Tuesday, July 27, 2010

27 July 2010

What a wonderful gift we were given today. Doug was out at the property this afternoon, checking on things there, when he met a young couple; Nate, from Australia and his fiance, Fiorella, from Lima; both living in London. They discovered my blog, and have been following it for the last nine months! How random is that!? Doug invited them up to the house and gave them a tour. Nate and Fiorella are here on holiday...and for Nate to meet Fiorella's family as they plan on getting married in March. Once Doug told me the story of their meeting, I wanted to meet this couple. We arranged to meet them in Los Organos and share in the celebration of Peru's independence. We had a great time getting to know each other a bit and sharing stories.

Earlier in the day, Doug was on the roof helping the carpenters put the three tab roofing on. They had all of the first bungalow finished except for the top ridge. Next they will move on to the roof of the master suite. Doug has enjoyed working with these carpenters and there has been little difficulty because of language. An issue did come up during the day though, as they were careless with the plastic strips that peeled off of the shingles and allowed them to blow off in the wind. Much of the debris ended up on the beach. Our neighbor, Nathalie, told them they needed to clean up the debris. Apparantly, they were not too enthusiastic about cooperating and brushed her off. Doug arrived this afternoon and told them the same thing. Their response was, sure, in a few minutes. Doug's response...no, now. When they didn't get on it, Doug shut down their compressor so they could no longer work and sent them on to the beach. We have often been amazed at how careless Peruvians are with trash. It is nothing for them to throw plastic bottles out the window of their cars or bus. They will dump their trash at the side of the road. At its worst, there are areas where plastic bags cling to bushes along the road.

I took a picture of our storage area today because I was thinking of my piano. Here it is on its side. It has been there since February. I'm ready to move it
inside, set it up and get it playable again. There's a mountain of dust that will need to be cleaned out but with some TLC, I'm sure it will be able to give me some sweet notes soon.

Jose and Chino continue in the pool. (Do I say this every day?) The process of peeling off the paper backing and then grouting is tedious to say the least. I'm guessing it will be another week of work before it will be ready for water.

This being a holiday, most of the workers left the job tonight to return to their families and Chiclayo. They will return for work on Monday. The only ones staying behind are Raul and the four carpenters working on the roof. One of these asked us if he could bring his wife and two kids up to the job site for the holiday. He said his wife would be more than willing to cook for the four of them and give Juana a break. Juana declined the break and was looking forward to some help in the kitchen and someone to visit with while working.

The circles you see on the ground will become our BBQ/fire pit. The center circle will house the fire and the surrounding circle will be the seating.

The man who will install the granite in the kitchen and the marble in the bungalows was there today taking measurements. He told us the granite and marble should be here on Monday! This will another huge piece toward completion.

Doug and I will begin to move in tomorrow. We'll take a load from our room here at Jay's out to the house. We've asked Raul to clean the living room so we can finish unpacking the rest of the furniture there. With the exception of the screens around the roof, the two bungalows to the west are completed.

I think our biggest issue to deal with right now is power. We've been giving one quote from a solar engineer here in Peru which we think is way out of line; both in price and capacity. Doug is communicating with a company in the states who will also give us a quote. We didn't expect this to be such a hassle, but since Koki has no knowledge of solar energy, we've had to pick up the ball ourselves. That isn't so bad, as we can figure it out, but it would have been nice to know Koki wasn't going to deliver on this part a long time ago. When we were in town tonight, we ran into Darwin. He told us he thought we could get the electricity extended out to the house if we were willing to buy the poles and cable to get it there. He will explore this for us....it may be the best option even though we would love to be self-sufficient and not rely on anyone for power. Lots of options; some much more expensive than others.

I will leave for Lima tomorrow afternoon as Mandy is arriving from the US. I will meet here there, travel with her to Arequipa and then to El Nuro. We will arrive back at the house on Tuesday. Blog entries between now and then may not happen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

26 July 2010

It is a full moon! We should be moving! It has been our pattern that since we left Oregon September 1st, there has been a full moon when we moved to a new location. This pattern has repeated itself five or six times....so, we should be moving. We were out at the property for quite a while today, and I did begin to unpack the furniture that was shipped up from Lima a month or so ago. I wonder, does this count?

