Monday, October 31, 2011

Ma belle voiture

It's funny how living in a foreign country completely changes you.  You are forced to do things that you would never do at home.  And in a foreign language.

A few weeks ago, I bought a car.  It's a 1999 Renault Laguna (automatic, of course).  It is in excellent condition, but there were a couple minor things I had to get fixed.  I had been dreading doing the repairs, but on Monday last week, I decided to suck it up.  The man that sold the car to me had recommended that I go to a place called Ho Hio Hen because they are the cheapest, so I drove down to Lamentin.  First, you have to take a number and wait in line to talk to the welcome desk.  Then they send you to the livraison to get a paper with the codes for the parts you need.  Then you go to the caisse to pay for the parts.  Then you have to go back to the livraison to actually get the parts.  Ah, so very French.

So the man hands me the parts I need and says I'm all set.  Umm, ok... and now what?  Oh, now I need to go to a garagiste to actually do the repairs.  Really?  This whole process was just to buy parts?

Randomly, the man in line next to me says that he can take me to do the repairs.  At first, I couldn't understand if he was taking me to his house or to a garagiste.  Whatever.  So I followed him (which would seem super sketchy in the United States, but somehow isn't sketchy here).  It ended up that he lived above a garagiste.  I spent the next hour and a half in this man's house watching Casper and Wendy and playing with his 7-year-old daughter while my car got fixed.

All in all, the man that sold me the car told me it would cost about 400 euros.  He had said that he would split the cost with me, so he lowered the price of the car by 200.  In the end, between parts and labor, it only cost me 150 euros.  Best deal ever.

At the end of the day, I felt so proud of myself.  I don't know cars; I would have never wanted to go in to get my car repaired even in Michigan.  But all on my own, I had managed to get my car fixed in a foreign country speaking a foreign language.

Ma belle voiture

I love having my car, but it is so expensive.  It cost me 2,800 euros to buy, then 50 euros a month to insure, 126 euros in tax to get the title put in my name, and then 150 euros to fix.  Then, there's gas.  It's 1.50 euros per liter here, which is about $9 per gallon.  So basically, all my "hard-earned" money is going to be going into my car.  But on the bright side, I should have no problems selling it when I leave, hopefully for more than what I paid...