Sunday, March 31, 2013

Globetrekker, And Now, I Would Like to Have a Look at Your Hooter.

Any 1973 Land Rover, even if she’s named N’doto Jema (sweet dream), would need some tinkering before she’s fit to go out on African roads for a year. N’doto was no exception. Karl introduced us to his neighbor Hein who in turn introduced us to Niles at VIP Motors so that N’doto’s underside could get a once over up on a lift. The Landy was so high up on the lift that Karl, Scott, Hind, Niles, another mechanic and I could walk underneath her and examine her belly in all her age and mud-encrusted glory. For a while no one spoke. I broke the silence with, “Obviously, her beauty lies in her simplicity.” I received blank looks from Hein and Niles.  Karl smiled. Scott said, “Tris, you are so loyal….”

Hein, Niles, and the mechanic moved slowly underneath N’doto speaking in Africans and touching all her all over lightly as if they were tickling her tummy. Like doctors they made their diagnosis, Niles pointing to well-worn areas and prescribing while his mechanic jotted down (on two pages) the various treatments required. The felt oozing fluids, wiggled the wheels, examined the springs, kept anything flammable well away from the fuel tank, and ignored the exhaust system. The brakes disappointed and the bearings growled.

At the completion of the examination Niles made a comment and everyone laughed. “Hein, what did he say?” I asked.

“He said that you should buy another Land Rover and tow it behind you for spare parts.”

Ha ha. Ha.

On Tuesday, she goes back into the shop for a complete service; oil filter, lube, radiator flush.… A replacement fuel tank, and various other parts were ordered so that N’doto can obtain the certification of road worthiness required by South Africa. These repairs should happen between one and three weeks. Or “now-now” or “just now” or sometime.

Karl also introduced us to Marius, the automotive electrician whose shop is conveniently located just around the corner from Jembjo’s, Karl and Mandy’s guesthouse. Marius has a very thick Africans accent so we had to listen intently as he examined all the wires and connections. Her beauty lies in her simplicity but there were loose connections to the wind screen wipers, the tail lights, the horn, and various other spots. When Marius found two operating cigarette lighter sockets under the seat (for operation of a portable fridge) he repeated with quiet astonishment, “This works. Yes, this is working!” Marius repaired all the loose connections and installed a second, just in case, battery under the passenger seat which we have already used to chill wine in our portable fridge. Yes, life is good.

After the tail lights were lighting and wipers were wiping, Marius stretched and said, “And now, I will look at your hooter.”

“Uh, what?”

“I can fix your hooter now,” said Marius.

A few moments passed before Scott started chuckling, “Oh! Do you mean the horn?” Then Scott informed Marius that where we come from, horns are horns but breasts are sometimes referred to as hooters. Without missing a beat, Marius said, “In that case, you shall have two.”

Scott and Tris,

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa