Monday, January 21, 2008

More Ferry Tales

Besides running around and getting supplies and paperwork done on Friday, Tom managed to help a couple of people in need. Around 2:00, as we were leaving FTC in Spanish Lookout, Tom realized that La Loma Luz hospital, where we planned to inquire about the food handlers’ license and our residency physicals, closes at 3:00 on Fridays. We took off for the ferry, and when we go there found a longer line than we expected for that time of day. We looked to see where the ferry was, and realized that the line was growing because the ferry wasn’t moving, and the ferryman was trying very hard to keep it still because the first vehicle getting off had apparently misjudged when it was okay to go, and had fallen off the end of the ramp. The KIA van’s hind wheels were still on the ferry ramp, but the front wheels were off the ground and the nose of the van was resting in the weeds on the riverbank, with the van’s frame rocking on the ramp. People were crowded around the front of the van, with some people trying to lift it, some trying to rock it back up with long sticks, and others shouting instructions and encouragement. Tom walked down, took one look, and returned to Tinkerbell. He pulled out of line, turned around, and backed down to the ferry ramp, where he unloaded our chain and tow strap. Seeing that help had arrived, the crowd cleared around the front of the van, somebody hooked the tow strap to the van while Tom hooked the other end to the truck’s trailer hitch, and with instructions to the crowd to stand back in case the tow strap broke, Tom slowly and carefully pulled the nose of the van out of the weeds, got its front wheels on the ground, and pulled it safely off the ferry and on to the concrete ramp on the riverbank. The van’s passengers got in, and the van took off none the worse for its ordeal, and the other two cars were able to get off the ferry. But Tom’s job as Good Samaritan wasn’t done yet – when the first car in line went to start to drive onto ferry, the driver found that the battery was dead and the car wouldn’t start. So, Tom backed up so he was hood to hood with the stalled vehicle, hooked up the jumper cables, and got that car going. He then turned around where he went back to our original place in line, just in front of a Mennonite in a two-horse wagon which we had passed on our way to the ferry.

Since we had to wait for the ferry’s return, Tom got out to talk to the Mennonite and to make sure that we were in the proper place in line for the safety of those in the horse-drawn wagon. The Mennonite, after remarking about how quickly Tom helped two people, assured us that being third in line was fine with him. He said that he doesn’t like to be first because he doesn’t like the horses standing on the open ramp which goes into the river on the ferry’s way across, and if he’s in back it’s good because he’s usually the lightest vehicle, so it’s easiest for the ferry to take off from the riverbank if the wagon is on the back. This was how we loaded the ferry, and it worked fine, although I was still a little nervous about the horses on the ferry because they weren’t the best behaved pair I’ve ever seen, and they’d been rammy and fidgety the entire time they were waiting in line. However, the horses ended up being quite happy on the ride across the river because one of the passengers in the wagon, a man in suit pants and a dress shirt who was only getting a ride on the wagon, took a five-gallon bucket from the back of the wagon, knelt on the ramps as the ferry crossed the river, scooped up a bucket of river water, and gave the horses a drink. The horses were pretty thirsty, and the first bucket was gone in a flash, and this kind man went back and got them another bucket of water. That was all he had time to do on the way over, and when we got to the other side he got in the other car to ride into San Ignacio rather than continuing his ride in the wagon, but the horses had a good drink before continuing to Barton Creek.

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