Jungle Journal


It is without any doubt that spring has indeed sprung. It’s everywhere. And what a movement that was…

Within but a few days the Primavera (springtime) trees around us have exploded with sudden bright golden blossom. That scrawny old tree that had hidden behind everything else has burst front stage in a flamboyant flush of yellow. This display lasts for only a week or so. The Bougainvillea are alive and throwing colours everywhere. It’s an event .


It’s dry too. The ground is transforming into fine layers of dust. The pathways release clouds of the stuff which can be blinding when the sun reflects on it. Large thick roots are revealed as the earth evaporates around them. The rains are coming and we are now experiencing the grip of mild anxiety as we imagine all the landscape flushed of content and guess what might remain.

The humidity is also upon us. It’s been a quick transition between feeling the heat on the afternoon and the heat feeling you. Gets into every crevice. By 4 pm there is little option but surrender. If I’m outside I become a damp pink bloke with melting senses. Best to give up anything mentally or physically taxing. Which leaves little else to do but stay still and indulge in early day gins and naps. The fan has had  it’s first good go of the year. Moving air is altogether more acceptable than the still warm heavy damp kind.


The sun has changed altitude and the mornings and evening have extended themselves later and later. There are days when the sun and squawking of mating parrots are ignored enough to sleep late. The sunsets complete their act around 8.30 pm so nights out are no longer ending at 9 pm. The town has emptied of most of the tourists. A steady but slow stream of beach seeking gringos still remain. The snowbirds (those who spend 6 month in Mexico/ 6 months in Pacific NW) are leaving for their long journeys home. Seattle and Vancouver are filling up again for Summer. We share a few last sunsets before they leave. The humidity moves in behind them.


Our mates from SF have bought a place in Los De Marcos 20 minutes away. We go with them to see it and end up at a jazz gig with newest friends. We agree to help mange the place and transform the garden and build a roof Palapa. That should keep us busier. We celebrate with dinner under the stars at our place. We engage in a late night Tequila fuelled scorpion hunt. We have a hand held UV dark light and we prove very quickly that when it hits a scorpion it glows like a light bulb. Have tried this before in Israel and South Africa but the Mexican scorpions are the brightest I’ve seen by far.


This did not help one of our guests. She had returned to stay with us for the second time because she loves it out here. Until that is, at 6 am, when she called us to an emergency. She had been hit twice on the foot by a scorpion that we find in her bed. We fly to hospital and wait there as she is observed for allergic reaction and bagged and given an anti-venom shot. It was her first time in hospital and a bit of a drama but we were soon out having breakfast of raspberries stolen from our white witch friend who happened to be passing by. Scorpions rarely are dangerous but they do give you a “poison trip” for a day or two that can be unpleasant. After she got over it all she went straight to town and had the astrological sign for Scorpio tattooed on her scorpion bite !

There are a very few things that I have avoided since being here but Micheladas is top of my list. I’m not universally known as a shy one and am all about trying new things but the very thought of a virgin Bloody Mary with beer in the same glass just seems instinctively wrong.

Our favorite sunset bar is closing down. Their lease is up and the owners are probably looking to sell their uniquely stunning spot for a hotel or something equally crude. Our Argentinian bar staff/friends who we have seen many times every week since we arrived are moving on. This is a sad turn of affairs and must be marked with a house Michelada. I’ve seen huge glasses of the red-stuff with salads of celery and cilantro spilling from their chili crusted rims pass my head very often. At no time has this tempted me in the slightest. However, in honour of Bar La Fresona and our brief love affair I order one. It arrives showy, resplendent and larger than necessary. The salt and chili flavours are soon overcome with an icy cool flood of tomato and the aftertaste of beer. It’s not entirely revolting. Over the next 20 minutes of sipping and battling a chili flaked celery in the eye three separate friends come over in high excitement to find out why I looked like I had been kicked in the face by a mule. No matter how much care and attention I took to get this this in me without drama it was not to be. For some reason I’m covered in bright red chili salt from hairline to chin. I am in bad need of a shower and a shave. Not my finest hour and I’m in no hurry to repeat it. Farewell la Fresona, going to miss you. Micheladas… not so much.


The season in terms of visitors has changed equally suddenly. We have had full occupancy these last few weeks and spent our days cleaning sheets and floors and greeting folk. I have done the tour of the land many many times. Same questions and similar answers every time. I have discussed this with bar and social hosts many times. How do you deal with being asked the same questions over and over again ? It’s not quite automatic for me but I can feel it getting a bit like that. Our story told in 20 minutes changes and evolves in the many tellings and as time passes. I have to keep an eye on keeping it authentic.

