Friday, November 27, 2009

27 November

We spent a lot of the day on the tennis court. We had a one hour lesson with Quang at Glendeveer in Gresham this morning and then played doubles with Sue and Kurt this evening at the Clackamas River Racquet Club. It felt sooooo good to be out on the court again and even though our playing was somewhat inconsistent after three and a half months, we had a lot of fun.

We hope we can play a lot more before we take off again.

When the excavation of the pool begins on our property, much of the dirt removed will be put down where the tennis court will eventually be built. We're hoping to have a court built on community property there so we can keep playing.

We've broken ground this Monday, but haven't received any pictures or information as to how that went.

We did purchase a dalmatian pup from a breeder in Texas. She is 6 months old and a favorite at the breeder's facilities. We will meet her in Lima as they will ship her to us there. I am soooo excited to meet her. Some of her handlers have sent great stories about her. What a cutie!
Thanksgiving was great; we spent the dinner hour with Marc and Diane at the Union Mills Horse Ranch. There was tons of food and lots of good company.
What a whirlwind week this has been in Oregon. We've tried to organize taxes and finalize various other things before the container is loaded on the 14th of December. Wow!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

24 November

Being back in Oregon has been a bit of a culture shock. It isn't just that the landscape is so much greener and lush, or that some of the fall colors are still apparent. And it isn't even that the language is different. What seems so different is that the traffic is tame, the hours of daylight are shorter, and that we are going separate ways trying to get things organized and ready for the final move.
Our first day back, we each made lists of things of things that needed to happen and went separate ways to accomplish those things. Doug went to check on telephone, internet and cable, retirement insurance, a month's membership at the tennis club, and contacting the plumber and electrician for repairs needed here at the house. I went to pick up paperwork to get our taxes ready, went to the post office for change of address information, went to Whole Foods for some VitaBiotics, REI for mosquito nets, and contacted our stock broker to set up an appointment so we can finance this adventure of ours. Our list continues and we hit the road each morning trying to get things accomplished. Doug's main focus will be to finish the remodeling we started a few years ago; painting, molding, the final touches. I've been relegated to gathering necessary information for taxes.
We did purchase a dalmation pup. She is 6 months old, so is house broken. She will be spayed and then shipped to Lima and we will pick her up there. Our first dalmatian, Smudge, was such a pleasure. We had to put her down after she was hit by a car and had broken her leg. She had lived 16 years with us and had gone deaf. There is no replacing her, but I think "Stormy" will be a good fit.
I've also been able to reconnect with family and friends the last couple of days which has been wonderful. I truly appreciate those connections now; for some reason I've been somewhat of a recluse in the past.
We broke ground on the construction of our home in El Nuro on Monday. I'm saddened that we weren't there for it; but so glad we are finally getting started. Koki, the architect has sent twenty workers and his best "maestro" (contractor) to work on the project. The biggest issue for them is food. They will build themselves a shelter to sleep in, but the food will have to be brought out to the site each day; possibly twice a day. I'm anxious to hear how they figured out the logistics.
Thanks to all of you that have followed this blog; know that there will be a guest bungalow available for you when you wish to visit.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

