02-01-2006 We got the car back: in pieces
The year started well: the car arrived in Porto Alegre. Together with David I went to pick it up at the transportation company, the trailer was also there. Unfortunately the car is in a worse condition than we thought. The box that was fixed on top of the car was removed without much tact: roof damaged and the support system totally bended, they tried out the winch and apparently did not know how to wind it up again, the lock of the passenger's door is gone, the electrical wires connecting the transformer to its sockets are cut, the license plates are removed and damaged
and so the car story continues.
As a Sherlock homes I carefully checked the car. I could not figure it out. Why -if the car was stolen in an armed robbery from the subcontracted transport company- did they have to remove the lock??? They had the key! I am sure that there is much more going on than we will ever know.
In the previous story I left off saying that the car was at the police station in Natal. The car was not released by the police before a bribe was paid and when Coca went to look for the car he found out that the owner of the Natal transport company was an intimate friend of the sheriff. Furthermore we know that the thieves have never been caught although the police knows where they live and work. It looks like everything has been a set up. We ended up in the middle of the car mafia. Needless to say that Coca felt little comfortable being at the mob's headquarters.
Back in Porto Alegre another surprise was waiting for us. The trailer that supposedly had been transported separately from the pickup and because of that had not been involved in the robbery had its mechanical and electrical connection totally damaged. I gather that the trailer WAS connected to the car at the time of the robbery and the thieves had no clue of how to remove the trailer from the car so they just bashed it. What confused me most, however, is that they had not even been able to disconnect the trailer plug from the car: they simply cut the electric wire! I really wonder who the brain was in this whole operation.
Now after some days of deep thought I think I got the complete scenario:
The driver of the subcontracted transport company let's call him Fulano- was happily going about with our trailer and pickup after all you do not get to drive a 'podorosa' hilux every day! -. He was listening to my Santana cd and realized that he had almost reached complete happiness. The only thing that was bothering him was his full blather. But wasn't he just approaching a dark alley? That would do perfectly! He locked the car, stepped out and made his contribution to the hydrological cycle. When he came back he was struck by the sight of a clumsy thief forcing the lock of our Podorosa. Fulano panicked, but just for one second, then he saw the golden opportunity: 'Hé´ he yelled in Portuguese. ´Stop that. You don´t need to break in: I have the key!´ The all thumbs, who had already unconnected the pickup the Neanderthal way, looked back goofily. His neurons could at first not assemble the different impulses that were coming towards him but when he saw Fulano's criminal smile and the shiny key held out by him the car robber got the picture. ´Lets work in this together´ Fulano said. ´My boss has connections in the sheriff department. With your know-how and my connections we should be able to get very far.´ The rest of the story has already been told.
Anyway, as a result of this we were not able to connect the trailer and we had to leave the trailer in the parking lot of the transporter. They would drop it off the next day at a trailer repair shop.
Behind the steering wheel of the car I get a strange sensation: some weeks before there was a mafia guy sitting here, on this same seat touching the same wheel. Creepy! We will definitely have to clean this car thoroughly and maybe burn some incense to get the good karma back.
At the moment I am in the middle of a stressful last week. The car has to go to 5 different workshops: one to do some emergency painting of the scratches, one to get a general checkup and to replace the lock, one to change the position of the tires, one to fix the box on the roof, and finally one to repair the electrical system. Happily David knows to find them all. By now I feel ready to write 'Zen and the art of getting you car fixed in Porto Alegre'. I am seriously considering opening my own 'Wegenwacht' or 'first aid on the road' down here. But first things first: Tierra del Fuego!
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