Imagine it happens to you. There you are with such a nice Fiat 500, and there you accidentally drive through a big hole in the road. Result: a flat tire.
What on earth do you do with a flat tire on your rental car?
Unfortunately, it was also beastly weather, with a storm on the way. Fortunately, they are our guests, they have the number in their telephone, and son Broes is almost on the spot right on his way from shopping. They safely arrive soon after their call.
“We have food and drink for two days,” says Jan relieved in the hallway, sheltering from the rain, “so we can withstand a siege. I’ll call the rental company in a minute, because there’s no spare tire in that Fiat.”
“Maybe ’cause there’s no spare space,” jokes Heleen, “our suitcases only just went in.”
One of the reasons I don’t really like new cars – you can’t even change a tire or a light bulb yourself anymore. You have to go to the garage for every little thingy, with all the consequences for your time, energy and walle
It is what it is. The next morning a taxi suddenly appears at the top of the stairs. Heleen comes to get me after a while: “Can you translate, El, my Portuguese is miniminiminimal. And he doesn’t speak English.”
Of course. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the portuguese, it’s not to let someone in need fret. You help. Ponto final. The taxi driver is in the middle of confusion, and soon after, so are we. The rental company called their insurance, they called the taxi, and a tow truck, and nobody knows who, what, where, only the why.
The flat tire of the rental car. That’s the why. Everyone knows that
The taxi first went to the hotel next door, and soon found out that it shouldn’t be there, but a Termas earlier. Jan and Heleen are standing next to it. So, these two are already joint together. Now the tow truck has to join, and the clarity who arranges what with the insurance and the rental company.
The driver of the taxi and the driver of the tow truck can call, after a few times back and forth with the lady from the insurance. She keeps claiming that everything has been communicated with the renter of the car, but Jan invariably shakes his head. “Didn’t tell me nothing at all,” he hisses, ill-tempered at having to head over to the top of the stairs here, when no one knows who knows what.
I translate in all directions, and of course interfere with it, even if it’s not my flat tire
“If that tow truck goes to that car now, and you go with that taxi too, then you can ride with that tow truck, right?” I suggest, which is well understood by Heleen, who reasons according to the same logic. But no, the taxi driver shakes, that’s not allowed.
“But years ago I really rode along with a reboque, you know!” I object, only: “It is no longer allowed because of Covid. Passengers go by taxi, the cars go by reboque” explains the taxi driver. What? What’s the difference between a taxi driver with people in his car, or a tow truck driver with people in his car?
It must be the notorious BCSL (bureaucratic civil servant logic)
After just under an hour, and several outcries from the taxi driver that he is leaving, because who pays for this time? and several phone calls to the insurance company, the rental company, the tow truck driver and back again, things finally get going.
Fortunately no one has accepted my suggestion that they already go to the car tire garage in Soure, to wait for the tow truck there, because they are sent by the rental company/insurance to Pombal or to Coimbra. Much further away.
When Jan and Heleen drive off, it’s still not clear which way they’ll go. South/Pombal or East/Coimbra.
Thankgod for cell phones!
We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.
A big step, especially with two small children.
We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday houses, rooms and a campsite, with games like pingpong, pool, foosball, and a FancyDressingRoom.
You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.
Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.
Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation
You can subscribe to this blog- see at the right side of this page »
You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.