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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend Update

It's crazy to think that in 4 weeks, we will already be on the Rally!

We've been pretty busy this weekend, and everything is starting to fall into place.

Yesterday thanks to our excellent location at the Minto Park sale and the support of our friends we sold $300 worth of earrings and artwork! Another chunk of change to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

In BIG news - we got a new (used) car!

You may have seen my previous blog post, about the beautiful, butterfly adorned Suzuki Wagon we had bought.

Little did we know that we were going to experience some serious car drama with it!

The dealer we bought the car from sent it in for a special check-up, and found out the engine was a "little smoky". Naturally, we were alarmed by this turn of events, since we didn't even have the car yet and it was already giving us trouble! 

Clearly I knew that at some point of this journey we were going to experience issues with our car, but in my mind I was imagining we might have engine problems trying to navigate the mountains of the Pamir Highway.

The dealer assured us there would be no problem, and he would sort it out. He also said he would find us another car with the same specs even if he wasn't able to fix the Wagon, so I tried to ignore my inner control freak and trusted that he would follow through.

Fast forward to Wednesday of this past week - 2 days before the deadline to get all of our vehicle details in, as well as pay the vehicle deposit - and lo and behold they HAVE NOT found us a car! 

As you can imagine, this was pretty last minute and we were quite pressed for time to find a car that seemed like it would be suitable for the Rally. There were not that many small cars in good shape available online and I was kicking myself for trusting some random dude to follow through on his word. 

On Thursday morning, Sebastien came across a 2007 Perodua Kenari on Autotrader that had only 19,000 miles on it. He immediately got in contact with the guy (a lovely fellow named Tai) and they agreed on a price. The only catch was that someone needed to pick up the car with the cold, hard cash in the next few days.

Thankfully, my awesome cousin Nithya lives in London and will do things for me even though she is extremely busy working hard in addition to being a social butterfly! After a few phone calls, we managed to sort out the logistical details, and Nithya arranged a time to meet up with Tai for our car.

We were happy to hear from Nithya on Saturday that her and her friend Polina had picked up our car and it was now safely parked at their building. HUGE RELIEF! Would have been impossible to do the Rally otherwise, and we're happy to find a car that is better than the original one we purchased. Here's a picture of Nithya getting the keys to the car we are going to get to know very well! Thumbs up is right!

Coming from Canada, where we have tons of space and people love to drive big vehicles, I'd never seen...never even HEARD of a Perodua Kenari before starting to research for the Mongol Rally. 

Here are some fun facts about the Perodua Kenari:

  • Perodua is a Malaysian car manufacturer - I love Malaysian food, so I will assume the cars are also good.
  • Kenari means canary in Malay. I am trying to think of a positive way to interpret the canary in a coal mine allusion. Umm....this car will guide us to Mongolia and hopefully not die on the way?
  • Top speed is 155 km/h. I can assure you we will not be hitting that.
  • The Kenari has a 1.0L Daihatsu engine. That sounds impressive to me.
  • One review notes: A deeply embarrassing car to be seen in, or near for that matter, but in truth the weird looking and weirdly named Perodua Kenari is actually quite capable and an undeniable bargain to boot. I am sure that this car will be an excellent conversation starter. All those people we meet on the Rally will go from pointing and laughing at our car to becoming our BFFs. Awesome!
  • A number of Mongol Rally teams have completed the Rally in a Kenari, so there is a precedent. Can't wait to be one of them!

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