As we prepare to move away from Nicaragua (read this blog post if this is news for you), I frequently think about what will change in our “new life” in the States. On good days, I think a lot about what I'll miss from Nicaragua. On rough days, I think much more about what I won't miss. The truth is that what I'll miss and won't miss are frequently elements of the same thing. I think this is why new life phases seem to always be so bittersweet. So without further ado...
Vulcanización (tire repair) booths
What I’ll miss:
If you get a flat tire in the city—usually from running over a nail—you’re rarely more than a half-mile away from a roadside booth that repairs tires. More often than not, they’re little ramshackle booths made out of scrap metal, and they nearly always advertise their presence by painting the words se vulcaniza or vulcanización on an old tire posted just off the nearest major street. (As a side note, I don’t believe any literal vulcanization happens at these booths. It is just understood that they work with tires).
Getting your tire repaired can be as fast as 10 minutes. Last time I went, I think it took more like 45, but that was partially because I had to run down the street to buy a new air input valve, but between the valve and the repair, I paid less than $2. (Above are some pictures I snuck while the guy was working on my tire. I didn’t want to explain why I wanted a picture, so I took them discreetly and stitched them together later.)
One thing I like about this so much is the raw simplicity of it. It’s not pretty, and it’s not fancy, and no one cares that it isn’t. It’s cheap, fast, effective, and easy to find.
What I won’t miss:
Getting a nail in my tire every couple of months.