Our plan for Monday was to spend the day with KPMG meeting their small local staff of 60, and having appearances with the press in several locations around San Salvador. As I mentioned in the previous blog, despite the short time spent with them, the atmosphere around KPMG here was very relaxed and family-like, and without any time pressure, we were picked up from our hotel at the very reasonable time of 10am, and we drove the short distance across to their offices after a quick whistle-stop tour of the city.
Here we spent a while showing the car to the staff, and after this we went in and gave a presentation on the project and trip to date with the media present as well. After this, we went out to the car with the aim of demonstrating it to the eagerly anticipating staff and media. But the car wouldn’t start. It was not exactly what we wanted to happen, least of all in front of the media’s cameras!
So we returned the car into the KPMG garage, and took off the bodywork to see what was going on. No matter what we did though, we couldn’t find anything wrong with the car in any of the systems. It was a bizarre state of affairs because if we connected the laptop to the onboard computer, we were able to start the car. The only cause of the problem we could think of was that the extreme humidity had somehow damaged one of the computer modules and it wasn’t allowing the car to boot up on its own.
So, in order to continue with our schedule of meeting another contingent of the San Salvadorian press, we rebuilt the car by 3.30pm, and drove it over to a smart department store which is one of KPMG’s clients. This was an enjoyable event, followed up with juice and donuts after which we headed back to the offices and continued diagnosing the car. With the cause of the problem isolated, and the knowledge that until we got a replacement CAN module we would have to start the car with the laptop, we downed our tools for the day and went for a shower to freshen up before dinner.
Dinner was a delicious affair, again in the company of KPMG, in a quiet and secluded restaurant in the heart of the city. During the dinner, we were regaled tales from Claudio and Kevin’s (another cameraman on the trip) careers as documentary filmmakers. I can honestly say I have never heard such a collection of captivating and incredible stories, and the entire table was the thoroughly enthralled! This made for a fantastically interesting dinner where we weren’t talking about ourselves for a change(!), and one has to wonder whether the documentary is being filmed the wrong way around!
So with dinner over and the clock ticking towards bedtime, we headed back to the hotel for what we thought would be our last night in San/El Salvador. However, the following morning we quickly realised that we wouldn’t be going anywhere; there was a large storm predicted, and the ominous looking clouds ahead looked as if they would give the little SRZero a tough time out on the Pan-American Highway. All the KPMG staff strongly advised us against leaving in this weather. We considered staying an extra day in San Salvador which although would push delay us in getting to other organised events, it would allow us time to spend on logistics as well as car related things.
So we took the opportunity to give the SRZero another inspection, and to mount spotlights onto the support van for extra visibility at night. All this engineering work went very well, and by 7pm we had made great progress. At this point, Edgar, an employee at KPMG and an absolute star in shuttling us around the city and helping us in all manner of things during our stay in El Salvador, invited us to play football with some other KPMG employees. We readily agreed, and before long, Andy, Toby and myself were on the AstroTurf, in the pouring rain, having a vigorous kick around with the KPMG guys. It was fantastic fun, and definitely the best exercise we had had in a very long time. After a quick dinner of pampoosas after the match (a local dish which was very filling) we headed back to the hotel for our final night in El Salvador.
All I can say is a massive thank you to the KPMG office for ensuring our stay here was comfortable, enjoyable, and very well catered for!