Last night I managed a few hours sleep in between boughts of excitement and much silent waiting. It is now referred to less than affectionately as the night of the spoons. I was mouse fishing. I adopted a number of spoons of various shapes dipped in peanut butter (carefully removed from peanut butter pretzels) balanced over a bucket . The result of the whole nights efforts was noisily catching a spoon or two every few hours so as to disturb all sleep and zero mice. My balanced bottle genius invention has been studiously ignored. I am a touch tired and completely outsmarted by Mortimer the Mouse. I am now under some pressure to employ a more effective trap that will be the end of Mortimer. I am still wanting to catch the bugger. Challenge is down.
I drag my tired frustrated self into town for supplies and to deposit laundry. We have taken to drying out our damp laundry in the sun which makes it less likely to rot but condenses the smell significantly. Our clothes which are now infused with dried sweat are neck snappingly stinky.
I am considering better Mortimer entrapment techniques when the solution jumps at me from under my thinking and drinking beer table. An abandoned kitten. We are gifted cat food and encouraged to remove the beast and re-home her. Timing excellent kitty. We install her entirely to irritate Mortimer. Just so we all understand our role in life kitty is renamed Maustrappe . Tripe is delighted.
There is a lot of nature out here and nature is not quiet. We are , however, grateful to be away from the noises of the town. We live in a Catholic –plus country . Church on Sunday is a thing and a series of festivals celebrating saints is also a thing. The most recent was to celebrate Saint Francis. Being in San Francisco this is a quite a big thing. To mark the 9 day festival we are awoken in our windowless room at 5 am by very loud gunfire. Big sharp explosive noises that apparently are nothing to do with a normal honest murder but a call to prayer. The patron saint of animals is honoured by setting off all the roosters an hour early and scaring the stuff out of all dogs ( quite literally in some cases ). This mock attack is perpetrated by some giggling priest at random times through out the day and night for nine days….. it’s not normal. There is also a daily procession carried out by nine different areas of the town for the festival period. This involves some bloke/child dressed as Saint Francis on the back of a crawlingly slow moving truck looking slightly embarrassed followed by children dragged by parents and an enthusiastic brass band which has many Mariachi style antique/classic trumpets and tubas fuelled we assume with spiritual divination and Mezcal.
We find out that there is a tradition in Mexico to review your will at this time of year. All solicitors (by law) offer a 50% discount for a month. Mexican probate law is amongst many administrative sticky webs that is not a place to find yourself especially if you are suddenly single. If you don’t have a will here and you die then expect a few years in court. We are not married and our assets ( liabilities to be fair) are not straight forward so we give in. We endure many official hours of many words and many more signatures . Our liabilities are generously spread around some poor unfortunates should we depart. This is now a document lodged with the government and is as official as a dozen signatures and two dozen pretty stamps can achieve.
More administrative torture includes creating personal and business bank accounts. The whole affair is astonishingly slow and there are so many levels of checks and passport copies and signatures. So many signatures. This is designed to prevent money laundering which was rife years ago and has been cracked down on in spectacular fashion these days. Nothing happens here officially without an invoice and everything is traceable. Dirty money is the way forward.
Our bank manager is friendly and quite lovely so spending many hours with him trying to get our accounts to work could be a lot worse. We plug in our rechargables in his office so at least the time is not completely wasted.
Much to our surprise we are offered house insurance. Now we have been told house insurance is not available in Mexico. It appears that this toe in the water into house insurance offered by our bank is very unusual and certainly worth considering. In the UK we are required to have triple lever locks on all doors, window locks , a good post code and alarms fitted before your insurance company gives you the chance for them to ignore your claim. In Mexico your house must be made of at least cardboard and have at least a dirt floor to qualify ( not joking). For a very few $ we cover all our stuff on our entire land in all our our “buildings”. This includes all our solar and tools and tech and booze ! Probably worth the time charging the phone for.
The treehouse is now unlikely to fall down and has become very comfortable. We have loud power, running water for the next month at least, a chest freezer which we stock with ice and power up occasionally to keep the beer cold. We ship in vegetables, local eggs and cooked chickens . This morning we had an omelette with handfuls of our vert own Moringa leaves ( and more tasty things) with local honey ( we have been gifted buckets of the stuff). So add to the mix the pool to jump into a number of times a day and life is covered. Time to get some work done.
