All the young dudes... - La Colina Project
Jungle Journal

All the young dudes…

There are moments here. Many moments and it’s a great thing this blog gets to capture them. Things changing fast and will never be the same again.

The first time we saw the humpback whales leaping out of the the water in front of the beach bar we had to check ourselves. Did that actually happen? The splash from these immense beasts is spectacular. Tails surfacing and slipping back under with a slow wave. They entertained us under the sunset for two nights and then moved on.

Nights recently have not been conducive to sleep. We thought that Maustrappe had developed a bad eating habit as she woke us up crunching on her food loudly at 2 am. I decided to encourage her to shut up by shining a torch right at her head. The possum that actually got flashed in the eyes was startled and unimpressed. At about twice the size of the cat it crashed about loudly and frantically trying to get out of presumably the cat hole in the back door where it got in. It ended up in a cupboard stubbornly refusing all persuasion to move. I very cleverly created a barrier of chairs around the cupboard creating a maze that led to the cat hole. I arm myself with a bathroom plunger and give the brute a prod or two to get it started. Not playing the game at all the plunger is attacked with what turns out to be a rather sharp and large set of possum teeth. No wonder it eats so loudly. It then deftly leapt over my useless barrier and hid in the far corner near the balcony door. Jayne woke briefly to mutter some encouragement. A swing of plunger and loud swearing does the trick and the possum closely followed by a curious cat runs onto the balcony. Seeing an approaching cat and a naked ginger man with a chewed plunger is too much and he leaps over the balcony into the night. I check out the ground below for broken possum and there is none. That is one traumatised but tough little bugger.

My son Jake arrives with his girlfriend and mate… but not before his house mate who we have known for many years. He contacted us and asked to be secreted on our land for a few days before Jake arrived so he could be a surprise addition.  Happily we accept and put him to work. The next day we all arrive at the airport to meet them. A ragged bunch arrive with sorry tales of a long and adventure filled journey through NY and Cancun and Havana and Mexico City to here. It’s a minor miracle they made it. There is a dash to the Gentleman’s room to release unspeakable things. Jake’s girlfriend is already at the bar. It’s going to be a long month…. We get to the van and take a predetermined route out of the airport and decide to pick up a hitchhiker. Jake’s house mate jumps in the van to be greeted with much jet lagged excitement.

The final chapter in our solar panel saga plays out. We spend all our money leveling the solar frame with much hardware. I spend a very hot & sunny day bolting & sweating up a ladder with an ex-fire fighter from California. Good news is that according to his experience the fire risk on our land is negligible.  A humidity of 4-5% can be a worry but ours rarely drops below 30% so we have one significant thing less to worry about. He is also a ginger man. What are we doing in this sun!!??  Some days are spent pulling endless black and aluminium power cables through hundreds of meters of orange conduit through thick jungle. We get help from our new airBnB guests and an entire family from Oregon. Couldn’t have done it without them. Our batteries arrive. They are the most expensive things we have in our lives by quite a margin. They are introduced to their new house and settle in quickly. The computer, robot, control panel, centre of operations looks like a unit from Star Trek. With a flick and a twist and a few final expletives it fires up and in the distance, in a treehouse far far away, a light goes on. It’s taken 5 months. We have power.

   

With power comes much responsibility. The first and most important of which is to apparently get Jayne a fridge. This is quickly decided upon. We all head to Las Varas in the van on a fridge hunt. Turns out the news that we are getting paid by our soon to arrive friends to stay in the Selva Vista (yet-to-be-finished) apartment has sent us a touch giddy. We return home with a packed van. Fridge, oven and new sexy Chainsaw. Life is complete.

We are woken by our concrete man who has arrived to collect his tools and clothes and all other bits that were evicted from the battery house when the batteries moved in. He arrives with a bucket of yaka fruit and a huge container of homemade Mezcal. Good trade!

Much business and the cabañas are starting to look pretty excellent. Our good friend in town suggested to us that hanging beds might be a thing.  This idea ignited by tequila took hold. It gives us the very best excuse to use up all of our bamboo. Our man sets about designing bamboo hanging beds both single and queen size and a double size hanging sofa/bed for the apartment.  We use miles of rope to lash the things together and suspend them. Our bamboo pile is seriously reduced. We are delighted to have finally found a use for the stuff!

