As you know, we’ve been having car troubles with Donkey, our car, since day one and he’s needed to see a quality vet. We found one we trusted in Samarkand, he ran thorough diagnostics, told us Donkey would be okay for the trip, but the repairs we needed could not be done in Uzbekistan. This is because 90% of the cars in Uzbekistan are Chevrolets and Donkey is a UAZ Patriot. He told us to be careful but we’d be okay. He said as soon as you return to Kazakhstan stop and get your car repaired. So! Here we are in Shymkent getting our car repaired.
Yesterday was a full comedy of errors. I knew it was going to be hell and I know how much stuff like that stresses my husband out, so I took a hit for the team and volunteered to handle it myself. I told the hotel I wanted to take Donkey to a UAZ specialist, but do they listen to me? Of course not. We just went to some shade tree mechanic that claimed to know what he was doing. And they wouldn’t listen to anything I said because, you know, I’m a woman. I had to raise my voice and act like a crazy woman more than once. It was reminiscent of my days in China. A woman knowing anything about cars here is likened to a monkey knowing about cars. You only think it’s bad in the US. Here, even the fact that I know what the battery is is a mind-blowing fact to the mechanic. So, trying to get them to listen to me is quite a feat and sometimes I have to resort to acting like a crazy lady. Suddenly, when they have a foot stomping, arm waiving, American, white lady yelling at them they just do whatever it is I’m telling them to do just to make me calm down.
Eventually, after four hours of complete incompetence and running around from one place to another and getting constantly getting the run around we FINALLY went to the UAZ center. The place I had requested to be taken in the first place. Just for added fun, it’s 37°C/99°F outside and there ain’t no A/C anywhere here. So I was dealing with my sick Donkey, the hotel people wouldn’t just take me straight to the UAZ repair people like I asked, none of the mechanics would listen to me because I’m a woman, and omfg, it was hot, and it took four hours to find someone that would listen.
Finally! When we found a UAZ guy I literally pushed the guy from the hotel out of the way, used my phone with Google Translate and talked to the mechanic myself. I told him “I don’t care what this guy has told you. I don’t care what he says. This is MY CAR and it’s MY MONEY. If you are a UAZ mechanic and this is a UAZ center then YOU are the person I want to repair my car. Run all the diagnostics you want, run all the tests you want, check everything, please fix my car!” He laughed and the guy from the hotel shifted his weight but I did not care by that point. I was beyond annoyed.
We got Donkey back today mostly repaired. The mechanic says he fixed everything he could fix in one day. There is one more thing that is a more major repair. He said we’ll be okay to continue our trip, it’s not an emergency, but we should get it repaired when we return to Almaty. This brings me back to it all should have been found by our mechanic in Almaty before we left for our trip. He knew we were leaving for a MAJOR road trip. I told him to check the car and make sure it was prepared for it. We broke down on our very first day and we’ve been dealing with issues stemming from the problem throughout our entire trip. Every mechanic we see asks us in not exactly these words but : Who the fuck is your mechanic? He’s a fucking idiot. He’s the mechanic that was recommended to us when we arrived in Almaty. He won’t be touching our car again.
That’s what we get for taking people’s advice. We had a similar issue with a French teacher in Benin. He was terrible, but he was the one recommended by someone at the school so why would we not trust he’d be good?