Days here are between 8 am and 8 pm. Daylight. The pace of life is such that getting stuff done takes all the time there is. We have achieved much .. but .. we have been here six weeks and have not been to the waterfalls behind our land and much more worryingly I have not been surfing. The rains have drained rivers deep in land and have deposited great quantities of crocodiles and poo into the sea and that is not a great surfing environment. Sayulita is famously sewagy at this time of year so it’s worth waiting until November we are told. Very soon all will be well and clean and surfy again ( if we avoid Sayulita) . Can’t wait. No excuse not to have been to the waterfalls. If we are too busy we are doing it wrong.
The world around us is waking up. Nature is emerging from the rain. In the past days we have watched over two dozen large eagles playing in the thermals above our heads. Tripe is chasing some beast or other regularly. We are confused to hear the sound of tools on wood right outside and lumps of wood falling to the ground. Confusing. The culprits turn out to be a bunch of red headed woodpeckers. Easy to spot and not so subtle. They are machines when they get going. Sound like machetes one minute and pneumatic hammer drills the next. Proper carpenters.
Our magic silent sun power is proving elusive. We have ordered a large array with inverters and great batteries and all the other bits we need. The expensive stuff will be locked away in the re-assigned brick shit house ( we are in the process of designing and ordering steel doors for it) and the array will be secured to a 4M tall 6Mx4M structure directed at 17 degrees towards two huge trees on our neighbours land that will effectively and efficiently shade them from the sun perfectly for most of the day. These trees are on agricultural zoned land and are not ancient or rare or even very useful ( wood wise) we are told . We have just conducted a protracted negotiation and have arranged for them both to be relocated from vertical to horizontal for a contribution to the farmers Mezcal budget. Our most pressing issue is that because of some selfishly destructive hurricanes there are Islanders worldwide in desperate need of power. When asking for a lead time on equipment from our supplier an overworked employee will remind us that we are at the foot of a long prioritised list of much needier folk. Fair enough. Could be 10 weeks away. Bugger.
Our need for cashflow will become pressing at some point much sooner than we are predicting we predict. To this end we have made a survey of each of our buildings to see which one we can make rentable the quickest and most cost effectively.
It’s the Bodega that wins. Our Bodega ( concrete shed with huge metal doors) was where a carpentry business was based 5 years ago. It’s a solid building which will have good security when we weld a great lock to the doors. It’s currently inhabited by a load of mucky junk , biggest spiders and many bats. It’s on the other side of the hill but has the best potential.
We do not plan to house anyone in the Bodega but on top. There’s what is left of wooden stairs leading to a sound concrete platform with walls and huge windows. There is a bathroom that was plumbed in at one time. The roof is shot.
Already we have removed the rotten roof and constructed a frame out of the good timber for a palapa roof. Next stage is cutting down 200 plus large palm leaves for the thatch. This gives us great potential to deliver further sun from canopy to jungle floor. Our targeted sacrificial palms are above our house and where the the solar isn’t yet. There is a bathroom block next to the Bodega so with the purchase of another Tanaco or two and a direct 24DC solar input to a submersible pump we will be able to resurrect bathroom/shower amenities. Touch of paint and a security draw bridge to get up and down. Add some basic accommodation somewhere close for volunteers/visitors and that’s the plan.
San Pancho ( San Francisco ) is a special place. The Mexican President in 1970 found it when there were only a few hundred people. We are told he invested in a hospital and schools and infrastructure to impress his mistress who lived there. Allegedly he wanted it to be a model community for Mexico and a symbol for all third world nations. All the roads are named after what were considered to be third world places in the 1970s. . “Turn left at Cambodia down Burma till you get to Africa”. It has a stunning beach and a short beach break wave with a few hidden rocks for fun. There is a golf course and polo club. World class sunsets. Friendly and safe. Caters to all budgets. During the season there is a significant influx of Gringo dollars . All this and a population of less than 2000. It’s a great spot.
San Pancho has been asleep ( when the roosters let it ) since we arrived in the floods. Halloween and The Day of the Dead signal the start of surf and tourists. That’s soon. Bars & shops are awakening and readying themselves to make money. Events are on the calendar. When the season starts properly in December so does the need for special places to rent out. Point is we have a very ready market , when we are ready.
Need to focus.
But maybe a trip out to the waterfalls first….