The Devil Drives a Corolla
As we drove off the scales I could see it…real roads! I could almost taste that sweet dirty pavement. Just one last person/police officer to talk to and Truck was a free girl! Of course the officer wanted to ask a bunch of questions, tell me about what diesel to buy, and all about his Willy’s Jeep. It’s not that I didn’t care, but after two days of sitting in hell, I mean the Cartagena shipping port, I wanted out! Just one hitch, he told me I needed insurance to drive in Colombia.
Well they really get you with the paperwork and bullshit inside the port. You run around like a mad man for every piece of paperwork…and all said and done, you can’t buy insurance anywhere near the port. WTF? I made a promise to the officer that I was headed directly to the insurance office, and he gave me the green light.
Free at last! Sarah hopped in Patrick’s car as the chief navigator and I was on a solo mission to follow them. We really didn’t have that far to go, but it is in one of the craziest cities I have driven in. This place makes Boston rush hour look like the open highways of the midwest.
Patrick was taking it slow so I didn’t lose them and so we didn’t miss any turns. I am not sure if you need a license to drive in Colombia or not? But I am sure as shit you don’t need to take a driver’s test to get one. Colombians (a complete generalization, I know) are the craziest drivers alive. It’s like they learned to drive by playing Grand Theft Auto.
At this point, I’d say we have driven about two miles when we hit a red light. Patrick and I had been separated by a bus, but I knew which direction to go. I sat peacefully in my designated lane waiting for the light to turn green. The bus took off and I followed suit in a nice straight line. That’s when I heard it. Cruuuunnnnncccchhhh. I didn’t feel a thing, but I got my butt off my seat and looked out the passenger side window. I hit a fucking Corolla. Well, technically she wedged her tiny little Toyota ass underneath my 35” tire and got run over. Not even fully processing what happened I sped up and signaled Patrick and Sarah to stop. I then proceeded to find a safe spot to pull to the side of the road.
I hopped out of the truck, windows open and truck still running, to be greeted by a dozen angry assed men. Patrick and Sarah weren’t even pulled over yet. I am not sure how the hell the men managed to get to me before the car that was directly behind me did? I assume they have teleporting powers when it comes to chasing someone down who was involved in an accident. They proceeded to inform me that I hit a car and were yelling at me. I’m not even really positive what they were saying since it was 12 different voices all ripping Spanish at me.
About a minute later, the Corolla pulls up, four-ways on, and parks in the middle of the street. She hops out of the car and says “That’s him, that’s him!”. When she finally zeros in on me, I tell her I am the driver. She then, with fully automatic machine gun Spanish, proceeded to ream me a, very giant, new asshole. With her 12” finger waving in my face all I could focus on was her drawn on purple eyebrows. I barely heard a word..until the racial comments started. Gringo this, Gringo that, slit your throat this, idiot that. That’s right, she informed me that they would slit my throat for such an escapade. Patrick and Sarah at my side, I pondered what the following steps would be. Did I need to go into fight or flight mode, or would the next 5 minutes be handled civilly, like human beings?
Our options were slim. We were completely out numbered, were now drawing a crowd of people, and were lacking insurance so we could not involve the police. I guess we needed to take the high road and handle this as adults.
The woman, and angry men (I’m still not even sure where the fuck they came from) demanded that I follow her to Toyota and pay for the damages to her car. Not wanting my throat slit, or to go to jail, I agreed. The woman then demanded that we give the equivalent of $25 to each man. “For what?” I asked. “For food.” she says. Fuck no. Again, where did they even come from? And they sure as shit didn’t help me any.
I declined her negotiations. One man with his hand out would not retreat. He proceeded to make it very inconvenient for me to get in the truck and demanded $25. Feeling panicked, I gave him $5 just to get rid of him. He then told the woman. What is this? You have a bunch of angry counterparts, and you go tell mommy that the gringo didn’t give you enough money for your bullshit bribe? She continued to yell for me to give more, from the seat of her car. I gave the guy another $5 and said “no more”. We hopped in the truck, shut the windows and locked the doors.
With an armed security guard in tow, the woman proceeded to take the most backwards way, down every side street, and every possible inconvenient turn she could make. It felt as though she was advertising what just happened. At one point she made a turn into a gas station, looped through the parking lot, and back into the street where we just came from. Honestly, it’s no wonder she got in an accident, she drives like a monkey.
Unfortunately, I realized we lost Patrick as we pulled into the gas station. But in a way I felt good that he was headed back to the hotel and to his wife. I didn’t want to drag him into our mess, especially after the past two days we just had together.
And round two begins: Woman aka Eyebrows aka Satan proceeded to ream us a little more in front of the men who work for Toyota. Normally I am not such a judgmental person, but frankly this woman was a complete and utter beotch! She was saying us Americanos think we can do what ever we want, the only thing we care about is cocaine, we’re so dumb. I bit my tongue the entire time. I even refrained as she walked around her car with the Toyota rep and his clipboard, marking every scratch and scuff on her car. At one point she even tried to say she needed a new set of tires. “What do you know? You don’t speak Spanish. You’re just a gringo and you can afford to pay it!” she said.
I pulled the poor Toyota rep aside and explained the situation to him. He agreed to only draw up the estimate for the damage actually caused.
From an overwhelming day, Sarah was feeling the stress. She became nauseous and went to rest in the waiting area. The woman proceeded to come into the building, after saying bye to her angry counterparts outside, and try to be friends with Sarah. She actually had the nerve to pull her seat up right next to Sarah after Sarah politely asked her to go away. She then spewed hate mixed with her life story to Sarah as Sarah tried to hold down her lunch.
The woman was thrilled with Sarah’s pain and anxiety, and even tried to bring me into the mix. I can tolerate some words being thrown my way, but I will not be your friend at the same time, sorry. At some point she called her husband for back up, and made it be known to us. Great!, we thought, more angry men to listen to. When he arrived, he asked who was going to pay for the damage. The woman pointed to us, and said “They will… todo, todo, todo!”
After what felt like an eternity I was given my bill; $1100.00 US to fix a car that jammed itself under my tire, too impatient to wait at a light. I was furious. I handed the paper to her and her husband and told them that in no way was I going to pay all of that. I tried to explain that it wasn’t even my fault to the husband. I don’t know what I was thinking trying to explain myself. Obviously he didn’t give a shit about me. It was a losing battle I was fighting, and I had no way out. I couldn’t call the police, I didn’t have insurance, and I was arguing with Mr. and Mrs. Devil.
I stepped out of the room to see if I could negotiate with Toyota. Nope. The price was firm, and it was only for the damage caused by my tire. Did I mention, that you couldn’t even tell that our truck was in an accident. Not even the slightest hint of a scuff. Nothing!
Now losing the battle from both ends, I went back to the waiting room to get Sarah only to find the man with his hands in her face, yelling at her. As I sit here writing this blog, with my blood pressure boiling, I wish I had laid him out right there in that waiting room. I had a moment of weakness, and I did not act. I instead signaled Sarah to come out to discuss. We quickly agreed to put the payment on a credit card and take care of it later.
I asked the guys at Toyota if I could leave my truck there until I bought insurance, and they said it was no problem.
With our tail between our legs, Sarah and I left that dealership, defeated, dehydrated, nauseous, completely spent, and $1100 poorer. We didn’t even make eye contact with her and her husband. They had won.