After all, turning “whipping” into candy for sale is their bread. Walking around the market, we easily found out that Belarus is very popular today. But do not go there yourself?
THEN PISS OFF
The well-rumpled Honda CR-V was "borrowed" at a Moscow car market. Having traveled around several metropolitan service stations, they quickly became convinced that it would not be possible to restore the former beauty to the off-road vehicle in less than $ 6, 000. In addition, everyone categorically refused to put in order the front bumper, the right wing and the door, and the most radical ones were going to replace “iron in a circle”. Thank you for not offering to buy a new car!
Having looked on the Internet and consulted with experienced, we decided to drive the car to Bobruisk - the town in the south of the Republic of Belarus is famous for low prices and good weather.
The distance of 700 km was easily overcome in one day, since the western roads turned out to be in pretty good condition. At the entrance to Belarus I had to buy the insurance there - the monthly cost was 900 rubles. Highways at the Slavic brothers are paid, but travel on them (16 rubles) is no more expensive than in the Moscow trolleybus. Another thing is gasoline - for a liter of AI-92 at gas stations they ask 20 rubles. Therefore, it is better to fill the tanks to the border. Foreign currency (including Russian rubles) in Belarus does not go, but take dollars on the road - they change at a more favorable rate.
When we finally reached the only municipal hotel in the city, we were surprised to learn that in none of the two impressive buildings … there is not a single empty seat! Bargaining with the administrator, managed to still settle in a double suite. Apartments worthy rather of a collective farmer’s house corresponded to status only at a price - taking into account 260% (!) Allowances (official coefficient of settled right for foreigners) almost $ 70 had to be paid per day! Later it turned out that a cheap shelter can be found in the private sector, but, of course, without checks and receipts.
Service stations with a full technological cycle in the city turned out to be two and both are inundated with orders. After examining the Honda, the craftsmen came together for two and a half thousand dollars, including tin, assembly-disassembly, preparation, painting and finishing polishing. Irreversibly, in their opinion, only the headlight, side window and right front fender were damaged. It immediately became clear that the desired parts could not be found in Bobruisk during the day with fire, and the nearest specialized dismantling was in Minsk. However, the time to acquire spare parts was more than enough - in view of the high load, they promised to start repair only in a month!
I had to switch to the fallback option by contacting the yard service. The centers of private enterprise are equipped in every way. The wealthier tinsmiths own spacious stone rooms attached directly to the house. Specialists preparing cars for painting are placed in relatively modest freestanding garages. Plastic repair masters even huddle in the hen houses that are somehow enclosed. But spray booths on household plots do not come across - painters rent “free time” from large service stations. Standing on different spans of the social ladder, these people are often united in a system. Something like a great service with workshops in various parts of the city, or even beyond. The workshops are rather scarcely equipped. Instead of slipways - screw extensions and chains, trimmed to the supporting pillars of the garage. Instead of laser meters - metal rulers, corners and plumb lines. A proprietary tool is acquired only in the complete absence of home-made analogues. Wrenches, it seems, come from tractor and automotive spare parts. “Zhiguli” 8x10 tube is especially fond of. However, the asceticism of the equipment is compensated by the diligence we have forgotten. And at first glance, the union is fully justified - repaired cars look very much like real ones. We had to get acquainted with the recovery process from the inside …
Two weeks later, a car sparkling with fresh varnish was already waiting for us in the backyard of a private trader. But when transferring it to the happy owners, a hitch came out - in a hurry, the assemblers forgot to put a bumper amplifier inside. Who knew that a trivial operation would drag on for a week! Having removed the aforementioned part, we found an undershot cross member of the radiator and an undercooked spar. Along the way, it turned out that the headlamp that had survived the accident rested on one ear - the other two had to be welded in place.
The tinsmith, who lives in the neighboring village, managed to get only in the evening. And the next morning, bright sun rays highlighted another defect - the painter “did not hit the color”. He pleaded guilty immediately, but the process of repainting with subsequent polishing (made, of course, completely free) took another couple of days. Installing a bumper under the supervision of a customer turned out to be a painstaking task - not all standard fasteners were in place. In the end, the stubborn part was tamed by means of a drill, a heat gun and additional fasteners.
TIME AND MONEY
The trip only confirmed the well-known truth - as a rule, one can save only one thing. We lost time in return for a car that was faithfully restored at half price. And we also gained experience, which is briefly summarized as follows:
- to repair abroad is only a badly damaged car, because the penny savings will not cover the costs;
- in order not to be “worse than the Tatar”, it is worthwhile to find out the workload of the workshops on the Internet or through friends and, if possible, enlist in the queue;
- pre-attend to the acquisition of scarce or non-recoverable parts. Particular attention - fasteners. At dealers, a piston costs a penny; at garage craftsmen, you can not find a ruble;
- Do not let things go by themselves. Do not want to spend a vacation in a foreign country - look for an agent ready for a moderate fee (about $ 100) to carry out operational control;
- most importantly - do not overestimate your own craving for adventure. After all, it is impossible to plan everything at once, but are you ready for unforeseen situations?