We went out to the property early this morning as Doug was to meet with a couple new workers to teach them how to put the roof shingles on. They began work at about eight and started on one of the bungalows. Apparently, there are two crews in Piura who do this work, but they have enough work in Piura, they do not want to travel. So, Koki sent two carpenters from Chiclayo and Doug showed them how it is done. They worked until noon, and then Doug left them on their own.

Most of the workers will be leaving tomorrow afternoon for home. Wednesday is the Peruvian equivalent of our 4th of July. It is a huge holiday throughout Peru; schools are on vacation, workers go home to visit family and towns have events planned for the entire week. Even so, they assure us that work will be completed on one of the bungalows so that Mandy will have a place to stay when she comes. This also, of course, means we will be living in the house as well.

After leaving the property, Doug and I went out to lunch in Los Organos. The restaurant we like sits right on the beach and has a perfect view of the pier and fishing boats. There is usually a lot of activity on the beach and often kite surfers showing off. We had a great lunch; excellent food. I had ordered an Inca Cola, a unique soda similar to a sweetened Mountain Dew. However, they only had it available in a one liter bottle. No problem, I figured I would take some home with me. It turned out, I couldn't take the bottle from the
restaurant. The waitress told me I could take the soda, just not the bottle. So, I asked her to put it in something else so I could take it. She came back out of the kitchen with the soda in a plastic bag, added a straw and handed it to me!

This afternoon we were sitting out on the patio at Jay's and noticed "splashes" out in the water. All of us initially thought these were the result of birds diving to catch fish. However, having taken a closer look, I thought the looked like blows. We finally decided they were blows from dolphins although we never actually saw the dorsal fins. A bit later we saw another blow which must have come from a whale as it was much larger than those generated by dolphins. "Whale season" is close, usually September and October...so maybe we will start seeing more whales.
This afternoon, we ran into Lorenzo, one of our kite-surfing instructors. He was sitting on the beach, waiting for the wind to come up enough to go out. As we were talking, I mentioned that my daughter, Mandy, would be arriving next week and that she would likely want to take a couple of lessons. The first words out of his mouth were, "Is she married? Does she have kids?" And then he says, shaking his head, "but I'm a professional!"Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 24, 2010

24 July 2010

We got up early this morning since Koki and Doug were going to Piura for some roofing nails. We got the grocery list over the phone first thing and then headed to town. We bought the groceries and Doug headed out to the property to deliver them before heading on to Piura. I took a moto-taxi back to the room.

Once back at the room, I watched an interesting phenomenon in the water. There were thousands of birds, swirling and swarming, then diving into the water. With all of their splashing, the water seemed to roil and boil. The sun was just right so it reflected off of their wings as they dove repeatedly into the water. There must have been a huge school of fish at that particular spot. The feeding frenzy lasted for a good hour before it began to fizzle.

I wasn't back in the room for too long before Sanchez called to say they had forgotten some things they would need for the day. Doug was already off in the truck, so I called our good friend Ferruco. Fortunately, Ferruco was available to come get me, take me into town, and out to the property to deliver those items left off of the list.

There were 31 workers there this morning! Carpenters were working on putting up the baffles over the terraces in front of the studio and the living room. Other carpenters were working on finishing the deck around the pool. Another was finishing the wood doors and framing them in. Jose and Chino were still working in the pool; removing the paper backing and grouting. The window guys were working in the first bungalow installing the windows. Others of their crew were working on installing the screens around the eaves of the roof. Other workers were completing the tile work in some of the bungalows, others were pouring cement for the reception area around the "front" door. The plumber/electrician installed the exhaust hood for the stove in the kitchen and made preparations to install the ceiling fans and lights.

Once Ferruco and I had delivered the groceries, we headed into Mancora. Ferruco has a friend who makes lamps and lamp shades. Koki installed the sockets and florescent light bulbs, but didn't plan on covering them. I told him I didn't want to look at light bulbs... This gal makes beautiful shades from rice paper and decorates them with leaves and string for a natural and simple shade. She agreed to come out to the house after the 2nd of August to see what our needs were.

