Friday, July 23, 2010

A trip to a favorite corner

We have a nightly routine, the three of us (me, Miguel, and Loco). We hop on the golf cart and head out for a short drive to the lottery booth - located mid-island a little north of the house.

We had a little issue getting the golf cart going before we left, and I suggested that Miguel just take a taxi and deal with the golf cart in the morning. But no...Miguel ended up removing the spark plug so he could clean it, and in the process a little cap that goes on the top of the plug slipped out of his fingers and fell into the hole where the spark plug is housed. But Miguel didn't have any pliers handy, so he replaced the cleaned plug, found another cap he could use, and off we went.

A few blocks later the golf cart started sputtering. We pulled over, lifted the seat, and Miguel tightened the cap over the spark plug. We got another block before he had to do it again. The cap was hot by now, but somehow Miguel always finds something along the side of the road that he can use - this time it was a little pile of cardboard. A small piece torn off gave his fingers enough of a grip in order to tighten the cap without getting burned.

We almost made it to the curve before it started sputtering again, but this time Miguel kept going. Up and around the bend, down the other side and over the tope. Then we pulled over alongside the baseball field. Tightened the cap, and gave a good wiggle on the cable connecting the spark plug to something on the other end, which I don't know what that is because I've never followed the cable to see where it goes.

We made it just past the lottery corner, where there is an area that you can pull over and be completely off the road. The store to buy the new spark plug and cap was just another block away, so Miguel decided he would just walk - but he needed to take the spark plug with him to ensure he got the same model as a replacement. Getting the spark plug out took some time because it was too hot to touch, and even the little pieces of cardboard and kleenex didn't protect his fingers for the time he had to touch the spark plug in order to get it out of its hole.

The area where we pulled over was a great spot, from Loco's point of has a wall that is loaded with iguanas, and since it was still daylight and sunny, a few iguanas were soaking up the last rays of sunshine. Not for long though, because Loco couldn't hide the fact that he was in pursuit of iguanas, and only the restraint of the leash kept him from jumping and grabbing a few. Quickly all that was left of iguanas on the wall was one tail, where a fat iguana was unable to get himself completely inside the top of the wall. The tail was enough of a tease to keep Loco interested while I sat on the back of the golf cart and waited for Miguel to return.

And then I remembered that I had my camera in my purse, and that I'd been waiting to write about this corner until I had pictures to go with the words. So now I have a picture that I wouldn't normally have, because usually I'm sitting on the golf cart on the other side of the street, right at the corner by the pretty palm plants.

So Miguel came back with the new spark plug, and we crossed the road and the sputtering started again. Obviously the problem was not the spark plug itself. Oh well...let's just buy the lottery tickets and go home.

While Miguel stood in line, Loco and I sat on the cart and enjoyed our nightly view. You'd think we'd get tired of this, but there is always something going on at this corner. Lots of people-watching - walking, riding, playing. For Loco there are lots of smells - other dogs, iguanas, hamburgers. We amuse ourselves while we wait for Miguel.

This is where we buy yummy hamburgers and fries from a very nice local family. Sometimes we buy a hot dog for Loco - he loves them! The three teen-aged boys are very well-mannered and friendly, and almost always come over to say "Hi" and pet Loco when they see us parked across the street. 

The palm plants on the corner are in flower right now. With all the traffic, it's amazing that the plants are healthy and growing. Miguel took it upon himself to maintain these plants, he pulls off the dead fronds whenever they need pulling off, he can't stand to see a plant with dead branches. Here you see one he pulled off two weeks ago - lying on the ground where he put it.

Note the condition of the road as it meets the main road. The potholes cause most people coming out of this road to drive on the other side of the road, which makes for interesting observations when another vehicle tries to turn into the side road. Luckily, here on the island, almost everyone is used to everyone else having to drive a little differently because of road conditions and vehicle problems, so nobody gets upset when you're sitting on the wrong side of the road, making a right-hand turn onto the main road...they just drive around you. I like to watch all this as I wait, sometimes it's an exercise in human psychology.

