Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31 March 2010

It rained all of last night and into the early afternoon. The rain wasn't the drenching kind you get in Oregon, although this would've gotten you wet. It was a steady shower. When we left Jay's this morning, we found out have messy things can get with the rain. The usual route out of Vichayito, past El Refugio and then onto the Pan American Hwy was impassable. There are a couple of short but steep hills and even with the four wheel drive we couldn't manage. We then back tracked and went into Mancora on the old highway. Once in Mancora, we were able to take the PanAm Hwy to Los Organos for the shopping and then on to El Nuro. The road out to El Nuro was dodgy in spots; slippery and thick mud. We were able to make it out to the property though. I can see how with a bit more rain, even that road would be impassable. The dirt here has a very high concentration of clay.

Once out at the property, we found five workers hard at it. With this being Ash Wednesday, it wasn't surprising that more workers didn't return. It sucks though as we are up against a deadline. It was a bit iffy before Easter week hit, and now it seems very unlikely. These pictures show them working on the kitchen; forming the upper columns. They have also filled in behind the wall with dirt, and so should be close to ready to do the floor in the kitchen. According to Koki, the roof materials arrive tomorrow. However, if we don't have more workers, it just isn't going to get done.

Martin didn't show up again today. Not really surprised, but it's very frustrating. Doug is especially pissed of because he vouched for Martin with Koki based on other work he had done for Georg. I tried to tell Martin how he was making Doug look bad because he wasn't following through, and I think my Spanish was strong enough to get this sentiment across. I don't know that it made any difference though.

Last night was very hot. The wind died and there was just no circulation. We started our fan and it felt soo good but it quit after about ten minutes. I unplugged it and waited a few minutes and tried it again. The same thing; it started and felt good, then stopped. Needless to say, the fan isn't fixed. I ended up taking two cold showers during the night, but still didn't sleep very well. When we went into town today, I stopped in one of the local shops where the owner repairs refrigerators and air conditioners. I asked him if he could fix the motor on the fan, and he thought he could. He will get the fan tomorrow! Meanwhile, we snitched a fan out of Jay's kitchen for the night.

I became a great aunt today. My nephew became the proud, or should I say PROUD, father of Arthur George Elles this morning. Chris and Lisa will be such good parents! Anxious to see how thing go and so thankful everyone is healthy.

We watched the movie Avatar on the computer tonight after dinner. It was incredibly and wildly different than movies Doug and I usually watch, but we both enjoyed it. Actually, Doug and I don't often watch movies. This is a movie Jay gave us to watch a long time ago....we just now got around to watching it. That's mostly because we haven't had electricity for any great length of time to be able to devote the connected time to anything other than e-mail, Facebook and our blog.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

30 March 2010

Moving day. Georg and his family and some friends will be spending Semana Santa (Easter Week) at their vacation home in El Nuro. We vacated the home this morning and moved back in at Jay's for the next week. In some ways it was a hassle, but I have to remember that we've been able to live there rent free. I'm anxious to see how Georg and his wife fare without a refrigerator and with a dodgy electrical system. Maybe if one of his cables gets fried, he'll understand what we're talking about.
We were settled in at Jay's by 2:30 in the afternoon. I then fell asleep and slept until almost 6. It was the first really hard sleep I've had in a while.
Jay cooked dinner for us tonight. Excellent as usual. Stormy was intent on Jay's cat throughout dinner. She sooo wanted to chase that cat.
We had five workers on the project this morning. It appears that Easter week is a big holiday tradition and several of the workers who were scheduled to come out, didn't because of it. We'll see how many are there tomorrow. I think we are down to 8 days before the cabinet guy gets here. Mmmm. I still don't see how it will get done.

29 March 2010

Only three workers this morning. It quite surprised us as usually any workers who have traveled home over the weekend return by Monday morning. These three workers worked hard though. They got the last column for the kitchen poured and will be ready to back fill behind the wall in preparation for the floor.

We hired a local maestro to move dirt that had been excavated out for the swimming pool to another location. Martin came out, bid the job and finalized the deal with the architect. He was to begin Saturday morning. Well, he never showed up. Apparantly, he was involved on a job in Vichayito with the topographer so wasn't available. So he said he would start Monday. We saw him in town of Saturday and he assured us he would start Monday at 7:30. At about noon on Monday, Sanchez came by to tell us that Martin wouldn't be able to start until 2:30 in the afternoon. About 4:30, Sanchez returns to say he didn't think Martin would show up. He commented on how Martin liked his cerveza over the weekend and was probably hung over. Still no word from Martin.

