So the group from SWOB (Students With Out Borders) left yesterday. Did I mention here what an incredibly diverse team that was? It was so very cool...especially to hear something like at least five different languages pray the Lord's prayer, not to mention talks on faith, and all the work they did while they were here. A great week indeed.
The drive to and from SPS (or SAP...airport code) was interesting of course. Leaving at 3:00am, we drove through the cold and dark, and passed two Honduran restaurants for breakfast (because they were closed, who would have thunk it) ending up eating at the Burger King in Progreso. We also stopped for the group picture at an interesting shop/billards/restaurant place along the way...they offered us to tour it as well...there are brigdes made out of buses, the second floor is supported by old train tracks, and the roof is made up of bus roofs and sides, not to mention the columns made of bus rims filled with cement, etc.
The drive back alone (Oscar behind me) was a struggle to stay awake, we stopped for lunch, and then beat foot through all the traffic and construction mess to get to Teguc in time to take a taxi along with a friend of Oscar's....whew...to get to the Peace Corps to pick up the documents and take the Land Cruisers....which we did just in time before they closed. Left my house at 2:40 AM...arrived back after all this at about 6:00 PM...I am still tired just thinking about it.
I am posting several pictures here to satisfy those with curiosity, and thank you for such inquiries and curiousity, of what these things look like. There are two different Land Cruisers sold here, the "station wagon" which is the same body style as sold in the US, and the "hard top" which is what we call here the ambulance style, because the red cross has used them for ambulances. The hard top will be for the Sampedrana Church (it meets all the needs of that community except for being a pick up, but finding such a pick up we found to be very unlikely, and would have cost just as much as this one, a 2002, for if we were even able to find one, perhaps from 1988. They hold their re-sale value in case you were wondering. In fact, this type is not for sale very often either, and had it not been at this auction, I doubt we would have been able to afford such a vehicle for them. We are paying for it with some leftover group money, some clothing money, some mission funds, and the generous support from a supporting Church in the US, all adding up to one great tool for them to have there...something tough (double axle, two spare tires, two fuel tanks, aluminum roof rack with factory access steps (all three have these), seating for at least 12 North Americans, probably more like 30 Hondurans), reliable, and easier part availability...being a Toyota, and this being predominantly Toyota country. It needs an oil change, and a once over by our mechanic before we take it up to him....hopefully that will be by Wednesday, when we are planning to go with the group (which arrives this afternoon) otherwise, it will be left to me and X? to drive it up to him and get back to Teguc.
The two 2003 "station wagons" that bookend the hardtop are on the downward side for us, and above it for Oscar and Julia. We bed on all three that were for sale, but "only" won the two (if we had won the other, we would have sold the Defender.) The only discernable difference between the two are the wheels they came with in terms of equipment (here you get a closer view of Oscar's) although the few problems they have also are different, but those should be resolved soon, after we go Monday to delve into the fun process of getting license plates for them (since they came from an International Mission...in this case, the US embassy, the license plates they had which were a different kind, go back to the government, and then we have to go get new ones that are for regular, joe schmoe vehicles....yellow MI plates to regular P green plates for those that know a little more about Honduran driving.)
Here you see the inside...what you can not see from this picture is that they seat theoretically 10 people (the mother in law seat next to the driver...could seat an adult, we will have to try...but it would be tighter than in the Ford me thinks) and the rearmost inward seating seats could definitely hold more than two people each if they were smaller women (that means...not me and Oscar when we tested them out.) These both come with two spare tires, two fuel tanks, and all three are of course diesel (the only way to travel) and actually have the exact same motor, a 2H, 4.7L inline six (more information than some wanted, not enough for others probably.)
All three also have winches....a close up picture with Vanna our leg model is shown here from the hardtop...the winches on the other two are hidden by the cover where it says "Toyota" on the front bumper, and there is a separate panel in the back of the truck for the storage of the controls, another nice, added from the factory feature. I also like the tough truck look of having two handles to grab onto on either side of the truck for the driver and passenger. These trucks were made to go where other trucks fear to tred.
Driving mine back, it is a very different feel from any vehicle we have owned here in many different ways, but the most easily discernable was how...quiet it is. No engine noise, no rattling parts, no shakes. It is almost unsettling to hear such...silence. We have a few little things to fix, clean, etc. and probably will need some new tires in the future, but for now, we are just rejoicing that God made this possible, and both of us (Oscar and I) are hoping we can turn around and sell our other vehicles (him the Hilux...not much cheaper he purchased that than this much nicer and tougher Land Cruiser...we got a good deal on these, lest I not have mentioned that...and us most likely the Musso, which was going to need to be sold for something else in the future somehow anyway) soon to recoup some of the savings we just invested in these rather unique and very useful vehicles...in case you were wondering, that is how we were able to make such a purchase, it seemed a wise enough decision, and was blessed by God, but both families have taken the jump to use almost all our personal savings for the mean time to get these. Praise God for such an opportunity, especially as I have yet to understand the process of how we were made aware of this auction in the first place....by all rights I should never have found out!