With the scheduled power outages in Yelapa, I decided to work in Vallarta for the day and spend the night. around 9 p.m., I headed for my nights stay. Just as I got through the final tunnel, I was shocked to see a car heading right for me head on. With luck, I slightly swerved to the right, as It slammed into my left front tire area and passed into the tunnel and crashed into the wall. I jumped out of my car as the intoxicated driver began to attempt to drive away. I spoke to him “calmate” He looked hard at me, apologized and sat back. Another passerby asked if I wanted him to call transito. The next few minutes were a blur, taking all the situation in. In the meanwhile, we were blocking all traffic and the echoed noise fro the tunnel added another whole level of confusion. Police and transit were everywhere. The drunk driver was calling people on his cell phone and I finally came to my senses and thought that I was in an unfamiliar situation and needed advice. I grabbed the cell phone and called my father in law. I could barely hear him as I made my first attempt to explain the scene. Adding to the problem was that in my state, I had begun speaking bad spanglish. Seeing that he had no idea I was in Vallarta and that I forgot the word for crash, we sat stuck in mass confusion. He says “turn down your television and talk to me!” “television? “Im in the tunnel and finally remember the word for crash! I explained the police asked me to settle the case direct with the drunk or he would go to jail and both cars would be in-pounded and the 30 day court process would begin. I faintly heard him say to resolve it. I had a flash and asked him to talk to the drunk on the phone, as I handed him the phone with an explanation, he accidently hung the phone up and the phone battery decided to die, so much for that Idea. I noticed a few cars on the adjacent turn out. As I walked over, I quickly learned that the drunk had earlier hit a parked car and fled and they had tracked him down. The chance for deals was slipping away. I asked another for advice and was definitely working on a quick resolution. Next thing I new, there was my sweet car being loaded on a giant tow truck. Luckily I brought my license and ID with me, as I rarely do. “Brad, you need to come with us” ” we need for you to take a medical exam for our records” ” we know it’s not your fault but we have to take your car and you have to come with us and show up in court tomorrow ” Calmate… I thought to myself. With Jose, the drunk in the back and me in the front we quickly head off to Las Juntas and the station. The transito officer was very kind, asking me the basic questions, as Jose began to get jealous and his anger began to show. After a round of all the powerful people he knew, I had heard enough and told him that I too had a strong team and lightly bluffed about my cousin who works as a lawyer for the president, he does but I wouldn’t think about calling him. It turned that Jose is well known for his business…take a guess, what type? a large liquor store! As he continued to spout, I Inventoried his holdings: three boats, a four story apartment and more. Thank God, he has the ability to pay… the intention might be different. As we arrived, It was quite a scene… cages, well cells, filled with guys, mostly bloody from fights. The officer had an idea and one that made my night! He called Jose’s wife and explained the situation and told me that she was on her way down to try to financially solve the problem. He drove us both out to the street and we began the waiting game. All players were now feeling good. The officer was so good at this game. It was such a cultural lesson to see how unbiased and unaffected they are here in Mexico with drunks. He wasn’t just kind to me but was offering the same kindness to Jose and was expertly managing his outbreaks. Time began to slow to an amazingly slow pace. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man getting out of a car and it resembled the dad of my lawyer cousin. Next thing I knew there was Sergio, my wife’s brother and Alex, his brother in law that also works as a lawyer for the president. How did they get there? How did they know where I was? It turns out that Vallarta is a small town and things are easily figured out by wise locals. Alex took over gently controlling the scene as we waited for the people from the other accident to arrive as we needed to settle this all at once. Hours seemed to go by and the mood remained light and easy but with a underbelly of tension. At one point his wife who turned out to be his girlfriend asked if we wanted anything to drink, as she would have here son drive to the store for us, Jose asked for beer and shockingly and unbelievable but true, his son bought him a beer and the police allowed him to drink it! Cultural overload was creeping up on me. You got to love México! The other group as well as five of Jose’s friends arrived. Also new on the scene was my Uncle and Alex’s dad to lend support. Each group had there team. Jose out numbered us but we surely had the brains. Finally all deals were made and papers were signed and included was a ride to the tow yard to get the cars out of tow and to serve in erasing the case. The next struggle was just around the corner, as the towman wouldn’t release the cars over his dead body, without approval from the higher ups. Another hour passes and once again we are aloud to pass go and then we get stopped at the discussion/banter of the price of the tow. 2 a.m and we are off to Pitial and the Casa of Jose, where my car will stay the night and then be towed to a mechanic, in the morning. 3 a.m and I get a taxi to a hotel, for some hard thought and virtually no sleep. What an amazing night with tons of lessons learned. The biggest being that I don’t want to go through this again ever! I’m sure there will be more of the story to come soon.
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