Doug and I bought a fan from the local market here in Los Organos back in January. The stall owner told us it had a year's warranty. As soon as we got it back to the room at Jay's, we found out one of the switches didn't function. So, we took it back to the market. The owner tried to tell us that that was how it was supposed to work and the off switch and #1 were wired to do the same thing. With our limited Spanish, it took us a while to convince him that this wasn't right. He finally agreed to order us a new one. We went back in several times over the next few weeks and he didn't have the replacement. We had just about given up when Jay appeared at his house with the exact same fan. I think our replacement fan went to the first customer! Any way, we decided not to pursue it as the fan worked adequately, even if we didn't have one of the speeds. In the last couple of days, the fan quit altogether. So, we took it back. As soon as we appeared, he started to tell us our warranty was out of date; we couln't return it.... He finally agreed to see if he could repair it. When we picked it up, he demonstrated that it did indeed work, other than #1 button, and we took it home. Yeah, now it will run for about 9 minutes and then quit.

My friend Daniella from the Yukon left me in charge of her spice can. This can is about the size of those Christmas cans you get filled with caramel popcorn. She has a treasure trove of spices; some I've never heard of before. One such was tandoori masala. A bit of research on the internet resulted in a recipe for Tandoori chicken which I tried out. It was excellent! It was supposed to be cooked on a grill; but since we didn't have one available, we did it in a frying pan. The flavor was excellent. I'm anxious to try it again on Jay's grill. Thanks Dani!

As we were enjoying our dinner, we were visited by this pair of geckos. I haven't often seen two of the together like this and soon discovered that this was a lovers encounter. They mated, on the wall, in plain sight with no thoughts of anything else or anyone's sensibilities. The mating included the thrusts and contortions of other species. Curious...and then they were soon on their way!
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

28th March 2010

Being Sunday, it was a quiet day here. No construction work happens and most of the workers head to town for the day. Even so, we did our usual water and grocery run in town. Living in El Nuro, this daily trip also entails our own personal shopping. It is so nice to be able to get everything done in one run!
This morning as we headed into town, we encountered Perico at the intersection of the PanAmerican highway and the road into El Nuro where his truck broke down. He transfered some of his fish to a refrigerated truck headed to Talara. We then hooked him onto our bumper with a strap and towed him to his home in Los Organos.
Caroline and Doug went riding while I stayed in El Nuro and loomed. He and Caroline had a great ride and I started another bath mat on the loom.
We had water delivered today. We went through about 5000 liters in a month. We have not been particularly frugal in the shower. If we shut the water off after getting wet, then lathered up before rinsing off, we could probably make the water last an extra week.
We had a great ginger chicken dinner tonight. Sometimes it is a serendipidous result of what's left in the cooler.
No pictures today. It is a full moon though so it is lighter at night than usual. Yes, a full moon, and we are moving again. It seems like everytime we move, it's a full moon. We've been here a month, and we're moving back to Jay's.
It will be interesting to see how Georg and his family and friends fare out here during Easter week without a refrigerator and with the electrical problems we've encountered.
Tomorrow will be packing day; then off to Jay's for the next week. It will be nice to be back at Jay's as Caroline is there and we'll have a great time with them. We hope they will come out to see what is going on here with the construction. Caroline should see some major changes as they haven't been out here in more than a month.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We just got home from a traditional Peruvian festival called a Yansa. The organizers of the fiesta collect gifts from those they invite a week before the actual party. Then, the day of the party, they put all the gifts up in a tree out of reach to those on the ground. It is quite a curious site to behold. The party started at about 7:00 and was in the street with intersections blocked off to provide a block area for dancing and socializing. At some point in the evening, the invited youth take turns with an ax and try to cut down the tree. When the tree actually falls, there is a scramble for the gifts that are now reachable. Too bad they actually cut down a tree to do this but I guess it originates in the mountains where there are many trees. It sounds somewhat similar to the Mexican fiesta with the piƱatas. Unfortunately, Doug's stomach was giving him problems so we came home early and never actually got to see the cutting of the tree.