21 November

I'm not sure what the high or low temperatures for today were, but I know I'm cold! We arrived in Oregon yesterday afternoon and spent the afternoon trying to get cell phones and internet access for the time we are here. This proved to be a bit of a hassle, but I have to say the people at Best Buy on 82nd Ave stuck it out with us and finally got the job done. Here are our phone numbers for the next six weeks; Karen 503-406-7676 and Doug 503-406-7677. Feel free to call and check in. Hopefully we will be able to connect with a lot of you during this time.
On Tuesday the architect, Koki came up to see the property, visit with us, and check on local prices for building materials. The bus dropped him off at the entrance to El Nuro and we met him there a little after 10:30 in the morning. He came up to the house and really enjoyed the view (he had only pictures and technical information about the property). We ate lunch at the house and shortly thereafter, Georg showed up and the beer started flowing. I let the guys drink and I packed up the house. When they were ready to move on, everyone chipped in to help us move things into a storage building behind Georg's house.
We drove into Los Organos and Koki visted some building supply stores to get some prices. Meanwhile, I checked in at the furniture store where we bought the bed and they had the missing piece and the queen mattress. So we loaded matress on top of the bedframe in the back of the pick-up, picked up Koki and took the furniture up to Jay's. Once unloaded into the room we will rent, we took Koki into Mancora to catch a bus home.
Once in Mancora, Koki could not find passage on any bus line back to Chiclayo. Apparantly, there was a protest going on near Zorritos that had shut down the highway for two days. The protest was against a foreign oil company that had been granted permission to do siesmic testing on the ocean floor. This testing however interrupted the fishery there; driving the fish out of the area. No traffic was passing north or south so many busses were stuck. Koki finally found one seat on a bus and immediately took off. We had thought he would spend the night, so had made reservations for him, but he wanted to get back for work in the morning.
Our trip home was long, but uneventful. We left Georg's house Weds. afternoon, taking the reservation the architect didn't take at El Refugio. I figured we paid for the room, and since they wouldn't refund us for the room, we'd take it. I was really looking forward to the hot water shower. Not! It was our luck that their hot water was down and would be fixed the next once again cold showers.
Victor, a driver we first met on an earlier trip, drove us to Piura. In Piura we caught a plane for Lima in the early afternoon. Domestic flights in Peru are very favorable for the foreigner. The fare for a Peruvian for this flight is $52. Doug and I each paid $138 a piece for the same flight.
Once in Lima, Maximo's wife, Teresa picked us up and drove us to the health insurance agent we had contacted to get insurance coverage. We found the office amidst rush hour traffic, which in Lima, is ugly.
We met with the agent, filled out paperwork and got the process started. We had to do it that afternoon since once Doug turns 61, on the 14th of December, he is no longer accepted for private health insurance policies. I was rather proud of myself for doing all the negotiations and filling out the application in spanish. As a matter of fact, the agent said my spanish "was very good."
We then went back to Maximo's house for dinner and a bit of celebration in honor of Maximo's birthday. Maximo and his wife returned us to the airport about 11:30 for our 1:40 a.m. flight to LAX. We spent the night in Pomona with Doug's sister and then flew to Oregon the next day.
And here we are, back in Oregon. The blog may get a bit spotty during the next six weeks, but will fill you in on anything that happens toward our final move to El Nuro, Peru. Meanwhile, you can contact us through the above phone numbers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

16 November

Today's hi 81, 52% humidity, sunny

lo 66.8%, 78% humidity, clear

Bed partners? When Doug headed to bed last night this little creature was there to share it with him. The rock wall is the headboard for our bed. Doug got out the fly swatter and urged him back outside! These lizards are all over the place here, and until now, I've only seen them outside.
Doug cleaned the house this morning; moved furniture outside and then swept, and mopped the floors. Sanchez came and he wiped down the furniture. I did a couple loads of laundry, baked a loaf of sourdough bread, and hemmed some pants.
We then went into town to get the bed frame and mattress. When we got to the store, the gal said they did not have a queen bed or mattress. I showed her the queen bed but there wasn't a mattress to fit it. We bought the bed and will pick up the mattress upon our return from the states.
We tried to get a hold of Jay so we could take the bed by, but he wasn't available. In the process of shuffling things around, we found out we were missing a piece of the bed. So back to the store and we were told that the boy who handled that stuff was out and would return by 5:00.
When we returned at 5:30, we were informed that the missing piece wasn't available but would be tomorrow. I'm starting to get the hang of Peruvian time. I've already made bets against that piece being available tomorrow and added a queen size air mattress on our list of things to bring back from the states.
The architect was supposed to arrive tonight sometime around midnight. He just called to say his bus had been cancelled, and he couldn't get here before tomorrow afternoon. We'd already made hotel reservations for him and arranged with Jay to deliver the bed at that time. Another change of plans; at least Peruvians are good at this sort of thing!
The count is down to 2; 2 more cold showers before we leave and hopefully will encounter hot water thereafter.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

15 November

Today's hi, 80.1; 64% humidity, sunny

Lo 65.7, 78% humidity, clear becoming cloudy

This was a very quiet day, although Doug took a 4 kilometer walk up the beach toward the vilage of El Nuro.

Here are some other things we've learned;

We would never be able to do this without our Peruvian friends. They have watched over us and been ever so willing to answer questions.

