Still working towards getting our place ready to rent out. Making it fun. This blog may be a little ranty but it’s cathartic so forgive/ignore as necessary.
Our man wakes us as the light sets in proper about 8 am . He rides his donkey with no name noisily up the hill and delivers milk fresh from the cow. He insists it gives super powers. Few hours chilled and it is amazing stuff. He leaves with the donkey towing a lump of tree which is to be our new gate posts.
Our friend is a white witch healer in the town. She is a gentle and generous soul who only wears white and is seen with her two small rescued dogs that never leave her side. She takes local milk and cream and mixes it with honey from the hills and makes ice cream in jars. I was stabbed with a fork (not in a very healing, generous or gentle way I may add ) because I could not resist taking down the last jar she had.
My phone remains drowned. Our life saving methods including weeks in rice and anti-humidity crystals have failed to revive. I am not missing it at all. I have decided not to replace it for the foreseeable future. Lack of photos/camera is an issue I need to deal with (apologies).
I have progressively become more judgey as I see phones consume people’s lives. When stuck in airports I used to head to a bar and pass time chatting to random strangers. These days a screened device transfixes every single person in the bar. Saying hi or even making eye contact results in anger, suspicion or even fear. I’m not that scary.
It came home hard to me when I was in San Francisco. This city is extraordinary but you need to work 3 jobs for 7 days a week to make rent on a shared broom cupboard. I walked downtown in the middle of the day looking at my own phone following a map. I looked up and noticed that on the other side of the road there was a shantytown of homeless people. My side of the pavement was packed with suited people and tourists. All staring at screens as they walked. All of them. Literally all of them. On one side of the street I could not make eye contact with a single person if I had wanted to. On the other the homeless guys sat quietly and watched over at everyone marching past ghostly unaware. At first I thought people were distracting themselves, a way to ignore the homeless situation right there on display. After a while I realised that it didn’t matter what was around them . They were in a different place. Not here where I was. They were buying things for imaginary farms, or swiping left or right, or putting bunny ears on pictures of their kids they never see.
I recently spoke to a Doctor in Manchester who sees the results of children & young adults living through screens. I-pad attachments for prams and pushchairs are popular these days. She observes that there is a growing population that has lost the ability to emote. They have learned to express happy things with a smiley face and bad things with a thumbs down grumpy face emoji. It apparently extracts them from real emotions and the ability to recognise human feelings. It’s a worry.
Again my own hypocrisy in this matter is under review.
We do use Facebook to keep in touch with real-life friends and family spread far and wide and do find it a useful tool (if I avoid posts about how cute someone thinks their baby is or worse their cat.) We don’t approve at all of the Orwellian overtones of being constantly monitored and “influenced” by managed content but I avoid the like button and use a VPN so if the sneaky buggers want to find out were I am, what shoes I have just broken or how to make me vote for Trump then good luck with that mate .
Google is our friend. As a fact checker it helps and as a “how to do “ oracle of all knowledge its invaluable. Who knew how little I actually knew. Not me. Our website and our blog will be promoting us and so we are unashamed users of the great web of everything. If, however, you see me with my head in my phone when the sun is setting behind me and I’m surrounded by butterflies and birds and sexy people are trying to engage with me please please please give me slap. I see this happening all the time and it drives me nuts.
So we have come to understand the real addiction people have to their phones. We must make a plan to reluctantly service this addiction. We plan to promote our jungle experience as an opportunity to raise ones screen face upwards and engage but also recognise this will reduce our rental potential with those that can afford a few quid. We are told that American tourists here can do without water, food and a bed but not Wi-Fi. It’s an issue as the waiting list for new Wi-Fi connection in San Pancho is currently two years (not joking).
Because of this we have contacted the owner of the only house we can see from our land. Jayne’s Dad and I installed a rope up the treacherous hill behind us to give us better access to our water storage. If you make it up that far without falling too dramatically and squint with your head at a certain angle while hanging onto a tree there is a faint white spot that you may or may not be able to make out at the top of the furthest hill. That’s the place. Our first plan is to find a spot in town ( we have a number of target options) and bounce what internet we can to this white dot and redirect it to us so we can further distribute it around our hill. This is the result of Jayne’s Dad studying satellite imagery of the area and learning about such technical matters for weeks leading up to his visit. Not something we would be attempting on our own.
The alternative is to take our brand new temporary Mexican residence cards to Telcel (who have a tower near us that provides serviceable Wi-Fi at a price ) and get a decent data plan and share that. We are looking at both options for fun.
