Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting a Brake Job in Grecia, Costa Rica

Back in Texas when you need a brake job you go to brake check or your local auto mechanic shop and in about an hour and a $150 you are out the door. Not the case in Grecia, Costa Rica. I hear this may be possible in San Jose but who wants to drive to San Jose for a minor car repair? My neighbor said he knew a good mechanic down the street that was good, fast and cheap so off we went. We arrived at the shop and explained our needs to the mechanic. I still don't know his name, but he stopped what he was doing to diagnose the problem. He pointed to the rear passenger side brake which I already knew was the problem from the noise I had been hearing the last day or so. He removed the rear passenger side tire and it was easy to see that the brake pads were done, almost metal to metal from delivering all my Beef Jerky in the mountainous terrain, of which I have grown accustom too. After some rapid fire Spanish that I did not understand between my neighbor Alex and the mechanic it was explained to me that it would be a couple of hours, the parts would be delivered to the shop, and Alex's wife would be there to pick us up in a few minutes. They gave me the price for the parts up front of about 60 bucks US. Alex's wife came to pick us up and Alex grabbed the rotor that had been disassembled from my rear wheel and placed it in the front seat of the car, then they dropped me off at the house. I still had not made the connection yet of what was to come. 10 minutes later Alex , wife and baby arrived at my house and said, "Come on let's go." I said, "Donde?" (where) and he said, "Vamos a ir a Grecia." (We live about 10 minutes north of Grecia) "Por quĂ©?" (why) "To get your rotor turned," by the way Alex and family speak no English and though my Spanish is getting pretty good you can see how this is going. So off to the only place in the surrounding Grecia area that turns rotors, which is really surprising since Grecia has a population of about 70,000 people. 

The place is called Multifrenos Grecia and it is 50 meters south of the red Don Jorge Building. It is a dungeon, smelling like burning metal with only two machines with rotors piled high on the counter. We put my rotor on the pile and the guy said, "una hora y media" (about an hour and a half). 

On the way there Alex told me that turning the rotors was a very fast process and we would be out of their in no time. I guess everyone in Grecia needed brakes today, or fast to Alex has a different meaning than mine. This rang true as Alex didn't bat an eye at the wait time assuring me that it would pass quickly. So we hung out and waited as I replied to my wife's text "Where are you" and I typed, "Brake Hell"!

2 hours later and about $5.50 the rotor was done and off we went to the auto shop. Upon arrival at the shop, guess what? The parts had not been delivered and it was 4:30 pm. We started this journey at 9 am. The parts arrived about 5 minutes later after a phone call and they had my truck buttoned up in about 30 minutes. All finished up so I asked for the labor bill and he said 8 mil (16 bucks US). So Alex was absolutely correct. The mechanic was good, cheap and fast. He just failed to foresee the sequence of events to get us to the good, cheap and fast part. Patience is a virtue in Costa Rica and thank God I have tons of it. Pura Vida!

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