The Gypsy Train is not just a bus. It is a life style, a place of residence, a calling and most of all one hell of an idea. In order for this brain child to work we needed our bus to be functional, stylistic and comfortable.
Fernando knows guys. He knows the screw guy to the gasket guy. Most of all, he knows the best place to take a bus to get some fabrication done.
I could feel we were getting close. The road had turned to dirt, the smell of oil, grease, smoke and labor filled the air. We pulled into the mechanics shop, busses and junk littered the dirt drive.
The earth was scorched and hardened from years of blood, oil, gas and sweat leaking into the once soft fertile soil.
The idea was simple. We wanted to get an estimate on the cost of a brake job.
Within minutes, 4 mechanics descended on our bus. One mechanic used his 5¨4 frame to lift the bus while the other pushed in a stone. It must have seemed safe enough to crawl under. Before we could speak up, the wheels, brake pads and drums were off the bus and new ones were going on.
Apparently in Ecuadorian auto shops if you hint at an idea it means you want it done.
Before we left the shop the rear seat had been removed, and we discussed plans for a steel-framed sleeping structure. We altered the traditional seating structure to something more fitting for the Gypsy Train.
Vamos and claro are probably Fernando´s favorite words. Everything is easy. All it takes is a wallet filled with endless gringo money.
Within an hour of driving around the Southern Quito neighborhood, we had the steel necessary for the modifications and the wood to be used for the sleeping deck. Without Fernando it would have taken us a week just to find the steel and lumber.
As our fully loaded van pulled back into the mechanics, it became apparent Ecuadorian mechanics don´t fuck around.
As we began to unload our treasures, I noticed that the mechanics were putting the wheels back on the bus. I rushed to the bus. I was certain they were fucking us.
I was wrong. They had replaced everything, new housing, bearings, gaskets, pads and cleaned the drums. It could have been the fastest I have ever witnessed an auto shop work. The Civilian was well on its way to becoming the Gypsy Train.