Chapter 6: Fight Response
We – my motorcycle and me – were dropped back on Mex-1 highway. Courtesy demanded that I pay him something for his service. I offered two hundred pesos ($20) which was graciously accepted. They offered me a beer to relax which I graciously accepted. Ankit soon followed. Sitting under the tree we got a moment to relax and reflect. “Its nice to see that even after this we both have not lost our equanimity”, uttered Ankit. I smiled. ‘What next’ was the imminent question. Given that our first attempt with hitching a ride was so successful, it was a natural thing to try for another one. Getting a ride is simply a numbers game. The only skill and quality needed is perseverance. I was ready to play it, to enjoy it (to be read as: it was our only option). We considered calling someone, but there was no cellular network or a public phone in Chapala.
My left hand goes out, waves for help. No avail. My right hand mimics the left, desperate for help. Tough luck. Both hands work in unison, folded, pleading for help. Ha! try harder. All I got were honks, smiles and stares. Not even a single truck stopped for our help. Ankit joined me in my dance of desperation. A pickup truck stopped. It was hauling another car, but had plenty of space for the motorcycle. We both looked at each other. Yes! we did it – close to an hour of waving around and one truck indeed stops. We rushed to the truck in our joy. Two men stepped out from either side of the car, got their bottles out for a quick sip, stretched a bit, smiled at us, said sorry and moved on. “This is not working out”, said Ankit. “It will”, said I, “am hopeful”. I am usually blinded by hope.
But Ankit had a better plan. Before starting for the trip, we had bought liability insurance for our motorcycles that covered us incase we cause any damage to other cars. A small clause said that we also have ‘Platinum roadside assistance’. So next on our plan of action was to try our luck with insurance company. There was always an option to leave the motorcycle there and go home, but… naaah! We hid the motorcycle behind the only house, albeit dilapidated, in Chapala, left my bag in a stack of tires well hidden from the greedy eyes of the world and doubled up on Ankit’s bike for Catavina. Chapala had no phone, Catavina had one.
“I am ready to pay a max of three hundred dollars to get the bike back home”, the businessman in me analyzed and uttered. We were waiting for Alvarado, the insurance agent to call us back and let us know if it will be possible for them to tow us from a place as remote as Chapala, and if so how much would it cost. I was indeed surprised, first when someone actually answered my call, and again when Alvarado actually called back just to let us know that they were still working on it. The remoteness of the place prevented him from finding a towing company insane enough to agree for the rescue operation.
Waiting for Alvarado to call back again, we were greeted by our gasoline guy from morning, GG (my apologies, not to remember his name, given that he is going to become a central character in the play).
“Que paso” (what happened), he asked.
“Mis moto, necesito sevisio, ahora en la Chapala”, I responded hoping that he understands.
“Senor, es posible que mis moto en tu choce y de Chapala a San Quintin” (Sir, is possible that my motorcycle in you car and from Chapala to San Quintin), he filled in the missing words and responded positively.
Now, suddenly an option was added to our empty bag of options. In a couple of minutes Alvarado, the insurance agent too called back adding another option. “Sir, we have found a towing company willing to tow your motorcycle from Chapala to Tijuana (US-Mexico Border, twenty five miles from my house), however you should understand the remoteness of your location. It will cost nine thousand pesos, out of which three thousand five hundred would be covered by us”, he informed. A quick calculation put the figure to about four hundred fifty dollars from my pocket – outside my self induced limit. “Can you please call me back in five minutes, I need a moment to think about it”, I responded. Discussing with Ankit, we thought of exploring our other option.
GG with his wife was standing at his small little gas station, doing nothing in particular. He smiled watching us approach him. He was a smart guy. It did not need much conversation to tell him that he can not cheat us by charging three hundred dollars from Chapala to San Quintin (San Quintin the nearest town to Catavina, but is still good two hundred miles south of Tijuana) neither can we take advantage of him by making him go to Tijuana for less than that price. We reached a symbiotic equilibrium – Chapala to Ensenada (about seventy miles south of Tijuana) for two hundred and fifty dollars. In the mean time, Alvarado called back to confirm. I apologized to him, stating the high cost of salvage and he was understanding.
A journey within a journey was about to begin. GG was supposed to come with us to Chapala, load the bike on his truck and drive us all the way to Ensenada. We were to pay him two fifty dollars in Ensenada, sleep a well deserved night and take the next day as it came.