This week is a huge week for Peruvians. It is the week of celebration of their independence day. The actual day is the 28th of July, but, as is typical, it is the
whole week which becomes the holiday. This became quite an issue when Koki met with the foreman and his workers this morning and told them they would have to work through the holiday. They would leave when the job was completed. The town square in Los Organos this afternoon was crowded with people! Some kind of service was being held in the town square and kids in their school uniforms and many more were gathered around to the point it was creating a traffic jam on the Pan American highway!

After visiting with the "lamp lady," Ferruco took me to the bus station. I bought my ticket to Lima for the 28th so I would be able to meet Mandy when she arrived. The bus ride is an 18 hour one; definitely a long one but the seats fold back into a 180 degree bed. Each seat has its own TV screen where you can watch movies, listen to music or play games. They provide you with a pillow, blanket, dinner and breakfast. It has quite a bit more space than any airline seat. The true clincher though is the price. I can travel by bus to Lima for about $50. To fly, it would cost me close to $300. Most of the travel is during the night, so it doesn't feel like you waste a lot of time.

After this I thanked my friend, and went my own way. I walked up the main drag, looking for a hair salon. I had my hair cut short at Christmas time. I've never really liked it short, so I've just let it go. It has also become much curlier as I've aged so it was looking quite pooffy! A bit of a trim on top, an evening out of the sides and a cut along the back and things are looking much better.

After this, I was feeling hungry. I walked back to the other end of town where one of our favorite restaurants is located. They were closed, so I ended up ordering a hamburger from a tiny shop along the beach front. I ate my lunch and watched the swimmers, surfers and kite surfers share the water. I was most impressed with the kite surfers. Not only were they doing leaps and flips, but they were maneuvering amongst the surfers and swimmers. I definitely do not have the control to be able to do that!

After lunch, I flagged down a moto-taxi to take me back to our room in Vichayito. Vichayito is located between Los Organos and Mancora along what is called the "ancient" Pan-American Highway. It was the original highway, but has long been replaced by the current Pan-American highway. The ancient highway has long since lost any of its paving and is a mixture of dirt, gravel, and sand. Many of the businesses along its length have encroached upon the road so there are places where it is only a one lane road. These same businesses have arbitrarily installed speed bumps. Along the way there is a bridge the likes of which would never be found in the states. It is constructed of steel bars paralell to the road covered with wooden planks. (Note covered, not necessarily attached!) It is very narrow and makes a tremendous racket when you cross making you wonder if you will actually make it across or end up at the bottom of the cabrada it crosses! My moto-taxi ride was one of the most bumpy rides I've ever been on! My butt will recouperate in a day or so, but I'm not so sure about my boobs!

Doug's trip to Piura proved to be very frustrating. The Maestro center (Peruvian's equivalent to Home Depot) did not carry the correct size of roofing nails. Doug and Koki then visited several other stores, but none of them carried them either. They eventually went back to Maestro to look at staple guns as an alternative to the nails. It soon became quite apparent that the salesmen didn't know much about the staple guns or the compressor needed to run them. Doug ended up schooling them! After two and a half hours, they ended up with two staple guns and a compressor. The staples will be a tad light in terms of penetration, but should suffice. What options do you have with such limited supply?

Once Doug got back to El Nuro, several of the workers needed to be transported to the bus station. Their work with us is done. One of these is the carpenter, Chimu. We told him we hoped he was not offended by the constant oversight and demand for more precise workmanship on his part. He told us he appreciated the opportunity to learn from Doug's 45 years of experience. We invited Chimu and his family to come visit us as our guests once the house was finished. We hoped they would be able to enjoy the beach as guests.

The workers out at the property have been complaining about how cold it is at night. Granted we are now using a light blanket at night when the breeze is blowing, and the temperatures are in the high 60's at night. This is perfect for us, but they feel it cold. Last night, Koki bought them rum and Coke to take the edge off. We bought more tonight. I hope this doesn't become a nightly ritual....although given the fact that they've given up one of the biggest holidays of the year, it might not be so bad after all.

After we finally got workers settled; either at the property or at the bus station, Doug and I went out to eat. One of our favorites in Mancora is an Italian restaurant that serves pizza, lasagna, gnocci and other fabulous Italian dishes. The owners always greet us with hugs and kisses; it's a wonderful welcome.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

22 July 2010

Wow! The entire pool has now been tiled! José and Chino began peeling off the paper backing to expose the tile. They should be grouting soon!

