employee there sympathized and sold me the part directly, ignoring protocol. The slow mechanic slowly finished his job. We went for a test drive. I pushed hard on the gas and la Chichona answered. Finally!

Back to the dealership the mechanic had to prepare the bill then the sales guy could process it..protocol. It took him half an hour to write 6 lines. Everyone was impatiently waiting, ready to go. The guy was nowhere to be found. I waited, my blood boiling in my veins for that smiling shithead to take my money.

I stormed in the main building, waving my bill and card. People were having a meeting in a conference room when I interrupted them. We still had 9 hours to Mazunte and it was past 2pm! A gentleman told me to follow protocol. I snapped at the word and threaten to leave without paying. A young lady stood up in a hurry and took me to the cashier. Six hours and $279 later, we left the Mercedes dealership in the heat of the afternoon.

We drove through the state of Chiapas non stop. The closer to the coast the worse the heat. Leonard was not feeling well. Jade's cheeks were red and puffy. I was exhausted. We still had 6 hours to Mazunte. The sun went down but the heat did not. Leonard's condition was deteriorating by the minute. We decided to stop at a pharmacy. The next city was Salina Cruz. Unreal heat, toxic air, ugly concrete and street hustlers, that was Salina Cruz.

I closed the windows and turned on the AC, only to find out it had stopped working. My companions were getting worse. Jade's stomach grumbled as she tried her best to contain a loud burp. I pushed on the gas to speed up the pace and...nothing. Release, push. Release, push. I looked to Leonard in distress. He was sweaty and pale. Jade was holding her gut. I pushed again on the gas, La Chichona roared and the engine stopped... Fuck my life.

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