Monday, January 8, 2018

Everyday We're Bustling

We'd been in Mexico for a few days.  Staying in hostels, eating spicy Mexican food washed down with margaritas and taking public transportation.  Which is a dangerous combination when you think about it.  Riding on a public bus 2 hours inland to see Chichen Itza after a couple of cups of black coffee and some eggs smothered in a nice spicy burrito sauce.  What if I shit my pants?  It was a constant worry that only got worse as the trip went on.  But, on this particular bus ride, I was spared.  The kid a few rows back from me was not, apparently.  And apparently, he didn't have a change of clothes either.  But, no worries, in a couple days and another bus ride we'd be back beach side in Tulum where my husband had rented a car.  

Yup, a 1980 VW bus.  That wasn't running when we arrived.  It needed a new starter that was supposed to arrive in the mail that day and then all they had to do  just was install it.  Déjà vu!  If I know anything about old VW cars, (and I'd say having two in my driveway, one of which hasn't run in 3 years, qualifies me as an expert) it's that nothing "just" anythings.  Ever.  I knew where this was going.  Nowhere.  My husband, ever the optimist, hadn't given up hope that it would be driveable in a day or so.  It wasn't.  So finally, to see more Mayan temples and cenotes (limestone swimming holes sometimes linked to an active cave system) that were off the beaten path, we rented a minivan for 24 hours.

It was so easy to rent.  They even delivered it right to our hostel.  Not only did it work and fit our whole family of 6 comfortably with air conditioning, when it came to getting extra insurance on it (which we usually decline), the rental agent even reduced the price on that.  How could we refuse?  So, we drove that over insured Town and Country straight out of town and into the countryside to escape the insufferable tourists.  Which of course is impossible when you are also an insufferable tourist.

The stairs descending to the cenote.
Bonus: No sunscreen necessary.
(And this is the second time we've swum in a cave with bats if we're keeping score.)  
The next morning was Christmas.  So, we drive to the beach, rented a boat and went snorkeling on what our guide claimed was the second largest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef.  We managed to get back into town just in time to return the car exactly 24 hours after we rented it.  And exactly an hour after we returned the car, my husband received a message from the car rental agent that rented it to us.  "Would [sic] be so kind to come a moment to the office I want to check a detail with you"  Oh shit, what could it be?

The kids stayed in the hostel left to their devices, overdosing on wifi that they wouldn't have when we got to Cuba, while my husband and I walked to the car rental office.  Where Miguel (the rental car agent) greeted us with a photo and a paper.  The photo is of damage to the front end of the minivan we just rented.  WTF?  My heart started racing. "We won't charge you anything.  Just sign the paper and tell us how it happened", he pleaded.

Except, we know the damage didn't happen during the 24 hours we had the car.  But, how do we prove that?  And that's when it all starts to make sense.  The photo was a close up of the damage.  There was no license place to prove it was actually the car we drove.  It could've been any gray minivan from last week or last year even.  Then, they wanted us to sign a blank paper detailing what happened to the car or that nothing happened to the car (and they'd conveniently fill out the rest for us later).  And the discounted insurance?  This was all an insurance scam from the start.

We didn't have to prove we didn't do the damage to the car, they had to prove we did.  Plus, we had an insurance policy of our own, we'd paid with a credit card.  So, we could simply call and have any extra charges reported and taken off our bill should they appear after the fact.  (My husband also secretly video recorded the conversation with Miguel.)  That's when we abruptly ended the conversation and walked out of the office.  The next day we headed to Havana.   

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...