Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tomemos comida en Tonala

I’ve been more than a little delinquent with posting this last week or so.  Disculpeme.

We left Regina on a bitterly cold Friday afternoon, headed for Saskatoon where Marilyn was pitching a contract to Saskatchewan Ag in the Classroom.  After that we turned west and got as far as Kindersley before I powered out so we spent the night in the old Kindersley Inn.  An early start in the morning got us to the Calgary airport in time for our 1:00 flight to Guadalajara.  Unfortunately it wasn’t a direct flight so we had to kill  about 4 hours in Houston along the way and arrived in Guad at close to midnight. 

Marilyn pushed the button at customs and got a green light so that was an easy entry.  When we walked through the doors Karla and her parents were waiting to greet us.  Her condo is pretty close to the airport so it was a short trip home to where Adrianita was waiting for us.  After much gifting we finally got to bed sometime before 3:00 AM.  Since then we have been in a flurry of activity which I won’t bore you with the details of. 

Karla’s sister and her brother in law took us up to Tapalpa to a restaurant that they really like on Sunday.  On the way back from Tapalpa at around 6:00 we got sideswiped by a bob-tail semi.  He did a lot of damage to Carlos Juan’s car and he would have been long gone except for Karla’s quick reaction.  My instinct would have been to pull to the shoulder and assess the damage but when she saw the truck leaving the scene of the crime her instinct was to hammer down, get ahead of him and then force him to a stop in the middle of traffic.  After that treatment he was pretty cooperative and in typical Mexican fashion everyone was extremely polite to the point of hugging each other when we finally parted ways 5 hours later. 

While we were standing on the side of the highway with traffic whizzing past us as we waited for various insurance agents to arrive I kept telling myself it would make a good story someday.  There hasn’t been enough time pass yet for it to be a good story but its getting close.  The biggest difference from a Canadian or US accident was that the only police involvement in the accident was coincidental.  The first call for everyone was to their insurance agent.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more until finally the trucker’s agent arrived on the scene.  At that point everybody agreed that it was very good because the trucker and Carlos both had the same insurance company.  I wasn’t so sure but I held my tongue.

Sure enough things quickly got worse.  First Carlos couldn’t find some key piece of paper in his crowded glove box.  That didn’t seem to be a deal breaker but it did consume a lot of search time.  Then it turned out that the trucker didn’t actually have insurance, his coverage having expired on Dec. 31.  And as it turned out his company had been involved in another almost simultaneous accident which will become important later in the story. 

I think at that point the liability must have fallen back on Karla’s agent because we then had to wait and wait and wait for her agent to arrive.  At one point I wondered if we would ultimately have to wait for our agent to arrive but I put that thought out of my mind. 

Once Karla’s agent arrived they then had to repeat the filling out of all the multiple copies of multiple forms in quadruplicate.  Then it came down to the trucking company coming up with enough surety on enough credit cards to cover the anticipated repairs to Carlos Juan’s car.  As I mentioned earlier, the same company had been involved in an almost simultaneous but slightly earlier accident so that apparently had consumed most of their access to credit.  That meant that Karla’s agent didn’t get finished his phone calls and forms until around midnight.   My only thought at the time was “there goes 6 hours out of my life that I will never get back.”  On the plus side nobody got hurt and we did get to observe first hand what actually happens after a Mexican traffic incident.  The only police involvement during the whole affair was when two highway patrol officers in an SUV happened by.  They stopped briefly but were gone almost before I noticed that they had stopped.  I doubt that anyone mentioned that the trucker had initially tried to run away from the accident because that would have been too impolite and in Mexico politeness is paramount even after some asshole sideswipes your car and tries to run away from the scene of the crime. 

Yesterday Carlos went into the hospital for his prostatectomy so we just tried to stay out of the way.  To do that we hired a local cab and got him to take us into the heart of Tonala.  Tlaquepaque (where Karla lives) and Tonala are the centre of production for glassware, ceramics and wrought iron work that you see in markets all over the south of the US.  We didn’t find our way into the production zone yesterday but it was a fun day nonetheless.  Years ago when we visited Tonala we happened to wander into a glass blowing shop where we spent at least an hour just staying out of the way and watching.  Nobody seemed to mind that we were in the middle of their production shop.  Our purchases yesterday consisted of some ceramic dolphins for a feature wall in the boat and some colourful napkins as well as la comida (our noon meal). 

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