Moncho’s 59

This is Belize: When good golf carts go bad

Posted on

We were nearly at the crest of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge this morning when something started going awfully wrong with Moncho 59.

More exactly, the golf cart started going left and right.

On its own.

The steering wheel seemed to suddenly lose all interest in doing its job. Which is a simple one: Keep the front tires going in the right direction.

I eased Monch 59 down the bridge toward San Pedro Town, looking a bit like a tourist after that first stop at the Palapa Bar.

Pulling over at the base of the bridge, a quick inspection showed everything seemed to be in order. The tires were pointed in the right direction. They were adequately inflated. Nothing was dragging on the ground beneath the engine.

Still, the best the old girl could do was wobble past the toll booth and the adjacent hardware store. A tiny piece of real estate between Boca del Rio Hardware and Erica’s produce stand became a safe haven from the traffic.

By now the right front wheel looked — what’s the technical term? — off.

As in almost falling off.

I looked behind the wheel with fresh eyes, that laser-like scrutiny that says “I can fix this if I stare at it long enough and hard enough.”

There was a pivot bolt missing between the two — oh, I can’t lie. I haven’t the slightest idea what they are called. But any idiot, like me, could see the gaping hole that once held something that held it all together.

And it was gone.

Fortunately, Ruben’s mechanic shop was barely a block up the street.

Over the years, Ruben’s guys have rescued me numerous times when tires went flat or essential engine parts went kaflooie.

En route to Ruben’s, I dropped to one knee.

I’m not a terribly religious man. But there was a neatly folded $5 bill in the gutter. (Hey, I’m not proud. I thought it was a $2 bill.)

“Maybe this will work out OK after all,” I told myself.

I’m big on good and bad omens.

After a hearty greeting and an explanation, Ruben pulled Fabiano off the motorcycle he was disassembling and sent him with me.

With a quick look, Fabiano walked four steps into the hardware store, grabbed a couple of different length bolts and secured the two steering rod pieces with a few taps of his wrench on the head of the bolt.

Back in the hardware store, finding a proper nut and washer proved the toughest part of this project.

“Pay him,” said Fabiano.

“Four dollars,” said the store owner.

By the time I got outside, Fabiano had the bolt secure and was tightening several others.

“Twenty five dollars,” said Fabiano as he packed up his tools.

He smiled, shook my hand, and walked the 100 yards back to the shop where the partially disassembled motorcycle and more-interesting challenges awaited him.

Meanwhile, Rose had finished her produce shopping and ad hoc Spanish lesson at Erica’s.

So we headed off for Estel’s and breakfast, barely 20 minutes off our original time. And a mere $15 USD lighter in the pocketbook.

If something has to go bad, I’d recommend it happening just like this.

Advertisements

On the road again, with a bicycle: Where green is the new black

Posted on Updated on

A glam shot, before the mud and rain and salt water turn it into a real mean green machine. Taken on the way home from picking up my new bicycle at Costillo's Hardware, the place where we bought similar bikes two and a half years agoo.
A glam shot, before the mud and rain and salt water turn it into a real mean green machine. Taken on the way home from picking up my new bicycle at Castillo’s Hardware, the place where we bought similar bikes two-and-a-half years ago.

It was time.

I’ve been waiting since March for Mario to return my bicycle and here it is mid-July.  I don’t think it’s coming back.

Not that I was expecting to see it again.

Mario used to work for the complex where we live. When he started showing up for work on foot I was kind of surprised and concerned. I knew that he lived over behind the airport and that is a bit of a hike to be taking twice a day.

It turns out that his bike frame had rusted in half. Read the rest of this entry »

The first lobster dish of the season has been consumed; now, on to LobsterFest!

Posted on Updated on

I mean, seriously, what does this picture have to do with the Lobster Festival 2016? Nothing! And yet, this photo was taken today on Middle Street, barely three days after the opening of lobster season and the launch of Lobster Fest. Coincidence? You be the judge.
I mean, seriously, what does this picture have to do with Lobster Festival 2016? Nothing! And yet, this photo was taken today on Middle Street, barely three days after the opening of lobster season and the launch of Lobster Fest. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Lobster season. It’s on.

We had our first taste of the new season on Thursday at Estel’s Dine by the Sea, lobster omelettes all around. Man, they were good.

Next up has got to be the original island lobster sliders at Casa Picasso, my all-time island favorite lobster delivery system. Must have something to do with those little buns slathered in butter.

I’m surprised that lobsters have not evolved to include gobs of butter under the exoskeleton. You know, the way the Butterball turkey has evolved to naturally include lots of butter under the skin. Or the way watermelons can be grown to include vodka infused inside the “meat.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ten images to make you fall in love with Ambergris Caye all over again

Posted on

Everything looks better when framed between two palm trees. That is my photo tip for the day. Notice how glass-like the water is today, as if you could walk on it.
Everything looks better when framed between two palm trees. That is my photo tip for the day. Notice how glass-like the water is today, as if you could walk on it. I should be on it — of beneath it — instead of talking about it. Darn you, “Moncho’s 59.”

I spent this morning walking home from San Pedro. And it took hours. I meandered. I poked. I explored. I dawdled. It felt like walking home from grade school all over again, and that is a good feeling.

I walked because I wanted to but the main reason is that a misbehaving “Moncho’s 59” is scaring the bejesus out of people. Our golf cart has taken to backfiring — and not those cute little “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” burps and belches.

When “Moncho’s 59” backfires it sounds like a Crips and Bloods cross-fire. More than one person has headed for the ground with their head covered. Plus it is stalling at the most inopportune times, like when I’ve backed out into traffic and have three seconds to hit forward before the next cart rams me from behind. Read the rest of this entry »

For Rose’s Birthday Season, the gifts that keep on giving

Posted on Updated on

Just call me an old-fashioned romantic when it comes to birthday presents. Last year I took Rose's bike down to Manusch's Hardware and had them upgrade her bumpers. How many husbands upgrade their wive's bumpers, I ask you?
Just call me an old-fashioned romantic when it comes to birthday presents. Last year I took Rose’s bike down to Manusch’s Hardware and had them upgrade her bumpers. How many husbands upgrade their wive’s bumpers for their birthday, I ask you?

I think I outdid myself this year.

In 2014 during that special monthlong holiday known as Rose’s Birthday Season (it ends Sept. 7, more or less … ) I gave my wife an especially thoughtful gift  — new fenders for her bicycle!

What?

I hear you snickering. But let me tell you something, diamonds are not a girl’s best friend when you are pedaling a bicycle through water-filled, truck-eating potholes during the rainy season in Belize. Read the rest of this entry »

Dude, where’s my cart? The answer will shock you

Posted on

I make fun, but at least they were acting ... and getting well paid to act stupid.
I make fun, but at least they were acting … and getting well-paid to act stupid.

Our golf cart, old Moncho’s 59, has been found.

Yes, the cart that went missing last Saturday night, during Lobsterfest, has reappeared.  A couple of blocks north of where it disappeared.

And, yes, it was locked.

With my lock. Read the rest of this entry »