Car shopping, island style

Thanks Lowanna!

Granted, there are many exceptions to my story, not everyone experiences what I have, luckily. While living in the states I always had a nice vehicle that I kept spotlessly clean inside (not out.) I’m not a girl who has to have a brand new expensive car every other year, to me it’s a waste of money. Especially since I wanted to build a house on a Caribbean island, cars were of much lesser importance to me.

I moved to my rock in Nov of 2012 for 4 months, alone, with my cat. It was not a move that my husband encouraged or really liked; however, he did come with me to help me get settled and to find a car. We met a guy through a friend who said he would help me find a car. It just so happened he had his wife’s car for sale. A nice clean antique (1994) Toyota Camry named Scarlet, for her color. Of course, he wanted way too much for the car so we looked at a few other options. One was a total rust bucket, running boards were almost rusted off, the seats were torn and stained, the body was a mess and they wanted 5K for it. All the other cars available at that time were way over my price limit, all except Scarlet. My husband was only here with me for a week and he wanted me to have a car before he left, so we bought Scarlet. YAY, I had wheels.

I would like to paint the hood white then adorn it with a big SCARLET A.

My husband went back to his normal life in the US and Scarlet and I started exploring the island. She was a good car except she was very finicky about the roads I drove on. She sat unusually low and the tumulos  (speed bumps) were bound and determine to ruin the exhaust. She ran well for the 4 months I drove her. When my time here was done (March 2013) and my husband said he was coming to get me and take me home we left Scarlet with the guy I bought her from. He was going to do some suspension repair while I was back in the states.

Flash forward to October of 2013. We had sold our house and were moving to the island, finally. It was a long time coming. My friend who had my car met us at the airport and took me to get my car. We stuffed her full of luggage and went to our rental.

Next thing you know, it’s December 2014. We started actively looking for a replacement for Scarlet. After 2 years with her, the name Scarlet had nothing to do with her color but more to do with The Scarlet Letter. She was a tramp of a car. The suspension repair that was done was either never really done or done so poorly for too much $$$ that it’s like it never happened. The guy who had my car is a big man and he broke the drivers side door handle off. That made it a challenge to even get in. The radio doesn’t work, the windows don’t go down, the key fob doesn’t work and I can’t unlock it w/ the key, (Bill can,) the hood needs a stick to prop it open, the trunk leaks and the key falls out of the ignition as you’re driving down the road. She has had 2 blown head gaskets repaired and several hundred $$’s spent fixing the suspension, the fuel leak, the window, that doesn’t work again, the wipers which quit working and a variety of other things. In other words Scarlet is a P.O.S, but she runs great. I had a flat tire when Yvonne was with me, Scarlet overheated while I was alone at Serrano’s, an hour away from home, she blew head gasket #1  just as Cleo and I pulled in to the West Bay mall, head gasket #2 when I pulled into the bank, alone again, but closer to home. Tramp car. The last thing you ever want to do is open the hood of your car if you are a woman and are alone. You will have EVERY backyard mechanic in a 3 block radius assessing your car. They will want to add fluids, cross wires, get tools and just do other general things to your car that it doesn’t need. They ARE men after all.

You know how in the US you can go to a car dealer and find a nice used car, test drive it, look it over, be sure of the mileage and all that? Not so much here. Due to the condition of the roads here I wanted an AWD or a 4X4. I have beaches to lay on, places to go and people to meet. What I want is hard to find. Story of my life. Decent cars are hard to come by and they are way overpriced. Most of the cars here are US cars that were wrecked, salvaged, bought by someone in Honduras, fixed and sold on the mainland and the island. You can buy a brand spanking new car here or on the mainland but what are you going to do for your warranty work? Ship it back to the mainland at $150 + each way? A new car doesn’t make sense to me, however there are brand new trucks and I’ve seen at least 3 new Audi wagons at 60K each. Someone has waaayyy more $$ than me.

The first car we looked at was a Honda CRV that they wanted 10K for. It was worth maybe 7 and needed some work. We had our mechanic check it out and he agreed it wasn’t worth what they were asking. While at the mechanic’s Bill had it out for a test ride and I got Lola, but no car.

We contacted a guy on the island, Pascual, at Bay Island sales and rentals and asked him to look for a car for us. He had just gotten a Rav 4 to sell and his brother told us to come drive it knowing Pascual had gotten the car for someone else. We drove it, came back to the shop and the people who were promised the car were there, wondering WTH was going on. Rather than put Pascual in a bad spot, we deferred, although we would have purchased the car. Pascual felt bad and tried to find us another car on the mainland. He found an ’06 Mitsubishi Outlander in excellent condition with less than 100K miles on it. We gave him 4K cash as a deposit and he went to the mainland to get it.