Workers have also finished the stairway going up from the parking area to the ¨reception¨ terrace. They have laid out and are preparing to pour the terrace and the stairs going off to the left in the picture.

Painters are working on the bungalows which are looking really nice. The electrician has pulled the wiring for the house and has installed many of the plugs and switches. The plumber has been working on the pool and the water lines. Other workers are sealing the deck around the pool, or tiling the floor in the last bungalow.

We spent much of the day with a technician from Piura who came to check out the generator. He and the electrician consulted and tried out various electric appliances in the house to be sure it was all working. The generator will be set up to run the pumps for the pool. It will also automatically kick on if there is not enough power being produced by the solar panels. Fortunately, everything checked out.

Koki will arrive tonight with a truck that is supposed to have all of the supplies needed to finish our house. He will arrive with 10 additional workers. I´m hoping this means we´re going to have one last big push to completion.

I have been feeling quite discouraged in the last week. Progress has been so slow and it feels like we lost a week when the monkey died. We were to have guests arriving this weekend for their winter holiday, but had to tell them we couldn´t accomodate them. We did offer to find other accomodations, but this next week is a big one as the 28th of July is Peru´s independence day. Most of the hotels and hostels have been booked for months.

My daughter, Mandy, arrives in Peru on the 29th, next Thursday. We will spend a couple of days in Lima with Maximo and his family. Then we'll head east and a bit south to Arequipa which is a beautiful historic city on the edge of the mountains. It is also where much of the alpaca that is sold around the world is processed. Of course, we will be visiting the factory store for yarn!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

21 July 2010

Wow, I can hardly believe it is the end of July already! Sometimes time flies and sometimes it drags. July 28th is Peru's independence day, so next weekend should be quite interesting. Not only because of the holiday, but because Mandy arrives. I hope the busses continue to run so I can meet her in Lima. It is not uncommon for things to just stop during a holiday; and this is perhaps their biggest.

I have some tuna steaks marinating for dinner tonight. The tuna must be plentiful as the markets have been full. Marlins must also be running right now. Most of the tuna we see are somewhere between 4 and 10 kilos. Occasionally we'll see a really big one. The marlins I've seen have been 4 to 5 feet long without the head and tail. Both are delicious eating. We've really enjoyed the tuna which is totally different that what one gets in a can in the states. It is fresh enough for sushi quality...we can eat it raw if we choose. And it is soooo good.

Road crews have been out on the PanAmerican Highway filling pot holes. We've been here long enough to have figured out how to avoid the majority of them; and this takes us all over the highway. You can tell a local by how they drive the highway...if they swerve from one side to the other frequently, they are local! It's pretty comical to watch.

A lot of work has been happening out at the property, even though Koki has yet to arrive with the last truck of supplies.

José and Chino have virtually finished laying the tiles for the pool. They were running a bit short of the sheets (one foot square of 1 inch tiles), so Chino was taking the loose tiles and gluing them onto sheets missing tiles. They will then wait 48 hours before pulling the backing sheets off of the tile and then will begin to grout. Of course, many of them have been in place much longer than this, so they should begin grouting tomorrow. I was joking with José and Chino
today about them ¨living in the pool¨ this last couple of weeks! I think I´ll bring them some cerveza (beer) when they get it done and have it ready for water!

Chimu, the carpenter, was working on putting the wood up under the eaves of the roofs of the bungalows and laying the wood for the deck around the pool. Even though we have had major issues with the quality of his work in some areas, he seems to have taken the instruction, moved on and is glad to see us when we arrive. We discussed the interior stairs, which he did not build, with him. The stairs are 7 to 8 inches high, much higher than usual and Doug had specifically said he wanted them to be 6 inches high. It was kind of nice to be able to show Chimu that we were particular about everyone´s work, not just his.

Ramon and his crew were building the stairs from the parking area up to the reception area today. He has also laid out the stairs for the entry walkway Koki designed. These will be a bit tricky because we chose a patterned tile which will go up stairs, cover landings, and then complete the ¨reception zone.¨

We composed a long list of things to discuss with Koki tomorrow when he should arrive. Hopefully he will arrive with the rest of the materials necessary to complete the project; windows, screens, doors, counter-tops....we shall see. In some ways it is heartening to be down to a list; and most things on the list are either fixes or minor changes.

