The day after arriving Dolphin-less at Tres Amigos, Jacqui and I woke to the air of uncertainty. We still had no price quote from our mechanic, and very little information due to our poor Spanish skills.
Knowing that the solid metal differential was bent in our Dolphin, I was unsure what these mechanics were going to be able to do. In my old place of employment, Engine Works, we would sublet out most heavy differential work to our crazy Australian Pete of Pete’s Gear Shop. This left me with a lack of experience in this area of repair, and wondering how on earth they could straighten this thing. I was half expecting the mechanic to call and say it wasn’t possible.
This became one of those moments in life that requires a little self-reflection. I definitely like to have control over a situation, and I work hard to help eliminate unknowns in my life. However, this was a time when I had to let Jacqui tell me to stop stressing since there was nothing I could do. So on the advice of our Tres Amigos neighbor, we decided we should drop by the mechanic at midday for a little information and progress report. At least in person, pointing and gestures could assist our poor Spanish skills.
On a beautiful sunny day we made our way to the tiny local dock to catch a water taxi (panga) into Mazatlan. With everyone loaded up, the boat took off to make its first stop at the second Stone Island pickup area. It was here that things once again took a drastic change for Jacqui and I. There’s really no way to make sense of how these things come together. To review…
Our major car accident had absolutely no injuries. Our vehicle was hit in the “perfect spot,” not causing more serious or flammable damage. After the accident, people we hardly knew offered us a place to stay while we figured out what to do with our Dolphin. When we decided to repair the Dolphin, there just happened to be a retired carpenter in the RV Park who was unbelievably happy to help us. Now, stepping onto the very same boat as us…was Dani.
I won’t say either Jacqui or myself particularly knew this Dani fellow. Dani is a local who does carpentry work, and owns a piece of property on Stone Island where a friend of his does mechanic work. Dani had previously referred me to the welder that did work on the Dolphin, and had offered to let me use a few of his tools before disappearing for weeks. I had all but forgotten of his existence, but there he was standing in front of us.
Jacqui and I were happy to see a familiar face and exchanged greetings with Dani. He informed us he’d been away for the past few weeks, and then asked how things were going with the Dolphin. After a quick rundown of our situation, Dani insisted on personally driving us to the mechanic. He wanted to talk with them, and translate for us. He was concerned that because of our poor Spanish, the shop might try to rip us off, and if we needed a new differential, he had connections to help us find one.
Just like that everything changed again. Five minutes earlier the future was foreboding. Unknown costs, unknown solutions, unknown outcome. Suddenly we had a local on our side, and what an amazing person Dani, barely more than a stranger, turned out to be.
We hopped in Dani’s old beat up Nissan, his wife and one year old daughter sitting in front, and began experiencing what it was like to drive with a true local. As we drove with no one wearing a seat belt, and the baby in mom’s lap, Dani darted in and out of traffic only slowing to honk and wave at all the people he recognized in the street. After cutting off a bus, darting through a gas station parking lot and blasting by a cop, a taxi in front of us stopped suddenly. Dani locked up the brakes and barely dodged the collision. This was met with absolutely no emotional response from anyone; just as normal as a right turn here I guess. After tagging along for some time while Dani ran errands, we finally arrived at the mechanic shop that had our Dolphin.