This is silver and in great shape.

By the time Pascual got to the dealership, they sold the car. Someone offered more $$. So sad, too bad. Pascual ended up bringing another Mitsubishi Outlander back to the island for us to look at. This is the one I talked about before that had 66K miles on it. Bill did an $8.00 VIN search and we found out it had 266K miles. No thanks!

Back to square 1. I was super bummed. Just this past week Pascual had another Outlander scoped out in San Pedro Sula, the murder capital of the world, on the mainland. We did another VIN check and the miles were correct, the damage was light. I was interested. He got a $500.00 deposit from us, sent it to the guy and left the next day for the mainland to drive the car. He said it was in great shape and he doubted we would find anything this nice for the $$ and in AWD. We transferred the FULL amount to his bank account on Wednesday, Thursday he bought the car, drove it to Ceiba and had it put on the cargo ship bound for Roatan Friday morning. Then I heard about the coming storm. Our friends took the ferry back from Ceiba Wed. afternoon and they said it was a nasty trip, the ferry was getting tossed around in the waves and it was to get worse by Friday, when my car was coming. Thursday night I watched the horizon on both the north and the south shores, checked the weather, found a site with the storm surges/ wave heights, I was stressing. I felt like the epitome of the saying, “If it weren’t for bad luck I would have no luck at all.” I had myself all worried that the cargo ship would sink, or get lost in the storm or that one of the BIG waves from the movie The Perfect Storm was going to come and only wipe one car off the deck of the boat. MINE. My thoughts were, did the cargo ship have insurance on what was on it? I mean, it was my car, paid for in full in CASH. If it disappeared, I was S.O.L.

I was so relieved to hear from Pascual on Friday, I heard Bill say, “and the car?” Pascual said it was at his lot and would be ready in an hour. YES.

Just fabulous to see this sitting in the driveway.
ready for company
Almost identical to my Outlander that I drove in the US for 9 years but this is 3 years newer, I LOVED that car and was sad to have to get rid of it. Luckily for Trace, he bought it and has been driving it ever since.

This means I can drive up to Brass Hill to help with the sewing machines, I can drive down to the schools and I can drive myself to Mondays Don’t Suck at Camp Bay beach.

Unfortunately Bill’s Mazda diesel p/up just blew a head gasket and is in the shop awaiting repair so we have to hold on to Scarlet awhile longer. What is it with us and head gaskets???

Enough of the car drama! I’m so over it. Saturday we were to pick friends up at the airport. They live in NY and have a home here and were returning for 3 months. However the plane had issues and due to that they missed their connecting flight to Roatan. No other flights this week so they come next Saturday instead. We headed into town in the new car to run some errands. On the way to Serrano’s, my favorite store, we stopped and got some more movies. I bought Wild and Cake, Bill got this season of the Walking Dead. We ordered our movies, went to the hardware store and stopped back to get our movies that were being uploaded to our stick. Our friends pulled in while we were there so we got to see them for a bit too.

We stopped to talk to the mechanic about Bill’s truck. He and Bill were talking over by the truck and Bill called me to come over. Nelson had a baby goat in his arms. My first words were, “I am NOT taking that goat home.” OMG, cute much??

Cutest little goat!


I had already planned to watch my movies, it was a gray, cool damp Saturday. Wild was first, it was a great movie, a different type of role for Reese Witherspoon.  I liked Cake better, Jennifer Aniston was excellent in this movie, my favorite out of all of the movies I’ve recently seen.

And then there is Lola. She is getting huge and is not a very friendly dog. When Highway was young he loved to lay on our laps and sleep, not this girl. You can’t hold her for more than 15 seconds before she starts crying and squirming to get down. She’s being raised by Highway and she only wants him.

the wonky coloring is because our porch lights are yellow
I apologize for the top towel, it’s clean but has wood stain on it, that’s why it’s a rag. BTW, the towels were warmed in the dryer, Lucky was under one too.
Some more road repair, this is at one of the busiest intersections on the island.
Did they plant a tree on the road?? Nope, just a marker for a hole.
Another tree
This time, to hell with the tree branch, use the trunk.
We seem to have over inflated our bed, causing the seams to blow. Of course, this is on my side of the bed and has gotten much larger.
This is another alien that I dug out of my ankle. It is a hard piece of skin, which, after removed left a nice hole in my ankle. Again. Another one is currently forming.

I received an email from the other day. It said: We would like to thank you for being among our most active members. I do not think this is a good thing.

It’s Sunday morning, kitchen is cleaned up, laundry in and I am going to the grocery store to get some things to make for the beach party and another party tomorrow night.

I even see a bit of sunshine peeking out this  morning! Happy Sunday!




Eclectic Twist

Design And Live Outside the Lines