Life At Point C

Experiencing Life along the Silk Road

Karakol Cars

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Simple ToolsLast week, I talked about seeing the resourcefulness here in electrical wiring. I thought I’d continue that thread, though about cars. A few days ago, I went with my friend to get a front brake job done on his Santa Fe. All he needed was to swap the pads, something I’ve never paid to have done in my life but I have nothing more than a hammer and a few screwdrivers here. All my tools are still stateside.

We went to a local garage in the center of Karakol to see a mechanic he had heard about. This guy must be pretty good because he is by appointment only. We drove by the shop on our first try because it isn’t the most noticeable place around. We had to call the mechanic and he came outside to meet us.

The shop appeared rather small from the outside, just one bay door. He waved for us to drive on in after a couple of other vehicles pulled out. Once inside, it definitely was more than a one car shop, though I’d still call it small. It must have had 12-15 cars inside being worked on. There were everything from Audi to Lada to Mitsubishi, and of course the Hyundai we drove.

Cars were parked everywhere. There were just two, maybe three, old hydraulic lifts but that didn’t stop progress. The garage was split level with a tiny ramp just wide enough for a passenger car to drive up, or in this case, back up with considerable assistance required. You then pulled your car over one of several trenches cut into the concrete so that the mechanic could access the underside of your car without the need for a lift.

In the states, shops are full of computers, massive tool chests, and other expensive looking diagnostic and repair equipment. Here, there wasn’t a single tool box in sight in spite of the fact that there was all manner of repairs on going.
It would appear that the mechanics there had little more than a couple of wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers, yet they got the job done. I am not a mechanic yet my simple tool set is much more expansive than the combined tools of this entire shop.

Living here continuously teaches me that you can do a lot with a little. You don’t need a lot of money or specialty equipment. You need to be resourceful. You need to think about things from a totally different perspective than my western mind is trained to think. Every day here is another chance to learn. Every day here is an adventure.

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