Be patient. Peruvian time isn't the same as US time. Just because they say they'll be there, doesn't necessarily mean today, tomorrow, or the next day.

Our driver's have become protective of us. Before we had our own transportation, they watched out for us no matter where we were. One driver called us after we traveled to Chiclayo by bus to be sure we had made it to our hotel safely! Another offerred to bring the doctor to me at any time of the day or night when I had tonsilitis.

A lot of togetherness is a good thing when your companion is your best friend as well as your partner and lover.

You have to have the memory card in you camera to save any pictures you take.

Having only one hour of electricity is do-able.

Don't leave any clothes on the floor as some critter may take up residency.

Be thankful for normal bowel movements and rejoice if they are regular.

Spices come in packets like sugar in a restaurant and have some weird names that don't give you a clue as to what it is. One packet proudly displayed the name "Comino" which the dictionary translates to "I don't give a damn."

We don't have to worry about losing electricity no matter how hard the wind blows.

Hang your T-shirts by the bottom so you don't have clothespin marks on your shoulders for days.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

14 November

Today's hi; 76.3, 72% humidity, sunny

Lo 64.9, 76% humidity, clear

The surf the last couple of days has been quite turbulent. If you look closely at the photos, you can see the spray drifting with the wind. We could see rainbows in the spray, but they didn't show up on the pictures.

I baked some rolls from the sourdough sponge. Half were plain sourdough, the other half were cinnamon rolls (made without brown sugar, which is non-existant in Peru) . The rolls burnt on the bottom a bit because of the cinnamon sugar, but still had a great flavor. I did however have just a slight problem with storing the flour!

We took off for Talara to find a bed. A queen sized bed to use while we are staying with Jay. We only found double beds and mattresses. I think one of the salespeople lied to us as she told us one mattress and frame were queen size, but when we took out our measuring tape, it wasn't. She hastened to tell us that queen sized mattresses aren't available in Peru. We know this to be false, as we have and are sleeping on a queen. So needless to say, we didn't buy one. We thought there was one in Los Organos, but when we went back to the store, the saleslady said they didn't have the mattress, but they did have the frame.

On our way into Talara, there was a huge tractor trailer loaded with onions on it's side and across the road. It had not negotiated one of the many hairpins turns well. There was a gathering of people to watch the clean up. In Peru, if the load is insured, anyone can pick up any part of the load on the road or roadside for themselves. On our return, there were twenty or thirty people helping to repackage and reload the onions onto another truck. Yesterday there was another accident just south of where we are that overturned with its load of cement.

We did get more of the plans printed into blueprint size. We are still missing plans for the solar panels and batteries, water tower, septic tank and irrigation system. Just the important stuff.

The architect is supposed to come here on Monday so hopefully we can iron everything out so they can start construction while we are gone.

While in Talara, we met Charlito, Perico;s daughter. She works at El Refugio and had taken the bus specifically to go to the bank. The line for the bank was out the door and down the block. Saturday is the day to pay bills (which you do at your bank) and do other banking business. Once we were allowed to enter the bank, inside was a sea of people. There were even longer lines inside for the two ATM machines (with the ability to pay bills) and the lobby of the bank was elbow to elbow (Peuvian style, that's CLOSE). I swiped my debit card to get a ticket to see someone at the teller counter. Kinda like when you go to DMV? In about 10 minutes my number appeared on an overhead screen and I approached the teller. My business was soon done and I had to wind my way outside. Some Peruvians are very polite and willing to move out of your way, but there are others that look at you and stay right where they are.

Once Charlito and I were out of the bank, she took us to find furniture stores. Two stores are in the middle of the market and cannot be seen from the outside. The market itself is a warren of booths, and stalls selling all kinds of things. We had to walk through who knows how many stalls to actually get to the furniture store.

We then brought Charlito back with us and delivered her to El Refugio. We stayed and had another excellent meal.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Hi today; 76.7; 52% humidity,sunny

Lo today; 66.6; 79% humidity, overcast

This is our lucky day! Doug and I were married on the 13th, so we celebrate Friday the 13th as an anniversary! Great day.

Today we went on a hunt for a bed. We are hoping to put a bed in the room Jay is renting us so that when we come back, we have a place to sleep.

