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.

1 comment:

  1. wow! The workers working through the holiday - that is amazing. Hope it makes things happen even faster as they work faster to get done so they can celebrate some. Cool that things worked out with Chimu. Glad he was pleased to learn from Doug rather than resenting him. That makes a cool story.

    I don't envy you for the bus ride, but at least it sounds like they are trying hard to make you comfortable. They are better than the old collectivos I rode on! Give Mandy extra hugs for me. I'd love to be there when she first sees your house.