The items in the tree were quite varied. There were plastic bowls, shirts, wastebaskets, fanny packs, a bra, cups, socks...quite a variety.

This is Perico with his wife at the fiesta. Perico is our fisherman friend who often fishes right out in front of our property in El Nuro. He supports his extended family fishing from a small raft. This extended family includes at least 6 families along with neices, nephews, and grandchildren. Perico is well known in the village and is considered on of the elders, although we saw a relative of his tonight who is 93 years old. On many occasions we have called upon Perico for information and advise. He has welcomed us unconditionally and has helped us locate workers and necessary services.

The band played continuously from 8:00 until the time we left. There were children gathered in front of the band; probably ranging in age from 5 to 10. Boys and girls who wanted to interact with each other, but were still fearful of what their same sex peers would think. The boys might dance with one of the girls for a few measures of the music, and then they'd scramble back to their group. I enjoyed watching their interactions.

I made a tuna tartare this afternoon which wasn't too bad. The hardest parts was getting the proportions right and substituting for things I couldn't find here. Next time I try it, I'll adjust some of the proportions of spices.

We've had a couple of saphron finches on our patio. They've discovered the dog's water dish and will come for water. They are beautiful little birds. I'd like to figure out how to attract more birds to our garden, although this might be difficult with Stormy who goes after anything that moves...I mean anything!

Stormy has adjusted well to our location. She loves to run up and down the various levels. She will generally come when she is called, but is easily distracted. Also, when she is intent on something, we might as well not exist as far as she is concerned. She is getting better though about coming when called. And then there is always the squeaky wonders. We've discovered another trick; we have a toy called a Kong for her. I've been putting peanut butter inside it and she takes an hour or so to get it out. She loves the treat!

The last several nights, I've started out the night in the hammock. It has been sooooo hot that the hammock has been the most comfortable place to be at night. Even Koki spent most of the night out there. I lasted until about 3:30 before I came in. The may be the most comfortable place temperature wise, but not necessarily the best place to stretch out and sleep soundly.

Today's temperatures were much milder than the last several days. What a relief! There was a nice breeze off the ocean all day. And, as I've said, I think we are moving into more fall weather than summer weather. It seems a bit counter-intuitive that the summer months here are considered the "high season." We think this is the time of year with the worst weather. Granted it is the time when school is out and many families are able to take a vacation... but I would certainly choose another time of year.

Twelve days until the arrival of our cabinet maker. Two of those twelve days are Sundays when the crew won't work. Two more of those days are Saturdays when they work only half a day. Koki says we are on track and they will be ready for the cabinets on the 9th. We shall see.

Friday, March 26, 2010

26 March 2010

Koki arrived early this morning. He met with the maestro on the job and laid out some of the electrical lines. Some of the plug ins in the kitchen were planned to be situated behind the cabinets and so had to move those up. We walked through the house and placed plug-ins. All the electrical conduit and gas lines have to be in place before they can pour the floor.

We spent much of the day with Koki. We went over the solar system and talked about what we wanted in place. Doug has done quite a lot of research and now has a good sense for what we will need. We also talked about some of the details on his proposal for the second phase; 2 outdoor showers, tile countertops for the bungalows, kitchen tile, etc. All in all, a productive day.

Late this afternoon the workers poured the upper cement beams for the master suite. It seemed like it took forever for them to tie in all the rebar and build the forms, so finally seeing them pour was another big step forward.

I am constantly amazed at how well these guys work together. All of their movements were choreographed for maximum efficiency and they were in constant motion. Notice in these pictures that ladders are situated over boards across a trench. Once out over the studio, buckets of cement were being carried up two stories, again on a ladder. On the right side, workers carried buckets across a plank suspended over the first floor and then up a ladder to the top. Workers on the top had less than four inches on either side of the forms to stand on. No harnesses, no one is tied off and only two in the bunch bother to wear hardhats. OSHA would have a few things to say on this job site!

Once they were done, and the mixer was shut down, I gave the workers a standing ovation and shouted "Bravo!" They probably thought I was crazy or drunk, but the smiled and gave me thumbs up.

Afterwards, we took Koki into Los Organos for Pollo a la Brasa, otherwise known as rotisserie chicken. This one restaurant along the square makes great chicken and has outdoor seating so you can watch the square.

