When we arrived in San Ignacio, we pulled over at the first available parking spot, right in the middle of town and landed ourselves outside Plaza Hotel. Name was a lot more grand than the place itself but it was a decent price, beds were comfy and they accepted Winston.
Coming back from the river walk, Winston and I found Steve sat outside the entrance to the hotel in a lawn chair. “Want to paint the car?” he asked. Prior to leaving Playa del Carmen, we had taken “Angelica” to a mechanic to get her in good running order to make the trip. Being as that she had been sitting in the Caribbean sun for a few years, her “skin” was a little “wrinkly” and we had decided to give her a “facelift.” However, after scrubbing down the car back in Playa del Carmen, the weather never cooperated for the final few days and we never got around to giving her a touch of makeup. With the weather is San Ignacio pretty predictable, sunny in the day, raining in the afternoon, we decided to take advantage of this, drive to a side street and give her the makeover the deserves.
As we pulled up to a quiet bend in the road near the river, Steve had explained his idea with painting the car, more than just making her look nice. Sitting outside the Plaza Hotel, Steve had noticed the number of similar cars, early 90’s Corolla’s, making their rounds through San Ignacio. Also, being as though he was situated outside the hotel, right next to the car enjoying some people watching, many people came up asking if he was selling the car. His primary response was “No” but turns out, because of reliability, cheap parts, and gas mileage, the Toyota Corolla’s doing laps through San Ignacio, although poorly marked, were Taxis. The Toyota Corolla in fact, was the most desired and sought after car in San Ignacio, and due to this, they fetch a much higher price point than anywhere else on our trip.
“Its an option that would be stupid not to exercise” was Steve’s logic and you could not really argue with him. Numerous people, including Frank, who had told me about the riverwalk, had mentioned that Angelica could probably go for around 5000-7000 Belizean dollars, which, with a 2 to 1 ratio with the American Dollar is easy math. This old beater might be worth around 3 grand down here! Now, obviously, Angelica was our steed responsible on transporting us from Playa del Carmen, through to at least Nicaragua, where we had planned to post up for a little while. After that, if we decided not to fly to Colombia from Nicaragua, she may be taking us even farther south, so selling her would create a big change in the plans.
Getting out the cans of matte black spray, we chatted about the next steps from here and what the plan will be if the car sells. For Steve and Winston, it would look like they would get a ride to Belize City, and fly to Managua, in Nicaragua, make their way down to San Juan del Sur, by which time I would be bussing through Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. We would post up there, continue doing our work remotely, and call San Juan del Sur home for a few weeks, months, whatever we felt like.
As funny as it sounds, with the insurance ordeal from Day 1 still playing in our minds, we purchased a day of insurance simply to drive the car less than 100 meters from the hotel, to the river bank, and back.
After about 45 minutes she was complete and I must say, for someone who constantly bashes his artistic talents, Steve harnessed his inner Picasso and turned Angelica back a few years, with a couple cans of $3.50 spray paint from Home Depot. Pulling out some metallic cleaner, steel wool and a couple soft rags, we went to work on the rims and made them sparkle. In the condition she now looked, I felt like that guy in highschool who had discovered the nerd, who blossomed into a bombshell and she had outgrown us. With masking tape, we wrote “For Sale” on both windows of Angelica, and took turns going to the “Muscle Hut”, the surprisingly well equipped gym in San Ignacio, and waiting outside, next to the car with Winston, seeing if we could stir up some interest.
Almost instantly, Steve had some people coming by and asking the year, mileage, and of course, cost, to acquire the services of Angelica. With a good amount of interest, genuine or not, it seemed like this was a good avenue to at least pursue. It was about this time, that I returned from the gym and Steve took his turn to get a sweat on. Again, as I sat there with Winston, the most special being on four legs, people expressed their interest in Angelica, and their admiration for Winston. Steve returned from The Muscle Hut and we decided to leave the car, and get some fuel for ourselves and have a seat on the patio at Eva’s again, and watch the already slow town of San Ignacio, slow down even more as the sun disappeared.
The next morning, I woke up and Steve was already sitting upright, with Winston on his bed, intently staring at the screen of his laptop, reading a message.
“Well that changes things.” he said. “I might be going back to Mexico.”