Sunday, January 13, 2013

Adventures In Seeking A Rental Car

January 7

We decided to rent a car for a day so we could explore the island and also get some repairs done by a welder. We discovered that there was an Avis car rental close to the marina, so we decided to walk there in the morning and rent a car for the day. Unfortunately, we had a lot of trouble finding the Avis car rental. After asking several locals where the car rental place was, I finally ran into one local who pointed us in the direction of a Thrifty Car Rental store located in Basseterre. He walked us over to the location, and when we realized that the car rental agency had moved to a different part of the island, he offered to give us a ride there. Gene and I were so grateful for the ride to the car rental place because it was a pretty far walk from where we were. We explained to him about the boat repairs we were trying to tackle and showed him our cracked alternator lever which he seemed to think should be a pretty easy repair. He took us into the car rental building (which was located within one of the big car dealerships on the island), and demanded from the guys behind the counter that he needed to have our alternator piece welded ASAP. Then he walked into the back of the building which was for employees only – Gene and I asked the guys behind the counter if they knew him, and they told us he was the owner of the company. Turns out that this guy we met owns TDC (Trading & Development Co.) which is one of the big businesses on the island including the biggest chain of hardware stores, car dealersihps – and they also have a Thrifty franchise for car rentals. Jack Crammer, the guy we met, is one of three owners who started the company 40 years ago. Jack took Gene down the street to the TDC hardware store and talked to one of his welders, and we got our part repaired in 15 minutes! He also said he'd help us weld the captains seat on our boat that was damaged during the sail St. Martin. We weren't able to rent a car that day since they didn't have any available, but we arranged for the Thrifty guys to pick us up from the marina the next morning to have a car for the next day. Jack was very helpful and such a great contact! He gave us a ride back to the marina (after a short detour to pick up his 99-year old mother who is also a native of St. Kitts). He had some really interesting stories about living in Figi and Tonga when he was young during World War II. Later that night, we met up with Jack and his wife at a bar in Frigate Bay where they generally go for happy hour most evenings. We really enjoyed getting to know them and hearing about the interesting lives they've lived and about their children, who are around our age. Hopefully we will meet them again some day!

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