The town square is the meeting place for young and is especially lively on

Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. It seems everyone in town comes out to promenade through the square, greet friends, and enjoy the evening coolness. Children run and play, the teens flirt and giggle and shift from one local to another, while the elders sit and gossip. It all has a very festive feel to it.

We had just a tiny bit of rain during dinner. It was less than a mist but sure felt good after the heat of the day. I still think the weather is breaking and we are getting into more fall weather, but the wind needs to come up to really make it comfortable.

We did get word tonight that our home in Oregon had been broken into. The house was pretty much empty, but someone kicked in the back door and stole the washer and dryer and the pellet stove. Bummer!
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today was another HOT day! The temperature was pushing 90 and the humidity was in the 70% range. The worst, though, was there was very little breeze most of the day. I moved the loom outside under the lattice roof of the terrace this morning and worked outside. Finally a small breeze came up during the early afternoon.

We have always felt welcome, safe and secure here. The locals are reserved at first, but when they know you will be neighbors and want to interact with them, they open up. We have also found the storekeepers to be extremely honest and helpful. Several times we have left the grocers without checking out bag, only to find items missing. The store people have always had the missing items out for us when we arrived the following day. They even chased us down one day while we were still in town when we forgot a bunch of platanos. At the laundry one day, we went to pick up our laundry and they told us one of my shirts had gone out with someone else's laundry. They tracked it down and had it waiting for me the next time we were there.
The shoemaker repaired a pair of flip-flops for me. When I asked him how much I owed him, he said just a soda. I paid him S/.5 and later took him an Inca Kola. I bought fish from one of the fisherman in the market, but only had a S/.50 bill. He didn't have change, so I told him I was going to buy ice and I would return with his payment. No problem. So imagine our surprise when a kilo and a half of fish disappeared from the bed of our pick-up as we gathered stuff for the workers for the day. The value of the fish was $2.50 so it wasn't a big deal; but it surprised us. Someone obviously needed it more than we did. It was a disappointment and a lesson learned.

As far as the construction goes, the workers continued to work on the upper beams for the master suite. They finished tying the rebar and began to build the forms for the concrete. They might get everything ready for a pour tomorrow, but it might be the next day. These workers are amazing. They may not make what seems like huge progress everyday, but they are relentless. They are constant in their work. We brought them each a cold Pepsi from town this morning which they really appreciated.

One of the workers broke out part of a wall in the kitchen. The plans called for a window just above the level of the cabinets, but when the brick layer worked on the walls, he missed this and built it ceiling height. One of the few mistakes we've caught.

Other workers were working on the floor of the swimming pool. They were pouring another layer of concrete and smoothing it out. I think the tiles will be laid on top of this layer. The pool looks really huge right now. Of course, it really is for a private residence, but I will sure enjoy swimming laps when it is done. For me, swimming is laps. The smaller pools I encounter are good for cooling off; for a brief dip. Swimming though is just that; swimming across distances. Certainly an indulgence for me.

Yet other workers were working on the wall at the back of the piano room/bar and getting forms built for the sides. Once the sides are poured, they will be able to fill in behind it for the kitchen floor.

I am now able to stand by one of the buildings and visualize the final product. Things are really starting to come together. Koki will be here tomorrow and he is supposed to arrive with the wood for the roof. I think the carpenter will be coming with him.

This upcoming week is Easter week. It is a vacation week for many Peruvians. George will be coming up to El Nuro with some friends for the week. Doug and I haven't found other accommodations yet, but if worse comes to worst, we will camp out on our own property.

We also contracted with a local maestro to move some piles of dirt. One large pile is on the ocean side of the swimming pool. Equipment operators have bid the job, saying they would have to tear down part of the fence to load the dirt into trucks on the roadway. This local maestro will hire a crew of six workers to move the dirt wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow over the next three days for about $400. I figure that's about $7.50 a day for each worker. Hard to imagine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

24 March 2010

We have been off-line for a couple of days. I'm not sure what is going on with the electrical system here, but we have now fried both phone chargers, the kindle charger, and both computer cables. After the first failures of our chargers, we used a power strip thinking spikes in the current might be at fault. The next morning, Sanchez came to see what was causing such havoc with the solar system. Apparantly, when he went to turn it off for the day, it was flashing and humming. It was the power strip. It had melted and had burned a mark in the bench it was laying on. We've consulted with Georg and none of us can figure out what has changed to create an unstable system.
We were able to buy new phone chargers at a tiny store in Los Organos. We checked with one computer repair shop in Los Organos, but he said our computer cables were not repairable. We took a trip to Talara today and were able to purchase new cables for the laptops.
So, at this point, the only thing that doesn't have a charger is the kindle. I can, however, charge it through the computer.