The solar engineers proposed a system much more elaborate and expensive than we need. We remember one of them commenting that since we were rich Americans, we could afford the biggest and the best system. Their proposal was way out of our price range, so we have been investing other alternatives. We think we can locate, purchase and put together a system for a quarter of what they wanted to charge us. It pays to do your research.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 July 2010

Once again I blogged last night, but when it came time to publish it, the narrative disappeared. I still don't really know why this happens.

José and Chino continue to work on the pool. They have the bottom of the pool done and most of one end wall. They are still lacking tile over the joints between the sections of the pool. This shouldn't take much longer, but then they need to grout all that tile!

Chimo and his crew have finished the roof vents for the bungalows and have begun on the deck around the pool. They have also finished the front triangle below the roof and above the front beam of one bungalow. Toilets and shower fixtures are in and Doug and I moved the cabinets in for the sink and closets today. The third bungalow is coming along as well. They poured the floor yesterday and have started on tiling in the bathroom. This is the bungalow that Koki got to choose the tile for, so we're curious as to what he came up with.

Many of the walkways between the buildings are in place and were receiving their final coating. Ramon was laying out the primary entry from the parking area up to the living room this morning. This will be the last structure to be built to complete the entire project.

We are still waiting on several things; the glass crew needs to come back to put in the windows for the bungalow and the rest of the screens. The electrician is pulling more wire and much of the house is now wired. The solar system has not been designed properly at this point, and we've asked Koki to find another engineer. The kitchen counter top has yet to arrive as well and the hood over the stove needs to be installed. The jacuzzi has not been set into place or hooked up. I know we are close but I can't bring myself to get excited. We've had too many "move-in" dates that never materialized to get excited about
another. Soon, though....

My friend Ferruco has given me some Brazilian music. He has spent some time in Brazil, and really likes it there. The music is different; fresh and new for me with interesting beats and rhythms. I don't understand any of the words, as they are in Portuguese, but the music is wonderful.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

16 July 2010

Things seem to be progressing more slowly again this week. Koki did not make the trip this week because the family's pet monkey died on Monday. Koki's wife and daughter were both very attached to the monkey, so it was a hard week for them. We also did not have a delivery other than water this week. This last delivery is supposed to have everything necessary to complete construction.

José and Chino have been working in the pool (literally) all week. About three quarters of the bottom has been tiled. I´m anxious to see how it looks when the paper backing is peeled off. I think they haven´t done this yet as the tiles are a bit delicate until the grout is put in. Those sections without paper have been grouted.

Chimu and his crew of carpenters returned mid-week to complete the roofs on the bungalows and to lay the wood deck around the pool. The roof structure was going up on the third bungalow today; but none of the bungalows had the second roof over the vent. Usually the carpenters leave on Saturday, but I hope they stay until their job is done. Otherwise, it will be the end of next week at the earliest to get their part done. Once they are done with the roofs, another crew will come in and put on the felt and three-tab composite.

The walkways between buildings are laid out and the crew is pouring cement. The one walkway which hasn´t been started is one from the parking level up to the house. There is also a lot of debris in and around the construction site which will have to be dealt with. We can´t really start landscapìng until it´s cleaned up and loads of good soil can be brought in.

We are also waiting on the window crew to return. Windows are still lacking in the bungalows. Screens for under the eaves are also not done.

Friends of ours from Lima have been planning to visit us during the last week of July for their winter vacation. I can hardly believe one of the bungalows will be ready at this point....seems like we´ve been running up against deadlines along the way and so far, haven´t met any of them completely.

Doug is returned from the states today, will arrive in Lima about midnight, and take a flight up north tomorrow. I will be so glad to see him! He called me this afternoon to tell me the airlines weren´t going to allow him to leave the states unless he had a return ticket. This is the first time we´ve heard this restriction; and have traveled back and forth before without a ticket returning us to the states. Since we are living in Peru, this doesn't make sense. But, we have no documentation to prove we are living in Peru. We are issued a 90 day visa when we enter the country. When those 90 days are up, we have to leave and re-enter the country. We can do this simply by going over the border into Ecuador and returning; there is no time limit for being out of the country. We can get a resident visa after being here for two years. We are having our good friend Luis investigate our options so hopefully we don't run into this again. As it turned out, the airlines eventually issued Doug boarding passes and nothing more was said about a return ticket.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

15 July 2010

Things have been pretty quiet out at the property. José and Chino continue to work in the pool. A lot of the tile has been laid; and there is still a bunch to go.