There are a couple of places in Los Organos that have furniture. We found queen mattress at both; at one the mattress would cost S/.450 whereas the other it would cost S/.900. The first place had some headboards, but most had flaws and looked like they were used. At the other store, they had a pine headboard and a foot with drawers in it. The quality of the pine furniture was definitely superior to the other. We decided to look at our plans for the house, take some measurements, and then take a look at what might be available in Talara.

The first picture here is of the waves near the harbor of El Nuro. You can see the fishing fleet moored in the background which is about three kilometers away. The rocks often sport a beautiful spray of water when the waves hit. It is also the one and only surfing spot of El Nuro. In the next picture, you can see the fishing boats returning to port after a day out in the ocean. Often times they disappear over the horizon and come in late in the afternoon. The tuna have been running so many more boats than usual are going out, and are going out even further than usual. We knew something was up when so many boats left the harbor than the usual amount, and were out longer than usual. Once we went to the market and found tuna available again, we figured they were running again.

We contacted a gentleman about getting health insurance here in Peru. He sent us various options which we will have to study before making a decision.

I worked some more on my tapestry while Doug read the New York Times on the Kindle and studied Spanish. It was a very relaxed and peaceful afternoon. We even laid out in the sun for a while.

Friday the 13th

Thursday, November 12, 2009

12 November

Hi 82 degrees, 57% humidity
Low 67 degrees, 72% humidity
It rained this morning! Well, we had raindrops. You can see how much it rained by the mess on the windows of the truck!
Our stay at the El Nuro house is coming to an end. The owner and his family will come for their annual vacation on the 20th of December and will probably stay throught the month of February. Georg had said we could stay at El Refugio for this time at a 40% discount. A room with a queen bed, bath, breakfast and one meal included was $2810 a month. Wow! Even with a 40% discount it's spendy. Of course, this time period is their high season and so things are double what they would be otherwise. Anyway, after we paid the deposit, we decided to look around to see what else might be available. We e-mailed some friends; Felipe, the owner of Tenis y Playa that we had originally looked at to buy, and Jay, who bought property from Felipe and built a "hotel" (all four rooms) next door. We also checked out some other local hotels to see what their prices might be.
We drove into Vichayito, where Felipe and Jay live. We asked to see Jay at the gate to the development. We were denied access originally because Jay had not informed the guard that we were coming. We finally got the guard to call someone to communicate with Jay that we were waiting at the gate. Once Jay gave the go-ahead, we drove up to his house. He has had a rough go over the last several months as he broke up with his long time girlfriend, and had two family members pass away. Last time we saw him, he was definitely under the radar but we didn't know what was going on. When we saw him this morning, he was much more his chipper self. He agreed to rent us a room and give us access to his kitchen for $500/month. What a difference! All I said was you have a deal and shook his hand. He does not have any furniture, so we will have to buy a bed for ourselves. There will be electricity (most of the time), and hot water. A step up in the world!
Afterwards, we drove by the spa place and commented how nice it would be to get a massage. We both jumped on it and went to see when we could schedule an appointment. After lunch at El Refugio, we had our massages with hot stones and have been quite mellow ever since.
Once back at the house, I used the sourdough sponge to make a dough for rolls in the morning. I'll make a batch of cinnamon rolls and plain rolls. We're thinking of sharing it with the chef at El Refugio, and then giving him the sponge to maintain. Should be an interesting interaction...I don't think they are familiar with sourdough here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11 November

Hi today; 74 degrees, 65% humidty
Lo today; 66 degrees, 73% humdity

Doug's spanish teacher didn't show up again today. We figure he's given up. It was a lot to ask of a 16 year old boy. There are other possibilities out there.

Doug went and played with the horses at El Refugio and enjoyed a nice leisurely ride while I laid out in the sun thoroughly enjoying myself. I don't think I've included pictures of El Refugio before, but since we talk about it frequently, I thought I would include them today. We ate a late lunch and then returned home.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 November

Weather today;
this morning at 5:00 it was 66.8 degrees, 76% humidity, cloudy
this afternoon at 2:00 it was 76.8 degrees, 60% humidity, clear