Sunsets have been so spectacular. Each day brings another fabulous view. We've taken so many sunset pictures, I've created a folder dedicated to sunsets. Each one different than the other; all spectacular.

While we were in Talara, I found some yarn that I could use for the bathmats. It is acrylic, not cotton, but should still work. The only other option was wool but I wanted to maintain the washability of the bath mats.\

Also in Talara today, we bought a couple of external speakers for the computer. Every time we try to watch a movie, CD or video, the volume on the computer was just to low to hear it all. I've been able to use the headphones to get a clear volume level, but that excludes anyone else from l;istening as well. These speakers were CHEAP; only $8. They do have a faint buzz that could be distracting in the long run, but we were able to watch a 30 minute video tonight together. P.S. If you subscribe to podcasts, one you should definitely check out are the TED conference ones. Very interesting! And while we are on the subject of podcasts, another favorite of mine is Stuff You Should Know. We listened to two of these today; Are there any undiscovered people; and What is noodling? They do podcasts on some of the most off-the-wall subjects...very enjoyable.

As far as the construction goes, the workers have now poured the cement wall at the back of the piano room/bar; which also defines the front edge of the kitchen. 16 days until the cabinet maker will be ready to install the cabinets in the kitchen and, possibly, in the master suite. The last lower level column has also been poured. In the master suite, the workers continue to tie the rebar for the top level of concrete beams. Once the rebar has been tied in, they will build the forms for the concrete and pour the beams.

Our architect will be here on Friday. He is supposed to be bringing the wood and the carpenter to begin work on the roof. We're hoping enough of the roof can be put into place to protect the cabinets when they go in. Deadlines are not necessarily understood in Peru. It will be interesting (and perhaps frustrating) to see how this one plays out.

Georg and some of his friends will be here for Easter week. We will have to find some other accomodations for that week. This probably means packing up our stuff currently in the house and moving it into storage. We truly can't complain as he has let us use his house free of charge for many months. It adds fuel to my anticipation of the completion of my own home!
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Monday, March 22, 2010

22 March 2010

This photo was taken late in the afternoon yesterday. Much of the sky was cloudy, but this one spot. This was the sun shining on the hills as the sun set below the clouds. The landscape constantly changes!

The winter here (Dec-March) is the rainy season. In some areas, the brown desert has sprung green grass and many of the trees are bright green now. Coming from Oregon, I have to say all this is relative. We may have had two to three inches of rain here all winter. The green landscape here is more like Eastern Oregon during the fall. None-the-less, we find it beautiful and enjoy the changes as time goes by.

We woke up to this scene this morning. All the black dots in the water are pelicans. They are a usual sight here, but I can't remember ever seeing so many of them peacefully floating in the water. Generally we see them skimming along the crest of the waves, diving from up above or flying overhead. It was a bit eerie not to see any in flight....I thought of how animals sense things before something happens, like an earthquake or a storm. These seemed so peaceful, it was hard to imagine they were anxious about anything. They spent much of the day there.

As far as the construction goes much has been accomplished in the last few days. Here they are pouring the footing for a column on the lower level of the kitchen/living room. Besides the columns for the back wall of the piano/bar, this is the last column to be poured for both master suite and kitchen/living room. The workers have begun making the forms for the concrete beams along the roof line in the master suite. All of this is part of the first phase of construction which covers the foundation and all the concrete work. The walls still need a finish as do the floors.

The real question is; will they be ready for the cabinets to be installed on the 9th of April? 18 days away; including Sundays.....

Doug is standing in our kitchen overlooking the project...a favorite pasttime these days. The rebar in front of him is for the wall at the back of the piano room/bar and the last two columns. Once these are in place, they will be able to do the kitchen floor and perhaps the walls.

The roof should start in about a week and a half. We shall see.......

Koki, the architect visits again Wednesday and we have our list of questions to ask. It sure is easier to keep track of everything while we are living next door than it was when we traveled out to the property once, maybe twice a day.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday morning we did our usual run for water and groceries for the workers.

