Extreme Repairs | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Extreme Repairs

Every day, seven days a week, a grizzled old man pulls into the Jardin in his pickup truck, carrying two snack carts in the bed. He sets them up in front of the Parroquia (church), and two family members sell fresh fruit and expanded styrofoam munchies to tourists and townspeople alike.


Every evening he returns and picks up the carts. His vehicle is a familiar sight around town. It's not pretty, but it's a paragon of extreme repairs.

What you do in Mexico when something breaks is you fix it. You don't throw it away.

When your pickup truck breaks, and you want to repair it, you don't take it to the dealer. If you get a dent in your door, you don't have the body shop replace it with a new one. It costs too much and besides, nobody has insurance. Instead, you improvise.

Mexico is the Bondo and bailing wire capital of the Western Hemisphere. This pickup truck has seen a lot of it.


Consider the driver's side of the cab. You got the old serape serving as a seat cover. You got the rear view mirror that, years ago, was welded back on. You got the wudge of duct tape reinforcing the upper hinge on the wing window.

And then there's the windshield.

Here, lots of windshields are cracked. If a California Highway Patrol Officer sees you with a cracked windshield, he'll give you a fix-it ticket. In Mexico, the Federales won't even notice cracks in your windshield, they're so common. (They won't notice, that is, unless they're looking for a pretext to extort a little mordida.)

This windshield is way beyond cracked. It has a hole in it.

The only sensible thing to do when you get an actual hole in your windshield is to replace it. This guy doesn't think that way. Two pieces of plexiglas, a couple of machine screws, a glob of clear silicone caulk, and, why, it's almost good as new. Stops the wind from blowing in your face, doesn't leak much and you can see through it—sort of. Probably cost less than five bucks.

Waste not, want not.