Right, so what now?
Taking the road less traveled
I remembered the tollbooth guy saying "mecanicien, gauche" so decided to walk south and look gauche and try and find the mechanic. Except of course I had no idea what mechanic is in Spanish. I came to a line of shops with little quad bikes out front. Decided that someone in one of the shops might know a mechanic.
This is my cousin
In the first shop there was a 10 year girl who seemed to be minding
the store. I asked her if she knew a mechanic and she told me to come
with her and took me outside to her father.
I explained the situation to him and he told me to come with him to
his cousin at the next shop. He interrupted a group of men and
explained something. One of them came over, said he was the cousin of
the first man and that he was going to take me to his cousin, a
He laughed and added that this little tour would add to the price
because I was meeting his whole family. This was all in French for
which I was truly grateful. He ducked into a shop three doors away and
called someone. A young man came out and introduced himself as a
mechanic, the cousin of the man I was with.
He spoke French. Turned out that was because he was French, from
Alsace originally now living in Perpignan but planning to move to
Spain. We went to see my poor car. Yes, definitely a broken clutch
cable. Probably not a hope in hell of finding one in La Jonquiera on a
Saturday afternoon, maybe in Figueres.
Back to his cousin for a consultation. They started in French,
switched to Spanish and then to a beautiful swirling swooshy language.
Arabic – I asked him later.
20 minutes in Figueres
Back in the car he said that his cousin said there was a ‘casse’ – a
wrecking yard – where we might find a used clutch cable. We headed
out. The directions his cousin gave him were obviously less than
terrific, we toured La Jonquiera and didn’t find it. He even stopped
and asked at a petrol station (gas station).
Finally he said that we would go to Figueres, about 20 minutes away, and see if anything was open. We went. Nothing was open. I had thought about renting a car, driving home and then driving back to get my car after it was fixed but even the car rental agencies were closed.
We turned around and headed back to La Jonquiera, me with visions of being trapped there forever in some kind of surreal search for a clutch cable. I hadn’t had lunch, I was starting to hallucinate.
I was aimlessly gazing out of the window as we drove through town. Suddenly, on the right, I saw a casse – a wrecking yard! Maybe help was at hand.
It was now 6.15 pm. I had been in La Jonquiera for 4 hours.