Chimo, the carpenter was back today. He was working on putting the trusses up for the third bungalow. He will then put the vents in the roofs for all three bungalows. His last job will be to lay the wood for the deck around the pool.

Other carpenters were varnishing the columns and struts for the terrace. It´s all looking really nice. Hopefully in the next week, the roofer from Piura will come and install the three tab composite roof.

We are still waiting for the screens for the doors and the upper sections along the roof. The screens were ordered from Ecuador...and hopefully the remainder of the materials will arrive in the next week.

The kitchen counter top is also supp0sed to be in Lima by this next week. It shouldn´t take too much longer to get it sent up here. The false ceiling in the kitchen has run into some snags, as the hood for the stove is much heavier than they anticipated. This then changes the bracing; but so far nothing has happened to see how it has been resolved.

Both of us are very anxious to move in. The foreman and some of the workers on the job have told me they will be totally finished with the job by the end of the month. After 8 months, it is hard to imagine not having to take food out to them, or having them working around the property. I still think it will take them longer than the end of the month to finish everything. Time will tell. It will be what it will be. Regardless, it is a huge project reaching it´s final stages.

Thank goodness Doug returns on Saturday. I know I am very capable of taking care of things in his absence, but we signed on as a partnership. I am really looking forward to his return! I truly think we are stronger as a couple than individuals....even if he doesn´t speak the language!!
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

14 July 2010

Things seem to be very quiet out at the property. I think there are only about 10 workers on site; quite a difference from when there were 30+! Ramon and another worker were laying out the steps on the west side going from the pool level up to the bungalows.

Jose and Chino were both still in the pool, laying tile on the floor. I would say they have about 2/3 of the pool tiled. I fugured there were about 186 square meters of surface area in the pool that needed to be tiled. The tiles come in 12" by 12" arrays; approximately 9+ to the meter. That's a lot of tiles! And not only do they have to lay the tile, but they have to come back over it and grout it.

Other workers were finishing the walls in the third bungalow. And still others were digging the drain field for the septic system.

Koki should arrive tomorrow with the truck which should have all of the supplies needed to finish construction! This will include the granite for the kitchen counter as well as the fixtures for the bungalows. It's exciting to think we are this close to the end; but when I look at the house, there is still sooooo much left to do!! Here's to hoping the deadline isn't just hopeful thinking!

Doug's dad is doing very well. He is alert, communicating and beginning to gain his strength back. He has been moved out of ICU and will continue to receive mental and physical therapy.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

13 July 2010 part 2

Things were relatively quiet out at the property today. I didn't actually count the number of workers, but it was close to ten. Ramon, the head foreman, was laying out the walkways and stairs leading to the bungalows on the ocean side of the property. Two of the bungalows are ready for the toilets, sinks and showers to be installed. Windows and doors for them are supposed to arrive this Thursday. The third bungalow lags behind...it is still getting the final concrete finish on the walls. I imagine the floor will be poured in the next couple of days, and then it will be ready for the tile to be laid.

Jose and Chino continue laying tiles in the pool. They just keep plugging away. What a huge expanse it is...don't think I really want to know how many square feet of tile is being laid. I'm just looking forward to swimming in my pool; swimming laps which you can't do in most other private pools.

Chimo has finished the roof across the terrace between the kitchen/dining room and the master bedroom. It has a different feel to it being covered, but it is still one of the most spectacular spots in the entire house. Chimo should return mid-week to install the wood for the decking around the pool. Another worker will arrive this week to put the tar-paper and three-tab on the roof. The only roof that may not be ready for him will the 3rd bungalow; but it should be close.

The plan today was to go to the property and start moving things into place. I loaded up some things from our room in Vichayito at Jay's and took them out to the property. Once there, though, I realized that anything I unloaded into the buildings would likely be in the way of something. Workers still need to build the railings for the stairs and the terrace; the wires have been pulled but the plugs and switch plates aren't in place yet. There will have to be some touch up painting before all is said and done. So, once again, I need to remind myself to have patience. We are close to moving in. Just not ready yet.

