Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday 31 May 2010

We spent much of the morning out at the property with Koki. We talked about a lot of details; location of light fixtures, fans, painting, etc. Each day there are more and more; things I would never think of.

This first picture is of the master suite and shows the color of the house. It's a sand color which we'll use inside and out. The roof is on the master suite except for the one section in the center that will be raised for circulation. Tiles are installed throughout. The toilet is in. The jacuzzi is supposed to come toward the end of this week. The stairs down to the studio will be built at the same time as the doors; a couple of weeks from now?

This next picture shows the building of the water tower. The tower goes up another level and the water tower and hot water heater will sit on top. The cistern sits right underneath the tower.

This is the piece that Georg is objecting to as he believes it obstructs his view. This picture is taken from Georg's property and, as you can see, it obstructs his view of the hilside; not the beach. If you stand far enough to the right, it might catch a bit of the beach. We did look at other options, but other locations weren't viable. As it is, this is a compromise that Georg originally agreed to.

Georg did call us last night from England where he's on business. The phone connection wasn't good so Doug finally resorted to e-mail; explaining how the decision was made. Georg wanted to blame Koki, the architect, but we've explained that Koki works for us and we make the decisions. We haven't received a response yet.

T This next photo shows the kitchen/dining room/living room. Much of the inside is done; tiles laid, and walls painted. Most of the electrical wires have been run and are awaiting fixtures. The island in the kitchen still needs to be set but is waiting for the gas line to be redirected slightly so the oven will fit into the cabinet. The stairs and the interior doors still need to be built.

All the aluminum frames for the windows are in place. The glass is ready to be shipped and is waiting on the truck. Koki was hoping the windows would be here more than a week ago.

Here you can see the workers laying the tile on the terrace between the two main buildings. This same tile will be used for all of the outdoor areas that are tiled; terraces in front of each structure and the "reception" zone outside of the front door.

After all the consultation at the construction site, we took Koki to lunch to pin him down about costs. It has been impossible for us to track what has been paid for and what has yet to be purchased. For example, Koki asked for a certain amount to pay for the wood. What he purchased was wood for the roof but not the stairs or doors. But he also paid the workers with this payment and purchased other tiles. Hopefully we will have a final accounting in the next day or so. We told Koki we wouldn't pay him any more until this happens. Just a little motivator....
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

30 May 2010

We arrived in Mancora this morning after a seventeen hour bus ride at 9:00 a.m. This seems like a lot of hours, and it is, but it is a comfortable ride. The seats lay back 180 degrees so you can sleep much more easily than on an airplane. Each seat also has it's own TV screen where you can choose music, games, or movies. Most of the movies are is Spanish, but will have English subtitles. The bus provides blankets and pillows, plus dinner and breakfast. The cost for the bus is about $50. The cost to fly is about $400 plus the cost of transport from the airport in Piura which usually runs about $80.
Our friend Ferruco met us this morning and took us to Vichayito where we've been staying with Jay. We quickly unloaded and headed out to our property to see the progress there. Jay came out with us.
We were disappointed that things were not further along, but also excited to see what progress had been made. The tile for the floors in the kitchen/living room and the master suite have been laid. Also the tile for the outside terraces is laid. The outside and some of the inside walls have all been painted. The aluminum slides for the windows have been installed and the windows are ready and awaiting transport. The roof has not been finished, which is probably a good thing since we decided the underpart, (ceiling) needed to be painted. The roof is made of OSB lumber and at this point is only varnished. The particles of the OSB, to me, seem unfinished and not appropriate for the kind of house we are building. We are in the process now of deciding what color it should be painted or stained. In the master bath, workers were installing the toilet and the shower fixtures. The sinks still need to go in. The wood floor and the false ceiling are not in yet either. The jacuzzi is supposed to arrive tomorrow. To me, it looks like another month before we get in.
Tomorrow we will sit down with Koki and go over the final stages of the construction. I hope we can lay everything out and end up with a clear plan.
Both Doug and I are happy to be back home. Stormy was so glad to see us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Return to Peru

We arrived in Lima just before midnight last night and cleared customs shortly thereafter. We settled into the hotel shortly after one this morning. The flight was uneventful, just long. The beds were quite welcome.
Our friend, Luis, met us this morning at 10:00 and we were off to shop. Since the house is close to being finished, we needed to get some living room furniture and kitchen appliances. Most of what we had seen in the north wasn't anything we were interested in; very much like everyone elses and not of very high quality. We found a very nice living room set early on in the day, although we looked through several more stores in various parts of Lima. Once we settled on that, we went for lunch. Appliances came next. I was shocked when I looked at my watch and it was already 6:00p.m. We ended up with a refrigerator, stove top, oven and hood, microwave, washing machine and two TVs. We also received a free coffee maker, blender and rice cooker with our purchase. The next step was to arrange for all of this to be transported north, but by the time we reached the transport company, they were closed.
We went into Miraflores, a nice section of Lima, for dinner at a Sushi bar. Doug and I are not experts when it comes to sushi, so we shared a platter of various items. Luis was not enamoured with the whole idea of sushi, but had some kebabs that we quite tasty.
Luis' oldest daughter is enrolled in a "Japanese" school in Lima. Those that can afford to send their children to private school, do so and this is one such school. She is learning Japanese as well as English and is immersed in cultural experiences.
Back at the hotel, we settled in but there's a band playing in the park across the street. The music is very loud..... hope they don't play too late!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Another floor poured