We make a trip to buy new mattresses for all our new beds. Limonada the pick up truck is deployed. On the way home we are overtaken by a scooter frantically trying to attract our attention. One of our large mattresses is missing. Much hand signaling suggests it’s not that far away. I jump out of the truck and walk a half a km back up the busy highway to retrieve it. Thankfully its not destroyed and has bounced onto the side railing. I hoist it on my back and head back to the truck dodging the traffic. I get to 20 yards behind Limonada and she moves off and disappears in the distance. Jayne somehow missed the brightly coloured queen size thing  moving dangerously towards her swearing loudly and took off to make a U turn and try and rescue me. She eventually finds me on the side of the road covered in muck and sweat sitting on a slightly road damaged mattress.

There is a swing dance festival in town and no room at the inns so our little Jungle cabin has been booked out for days. We have had 4 crops of guests through. It’s not much money but it’s a start and everyone loves being out here so our reviews are great.  The boys have taken over one of our new cabañas and Jake and his girlfriend are installed in another. We prepare for our friend from Darlington coming over. She arrives and is installed in her own private cabaña.

The central outdoor kitchen area is looking rather well.  We have introduced a palapa shade roof, sink, worktop and an oven. It even has its own working power socket!! We will plumb the solar into lighting and more sockets soon.

The bathroom shower block has been transformed. Our resident bats have been encouraged to move to more suitable accommodation which allows the place to have a coat of paint and remain clean. Continuous falling bat guano is a challenge.

As a final touch we have created a stairway and a platform up to the roof which gives a raised area to eat, sunbathe or relax under the jungle/stars. There is a bannister around this area as it’s small enough for drunks not to be trusted.  It’s looking beautiful. We have just listed all the cabañas separately on airBnB and also the whole area as an open-plan 3 bedroom retreat.  We have a serious amount of bookings and enquiries already!!!

It’s changed…..

From this………..

 

To this ……..

  

We make an early start and head North to get supplies. The time zone change catches us and we arrive very early. We are making great time as a result until we get stuck on the road on the way back due to some accident again. Common theme we know. It’s an hour on the same bit of road and nothing is coming the other way. We hear a helicopter. We are close to a local town and we divert in for some lunch. We hear that a bus has hit a taxi and it’s not a good result. When we return to the road we pass what is left of a car but there is not much left. 30 feet down into the jungle is the bottom of a bus, wheels up. A large full transit bus to Guadalajara packed with families. There are fatalities and many serious injuries. We hear later that the taxi driver who is well known in San Pancho was at the end of a few days of a drink and drugs binge. Another humbling day.

The Six Nations Rugby is happening and I’m suddenly not the only one that cares. It is possible now we have some power to get my laptop functional enough to run a VPN and fool the internet gods that I’m sitting in a bar in UK somewhere and allow me to watch it like every other license paying UK citizen.  My Irish mates are also willing to get up at 7 am to drink Mezcal and watch the match.  Ireland v Wales …. don’t want to talk about it.  They do….. constantly.

More good friends from Darlington are due in a few days and there is a mad rush of wood cutting, window making, chair hanging, safe installation, bloody floor cleaning and sink plumbing to get it ready for them. We create a staircase onto the roof of the orange block which makes for an outside raised lounging area. Fairy lights installed and the place is perfect with a good few hours to spare. How this place has changed….

From this ……….

 

To this …………..

 

We do another airport collect run and meet the others on the beach before arriving home. It’s a full moon and the jungle is lit up. No need for torches. A well lubricated crowd all witness our first Selva Vista apartment guests check in. They love it.

That’s a full house for us.

NINE guests !!

Here we go.

 

 

 

 

Beave

5 COMMENTS
  • Jeannie Dettori
    Reply

    Light the lights….there’s no stopping you now…

  • Amanda
    Reply

    Your airbnb shots don’t do the place justice guys, the ones on your own site looks like a completely difference place. I’m glad you are getting punters in and am sure you are having a blast getting it ready, bloody hippy buners ;o) xoxox

  • Wally
    Reply

    Can hardly wait to see it all up close when I visit tomorrow

  • JB
    Reply

    I’m so stoked for you guys. It looks fucking incredible, and keeps getting better. Jealous is a total understatement. Your jungle haven is definitely on my list of priorities to visit, soon.

    1. Jayne
      Reply

      Yes, come visit and bring the rest of the Cape Town crew with you. Suffering massively for not going to Afrikaburn this year. 🙁

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