10-01-2006 Fire!

“If something can go wrong it will go wrong”. Murphy is omni present at the moment. Tuesday the 9th of January we finished all the last preparations. We received the new freezer, installed the spare tires and with help of 3 strong men of David's laboratory we loaded everything in the pickup and trailer. (Temperature: 41 degrees.)

The next day all we only had to pick up the international insurance for the car and load the frozen samples into the freezer in the back of the pickup. Around 11 o' clock I went to the laboratory to get the samples and in the mean while David connected the freezer to the converter (converts the outlet of the car battery to 220V). When I got back to the car I found David putting out a fire on top of the car. The converter had caught fire and this developed a lot of smoke. Pfff we'd been all ready to go and now we did not have power for the freezer. Aghhh, why was nothing going as planned since we left Natal??? Was some higher power trying to tell us to stay home?

We decided to drive to the electrician who had re-installed the converter (after the thieves had disconnected it) some days ago and happily he was at home and had time to help us. He opened the box and said that he could not fix the device. Thousand euros went up in flames! There was nothing else to do then to drive down-town to buy a new one. Of course they only had the most expensive model in stock. I didn't know what to do: buy it or not?? We have had so many extra expenses after the robbery. Most of the project money is already spend. On the other hand: I knew we were going to put a lot of effort to obtain the samples in the lakes in South Argentina and without the converter none of our freezers (see previous episode) would work. No converter > no energy > no freezing > defrosted samples > bad results So: we bought it and drove the 40 km back to the electrician.

The electrician finished installing it at four o' clock (our planning had been to be approaching the Uruguayan boarder by this time). At that time we found out that the old plugs did not fit into this one… The third shop we visited had the plugs we wanted and by now the airconditioning of Davids car gave out. The temperature was wayyyy above 40.

OK, finally the freezer was connected to the car battery… and that is when we noticed that the freezer did not want to turn on anymore. The whole situation started to look like a candid camera set up, I could just not believe this was happening.

The electrician went to find a 'freezer-expert' who opened the freezer and concluded that the freezer was overheated : - ) Never known that that could happen. We waited a bit, cooled it down with a fan and after some time it started working again.

At 8 o'clock we finally left Porto Alegre. Just 800 km to go to Montevideo were wery to catch. (Foot note: we drove 500 km up and down in Porto Alegre to get the trailer and our “Poderosa” fixed.)

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