Doug's dad is doing amazingly well. He is lucid most of the time and conversing with family. He is out of ICU and into a rehabilitation setting where he will receive both mental and physical therapy. No decision has been made as to what happens next; much will depend on his progress in rehab. It is amazing what medical science can offer; most of us didn't think Hal would survive.
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13 July 2010

I went into Mancora, the tourist town in the area, to return a fan we had bought in April which decided to quit working. As I approached the store manager, she mumbled that there was no guarantee....but...I showed her the receipt she had given me indicating that there was a six month guarantee. She told me to come back in tomorrow. Either they will have repaired it or they should give me a replacement.

The other advantage of going into Mancora is a bakery that has Chiabata bread. It is wonderful stuff; and today I happened upon it fresh out of the oven. I ate two rolls on the way home!

Next door to the appliance store, there is this little restaurant. These chickens were either caged in the cylinders or tethered. I thought of the restaurants you go into where they have the lobsters in the tank; you choose your dinner. I wondered if this was the same deal.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

10 july 2010

Oh, computer geeks of the world. Tell me why it is such a hassle to blog each night. It seems like I am needing to reboot every few hours just to get on line. And then half the time, things don't load. Tonight...for example, I tried to blog from Picasa which downloads photos. It kept telling me I needed to be connected to the internet; which, of course, I was. So, I tried to go directly to the blog to download my pictures, but so far nothing. Oh, the frustration of modern technology!

Nothing too unusual about today. There are still close to 30 workers on site which means a lot is getting done. It also means our cook is working her ass off and not getting compensated for it. I talked with her today and realized I had forgotten to pay her for June. When I pay here tomorrow, I will add another 50% to her pay as she has been cooking for 30 in a camp kitchen. At the outset, she was told the maximum number of workers would be 15. I have no problem paying her extra; she is worth every penny and has done an incredible job.

The primary maestro, Ramon, told me today he thought the construction would be completed by the end of July. I trust his judgement as he is in the trenches and knows what is left to do. With the 30 workers on site, a lot has been happening. I told Koki I would like to begin to move in next Tuesday. I will still sleep here at Jay's, but I want to begin to set up house. Hopefully by the time Doug gets home from the US, he will be able to come "home."

Truly, any of you computer wizards out there, help me out. This is getting frustrating. I tried to download photos tonight, but none managed to make it through the ethernet.

Friday, July 9, 2010

9 July 2010

Not much news coming from Phoenix. Doug's dad is stable. Doctors wanted to take out the breathing tube today, but decided to wait until he was a bit stronger. He's still semi-conscious but no meaningful interaction yet. The family is maintaining a twenty four hour vigil at his bedside.

At the property today, carpenters have put together the baffle shade for the terrace of the living room and the studio. The finish has been applied and they are awaiting placement. It will be interesting to see how this is done. These covers can't be light; and I doubt there will be any machinery to help.

The master bedroom/studio only lacks the railings for the stairs and between the two levels. The marble countertop for the sink in the bathroom is in place. The sinks have also been installed and the faucets as well. I think the interior of this building will be complete in the next couple of days.

Chimu was putting the OSB on the roof on the bungalows today. He had forgotten that they also had the "second roof" for ventilation, but these will be installed. Tiling continues. Once the windows arrive and are put into place, the bungalows should be ready for guests! And none too soon, as friends from Lima plan on arriving the 23rd of July!

The roof structure between the two main buildings over the terrace is also in place now. Chimu needed to rebuild this so the ridge beam was level. Some changes needed to be made in the angles of the roofs to make this work, but it looks pretty good now.

Work on tiling the swimming pool continues. What an immense area to cover. We talked a bit today about the lines on the floor for the lap pool. They may not look exactly like most pools, but there will be a darker line down the center of each lane, and a darker line just below the water level at the end walls. The
difference between the colors is rather subtle, but I think it will still work. The worst case senario is I add some darker lines later.

Stormy and I took a two kilometer walk down the beach to El Refugio this afternoon. She really enjoys the beach; she was romping in the waves, running full tilt up and down and all around me. She had fun chasing crabs and checking out all the debris washed up.