I know, tough to take. The month of November has been very comfortable; ranging from 68 degrees at night to 82 degrees during the day.
This morning we went into town for a few groceries and water. We've been buying our drinking water in 5 gallon jugs. If you buy them from the store, it costs you S/.27 ; S/.15 of which is a deposit on the jug. Refills at the store are S/.13. We now have a new vender that gives us 5 gallons of water for S/.2 if we provide the jug.
Maybe we're learning the ropes?
Doug finished laying out the house on the property. I did some laundry. We laid out in the sun.
I also began my tapestry. It will be slow going as the fibers are much finer than I am used to and I won't be able to combine different colors together in the weft. I'm not sure how the tapestry will look when it is done; for sure a different style than I've done before. It will be made with all Peruvian fiber and will be very colorful. Yarn is hard to find in the first place unless you are up in Arequipa where there is a factory for yarns or in Lima where there are some outlets. Most of what you find elsewhere is wool or acrylic and very bright in color; maybe even florescent!

Monday, November 9, 2009

09 November

Doug's spanish teacher didn't show up this morning, so he spent the early morning on our property laying things out in preparation for building.

At eleven, we met up with our young friend Feruquo, and drove to Talara. We received the final plans for the house including structural, electrical, sanitation and water plans. We put these files on a zip drive and wanted to get them printed on large size paper. There wasn't anyone in the Los Organos or Mancora area who had the equipment to do this. It took some looking and asking for location, but we finally found the company in Talara that would do this. When he saw there were thirty-two pages to print, he said it would take him several hours to complete the project. We couldn't wait that long because Feruquo needed to take his parents to the bus station mid afternoon. We arranged to have the plans printed, rolled, and then sent by bus to Los Organos. The plans were S/. 7 each ($2.50) and the freight was S/. 5 ($1.75). We should be able to pick the plans up sometime tomorrow.
While we were in Talara, we searched for yarn for the tapestry I'm now working on. After inquirying in several shops, we were finally directed to one that had a limited number of colors and a limited amount of each. I purchased several colors and can only hope the amount will be enough.
We returned to El Nuro and then took Feruquo to lunch at El Refugio. I really enjoy their octopus stir fry, while Doug enjoys the shrimp curry. The food there is quite excellent!
We said good-bye to Feruquo and headed to the market in Los Organos to find a measuring cup and baking pan for the sourdough bread. The sponge is ready and has a really nice aroma! I'm excited to try it out. We'll have to take it to one of the chefs we know so they can use it and feed it while we are gone.
This afternoon Doug sat out on the patio and watched a team of fishermen lay out their nets.

There are two boats somewhat similar to the river drift boats in Oregon. They paddle their boats stern to stern. Each has a net aboard, and they join the nets and then take off in opposite directions, laying their nets out as they go. They make a big circle and then spiral in toward the center. Then they start making noise in the water with some kind of plunger; we think to attract the fish. Then they reverse the process, pulling the net in as they go and removing the fish caught up in the net.

Sorry, some of these pictures are out of sequence. I spent the better part of an hour trying to put them in order without much luck. Hopefully you can figure out the order from our description of the process.

By the way, I love all of you who are following this blog. Only three people have become "followers" but I know many more are reading our entries. It would really be nice to know who all is reading the blog....send me a message?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

08 November

This was a quiet day for us. We drove into Mancora and worked our way back along the "ancient PanAmerican Highway", which works it's way along the coast between Mancora and Vichayito and then onto the PanAmerican highway close to Los Organos. Our friend, Luis, the tour guide, has some clients that are interested in renting a house along the beach. We found ten possibilities for him and sent him the phone numbers for them.
We did a little shopping in Los Organos for Sanchez before returning to the house. Along the way we picked up some bamboo pieces to use as pots for the plants we have started from seeds. The dirt we tried was very much like clay, and the seedlings were very small. We shall see.
I got my loom set up for my tapestry. I wanted to get more detail, so I made the warp 12 per inch. However, when I started to use the yarn that I have, some of it is too thick to cover the warp as weft. I do have several fibers that will work well, but won't be able to use more than one fiber at a time. It changes my whole idea about how this tapestry will work on this loom, but am not unhappy with the new look. We are going into Talara tomorrow morning and will look for more fibers to work with as well as a place to print the plans for the house.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

