An Ode to the GhettoVan

The GhettoVan: Our trusty steed.

Sometimes, hearing about the recent string of rental cars being robbed at machine gun point might just get you thinking about a less conspicuous means of transportation. That kind of thinking might just lead you to the GhettoVan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt may look like just a run of the mill Plymouth Voyager, but oh no, this van had it all: power sliding doors, an ever-present “Brake Problems” warning light, non-functioning rear suspension, a tinted windshield* (Srsly, WTF?), and a state of the art ceiling-mounted entertainment screen, which, though unable to actually display anything, had the fantastic habit of dropping down like one of those airplane oxygen masks every time something dangerous happened.

We traversed this island of hills and dirt roads in our overloaded Voyager with it’s questionable brakes and unquestionably dead suspension, seven grown ass adults inside, shifting weight around at every bump in hopes of preventing the loss of a tire.  At one point we all had to pile out of the van to take some weight off the suspension and get the chassis high enough to dislodge from it’s position, high-centered on the crest of a hill. At times, it was only natural to wonder: Perhaps we should have taken our chances with the machine gun bandits?

Judging by the local girls on the east end of the island stopping to take iPhone photos of us as we drove by, I can only assume Operation “Don’t Look Like Gringo Tourists” was a failure, anyway.

All “features” aside, somehow you didn’t manage to kill us. For that, I thank you, dearest GhettoVan.

*Have you ever driven a car with a tinted windshield at night on streets with no lighting? If not, I recommend that you don’t try… Pretty much every privately owned car on Roatan seemed to have a dark tinted windshield. I have no idea why, but it certainly makes driving at night an adventure of the sort that I’d prefer not to do again for a long time.

(Kodak Ektachrome E100SW in the Canon Sureshot SLC P19)

Day 126: A Calm Day for Rum Tasting and Maracuya Hunting

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