THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
I thought that after Australia, it would be the end of my writings and travels for a while. No chance, the bug has got me. Alas not so for Jan. The first of the Seven Wonders of the World has to be how...
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
I thought that after Australia, it would be the end of my writings and travels for a while. No chance, the bug has got me. Alas not so for Jan. The first of the Seven Wonders of the World has to be how a woman thinks. It seems to be that sometimes it is unfathomable. Now before you feminists get your panties in a knot, I want to say that this is one of the reasons I married Jan. Hey but it’s been a wonderful, confusing forty two (42) plus years of being together. Things must be OK with us though, how many of you spend twenty four hours a day with your spouse like we have done for seven years and continue to do so, with ne’er a cross word ?
But I digress. I am chomping at the bit to do something, or be somewhere. Jan wants to be static so that she can have her “things” around her. The “things” are our belongings held in storage since March 2009. We may have compromised on the situation. Presently we are on a house sitting assignment in Sonora Mexico (www.housecarers.com). This is a great way to see another part of Mexico while trying to get our finances back to zero. We met a pair of mature ladies who bought a small motor-home, a 20 footer on a Toyota (whoa ho, what a feeling) chassis with a 2.4 – 4 cylinder engine. This pair have been on the road for six or more years having travelled US, Canada, Mexico several times, and soon to take a trip through Central America to the South American continent. So, the compromise is that we will buy a 25 to 32 foot motor-home where we can have our “stuff” and then we will be travelling again to places anew. As one knows, things can and do change.
On our return to Canada we spent three weeks house-sitting then returned to Chihuahua for four weeks, with a bit of house/pet sitting before the start of our present assignment. During this time, as in Rockhampton and here, I taught students English on line. My thought was to go to Costa Rica and teach at a school (in other words, get a ***) Sorry I can’t bring myself to say that word. We still talk about our Europe trip in 2014 but this week it is to get a motor-home and “do” Canada, a bit of the U.S. and Mexico.
It is June and the rains are due within the month. Alamos is a small town with about ten thousand souls. Four hundred “Gringo’s” (most who flee northward when the weather gets too warm), the remainder must have some British heritage somewhere as the song goes….”mad dogs and Englishmen, go out in the midday sun”….It is a pretty place where the Gringo’s are the artsy- fartsy type or want to save something. Most are retirees. Of course this means that prices increase for house rentals (if we need one for a while) and these are paid in U.S. dollars For example: a furnished thousand square foot, two bedroom place goes for $600US or 7,800 pesos at today’s rate and of course being in dollars, every month is a different amount. My thought is that one should pay in the currency where you reside!
Our friend Cheryl came for a visit in June. She took a Westjet flight out of YVR to Mazatlan where we picked her up, and returned her, 10 days later. The weather was really warm during her stay. Someone told us that the day she and Jan decided to go shopping in Navajoa the temperature got up to 47C. We watched it climb to 37C in the shade. Your sweat (men), perspiration (female) is so thick you can scrape it off with a credit card.
The rain finally came to Alamos on Saturday July 23rd. For those in the Pacific Northwest of America you might say “big deal”. Well it is for Sonora, the rain being three weeks late. That’s when events started happening.
We were going to a dinner and cinema function at Hotel Los Santos de Hacienda so got our “glad rags” on only to find out that the car wouldn’t turn over. Not to be beaten I picked up the telephone to get a taxi but no dial tone and no internet connection. OK so went to my cell phone but had no money on it (prepaid) I did however have my Chihuahua cell so called via Chihuahua (about 800 klms away) to get a local taxi. As our property is on an acreage we had to walk (Jan in her best flip-flops) in wet sand to get to the front gate and get our taxi. After that the evening was great but spent more than expected.
The following day (Sunday, things always go wrong on a weekend), checked the car but still no action. I needed a mechanic but couldn’t phone anyone. Brilliant idea, used the motor home that is being stored on the property to get into town to buy more time on my cell so as I could phone for a mechanic. Returned and phoned the taxi driver from the previous night who came along with his friend. Discovered a new battery was needed. An hour later it was fixed at a cost of 1,500 pesos.
On Sunday afternoon I tried several times to contact TelMex but you have to dial #050 on your phone to request repair!!!!!, remember, no phone. So left it until Monday morning and drove over to another person who is also house sitting so that I could do my on-line teaching and phone TelMex. Left them a message in my best Spanish. That afternoon the electricity failed. I later found it was to only half the house that had no power. I and the Gardner checked the line coming in from the road as I had heard a sparking noise. He removed a demised Iguana that had climbed down the conduit and touched bare wires. Alas, still only lights to half the house.
