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Published: February 4th 2020
We were picked up by the Toyota workshop driver unexpectedly in the morning and this gave us a false sense of progress arriving at the workshop.
One thing we have come to learn in Ethiopia in the last few days is “local time” which is completely different to time on your watch. It is measured as hours from sunrise which is around 6:30am. So after much initial confusion in recent days as to when the car parts might arrive we learned and realised they were on a completely different clock to us. Bizarre though that their watches and phones and computers display time as we know it but they then work out local time and quote that. A good example of what we’re trying to work with here in trying to get a car fixed in a timeframe that doesn’t involve weeks rather than days.
On arrival they had not removed the broken bolt (which they had promised to do in preparation for the new one arriving) and they had not found us a replacement tyre (which they had promised to do). Furthermore the boss man said we couldn’t go to Gondar yesterday because the road was closed, I
asked him to show me something that proved that, he became sheepish and said it was a long drive.
In regard to finding a new tyre they admitted they hadn’t got one and didn’t have one so we sent Alain into town with their driver to get one and Alain did find one but turns out the dimensions were actually wrong (and people just lied!). It just so happened then that on the way to the loo at the Toyota dealership I noticed a brand new Michelin tyre sitting gathering dust in exactly our size. I talked to the boss man who said we could buy it, avoiding throttling him for not mentioning it previously we agreed to purchase the tyre! So then we got the tyre to the accounting department to pay for it but whilst we were paying some dutiful man took the tyre away to put it back in a secure place so we had to get it again. Eventually we bought an expensive tyre but at least it is a good one!
Now back to the real issue of the broken bolt. I politely, persistently and relentlessly talked to them to get things moving. The guys in the workshop quickly got going on the bolt but 2 hours later with a blow torch and an angle grinder it still wouldn’t come out. Eventually they did get it out and seems like they did a good job. So then we waited for the part to arrive, once it did it was nearly lunchtime so I pleaded with them to work through lunch which they agreed and then we found they had the wrong part. So at this point it would be a fair description to say I may have “lost it”. The boss man realised he had made a collection of mistakes and they had ordered the right side not the left side. He actually stepped up and started shouting and sent someone down to their other service centre on the other side of town to literally steal one from wherever they could He did manage to do that, no idea how but let’s just say we got one. Despite telling us they would work through lunch, turns out not so much. Eventually though we did convince them to get the heck on with it.
Finally, a mere 3 and a ½ days after dropping by the Toyota garage to get the steering tightened they finished. We were very grateful and the Boss man was very apologetic, only charging us for tightening the steering! So then we paid and thought we could get on our way but they wouldn’t let us out the front gate as we didn’t have an exit pass. So back inside for 10 minutes more of paperwork and then finally we were on our way.
We headed North through Gondar and onto Debark on glorious tarmac roads and some stunning scenery, We are back on the road.
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