Georg and his family were to arrive today; but I missed them....they were arriving this evening. Even so, I sat on the veranda and had a drink watching the pelicans dive for fish. I took a moto-taxi back up to Jay's; Stormy's first moto-taxi ride. She wasn't too sure about it at first, and kept wanting to climb into my lap for comfort. She finally settled into it but kept wanting to give the driver a few licks!

I then fixed a fabulous parihuela; a seafood chowder. Too bad I was the only one eating! I made enough for at least two more meals! The chowder has a chicken stock base to which I add garlic, onion, celery and green peppers. I add cajun seasoning, cilantro and tomato paste along with some ricotto (a very hot and spicy Peruvian pepper). Add some rice and potatoes. When those are done, I add the shrimp and calamari. The calamari should only cook for under two minutes, so the soup was ready to serve right away. Yumm. One of the best things about living in Peru is the access to fresh vegetables and fish. Thursdays and Fridays are the best as the produce is freshest. It would be interesting to know if any of this produce is treated with pesticides, but I doubt it. Most of it comes from family farms in the hills.

Strawberries!! A vendor today had strawberries! I bought a pound and then proceeded to cook oatmeal and cover it with sliced strawberries. These are the first berries I've had since leaving Oregon. They were delicious.

It is a bit strange to be alone here in Peru. I don't fear for my safety; but at times it is a bit unsettling. The security in Vichayito Village, which is the development that Jay lives in, is quite good. There is a guarded gate at the entrance so all vehicles are screened. In addition, during the last couple of weeks, Felipe at Tenis y Playa has hired an additional guard for his entrance. Jay has since told me the extra guards at Felipe's are there because there is a "contract" out on Felipe. Security is very visible. Most nights I still sleep with the door open so the breeze can come through. I guess I figure if someone wanted to do harm, I'm not going to be a target. As things go, I'm pretty innocuous (sp?).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8, 2010

Sorry to have missed blogging in the last week or so...I've had connectivity and/or functionality problems. Sometimes all works well; other times it seems nothing loads and nothing cooperates.

Doug's dad is now off of all life-support machines with the exception of a breathing machine which is ensuring that he gets deep enough breaths.
He is not fully conscious but is responding to touches and voices. In the next couple of days the doctors will take him off of the breathing assist and see how things go. He may soon be moved to a rehabilitation center for mental and physicaly therapy. There is still a lot up in the air.

Meanwhile, lots has been happening out at the property. As you can imagine with 30+ workers, things are coming together. The stairs between the dining room and the living room; and between the bedroom and studio are now in place. The banisters are on site as are the workers to put it all together. The banisters are of aluminum and will have a glass panel below them. These will be put into place along the stairs, across the dining room and the outside terrace, continue across the bedroom and down those stairs into the studio.

Workers have been putting a rubbery-like surface around the edge of the jacuzzi. It's a non slip surface and feels like cork. Once this is in place, they will be able to set the jacuzzi in place and hook up the water and electricity. The jucuzzi is a two seater; and we've been told the orientation will be so we can look out over the ocean as we luxuriate in its warmth! This may be one of the most pampering experiences as I think the master bedroom has the best view in the whole house!

Other workers have been installing the false ceilings in the master bath and the kitchen. The one in the master bath mirrors the wood floor. It definitely changes the appearance of the bathroom area. The marble countertop is here and it is stunning. I can't wait until it is installed and the glass sinks are situated atop of it. It's all coming together!!

The false ceiling in the kitchen is also in place. This one is a bit more problematic for me though as the suspention structure is a bit intrusive on the visual aspect. I don't have an alternative though. We shall see how it all looks when the exhaust hood for the stove is in place.

I've been faced with a bit of food for thought in the last few days. The day after Doug left, I went into town to do the grocery shopping as usual, delivered them as usual. Then I came back into town to buy groceries for myself and ended up buying candy, a beer (at 11:00 in the morning) to drink as I had forgotten to bring water. I came back to the room and slept for several hours. Then I fixed myself an entirely unhealthy dinner and sat around until all hours of the morning watching episodes of Dexter. I still haven't figured out if this is a self-destructive binge or taking advantage of my independence to indulge myself.

I was honored to see a huge pod of dolphins traveling south along the surf line the other morning. There must have been at least thirty of them casually moving along the shorline; no particular hurry, just mosying along. Incredible.
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