La Poderosa breaks down twice, but this is no longer such a hindrance. Each time, Ernesto and Alberto are stranded, they quickly find help from people who recognize them as “The Experts” described by the newspaper.
La Poderosa is an extremely inconvenient method of travel and Ernesto uses its various malfunctions as evidence that he’s having a rough-and-tumble experience. However, the very fact of owning a vehicle demonstrates a high social status. At this point in the narrative, La Poderosa represents both the freewheeling nature of the travelers and the extent to which they are protected from any real harm by their class status.
After befriending a local mechanic who fixes the motorcycle, Ernesto and Alberto accompany him to a village dance. The mechanic asks Ernesto to keep an eye on his wife but Ernesto, too tipsy, makes a pass at her. Their status as medical professionals can’t absolve them from this insult; the villagers chase the two young men out of town and Alberto is angry that Ernesto has lost them an opportunity for free drinks.
Despite all the benefits it brings them, they can’t always keep up the pretense of being serious medical professionals; every once in a while they lapse and act like reckless young men. This shows how fluctuating and undefined their characters really are.