Tuesday we travelled 50 klm (and back) to the Navajoa TelMex office to ensure my repair was in queue. Informed by TelMex staff that someone would be there after 1pm. Rushed back and got into the house at 12:58. That’s true, he would be there after 1pm but silly me, forgot to ask what day after 1pm. It’s Thursday night now and still no phone, BUT IT IS AFTER 1pm.
Today an electrician arrived who just happens to be a plumber if you need one (probably a mechanic too) and my electric is restored. It needed a new junction box and other items costing about 800 pesos. That Iguana did more damage than I thought it could have. Do Iguana’s fry with a smile? Now only the phone and internet to fix. I’ve heard it could take up to 5 months but at least it’s after 1pm.
Great, only 13 days to repair the phone. Well all is OK now. I think Jan is warming up to the idea of moving on. We applied for five house sitter positions in BC or Alberta. Secured a 5 ½ month sit in the town of Innisfail, Alberta starting Oct 16th. Jan flies out of Phoenix and into Calgary on the 14th. I need to go back to Chihuahua to collect what little belongings we have and trailer them up to Canada. We have already applied for a “sit” after that one, in Thailand starting in June. Still waiting to see if we are shortlisted. We seem to be doing things backwards. Living in the desert when it’s hot, wintering in Alberta and trying to get to Thailand for the rainy season. But then we are quite the odd couple.
Independence Day 2010 in Alamos. Celebrating 200 years of freedom (?) from them thar Spaniards.
It was suggested we be at Hotel Hacienda de los Santos (where they sell their wares in Yankee dollars even though it is situated in Mexico) by 8am. So we duly sat and waited. Our pre-show entertainment being two 70 year old American women cat-calling each other,claws at the ready.
Well at 9.30 the parade began. Which makes me wonder, given the Latino thinking about time, if the War of Independence was actually scheduled for the year 1809. But like everything else in this part of the world, time is irrelevant.
It was a great parade though, with many bands and floats involved. A great effort for those involved and we really enjoyed it, especially the free coffee, water and mini cinnamon rolls provided by the hotel.
I'm sure there is some kind of law that states "if anything goes wrong that requires a government worker to attend your house immediately, it will always happen on a Friday".
Our water is nearly all gone. It seems that the house has been drawing water from the reserve tank on the property for a while now. This is now empty as there hasn't been much of a rainy season. For some unexplained reason we have not been getting city water to fill our well for about 2 months even though the bills have been paid each month on time. We have about enough for one or two days before there is no water to drink,to make ice-cubes for happy hour, to wash, bathe,launder and do dishes. This could be a few smelly,as in B.O. days.
It’s mid -October now, and we didn’t get the sit in Thailand so we’ll see what comes up next. The rains seem to have ceased although we still have water problems. The shortened version. Our water meter indicated that there had been no water pumped into our tank by the City since June. All our reserve had been exhausted and Jan and I went into the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” mode. Only 3 visits to the office of the Director of Water at city hall with a threat to inform the Mayor and the fault in the water line was fixed. Only 3 ½ months. Water was flowing in again but somehow was flowing out faster than what was coming in. We had consumed 15,000 litres in 4 days (I don’t think). After the usual array of “experts”, the problem was discovered, a leak in the underground hot water pipe. So it was turned off and we had no hot water for 2 weeks. Hooray for solar showers. Today (Oct 16th) after much debate on who was going to repair it, the plumber/electrician/mechanic/ surgeon/politician and all round good guy, Manuel (see previous notes) re-soldered the offending pipe. Now I wait with baited breath for the other guy to return and fill in the hole. However, it being Friday and the washing machine residing in the hallway, he may not arrive until Monday (Note here: If a tradesman says he will be there on Monday, do not assume it will be the following Monday).
This will probably be my last entry for Alamos. Having been here for 6 ½ months I am ready to move. Although we like Alamos we probably won’t look for this housesit in the future, although something in town would be considered. I do believe EVERY utility has had problems since we got her in April. It’s out in the mesquite and the mozzies and flies have been very bothersome to me. With all the sun over the summer we have stayed indoors because of their persistence. Even the dog digs holes and lays in them to try and reduce the pests from making a meal of her.
The dog "Miel" was thrown over the property fence as a puppy about a year ago. She follows me everywhere and will not leave the property even with the gate open. Although she is very "wired" and doesn't do a thing you tell her. She's a good animal. As a guard dog I'd give her a Fail mark but she could have been a good pet.
Posted by colin stray on Thu 09 Sep 2010 10:04:19 AM EDT