07 November

One thing I forgot to tell you yesterday was about our visit to Lupe's house in Los Organos. She and her husband borrowed money from the owner of Samana Chakra to buy a house. They paid S/.1200 (about $425) for this space that they will eventually make into a home. Lupe and Franco took us to their home to see it. I was a small space, maybe 500 sq. feet. Dirt floors, bamboo walls to the outside with plenty of "ventilation", no kitchen or bathroom, a bedroom with two twin beds and not much else. Once again, I am reminded that life can be simple. They are both thrilled with their own space and look forward to making improvements that will give them a bathroom and kitchen. The contrast between their home and ours, in which we plan to employ Lupe, is obscene; at the opposite end of a spectrum of living conditions and style.
This morning we went into Los Organos for a quick shopping trip. We found tuna at the market again; it has not been available for a couple of weeks. Doug had said that a larger amount than usual of the fishing boats had left the harbor early in the morning. This morning was the same. We figure that is because the tuna are biting.
This afternoon and evening, Doug and I did some planning for the next month or so. We had return tickets to the US for the 19th of November. I called the airline to change them to Christmas time. However, according to the conditions of the tickets we had, it would cost us over $500 a piece to change. So, we will be going to the states on the 19th of November and plan on staying until after Christmas.
It seems like every day we see something that is so "Peruvian", but we either don't have our camera at the ready, or aren't quick enough to catch it. Today is was a surfer returning to town on a motorscooter; sitting on the front end of his board over the seat, and the rest of the board hanging off the back end. In Talara the other day, we saw a pick-up loaded with building materials; metal screens, rebar, plastic tubing, and various other things. Also in the back were two men holding the materials need for tie-downs! Earlier we saw a mototaxi coming into town with a tuna; it's head sticking out one side, and the tail sticking out the other side. And numerous times we've seen trucks full of passengers in the cab, and up to fifteen other people in the back! I'd love to make a collage of these sights; they define Peru and Peruvian culture.

Friday, November 6, 2009

06 November

This was a lazy morning for me. Giordy came for Doug's spanish lesson this morning at 8:00. I finished my breakfast and disappeared into the bedroom to let them do their thing. I studied a bit of spanish myself and the fell asleep. I slept hard until noon!
Here is our pick-up. It has been sooooo nice to have our own transportation! It definitely gives us another layer of freedom. It also complicates our life; insurance, services, diesel..... It's a choice we make for the convenience it offers.

This afternoon we met with Lupe and her husband Franco. We first met Lupe when Mandy, Elena and I came to Mancora and stayed at Samana Chakra, a hotel known for its offering of yoga. Lupe was working as a servant there; serving dinners, cooking and cleaning the guest rooms. We really enjoyed her personality and her radiant smile and have always made a point of greeting her when we were in town. About six months ago, she asked me if she could work for us when built our home here. Over the last six months we have communicated numerous times over the internet. She has not been very happy with the administration at Samana Chakra and wants a different position. So today, we talked about why she wanted to work for us, what her expectations were, her compensation and responsibilities. It is common to employ a house maid for S/.600 (a bit more than $200) a month. We asked her and her husband to make a list of what they would like in terms of compensation and benefits. We'll negotiate from there.
I feel a bit awkward in negotiating with Lupe without letting our friend Lucia, the administrator of Samana Chakra, knowing what is going on. For various reasons, Lupe doesn't trust Lucia, and I would bet the feeling is mutual. However, the owner of Samana Chakra really like Lupe and she makes the final decisions. I also talked with Lupe about the fact that up until this point in time, we have been friends. Once we employ her, the relationship changes a bit and she will have to take orders from me. Most advise columns would tell me not to hire her and avoid any possible problems in the future. Maybe so. We still have some thinking to do.
This evening we fixed up a huge batch of calamari. We found out that in order to keep the calamari soft and not chewy was to cook it on high heat for only two minutes. Otherwise, you need to cook it for over 30 minutes for it to soften up again. Next.....octopus. Anyone know any good recipes for octopus? I find it interesting that a search on the internet yields many italian recipes for octopus.
We also received the final plans for our house tonight; structural, and electical details. We are only missing the sanitation; water and sewer plans. Another step closer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

