Monday, October 01, 2007

A truncated post that is, nevertheless, reasonably complete

Just a quick update - it was, in fact, the timing belt.

I stopped by the shop this morning and the mechanic called his partner to come watch the shop while he came with me up to the restaurant where the car spent the weekend. On the way up, I told him I was taught that the timing belt is something you want to replace on a regular basis because when it goes, it takes other things with it.

He said that it's true a broken timing belt (such as ours) can (and did) cause costly damage, but added that, here, most people (like, apparently, ourselves) don't replace it until it breaks.

People do change their oil here, but other kinds of routine maintenance are, I think, a little less routine. Part of this may be cultural, although I can't really put my finger on what it says about the culture.

One thing that is interesting to me is that I heard once that Costa Rica is one of the most (I think it was the third most) expensive country in the world in which to own a car. If that's even close to being true, the ratings are obviously calculated relative to the local economy or the most expensive countries overall would also be the most expensive in which to own a vehicle.

Anyway, my point is that it is, in fact, very expensive to have a car here, in the sense that our gas is around $4/gallon (while an average income is something like $300/month), the annual vehicle tax is very high, and imported cars (the only kind there are, since they don't make 'em here) are taxed close to 100% duty upon entry.

On the other hand, car insurance and maintenance are both less expensive than in the US. I don't know why the insurance is so reasonable, but the repairs are reasonable because labor is inexpensive here.

Wow.

I took a few minutes off from writing that to read an E-mail and check in on a comment thread and now that I'm back I have completely lost interest in pursuing that line of thought any farther.

Oh well, I think that was most of what I was going to say anyway.

I'll add only that this is the second time that living on a mountain has worked to our advantage, in that the various mechanics we frequent have their shops downhill from us, which saves on towing if you're willing to be a little inventive and/or brash; two categories into which many Costa Ricans do, in fact, fall.

8 comments:

pidomon October 02, 2007 6:22 PM  

I HATE AUTOMATED HELP LINES
That is all

Jennifer October 03, 2007 9:54 AM  

LOL!

That's it, pidomon, you're getting a blog.

Go to Blogger.com (Yes, now. I'll wait). Set up an account.

(pidomon.blogger.com is available, if you're stuck for ideas.)

I'll even write your first post for you. It goes like this:

I HATE AUTOMATED HELP LINES
That is all

Let me know when you're up and I'll link to you.

pidomon October 03, 2007 11:54 AM  

My anger at Direct TV has subsided somewhat so I'm not sure I could come up with another post until after I write the $300.00 check!

Jennifer October 03, 2007 11:59 AM  

Your second post is you thanking me for finally making you get a blog.

Or whining about me bullying you into finally getting a blog.

Your choice ;)

pidomon October 04, 2007 6:32 AM  

:)

Phydeaux Speaks October 04, 2007 10:48 AM  

DO IT NOW, PIDOMON!!!1!!ELEVEN

You know, Jen, you could just set it up for him. He can change the password later... after he thanks you for changing his life forever.

Jennifer October 04, 2007 12:15 PM  

Don't think it hasn't occurred to me Phydeaux.

I might just.

pidomon October 04, 2007 1:23 PM  

Phydeaux
Don't giver her any ideas! LOL

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