Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our Assault On The Environment in San Cristóbal, Chiapas

While we were "parked up" in San Cristobal for a month, Scott started on his long to-do list with the truck.  One of the things on the list: take out the radiator and clean it.  Our camping spot for the month was next to an autoshop. Scott had planned on doing it himself, but we decided to throw our neighbor a bone and pay him to remove the radiator.

Our parking spot outside of town, near Juan Jose's "autoshop"

Juan Jose at work with Scott supervising
His name was Juan Jose.  The morning he started the work, Scott asked him about "reusing" the radiator coolant.  Over a year ago, we had bought expensive, 150,000-mile coolant that Scott had hoped to reuse since we had only traveled 12,000 miles. After chatting with Juan Jose, Scott got into the truck and said, "I think he said something about 'tierra' which means, I think he's going to drain it onto the ground". Both of us shuddered at the idea of draining 3.5 gallons of radiator fluid onto the ground, which eventually would make it into the nearby stream. We both secretly hoped that Scott's Spanish interpretation skills were bad enough that maybe Juan Jose really didn't say that.

As we were eating breakfast in the truck, we heard a gush of something draining onto the "tierra".

A mixture of our coolant and transmission fluid flowing down the street

Juan Jose took the radiator to the nearby shop to have it cleaned, while Scott spent all day cleaning the fins of the air conditioning condenser, which is normally hidden by the radiator.

Cleaning the air conditioning condenser

Later in the day, Juan Jose asked for $5 to go to the nearby hardware store to get coolant to put back into the radiator. A little confused, we handed over the money.  Within moments, Scott realized that Juan Jose was going to put crappy coolant back into the radiator. Scott walked to the nearby AutoZone and bought expensive radiator fluid (the same 150,000-mile Prestone coolant he bought a little over a year ago for half the price) and $15 of distilled water.  Apparently, the only use for distilled water in Mexico is for auto batteries and not radiators. We ended up having to buy 12 small 500 ml bottles. Another assault on the environment thanks to us!

Small plastic bottles full of distilled water,
along with the $20 containers of Prestone coolant and the $5 juice-container coolant

1 comment:

Stevie, Tree, and Soleil said...

Oh I feel your pain. But, I will tell you what I tell myself when I accidentally assault the environment in ways that keep me up at night: Simply by living in a van, you have cut your energy consumption in half, assuming that you used to average the same amount as your fellow North Americans.