The recovery of the land is a constant amazement. We found a path ( I use the royal “we” as it appeared after the boys took their machetes out for the afternoon ). This wide perfect path crosses the land from North to South and connects one side to the other. It starts at the highest water Tinaco on the North side near the solar area and end up at our pool. On this path is another water Tinaco we discovered . This is great news as they are not cheap and are immensely useful. When plumbed in will feed the bricksh*t house shower. This is good news as we can set up glamping when we have power and connect water and buy tents and dig terracing and all the other things …..
Now I always had the impression that Canadians were a hardy lot who forged streams and skied mountains and laughed in the face of snow and ice. Well the two from Calgary that are here are letting the side down. I am swimming in the delightfully warm pool while these two shiver and moan about the slight cooling effect of getting in. It is currently minus 16 in Calgary by the way !? They are in cahoots and its not long before they have bought pipe and boxes are emptied and gas is diverted and holes are drilled and before too long there is steaming hot waterfall coming out of the taps. Hot water showers !! Softies. Jayne’s Dad is spoiling her rotten.
The streams and rivers are all running slow and low. The result of this is algae is forming so we drive over green water these days. The seasons bring different gifts of nature. September is fireflies, October is hornets and wasps and November is ticks. We trekked up to the top of the hill and I ended up following a water pipe right through the jungle. I did not take a machete so I had both hands free and I needed them. At one point I was suspended above the ground by vines. An inelegant untangling later I descended through a lot of sharp pointy thorny stuff and ended up on the new pathway at the newly found water Tenaca. A gang of ticks must have had a right laugh following me and jumping on board. At the last count I found seven of them snacking on me. Good job there is no Lyme’s Disease in Mexico. Just well entertained, well fed ticks. I must be delicious . They don’t bother with anyone else.
San Pancho energy is building again. More new places to eat , shop, drink and spend tempt us daily. Many pinky brown tourists spending lots of money on rent. There are still the obligatory stunning sunsets . We have found a sexy bar that serves just about perfect Margaritas while we watch a lot of very thin bronzed and perfectly tattooed floppy haired local youths getting their surfboards wet and slack lining off palm trees.
No escaping the world really. I am in the back of our pick up truck just leaving our very favorite local ladies (who sell us the best cooked chickens) and a helmeted guy on a scooter shouts at me. Do you know “the Poyntons”? … Now much as I never like to admit knowing those crazy buggers I was wrong footed by surprise and confusion. Turns out this bloke from Cape Town knows us all from Afrikaburn and recognised me from there 2 years ago. I had thrown ice at him (we ran ice sales). He jumps in the truck and he gets the tour and lunch and heads back to his new job in PV. We now have our newest volunteer but worryingly more incentive for the Poyntons to turn up!
The past days have been swallowed by designing a battery safe house and solar panel racks. We have also spent ( invested) an age in Ferreterias, electrical and wood shops spending (investing) pesos. We are using Jayne’s Dad skills acquired by building scout camps and his own house . He is currently deployed wiring up our tree house for the arrival of magic sun power. We have gotten used to no power and having no lights and other such luxuries. Candles , head torches and early nights for us. When we test actual light bulbs on the generator it is like coming out of a cave. Seeing things all lit up. We had sort of forgotten the rather significant benefits of seeing things. Our floor needs a mop.
Much swearing and gnashing of teeth from me as both my batteries for my beloved Makita impact driver and drill fail. No charge and no charging. Trips to bloody useless Makita dealer and offers of extortionate priced inferior replacements later I finally clock the obvious. Feelings of both relief and stupidity as I remember we live in a 110v world here. We use the generator 240V outlet to power the 240V charger unit which charges them up as normal. Language and teeth noises improve.
Someone just told me it’s a month till Xmas. How did that happen ! We are not exposed to TV or media hype or advertising so it’s passed us by. By this stage in UK I would be in mild panic mode trying to organise all the things. Not happening here. Not a cracker to be had . I did buy a box of Mi-Julie dates which has made me slightly Xmassy and we picked up a litre of eggnog which we can traditionally ignore for a year or two and throw out when we get around to it. We spotted a sorry looking tinsel tree on a shack today by the side of the road and at the traffic lights someone was selling inflatable penguins alongside the usual lumps of suspicious looking sugar cane and stolen flowers so we are not completely removed from it all.
Surprise turn of events. Jayne’s Dad has become our first investor. We have a number of investment opportunities here (relax this is not a sales pitch) we are working on but he just might have the sexiest. He has just bought a Polaris. Now this Polaris is a 4 seater ATV which is top of the range and very highly sought after by those who know. Amazingly they are advertised for rent at over $250US a day in PV and are ideal for our land and our access road. We can rent our places here with a Polaris at a fair old whack. We need to modify the Bodega to get it through the doors but that should not be too much drama. This is good news. Should get delivery later this week. Want to rent a Polaris mate ?