4 September 2009
We left Huanchaco early this morning and started our drive to Chiclayo. Just as we were getting onto the PanAmerican Highway, we were pulled over by the police. At various spots along the highway they set up checkpoints and will wave you over to the side if they want to. In this case, they told Luis that the windows on his van were too dark and thus illegal. Luis said this was the first time in 5 years, since he bought the van, that anyone said so. Luis argued his point; the policeman said that we would have to go to the police station if we continued with our objections. After that, Luis spent another twenty minutes or so conversing with the policemen before offerring them a bribe of S/. 20. (Twenty soles worth a little less than $7 US) We then continued on our way.
About twenty minutes into the drive, we passed the same pilgrims walking alongside the road carrying the statue. We figured they must have walked though the night to get that far!
Another hour or so down the road, we were pulled over again. For the same reason! His windows are no darker than the average car; not like the ones that are obviously tinted. We surmised they were cracking down on the transportation of drugs and the dark windows made it difficult for them to see who was inside. Luis was able to talk his way out of this one though and we were soon on our way. We had no more trouble along the way to Chiclayo.
Once in Chiclayo, we picked up Luis' uncle who recommended the "maestro" (building contractor) who had built his home. We contacted the maestro so we could interview him. He was on a job laying tile for a kitchen so simply arranged to meet with him later in the day.
We then went to visit Luis' cousin, Jorge, who is an architect. We found him on a job, but he took time out to look at our plans. There was also an engineer on site who gave his imput as well. We liked Jorge a lot and gave us an approximate cost for the project. He would take care of everything; testing for the footings, redesigning the plans to accomodate the footings, buying the materials, building and finishing. Everything! He took one set of prints and told us what needed to happen before he could do the redesign and begin building; testing for the footings and leveling out the land.
Once finished there, we met the first maestro, Francisco. He looked at the plans and said he could handle the project. He needed to have plans which included the electrical wiring, water lines, and gas lines. And, of course, he wanted them in Spanish! Imagine that. We think his bid will be lower than Jorge's, but will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.
Each have their plusses and minusses. Jorge would do the entire project. Also he and his engineer would oversee his maestro throughout. I also think the architect has some design ideas that will be interesting to see. He already suggested wood decking around the pool and carrying the same flooring from the entry through the foyer and on outside. Francisco would be cheaper and his work is good. We would be picking out everything for the house as we would be buying the materials. However, Francisco would build strictly from the plans; not offerring any suggestions for design.
Finally in the afternoon, we found a hotel and have been watching the US Open tennis on TV while we discuss our options.