We then caught the bus in Mancora to Chiclayo, a six hour bus trip. Our architect, Koki, was celebrating his 38th birthday and wanted us to be there.

Koki has a wonderful family; a beautiful wife and two very beautiful daughters; ages 9 and 2. His wife and daughters have some very unusual pets; two tortoises, two iguanas and a monkey. They are all very much in love with the monkey. However, the monkey doesn't like Koki and the feeling is quite mutual. The monkey has gone so far as to pee on the papers on Koki's desk.

What's he supposed to do? He loves his wife and daughters, so he puts up with it.

So, I decided, he needed a pet of his own. I settled on a pet rock, which was made famous during the 1970's as a fad that came out in March and pretty much finished after Christmas of the same year. It still made the inventor a multi-millionaire.

So...I made a box to carry the pet to Koki. I also made a small rug the pet could sit on. I actually found the eyes in the local market in Los Organos and glued them onto a local rock. All of which I presented to Koki last night.

I asked Koki to sit down and the music was turned off. I then explained why I thought he should have his very own he could enjoy for himself. I then extolled the virtues of his new pet; how it responded to the sit command, never whined or made any noise; wanted attention, but never demanded it...etc. Everyone there was so intent on what was in the carrier.

Koki laughed a hearty laugh as he looked into the box and pulled out the pet rock. Mind you, Peruvians have never heard of a pet rock before. This was a bit out there for them. We all had a good laugh and enjoyed our time celebrating Koki's birthday!

We took the bus home today. I slept the entire way. We arrived in Mancora at about 5:30 this afternoon and had Victor, a local car service driver, pick us up and bring us up to El Nuro.

We are happy to be "home" and settled in quickly. This location has become our spot; our place to be; and the place where we enjoy our lives together. Soon, we will be able to enjoy it with those of you who choose to visit.

Thanks for following our blog and sharing this experience with us!
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

17 March 2010

Another great day in the tropics. Warm and humid, but it feels like the breeze is picking up so maybe we are headed into fall and some cooler weather.

This is our refrigerator for the moment. Styrofoam cooler; it does the job. We pick up ice in town every other day and it manages to keep things cool. We still only buy food for the day as we go into town every day anyway. I'm amazed at Juana, the cook, and how she manages to cook for 10-12 people everyday with no refrigeration. She has a four burner gas stove and a counter to work with. The flies are terrible; I don't think I could spend as much time as she does in that "kitchen" as she does. The workers are happy with the food they get and Juana never complains.

This afternoon the workers were filling in the floor of the master bedroom and bath. They've dug out the area for the jacuzzi and are ready to pour the base for it. It looks like it will take several inches of sand/fill to bring the floor up to the right level...and it's all one wheelbarrow at a time. I realized the other day that these workers have not used any power tools at all. The only machinery they have used was the excavator at the beginning of the project when they dug out the pool. Everything else has been by hand!

This view is from the master bedroom out. The square shaped indent is for the jaccuzi and you can see them working on the second level of the columns out over the studio.

Jorge is working in the pool. He is putting a finish on the walls and plumbing the walls; making them straight up and down. The grooved finish is to provide a better bond for the tile adhesive. Once the smooth finish is on, he will get a smooth floor, curve the joint between the walls and the floor, and get it ready for the tiles.Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just catching up

Many of you have commented on how difficult it is to see what's going on without the overall picture. So here are the architect's drawings as to how the house will look when it is done. There have been some changes but the overall design still stands. The building to the far left is the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The pool starts at the living room end and extends outwards 25 yds. They all think I am crazy for wanting this, but for me, a pool isn't a pool unless you can swim laps. I can swim long distances once I get going and a lap pool is the best means for me.
On the other side of the pool is the master suite; upstairs is the master bath and bedroom and on the lower level is my studio where I will set up shop with my loom and sewing machine.
The other three building you see are the guest cottages. Each will have a bedroom and a private bath overlooking the ocean. We hope to have lots of visiters as we hope to share our piece of paradise!

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Monday, a new week. The trench for the sewage has been dug, pipes laid and now partially filled in. There are several connections that still need to be made, but much of it has now been laid.

This afternoon, the workers poured more of the columns. Three columns on the right side of the kitchen/living room building were poured. Columns on the other side will be next; and then the wall at the back of the piano room/bar. There is still some excavation which needs to happen and it's through wonder they've put it off!

