I’m in a room in San Pancho we just rented for the week drinking tequila and drying out slowly. Tropical storm Pilar is upon us and this is how we got here …… I’ve added a few extra pictures to bulk it up a bit.
Daily routine Chapala:
Wake up at some hour exhausted but conscious. Become aware of crazy itching in proximities and the self-satisfied mocking buzz of well fed mosquitos. Make better plan to avoid further blood loss. Sleep/wake cycle till the need for tea overrides fatigue.
Count the bites. Tea . Shower.
First thick coat of P20-50+. P20 is the best invention of all time. A single application sun screen designed by Scandinavians for the lighter chap. “Ginger juice” smells like a vodka cocktail for 20 mins until it sets in and works hard all day to reduce the onset of pink and the freckle spread . At some point I will become a single off-orange freckle. P20 makes the inevitable some weeks away.
So my natural day starts with a thick coating of Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane ( ginger juice) and my ankles soaked in Diethyl Toluamide with minimum 50% Deet to avoid becoming lunch as well as a midnight snack. The Deet stuff has actually melted our shoes.
There are many plans to dissuade mosquitos. The latest revealed to us is to soak cloves in vodka for a few weeks and then add a touch of baby oil. This gunk will apparently give you less delicious baby soft ankles…and won’t melt your shoes onto your feet. Going to give it a go. Will be tempted to taste it before we add baby oil.
Drove the rugrod into town at some ungodly hour this morning. Coincidentally Mexican Independence Day and the whole town has turned out for a parade for Jayne’s Birthday. We watch endless marching children dressed in their best and met the local dignitaries and the president of the area . Everyone is very impressed with Jayne’s age. We remove her before it all goes to her head and feed her breakfast and prepare for cake. Cake comes after hugely successful and well attended dinner to honor the creeping certainty of age.
Been acquiring tools. Brought enough to break a bag or two but need more. We head to a pop up market ( Tianguis ) with cash and a large bag. Not large enough. Only Mexican faces and only Mexican prices. Negotiate with an old guy (who claims to be Jesus )for an old drop saw and handfuls of over loved tools and shovels and a rake that he displays on the pavement. A deal is struck before the local Police move him on. We buy all the rest of the things but avoid the coloured chicks…..
Another Earthquake . The light fittings were swaying for half an hour in Chapla yesterday afternoon. Absolute tragic scenes from Mexico City. Wish we were closer and could have lent a hand last night. The army has deployed many thousand troops now . Outstanding response from everyone. It’s a thing of nightmares watching the parents waiting around the rubble heap that was their kids school . Counting our many blessings today.
Our friend who runs a community center in the North area takes us on a visit. There is a B side to everything. Drugs are traded on the North side and the advertising method is ingenious and well understood. The type of shoe hanging off the power-lines in front of your dwelling denotes the type of drug available. Sweaty old trainers for weed. High heels for coke. The full list may well be available on google. Everyone seems to know it .
The Tepehua centre https://www.facebook.com/tepehuacommunitycenter
is well funded by Rotary and other NGOs and provides day care, sewing craft training , clothing , water (without mercury), dentist and a health clinic for the area. They feed hundreds of people every Friday. IUDs are offered to women in confidence, as contraception is not considered a macho pastime by local men. The previous day care center transformed into an orphanage as parents took babies and small children and forgot to collect them.
There is another of many projects underway to offer woman a rehab facility. This is not a service available to women in Mexico. We are taken to a secure men’s rehab center where 128 males of all ages co-exist without drugs and alcohol. The atmosphere is surprisingly calm and friendly and respectful. We are show around by a young cleanly presented boy . He has been here 8 months but “needs to be in for 12”. There are voluntary inmates & many sentenced by courts. 18 men to a dorm. Communal kitchen. High walls and large well decorated locked gates. The girls are treated with interest but respect. The land next to it is designated as the first women’s facility to be opened when construction completed, maybe next year. Wish them luck with that.
We then visit one of the households that is being directly helped.It’s impossible to know how many people live in this pile of bricks topped with iron and laced with damp electric wires. The women won’t say as censuses may result in taxes. We see a number of young kids in a bed watching TV. We are shown where the water comes in.
Total respect for the time and intelligent effort going into real long-term community benefit here.
It’s been a sobering day.
Joy of joys…the land closure date is put back further.
Friday is now the day. Finally and absolutely.
Its completely understandable because ( good luck keeping up ..)
- We will need our corporation to have a tax code in order to close this deal.
- The tax code is available to us when we have closed the deal. …. !?
- Our passports are not considered ID in the tax office. ….!?
- Our address needs to be confirmed in order to close.
- This can only be done by proof of purchase of the land……!?
In order to weave through this latest conundrum of knotted red tape we are required to be in PV on Thursday to sign over power of attorney to our accountant and have a false lease created so we actually lease the land 24 hours before we buy it so there is proof that we and it exists… and our accountant can be officially us .. even if we are there… unofficially. …… Simple.
Chipala is comfortable. May be too comfy. Good friends and food and weather and a pool and lots of very reasonable excuses to stay. Our van is undergoing major facelift and life saving surgery. It now has a lot less original parts , which we are told, is a very good thing. It has new brakes and a compete air con system designed for alloy monkeys freezepops ( or ginger men) . But it is always nearly ready… its been over a week now and we are starting to feel like cuckoos.
Friday is not the day. Further very dull and inexplicable reasons have put our closing back now to Tuesday but require our presence on Monday and so we decide to leave on Saturday.
Before we leave we make plans to transform the rugrod into a total babe. We will get all the bits working and add roll bars and seat belts and other luxuries like a speedometer, tyres & indicators. We will return to Chapala to pick her up…. Sometime after the rains. She will never be waterproof.
After a day in Guadalajara buying acres of mosquito netting and seventies kitchen wall fabric ( future curtains apparently) we manage to tear ourselves away ……. without the truck. It will be delivered to us sometime next week gleaming with perfection & refrigeration . … maybe.
5 hours of van time and we arrive back home in San Pancho at 7pm… just in time to meet Tropical Storm Pilar who arrives on our tails at 7.05. It rains. Oh how it rains. The sort of rain that gets all your bits wet at once pretty much immediately. We are reunited with 16 bags and a surf board and our ever patient hosts . We are soaked to our bits.
The road becomes a river and then all the roads become rivers. We are already wet so we dig out our small inefficient sun broleys and venture out. Wading through the town to a few bars to drink and eat and watch the sea eat the beach in large mouthfuls. It’s an incredible view. An Italian pIzza guy from Rome surpasses himself with distracting pear and blue cheese yumminess. We eat well & drink better and stare at the endless rain. We meet many wet locals doing the same and eventually wade home to return to a dry room . We catch the flashes & listen to the drumbeat of storm until we sleep.