05 November

This morning we drove to Talara, about an hour away, to have the pick-up serviced. We took some Peruvian friends from Mancora with us, as they are somewhat familiar with Talara. Without too much trouble, we found the service center and they took the pick-up in right away. The first service at 1000 kms. is a visual inspection of the truck, fluids, filters, lights, battery, tires, alarm; pretty much everything mechanical in the truck. The only thing that came up was the windshield wiper fluid. It had been filled with regular Peru water which is not clean and has enough sediment to clog up the works. They drained it and then put in three containers of Mr. Muscle cleaner and told us to add 3 liters of filtered water when we got home.
Our friend Feruquo was so fun to watch during this service. He was looking over everyone's shoulder and got right in the middle of everything. At one point, he was in the passenger seat while a technician was in the driver's seat, asking about this dial and what it's function was; and what about this dial? The technician was very patient with him and explained things to him. At one point, the service technician took out the manual and pointed out where in the manual he could find answers to his questions. Feruquo was going to make sure everything was as it should be!
After the service, we took our friends to the bank. They are managers of a hotel in Mancora noted for its yoga, and do their banking in Talara.
We then walked through the market; somewhat akin to a flea market. Much of what we saw was junk; cheap stuff. I did find some mechanical pencils, a watch, and some kitchen knifes. The pencils are made by Faber Castell, a familiar brand so should be fine. We'll wait and see about the watch for S/.12 ($3). We were told that it had a 30 day guarantee; but he never gave me a receipt or bill of sale. Does that mean the 30 days are any 30 days we choose? We saw many poorly made knives but found a cleaver for S/.11 (about $4) and a 7" kitchen knife for S/.5 (less than $2) that were of decent quality.
Some things in Peru are very inexpensive. Many things are of poor quality as well. Diesel is about the same as in the states, $3.50. Paper is quite a bit more expensive and harder to find than in the states. Cartridges for the printer are probably 20% more expensive. Food is generally much less expensive; good meals at reasonable restaurants run about $10, a dozen eggs are $1, one kilo of fruit or vegetables will run about $.60, fresh fish at the market (marlin, tuna, shrimp, calamari) is about $2.30/lb., rice is about $.60 per kilo.
On our way home from Talara, Feruquo wanted to stop at milepost 76 to have Lucia, his wife, take his picture. He is 76 years old. What a character!
We then came back to Los Organos where Lucia and Feruquo wanted to take us out to lunch. The restaurant was right on the beach and have a wonderful view of the fishing fleet and the pier at Los Organos. The food was excellent! Lucia's son, Feruquo, joined us as well.
Once back at the house in El Nuro, I worked on setting up my table loom for a tapestry while Doug worked on the layout for the house. It was a quiet afternoon and evening.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

04 November

This morning after Doug's spanish lesson we drove into Los Organos to do a bit of shopping. We took Sanchez with us as he was having problems with his bicycle and he wanted to get repairs done in town. We dropped his bicycle off and then went to his brother's contractor's store. They had an assortment of building materials and tools, and a relatively large yard of lumber including bamboo and woods brought in from the jungle.
Then we were off to the market. Yesterday, we pulled some chicken out of the refrigerator and it was nasty! I think it probably wasn't so fresh when we bought it and then combined with the marginal coolness in the refrigerator, it didn't survive. That was the chicken in the sea. Today, I started to make a soup of calamari and shrimp, but the shrimp was even nastier than the chicken! Doug took it back to the sea, came home and took a shower, and I did laundry to get rid of the smell. Even the soy milk had curdled. I'll bet even Hostess donuts wouldn't last a year here. Lesson learned; buy only for today and the next. Nothing more.
One thing I was looking for in the local market was some crochet thread I was using for the warp on my loom. They didn't have anything there, but suggested I find a Senora at the grand hotel in Mancora. The place where I saw the sign for "hilos" (threads) in Los Organos apparently sold jute twine for macrame. So we bought our groceries; broccoli, cauliflower, fish, chicken, eggs, rice, water, wine and beer. I was very tempted to buy some octopus, but don't know how to cook it. I'll have to investigate and go from there.
Then we headed to Mancora to find this Senora. We did indeed find her at the Grand Hotel and she then took us to her shop next door. She had a large selection of beads, thread and yarn in her store. She actually had the exact same crochet thread that I needed for the warp on my next project. The lot number on her thread matched exactly with the thread I bought in Santa Cruz.
My tomato seed sprouted today. When it gets a bit bigger, we'll plant it in some dirt in a large water jug. We can then hang it upside down to conserve the water. The sourdough starter is getting bubbly and starting to smell sour.
When we went to Lima to buy the truck, we decided not to bring our camera. I remember putting it in a safe place; it was so safe, we couldn't find it when we returned. While in Lima, we needed to have Sr. Sanchez send Doug's driver's license. Sanchez had come into the house and searched through my purse and sent some cards from my wallet. When we realized that he had sent the wrong documents, we had him look again for Doug's wallet. The second time around, he had the right documents and we had what we needed in Lima. Upon our return, we could not find our camera. I knew it was here, but could not remember where I have put it for safe keeping. I finally asked Sanchez about it, thinking he might have seen it. He hadn't, and I figured it would show up eventually. This afternoon, Sanchez asked me about the camera and I told him I had not found it yet. I told him would keep looking for it and that I was sure it was in the house somewhere. He asked if he could look for it, and I said sure. In a matter of minutes, he found the camera in between my blouses stacked in the closet. I was astounded as I had already searched through my closet. He was so happy to have found it as he felt responsible for the security of the house. He is truly a treasure!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

