Monday, September 22, 2008

Chungo, again

If you read my blog entitled "Shipment Trickery", you'll recognize the name Chungo. We did not realize at that time that he was the man who owned the little car wash/gasoline/restaurant business just down the road from our hill. The car wash seems to service mostly taxis, the restaurant is very small, a covered patio with a few plastic tables and chairs, and a kitchen with a window for ordering and picking up, kind of a fast-food place serving locals. We were not even aware that it was a gas station until last year while waiting for hurricane Felix to hit Roatan (which it most thankfully did not).

Dennis had stopped by the day before the hurricane was to hit and advised us to go immediately and fill our gas tank. Once the hurricane hit and we lost power, we would not be able to get gasoline for awhile, for who knew how long. We were going to run up to Coxen Hole and he said "no, you want to avoid that if possible as the lines will be quite long, but there is a little gas station just down the road where the car wash is located." He led us down there and we were confused when we pulled in and did not see any gas pumps. A man (Chungo?) came out to see how much gasoline we wanted, and we said "just fill it up". He said he couldn't do that and we asked why not. He said because he didn't know how much that would be and he only sold gasoline by the gallon. So Don checked the gas gauge, estimated what we needed and told him 8 gallons. He nodded his head and went back inside the building behind the little restaurant. A few minutes later he returned carrying a gallon milk jug full of gasoline, a plastic funnel and a rag. He put the funnel in the gas tank filler, stuffed the rag in the funnel to strain out any impurities, and poured in the gasoline. He repeated this procedure eight times and we had 8 gallons of gas! I don't remember what he charged us, but it seemed a little bit less than what the other gas stations were charging.

We are currently paying around $5.29 US for a gallon of gasoline. There are a lot of things on the island that are done like they were in the States back in the 50s. There are no self-serve gas stations here. When you pull up at the pump, a man, or often a young boy, will approach and ask how much you want. You need to be clear on the price per liter and able to calculate in your head to make the conversion to be certain you are being fairly charged. We have since learned that it is far simpler to say we want cinco siento en total (500 lempira in total, equal to about $27.00 US). And then you tip him, maybe 10 lempira (50 cents). I've never seen them clean a windshield, check the tires or any other type of service, just pump gas.

You can see some interesting things while waiting for your gas. There are always some men, or teenagers, walking around with an armful of DVDs, trying to sell them. They will always approach you and ask if you want to buy some. I don't know where they get them and from what I can tell, they're mostly movies I've never heard of but seem to be violent action films. They're pretty cheap, $5.00-$8.00, but we're not buying. Let me know if you want some.

P.S. All the pictures you see running in the slideshow are now photos that I've taken here. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Chungo Chuckles! Thanks for the story about getting gas prior to Hurricane Felix. It cracked us up. I had to read it aloud to Chris and Ben because I thought it was so funny. We'll let you know if we need any cheap violent films. :)