Workers today were pouring the floor for the piano room/bar. Soon thereafter, they poured a step and then on to the floor of the living room. These will still need to have a finish layer poured on top and then they will be ready for tile. Other workers were finishing the walls in the laundry room. And others were beginning to make the forms for the upper beams of the bungalows.

I think the next few weeks will really show progress. I only slightly regret not being here for it. We've chronicled the progress from the beginning and it seems not to be such a good time to leave, but the urge to visit family and friends stateside won out. I plan on giving my camera to Chino, the maestro that is on the job most consistently and asking him to take photos for me.

Doug and Melany rode the horses back to El Refugio today. The family packs up and heads back to Lima tomorrow. This time it only took them two hours.

I spent the better part of today gathering documents to submit to the bank here. The bill of sale for the truck and the bill of sale for the property were no problem. We called Koki yesterday and told him what documentation we needed from him. Amazingly enough, a contract arrived by bus this afternoon. The only thing lacking is to print some documents from the computer. A simple thing, yes, when your printer is working. Ours, however, apparently doesn't function unless all the ink cartridges have sufficient ink. And, these ink cartridges are not available here in Los Organos. I think I will download them onto a memory stick, take them into town and have them printed there rather than drive to Talara to try to find them. Another thing for our list of things to buy while in the states!
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Government catches up

Doug and I traveled to Talara today. We had several things in mind. First, our bank in Peru had some private documents for me and since we don't have a physical address, they sent the documents to the nearest branch in Talara. We also wanted to withdraw some money to give to Ferruco so he could buy the groceries for the crew while we are on our trip to the US. Also, we wanted to buy another cable for the laptop so we no longer had to share. The cables had been toasted by the electrical system at Georg's.
The documents at the bank requested documentation from us for the large transfers made into our account from the US and the large transfers we've made out of our account. This didn't surprise us, as we expected someone to question the transfers we've made in order to build this house. They are asking for documentation as to where the fund originated, what the relationship is with Georg, and what our relationship is with Koki's company. The other piece of information they want is documentation for the purchase of our truck. The bank has seen a lot of transfers coming in and many going out. They now want to know where this money has come from and where it has gone. There shouldn't be any problem providing the information to the bank; except that Koki hasn't come through with a contract or specific invoices for his costs. We have 5 days to produce the documentation....actually only 4 as we leave for the states on Monday. The big issue is money laundering and drugs. In the long run, I don't think this will be an issue.
We contracted with Ferruco today to buy the groceries for the crew and deliver them to the job site while we are gone. We figured we are averaging somewhat less than S/.500 a week to feed a crew of 12 of 15. We gave him S/.2000 for the three weeks we will be gone which should cover all his expenses.
Sanchez and his wife, Juana have agreed to take care of Stormy for the time we are gone. Stormy will enjoy running around the property and I think both Sanchez and his wife like Stormy. Their view of animals is not as pets. They serve a purpose. The dog on the property, Escot is a watchdog and that is what he is supposed to do. I don't think Sanchez ever played with Escot until we arrived. Stormy is somewhat of a prima-donna as far as they are concerned, but they do enjoy her.
Doug and I went into Mancora this afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner. We went to "El Aji" which is a Mexican restaurant. Excellent food and large portions, so we were well satisfied. We also had some HUGE margaritas; I think they were 20 ounces. Started off our evening so well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

5 May 2010

Out at the property today, workers were finishing the outside walls on the living room. They also did the ceiling and walls of the mechanical room, and were working on the laundry room. The maid's room, in between these two, we asked them not to do until we could move our stuff that is stored there into the house. Most of it wouldn't be a problem, but I didn't think it wise to move the piano temporarily. Ramon, the construction foreman, was pulling the electrical wires through the conduit. He had almost all of the kitchen/dining room done today. They were also setting up to pour the floor for the piano room and the living room.
Koki was in Lima the last couple of days purchasing tile for the swimming pool, solar panels, and a generator. He won't be here until Monday, and hopefully we will have a chance to see him before we catch the bus for Lima to begin our trip. We have told Koki that we were not pleased with the quality of work of the carpenter doing the roof and we would like someone else to build our doors. Doug also told him he had made a bet with Georg. Doug said Koki would have the kitchen and the master suite done by the time we returned from our trip. Georg said he didn't think Koki could get it done. The wager was fro $1000.00. Doug told Koki that if he wasn't finished, he would have to pay the $1000.00. I later found out there wasn't a bet; but Doug said it sounded good.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