03 November

Today was somewhat of a quiet day. I worked on a design for a new tapestry and began measuring out the warp thread. I ran out of warp thread, so will have to investigate what fibers are available in Los Organos. I have seen a sign for "threads" but don't know exactly what threads it is referring to. Spanish doesn't distinguish between knitting and weaving; using the same verb for both. Definitely gets confusing at times. Doug studied spanish some of the day; hoping to get a head start on tomorrow's lesson with Giordy.
The wall to the compost pile had been knocked down, so Doug built it back up and went higher yet.
The sourdough starter is perking! Time will tell if it works or not.
Doug also created Chicken of the Sea. The chicken we bought a couple of days ago went bad so instead of putting it in the garbage, he threw it out into the ocean!
Georg was here this evening (though he said he would be here at 11:00 this morning) and installed a new solar battery so hopefully we will have more electricity than before. It is almost 8:00 and we've had electricity since 6:30!

Monday, November 2, 2009

02 November

Yesterday we asked our friend Perico if there was someone in his family that could teach Doug to speak Spanish. His 16 yr old nephew was appointed. Giordy arrived this morning at 7:00 and he and Doug sat across the table from each other, each wondering what to do next. Finally, to break the ice, Doug took Giordy for a walk and showed him our property, the house layout and the surrounding territory. Once back at the house, Giordy decided he was going to work on pronunciation and had Doug read several stories from a beginning Spanish text we brought from the states. Even after a couple of hours, I'm not sure either one of them knew what was happening. At any rate, Giordy will be back twice more this week for lessons. As a former teacher, I'm biting my tongue and trying not to interfere!
Just after lunch we drove into Mancora to visit our friends at Samana Chakra. We need to take our truck into Talara for its first service. Lucia and Feruque are quite familiar with Talara, so we asked if they might go with us to show us around while the truck was being serviced. We'll go with them on Thursday.
Later this afternoon, we went into Vichayito for massages. Origenes spa is a beautiful spot right on the beach with very modern facilities. The massages that we've had there have all been great and at reasonable prices; probably high by Peruvian standards, but quite reasonable by US standards ($60-70). I tried the hot stone massage for the first time and really liked it.
We then went by El Refugio to talk with Georg who is up from Lima. When we do break ground, one of the first things they build will be the cystern for water. The plan has it located in the exact spot Georg's septic tank is. Within the next week or so, Georg will have to move his septic tank onto his own property. We also talked about getting a generator; asking him for his opinion as to what would be needed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

01 November

Wow, where did October go? Oh, that's right....we were waiting for paperwork in Lima.
I started a sourdough starter today. We'll see how it goes.
I also started the compost pile today. Doug built a rock wall around a small area and we put a cylinder of wire mesh inside. Hopefully the dogs won't get into it.
We spent hours on the computer this afternoon at El Refugio trying to download books and podcasts onto my iPod. We didn't have much luck though. I think I only got two new podcasts. Oh, well; this will have to wait for unlimited electricity.
Doug talked with our friend Perico about getting some spanish lessons. Perico will send his nephew up here in the mornings to work with Doug.