They also poured the columns for the second level of the studio/master suite. Three transfers; the worker climbing the ladder with a full bucket of cement, hands off to a second worker standing at the bottom of the second level; who then hands off to a worker at the top of the second level who poured the cement down into the column. I can only imagine what OHSA would have to say about this! Few are wearing hard hats, and no one is tied off. They do get the job done though!

This is the bravest guy of all. He is standing on top of the second level on a small plank of wood. He lifts the buckets of cement up and pours it into the column form. No worries. The piece of wood he is standing on is probably 18" long and 6" wide. No problem.

It was another quiet day for us. I worked at the loom, took a nap in the hammock and did more work at the loom. Doug read, took a nap in the hammock, played with the dog, and watched the construction. Hard work!
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

14 March 2010

Today was a quiet day; at least during the afternoon. There has been a bull-dozer up on the hill leveling out a piece of land and building a road. It's back up beeper has been driving me nuts all week. He finally quit work around noon. Ah....peace and quiet.

I spent some time on the loom and Doug went riding. Later we met a couple in Los Organos and ate dinner.

I've been planning my trip back to our friend Luis' home village. I first became associated with this village when Luis put out a rare plea for help. He asked for donations to help the school pave the center courtyard that served as their playground and assembly field. To that point, it was just packed earth, but when the rains came it became a muddy mess. Knowing Luis, and knowing he rarely asked for help, I sent him a donation. This was in March of 2009.

In September, Luis asked us to join him in his village for their annual festival. This festival is a huge event; a two week long celebration including horse shows, fairs, bull fighting, dancing competitions, moto-cross, soccer, and so much more. They set off bamboo towers of fireworks each evening with the grand finale tower being 20 meters high.

One of the most memorable experiences was being ushered into the newly paved schoolyard and being greeted by students, faculty and townspeople. The school kids put on a show for us including dancing and music thanking us for making their courtyard a more usuable place year round.

We were treated like royalty the whole week we were there. We stayed with a local family who included us in all their activities. All of the townspeople welcomed us without question even though we were the only gringos around.

I had the opportunity to visit the school, see their facilities and talk with teachers and students. Their computer lab uses antiquated computers that are very slow. Their internet connection is iffy; it is provided by the Ministry of Education but is unreliable, unavailable much of the time, and slow as well. Teachers told us that students could rarely get on the internet for any length of time within a class period to make it worth while. The classrooms are quite spartan as well. There are rustic blackboards at the front, some desks and chairs. Teachers complained about the chalk dust which accerbated their asthma. Throughout the building, I never saw so much as a stack of books. I guess if you were to imagine a school in a remote part of Peru, in a very poor village, you might picture this.

My friend, Ed from Altanta, Georgia and I have contributed to a fund established for the school to provide internet access separate from the Ministry so students now have a faster and more reliable connection to the internet. Ed is also working on replacing the old computers with newer ones.

Doug and I had hoped to provide white boards for the classrooms this year, but were unable to make this happen. We've contributed funds toward this end, and hopefully they will be in place for next school year.

I will be returning to Santa Cruz in May. I have volunteered to spend a full week in the school teaching English to students. I suspect I'll learn as much if not more Spanish than they will English, but nonetheless it should be a great exchange.

As you may have guessed by now, I am asking for additional donations. If you wish, and are able to contribute, fabulous!; please let me know. I, like Luis, rarely ask for contributions. This has become my adopted school and this is where I hope to contribute some of my talents so it can become a better place for the children of Santa Cruz. Your thoughts and prayers are welcome.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This is the life! Sitting outside weaving and listening to an audiobook. I have the best view of all!

I actually didn't get much time outside weaving today since I went back to bed shortly after we returned from our food and water run. I ended up sleeping hard until after 2:30 this afternoon. I've been trying to keep a sinus infection at bay so maybe this will help the cause.

This being Saturday, the workers only worked half a day. Several of the went into town this afternoon; and a few took the bus home to Chiclayo to visit family. They will be back on Monday, along with the maestro and two more workers.

The workers poured two more columns for the living room and also the beams for the studio. The bricklayer finished the far end of the swimming pool and put wavy lines in the cement. We suspect this is to provide a good bonding with the grout for the tiles.
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