Right now we have no one on the land but us. It’s good. We have the odd enquiry and the very odd booking now and again. We have had a Welshman in a hammock for a few days and a couple of great friends bearing gifts of a new well pump, sheets, towels, car parts, jubilee clips, sewing machine oil and cheese. (Oh how I miss the joy of real proper, bites your tongue and makes you sweat cheese.)

The extra time we have now is a welcome distraction. We have had the space to start the process of planting. Much shifting of earth is required. We move pick up loads of real black earth from a river bed 1 km away to our piles of palms left over from the building. Earth on top and the placement of large river rocks and we have our “hugelkultur herb spiral”. It’s planted with all the seeds. Many herbs, chilies and marigold we smuggled in. Our well is still wet & the new well pump works okay after a repair or two so we may even have enough water for the plants and us.


A day is spent collecting good growing dirt. I remove 4 years of anthill & bat poo that has filled our pool pump house with a carpet of it a few feet thick. Back breaking but we now have sacks of the stuff. We mix this with rotting palm wood and a full load from the river bed. We ninja raid a local stable and make off with a bag of horse shit. This all meets in a single pile under the shade of the solar panels. We are assisted by our hermit neighbor from even further up the hill. He has propagated Bougainvillea for many years. He told us that he spent months growing them locally and then cows ate them all in one day. So we collect the cuttings from a local snowbird on her way home to BC. We create the perfect grow bags from mixing all our offerings together. Good dirt and ant and bat and horse and palm. We dip the snipped ends into white power growth hormone and then each is planted, released and watered. Left to fend for themselves and get big and strong. We now have more than 100 future Bougainvillea of all colours under our solar panels protected from cows. They will one day make the most beautiful and dangerously thorny borders for the fence lines.

It occurs to us that we don’t currently have a single Irishman on our land… it’s been some time.

Our Polaris front tires blew out again for the umpteenth time and the fourth time in a week. It’s now our No.1 expense. We have a crap bald second hand tire on one side but that is so much better than the teabag that is the other. Can’t keep air in it no matter what we do. Even inner tube blew out. So we are saving our pennies to buy new tires and for now Pauly Razor is on chocks. Thank the stars we have a friend here who has been fiddling (in a good way) with Limonada Toyota for the past week. Brakes work and accelerator pedal is reattached and wheel bearing renewed.

Armadillos are noisy buggers. Must be mating season coz they are everywhere at the moment. Didn’t see one for months then all the big ones turn up digging loudly and proudly around the tree house at 2 am. Even spotted one in front of our balcony in daylight. Maybe walk of shame from night before.

We are well on our way to putting our house on the market in Darlington. When that goes through we will be funded for our next phase of creating. Until then it’s the farmer’s diet of tacos and tequila for us. We are living simply and saving costs and keeping busy. There are still small opportunities to make a few quid (pesos) here now and then and we are keeping ourselves up for it.

An unexpected opportunity has somehow appeared on our horizon. We meet new friends in town. They have been retired here for many years and split their time between an amazing house here and an equally stunning property near Seattle. They generously gift us herbs, flower cuttings, curtains and tequila. They and their visiting daughter end up at our place and we produce a makeshift feed at the open outside kitchen in the jungle. We use the oven to roast chicken and we overcook (burn) spuds & vegetables in the fire. Despite this they have waxed lyrical to their friends about us and now we have been invited to invite “them all” out here to a dinner. We have the great and good of San Pancho at our place for dinner in a few days!! They want to pay us for the privilege and take photos for the local news-rag to promote us. This could become a thing.

  • Jeannie Dettori

    Lovely to see the trees in bloom. They look very picturesque. No doubt, the influx all your recent guests have enjoyed themselves in this unique jungle reserve. Obviously, you are both enjoying this new venture with enthusiasm and the spring weather very pleasant.. I enjoyed reading your blog Beave and about the various recent events including Scorpion hunting…..different!

  • steffisticklebrick@googlemail.com

    Thanks for the update guys, long awaited update.
    Think of you often. Miss ya x

  • Wally

    Mate! Great synopsis of the current shenanigans in the jungle…and beyond. Looking forward to joining all y’all on Sunday for margaritas, laughs and the making of more great memories

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