Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Peculiar but Worthy Question

     Another fellow was talking to me the other day and said that he had gone to Monterrey on a bus tour, and was amazed to have seen so many places along one of the highways they had travelled with little ramshackle structures, usually pretty neat, but strewn with old, dead tires.   There would be a sign with the word "vulcanizadora"... or the shorter "vulka"....and sometimes the little places would have a vehicle jacked up, apparently being attended to by some kind of specialist.
     Finally, it dawned on my travelling friend that he was seeing a tire-repair business, which specialized in the on-the-spot patching (parching) of tires with what the shopkeepers refer to as "breathing difficulties". 
We should take advantage of this question to urge any newcomers to driving, especially medium to long distances in Mexico, to make use of these places for any reparable condition your tires might have.   Although they look a bit ramshackle, the proprietors are magicians....whisking the tire off, taking the tire from the rim, locating and extracting, if need be, any foreign items in the tread...(nails, bolts, glass, etc.) and then sealing a good patch on the ailing tire's wound.
      Usually the whole process takes less than 12 minutes and normally costs from 30 to 50 pesos, depending on how much effort is involved.   It dawned on me that until I changed out my tires the other day, each of the old tires had been patched one or more times....(the poor right rear had 3 patches).
      It should also be pointed out that I have never had a "parche" (PAHR chei) fail.   It should also be pointed out that a person can have a tire taken off and checked for a leak and all the tires aired up to the appropriate level for 10 or 20 pesos.  (Remember the spare!)
      Now you have my plug for the independent roadside small businessman in Mexico.   These fellows will frequently make 10 to 15 times the daily minimum wage in's hard work...sometimes very hot or very cold...but it is all cash....morally correct work....and they, for some reason or another....seem to be uniformly competent and honest.