OMG. My dog is such a character! I took her out for a walk this afternoon and was just out the door of our room and rounding the corner of the building when she lunged. Before I knew it, she had a skunk in her mouth! Oh shit! It all happened so fast, that before I knew what was going on, Stormy was standing there with this skunk in her mouth. I think it surprised her as much as it did me because once she had it, she just stood there looking like she didn't know what to do next. Of course, I was just astounded and wondering what I was going to do next. The skunk let loose with it's stink, but because it was already in Stormy's mouth, it missed it's mark. Doug was gone, so I yelled for Jay. He came out of his room in his shorts, apparently interrupted from a nap. He took a look at Stormy and said, "Oh, I don't even have an idea what to do!" Stormy was just standing there and didn't respond to the command of "drop it!" I finally came up behind her and poked my finger in between her jaws to release the skunk. When she finally dropped it, the skunk looked a bit disoriented, but walked off. Jay got out his broom to encourage it to vacate his property. I went under the fence, but soon returned. Jay then took the broom and flipped him over the fence. At that point, he began waddling off across the next property. Stormy was still pulling at the leash, wondering where her new find went. Even hours later, when we went for another walk, she was still looking for that skunk!

There is a skunk that is found in northern Peru. It is a nocturnal animal, rarely seen during the day. It is supposed to be about 12 to 16 inches in length with a white tail. This little guy was not nearly that big; maybe 8 inches in length with an additional 5 or 6 inches of tail. I'm thinking it was a baby who had lost track of it's mother and disoriented.

I have been feeling very much like a slug lately. I have been so sedintary and have lacked energy for much of anything. We get up in the morning, do the food run for the workers, come back, nap, read, play on the computer. So I decided that I would make one goal for each day; just one, but an active one. I know this sounds silly, but it is so easy to lay back and do nothing here. Yesterday I walked up to Danielle and Jim's place, maybe a kilometer distance away. Today I wanted to walk to El Refugio from Jay's, but never made the trip. Instead I went up to Danielle and Jim's place again. The other day it was to go swimming in the ocean. I am trying to do something active each day.

I also would like to accomplish something during the day. Yesterday, I made some rice bags. These are cloth bags, filled with rice. During the hot weather, you put them in the freezer to cool. You can take them out and drape them across your neck, or across the backs of your knees to cool off. I took one to bed last night and laid it out under my chest. On the flip side, you can put them in the microwave during the cold weather and heat them up. I used to put them under the sheets at my feet when it was cold. Somehow I don't think I will have to worry about heating them up!

Today Georg had his 15 year old daughter Melany ask me to help her take the horses to El Nuro. I went to see Georg and asked him where he planned to keep the horses while they were in El Nuro and what would they eat, drink, etc. He assured me that they would be fine and that he had everything planned.
They asked me when would be a good time to leave Vichyito and I said " right now" (about 1:00 P.M.) while the tide is low and we can travel by beach which is a more direct route. Travel by road is 21 kilometers with traffic. They were not ready to go, so I told then to call me when they were ready. We finally left for our trek at about 3:00 and arrived at the property about 6:45. We rode on the beach from Vichyito to Los Oreganos then rode to the highest elevation around and back down to the highway for a short distance. When we rode down the road to El Nuro, all the of the locals came out to watch the Caballos go past. This was a new site to El Nuro for sure. The horses were well spent, thirsty and hungry by the time we got there. Georg told Melany that they needed to return to Vichyito immediately to pick up his wife Natalie and bring her back to El Nuro. I suggested that they may want to water the horses just a little before they left, these horses were tired. I enjoyed the ride and Melany did an awesome job not only riding her horse but leading the baby for the 21 kilometer ride. Most of the ride was at a walk but for short spurts we would allow the horses to gallup. We were able to watch the sunset from the back of the horses as we travelled the road from El Nuro to the property. Georg thought that it would be a good idea if I roade one of the horses from Vichyito to El Nuro and back daily, that might take a few weeks to condition the horses for that much riding. The horses all did a good job today, we could not complain about them at all. It was a good experience for Melany and I hope that sometime she will try it again.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Trouble at night

Doug and I went swimming in the ocean yesterday afternoon. We took Stormy and walked down to the beach in front of Jay's in Vichayito. Once we got down there, a huge weimeraner (sp?) came bounding down to play. He and Stormy became instant friends; chasing each other up and down the beach, in and out of the water. As we swam out, Stormy wanted to go out with us. She leaped over the waves as they broke and paddled her little heart out to be with us. She knew when enough was enough, and headed back in when a larger wave loomed. The swim was refreshing and we had so much fun watching Stormy and her new friend!