So we sputtered our way home...putt putt putt...slowly, very slowly. Once in a while the golf cart would take off normally for a few seconds, but then it would sputter again. I commented to Miguel that it might be tricky making a left turn off the main road onto our road because we were so slow, but the other traffic adjusted for us...they simply passed us on the right as we approached the middle of the road to prepare for the turn.

We made it safely home and I made coffee. Today is another day - Miguel will look for the little piece that fell into the hole last night, and we take it from there. Did I hear someone say "life in paradise"?


Anonymous said...

I like your observations, Sue. I hope someday to be there long enough to notice the things you do.

I believe your corner store is run by the family of a young man that our daughter knew a few years ago. His name is Emilio.

Since she is now married and he was part of her life "before" we don't speak of him much.

We see him from time to time, but he speaks no English and our Spanish is very limited, so the conversations are brief.

Thanks for sharing :) I love to read your stories, especially when they have pictures to illustrate!

Buenos dias!!

jeanie said...

Thanks for taking us to your corner Sue. I know you go there every night and have wondered what it looked like. The burger stand too.

Vee said...

Love this post, Sue. I'm glad you finally had your camera with you!

drgeo said...

I like your observations about the store too, but I'm very distracted by the small metal end of the spark plug falling into the hole. That hole leads to the top of the piston, which pushes gas up so the spark can ignite it, the explosion pushing the piston back down (over and over). If a bit of metal falls into that hole it will begin to scratch the piston cylinder walls every time the piston comes up. Too many scratches and you will need to rebore the engine block (very expensive) to make the cylinder wall smooth again. They make a tool that looks like a screw driver with a bendy flexible shaft--with a magnet on the tip. If the metal piece is nonmagnetic aluminum, you might wish to borrow a long narrow forceps from a friendly nurse. That might be easier than holding the golf cart over your head and shaking until the metal piece comes out. Don't drive the cart until the metal bit is removed (although a replacement engine might be nice and would also solve your other throttle problem).

Sue said...

Salome - I don't actually know the family who owns that store, although I have observed how they handle the sale of ice (will blog about it one's humorous).

Jeanie and Vee - glad I had my camera, I usually don't. I know pictures make the blog more interesting.

Drgeo - don't worry too much, I should have made it clear that it was not the hole the spark plug goes into, it's the container that has the hole for the spark plug. The little piece is not anywhere near the motor, it's somewhere on the outside...never to be seen again (famous last words). Seems the real source of the problem was electrical, not the spark plug - Miguel fiddled with some things this morning and the cart has been running great all day (famous last words). I do like your image of holding the golf cart over our heads and shaking it - I pictured something similar last Let's put it this way - any 'expensive' repairs are not going to happen, the last one, about 3 weeks ago, was unplanned and unapproved and we had to pay because that's the way it is. But no more...little repairs, ok...big more. Thanks for your concern though - and sorry we worried you.

KfromMichigan said...

Thanks for having your camera! Love to see the pictures! You should have taken one of Loco. Maybe Miguel needs a course in car maintenance! Paradise you are living in ..especially in the winter when it's snowing here.

Jackie said...

I got to try the burger cart next time I am on Isla.Good luck to Miguel with his lucky lottery numbers.

Islagringo said...

I wish you would change your comments page to open in a new window. Anyway... I think that someday that golf cart will be the end of you. But what a way to go!

Sue said...

K - I should have taken one of Loco! And Miguel has learned a lot about our golf cart, he keeps it going because if we had to call a mechanic for everything, we'd be calling most days. Sometimes he actually fixes things better than the mechanics. I never want another golf cart, they are really a pain to maintain.

Jackie - let us know what you think once you try it. Like I said, it's not a lot of meat but the combination is really tasty. And Miguel could use your good wishes, he's been in a drought since last fall.

Wayne - Funny how people have preferences - I don't like that little comment window, maybe my eyes are getting older and I like the bigger window for reading all the comments. I hope the golf cart is not the end of us, I have bigger plans than going out on an exploding golf cart! :-)