Tuesday, October 14, 2008

At My Mechanics

This is a post I have been wanting to do for a long time but never had the chance until now. I was always afraid to take pictures of his work space for fear he might think I was making fun of him. Or at the very least, another strange Gringo!

I dropped my car off over there at the appointed time of 9:00 AM last Friday. I needed to get the oil changed and I wanted him to check why the "Check Oil" light kept coming on. Even though whenever I checked my oil levels they were fine. (ok, so I know how to do a little more than empty the ashtray. Kill me already.)

Naturally, there was not a soul in sight to take my keys. Or even say hello. It had been raining all morning so it didn't surprise me to much. Plus it gave me the chance to take photos for this post! I had just barely finished taking these pictures when Roberto, aka Flaco, showed up. I never call him by his nickname and he gets this great big grin on his face everytime I call him by his given name. I just think it is a bit more respectful, even though I use the informal "tu" with him.

Make no bones about it. This place is a mess. But given the choice, there is nowhere I can think of here on the island that I would rather take my car. I would even choose him over anyplace I can think of in the USA also! I have only the utmost respect for this man and his abilities.

This is the entrance. That's my car in the lower left and behind it is about 3" of space before the road. Not a big operation he runs here. Every taxi driver I have ever spoken to says they bring their taxi here for service also. Great praise, that.

Moving in to his actual work space, protected from the elements by these tarps. You can tell how old they are just by looking. The woman depicted on the tarp is our former Mayor. She ran for office a little over five years ago. I think he had this one in storage. There used to be one from Coca-Cola but I am guessing it finally disintegrated into shreds and he had to replace it.

This is the body shop portion of the business. The main man there is Chino. He won't tell me his real name. He is a laugh and a half though to talk to. He's the guy that fixed my front fender when some clod backed into and left the scene.

The "recycling" area.

The spare parts and oil storage shed. This car is kept under lock and key with big padlocks on the doors.

The customer waiting room. This is also the lunch room.

Like I said, not a big operation but a mighty one. If you live here on Isla and don't know where this is, don't bother asking. I don't want him being swamped with Gringo work and thinking he has to raise his prices!

Oh, he charges 60 pesos for an oil change, including the oil! That's $5 USD!


K.W. Michigan said...

OK don't kill me, BUT I think his patrons should pay for a roof over the poor guys head! Especially with prices like $5.00 US! What a steal!

Isla Deb said...

Love the waiting room...do they offer free coffee like the glitzy showroom dealerships up here while you're waiting for service? Think I'll bring my car down for a tune-up. Great post!

Croft Randle said...

This is amazing! I bought a liter of oil at WalMart in Mazatlan last winter and it cost me $50 Pesos! Oil and a spare filter was on my list of things to bring to Mexico this year. I guess I just have to shop around.

I wonder if he might be using recycled oil? Nothing wrong with it if he is, it is cleaned and re-refined. Good as new but cheaper.

Brenda said...

That can't possibly include the filter. Boy, that is cheap.

Islagringo said...

kw: If I ever win the lottery I'm going to build him a proper building myself!

isladeb: there is always a pot of coffee there. Neither he nor Chino drink anymore. Except I don't think I would drink anything out of the cups he has around!

croft: I don't think he uses recycled oil. He puts the empty bottles in the back of my car and I always have to give them back to him.

brenda: filter???

Anonymous said...

That looks kind of like my yard, but you don't want me changing your oil. Trust me.

Sue said...

I know this mechanic as he used to have his shop just a little farther up the street and all the taxis were constantly coming and going. And I'm guessing he wouldn't spend any extra money he might get on a roof over his head anyway - why spend money on something when there is a suitable substitute (i.e, old campaign banners)? But I'm sure he'd use extra money for something his family needs.

Funny - my preferred golf cart mechanic is called Roberto as well.

Brenda said...

You know, the oil filter. The one that you are supposed to change evertime you change your oil.

couzin frank said...

Wish I could get a oil change for $5 bucks!