Last night, Jay was going to cook his BBQ chicken. We sat up on the rooftop, drinking beer and watching the sunset beforehand. Garrett, a neighbor from Ireland, joined us. As it became dark, Jay decided he would rather eat in town rather than cook, so we all headed into Los Organos for chicken a la brasa. Garrett wanted us all to go in his car, but since he had a car seat in the back, there wasn't room. Doug and I drove separately. Jay went with Garrett. We got into town and sat down at a table, but Garrett was no where to be seen. We soon realized, his car was gone. We ate dinner and returned to Vichayito.

After we had gone to bed, about midnight, Jay woke us up. The police had called wanting him to come into town to get Garrett. He had been involved in an accident. The driver of the other car attacked Garrett, who responded with his own attack. The accident was not Garrett's fault, although Garrett was quite drunk. Doug and Jay went and picked up Garrett and brought him back to Jay's. Sometime later, after a few more beers on the roof top, Garrett started walking home. Jay went after him to be sure he made it home, but couldn't find him. Once again, Jay woke Doug up and they went looking for Garrett. They drove up the road to his house and never saw him. Jay took a walk to trace Garrett's footsteps and found him laying in the sand. Doug and Jay finally got him home safely.

This morning we picked up groceries for the crew and headed out to the property. Most of the crew were working on finishing the cement on the columns of the living room. It seems like it is slow going. A few of the workers continue to dig out the downstairs bar and bathrooms. The carpenter's assistant was putting lacquer on the ceiling beams. As we approached, he was whistling away a traditional Peruvian tune.

Koki traveled to Lima during the night. He is there to finalize the purchase of the solar system, the generator, and tiles for the swimming pool. Hopefully this will go well, and we can move ahead with the electrical system.

This afternoon Doug and I went for massages at a local spa. The spa has a beautiful location right on the beach, and the owners have done a really nice job of putting it together. We each had an hour and a half massage which cost us each about $70. A bit spendy by Peruvian standards, but well worth the splurge once in a while.

We did finally get Jay's BBQ chicken tonight. I put on some string beans and made a salad. It was excellent.
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Here it is, a full moon again, and we've moved again. It was a full moon when we first arrived here in September. It was a full moon when we moved out of Georg's for the high season and our trip home during the holidays. It was a full moon when we returned in January... you get the picture. We are now back at Jay's for the duration. We decided we wouldn't move again until the house is ready for us.

It was a full moon in other ways as well here. We were headed into town to have dinner with a friend and had a flat tire. We were taking the back road so it was at least off the highway, but it was dark and dusty. This being the first time with a flat with this truck, we had to find the jack, tools, etc. It happened close to a construction site and a worker came out to investigate. He had a flashlight on his cell phone which helped a lot. The anti-theft lock nut on the tire required a special wrench which we finally located in the glove box. Another aquaintence of ours stopped and helped us finish up. The rock we hit split the side wall of the tire.

After a very nice dinner, we were back at the room. I had a couple of things yet to do on the computer so I booted mine up. I got a message from my daughter that she needed a copy of my driver's license ASAP. She is buying a car, I am co-signing, the salesman is telling her the price they agreed on was only good through last night..... So, I unpack the printer/scanner and get it all set up. I can't find the scanner function on my computer and then, I get booted off the internet. I move to Doug's computer, but can't get on line there. Frustration sets in, and Doug tells me to take a break. I go take a cold shower and when I emerge, Doug's on-line! Finally, I get the image scanned and sent off to the car salesman just before I get booted off the internet again. That was it. I shut everything down and went to bed.

This morning, Saturday, we went into town, bought groceries, and headed out to the property. You can see the tiles on the floor of the dining room in this first picture. The carpenter got the roof over the kitchen before he returned to Chiclayo; two of the trusses he had brought out had huge gaps between the joints and we insisted they be redone. The carpenter's assistant is still out there working. He's putting a coat of varnish on the beams. The glass blocks are in the master bathroom. They look really nice and will let in a lot of light. We are waiting on some more tile for the walls in the bathroom before they move ahead with tiling the floor. Right now the focus is on the main building and finishing the downstairs. The workers have had to break up and remove some very large rocks to make room for the bathrooms; fortunately these are small bathrooms!

Today is also a holiday...the day of the worker. Like our labor day, it honors the workers. I thought the workers might take the day off, but they didn't...they continue plugging away. I did hear that traveling by bus throughout Peru today might be difficult as drivers, workers, etc. might not be working.
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