Monday, January 26, 2004

Had a very nice lazy weekend. Went out on friday to the Thai restaurant for the first time in months (see blog ages ago). Service had certainly improved, although eating so much spicy food probably wasn't the cleverest idea given that as soon as the rain stopped the heat magically reappeared in the streets. So by the time we had finished I was fairly overcome. Then ended up going out with new squeeze, a slightly chaotic night but not as mad as last weekend (censored from this blog for political reasons, I'm afraid).

On Saturday I finally starting looking seriously for a car to buy, as always Maputo puts its own twist on the matter. By midday when I rolled out of bed many of the dealerships were closed. However when I walked past a big swanky looking Mazda place that I had discounted as the lights already seemed to be out, the surprisingly keen security guard ushered me in
"Its still open, man, go on"
"Really? But its all dark.."
"No, honest, I'm sure there's someone in there".

So I go in to these dark high-ceilinged halls, very glossy but almost bereft of Mazdas.
"Yeah yeah grunt" comes a voice from right at the back.
I was fairly hoping they would actually be interested in selling so I pretend I haven't heard Mr. Lazy.
"Yeah, come on to the back" (rough translation, but in Portuguese he was pretty rude).

I walk up and right against the back wall is a guy shuffling paper.
"So, are you still open?"
[grumpily] "Well by rights I should be closed now..."
"So do you actually sell cars here? I want to buy a car"
"Yes" [turns back to his computer screen, grumpiness = max]

At this point I have had enough so I raise my eyebrows and leave, to complete non-concern by employee.

Just up the road I find somewhere more promising, a forecourt crammed full of shinily-polished Corollas and Sunnys. Unfortunately the employees look characteristically dejected, and only when I wend my way into the wee office at the back do I find Mr. Ibrahim who is willing to wheel and deal. We discuss some prices and then I ask him about guarantees, after putting on my best straight face.
"You must understand, its a hassle to send cars back to S.A. once they are imported [they are all brought from Japan to Durban and then driven up the coast]. So we do /very extensive/ tests over there before we even bring the cars here. On top of that, we're a respectable firm, we have a name to protect - so we don't want to go along selling shit."
"Hmm, yes, I can see all that. But just to get this clear - if I were to buy that car there [cameron points at a 1993 Bluebird] today, and then tomorrow it went 'bang' how much help would I get from you?"
"Err, none".
"Just checking".

Not that this was a surprise. A guy in the office has a mate who is a mechanic, so I can ask him to check over whatever I finally light my eye on...

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