Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Car troubles

I have been attempting to buy a new-ish car (this car pictured below, a 2006 RAV-4) for about a month and a half now.
It's the silver one, the one with the "Sold by Juan Jose" sign on the front window. The really great car that I have been wanting for oh so long. The one I test drove around the lot and said, "We'll take it!" Yet, there it sits, sadly, in the lot, still waiting for me. Why?, you may ask. Of course you know I am going to tell you.

If you work for yourself, as I do, and are not a Costa Rican, as I am not, it is a major pain in the ass to get a car loan here, whether you have the money for the down payment or not (which I do, but which doesn't seem to make a big difference to the bank). First, they said all I needed was my last six months' worth of bank statements, showing that I had deposits of a certain amount (and I actually had much more than they required). This not being enough, then they wanted copies of contracts I had had over the past year. Supplied. Still not enough, however, they then asked me for letters of reference from some of my clients and contractors. Done. For some reason, though, that is still not enough. I don't know what it takes. The one bank has agreed to finance 60% of the car (instead of 75% as they had originally agreed), which is fine, or would be, if I could come up with $8,000 by the middle of January. I actually don't mind that too much, because the car payments would be smaller. However, our very dedicated car salesman (who has only been doing his job for about two months) thinks this particular bank is really pushing it, and is trying to get us a loan with another bank. We'll see after the first how this all turns out.

In the meantime, I am still driving the Haunted Hyundai. In the words of Luke Skywalker, "What a piece of junk!" And it will not make .5 past light speed, believe you me. Where to start, where to start... Here is the short list of things that do not work on the HH: the horn. the air conditioning. the heater. the blowers. the power steering. It has half a dash, from that one time our car was broken into and the stereo ripped out, taking the dash along with it; wiper blades that leave streaks, and a door that does not open. A back seat belt that does not work. The brakes are starting to squeal, and the two front tires have slow leaks. To get it to go in reverse, you have to first put the car halfway in gear while giving it a little gas and easing up on the clutch, then fully put it into reverse and ease up on the clutch a bit more while giving it more gas. To say that I hate this car is not an understatement. I loathe this car. I despise it. So much so that I almost cried when I was forced by esposo to finally put a muffler on it for $50 because the smell was giving me headaches. (I cried because I had to spend $50 on the car, not because I was getting headaches, just to clarify.) It has no marchamo (that's the Costa Rican yearly registration sticker), and has not passed Riteve for this year (the mechanical check, which, for you Californians, is so much more ridiculous and stringent that it makes your smog test look like kid stuff -- if you do not pass go, you should not be driving your car until you do. And if you do, like me, drive your car anyway, you are in danger of being pulled over and having your car towed away by the highway patrol). I am not about to pay the $200-something for a stupid marchamo (did I mention it expires on the 31st?) for this stupid car, and no way in hell will it ever pass Riteve, not in my wildest, bribe-everyone-at-the-shop-to-pass-my-shitty-car dreams. Plus, I do not think you can get a marchamo without the Riteve, though I could be wrong about that. Either way, it ain't gonna happen.

So please, everyone out there, send good "you will get that damn car loan" thoughts my way, because after the first, I'm really going to need them. Juan Jose (God bless him!) may have jumped the gun a little on that sign, though come hell or high water (as my Grandma used to say), that car is going to be mine one way or another.

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