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car accident

driving a rented car in costa rica with israeli friend
visiting hot springs, volcanos, powerful rain forests
year-round rain
non stop display of rainbows
including lots of double rainbows

on our way back to the town of santa elena
driving up the mountain on dirt road at night
when around the curve coming towards us
rolling down the mountain
truck from a glass factory

loud crashing sound on the left side of our car
the silence fills up with
screams of metal and plastic

our car stopped
can’t keep driving
the israeli friend begins shouting from his seat
“i knew this would happen to me”
then cursing some profound words
about certain anatomical part of the mother
in arabic of all languages

asked my friend what is the contribution of
his curses and shouting
and how exactly do they help us

stepping out of the car
looking at the damage
sounded worse than what it really is
the rear bumper is partially connected to the car
the rest of it curving down lying on the road
preventing the car from driving

the truck stopped 200 feet away from us
walking towards it
greeting the young costa rican truck driver with
buena noche
and asking for his license and insurance document
he replies he doesn’t have insurance

my israeli friend raising his voice
asking me to tell the truck driver
that if he doesn’t give us his insurance paper
we’re calling the police

asking my israeli friend to step aside
in order not to create tension
then asking the truck driver to take a look at our car
to see if we can do something with the bumper
in order to bring back the car into driving condition

the truck driver takes out some strings
lifts the bumper and ties it to the car

asking him where is the nearest auto repair place
only to receive the answer
that there’s none in santa elena

he suggests that he’ll fix our car
but that right now he has job to take care of
and that in two hours he can come and meet us

giving the truck driver the name of our guest house
plus our room number
telling him that we’ll see him later

my israeli friend looking at me as if i’m total idiot

after two hours in our room at the guest house
my isreali friend giving me the
“i told you he will never come” look
when we hear knocks on the door

the truck driver stands outside our door
strong winds blowing in the dark

he is asking us to follow his truck with our car
to the glass factory
where he could fix our car

driving slowly in the dark night on the dirt roads
the truck driver leading the way
guiding us to drive into the glass factory
once our car is inside
closing the big metal doors behind us

he and another guy begin working on the car
lifting up our car in the air
removing the back wheels
knocking the steel that’s underneath the bumper
into its original shape and position
this procedure takes more than two hours
quite a challenging task

we find out that the young truck driver
is the owner of the glass factory
which turns out to be a thriving business

the bumper is now fixed
except for few broken screws that they don’t have
at the glass factory

the truck driver suggest drilling new holes
and putting screws that he has

asking him not to do that
since it’s a rental car

my israeli friend starts worrying
what will happen when we return the car
to the rental company
and that we need to find authorized auto repair shop
that would have the right size screws

the car is ready
the bumper sits strong in its place
no external signs to whatever happened

we shake hands
he apologizes
and greets us goodbye with pura vida
pure life

my israeli friend is simultaneously happy and confused
telling me he comes from different region
where in situations such as car accident
each driver will blame the other driver
with shouting and arguing

he acknowledges this was great experience
about different cultures
about trust
great teaching that in life there are no problems
only situations

within few days my friend also forgets
about the missing screws
and ready to let go of his worries regarding this issue

we never bothered searching for
authorized auto repair shop
simply returned the car to the car rental office
with it’s stong bumper
that was fixed with lots of costa rican love

© 2004. All Rights Reserved.
Zemach Zohar Wilson, Costa Rica, February 2004