We don’t have a great deal of time to stew on the fact that we have less things. Clearly we need to beef up our security when we are not on the land. We knew this and became complacent but have had the requisite kick up the arse and our focus is restored.
Distractions are numerous. The past few weeks we have had very little sun. This is a blessed relief from a ginger man’s perspective but not such good news for solar batteries. The trees are dispensing large loads of fluff and leaves which act as a fabulous photon barrier and require regular removal. Finding me performing one legged acrobatic ballet moves perched on a ladder while welding a fluff remover on a pole over the solar panels is a common sight these days. Petrol has had to be deployed a few times now to top us up with power. This involves lifting a very heavy generator onto a slope near the batteries and levelling it with rocks and wood. Then a few hours later lifting the thing back into the solar house while balancing on the slope and the janky half rotten wood step we have created to make the process possible if not extremely hazardous. A better solution is required before I end up flattened. More sun for sure.
The rains are teasing us. A couple of nights of solid rain already then nothing. Just this initial downpour has transformed the place. Dust to mud to solid flat ground in a matter of days. The jungle has opened its dry eye and is now fully prepared for a growth spurt. The browns are already greenish. The greens are now vibrant and full of life. Rain preparations are starting but the humidity is upon us and I’m that soggy guy again. Armed with pick axe and shovel I can get through a few meters of trench and a few litres of water in about an hour then I’m done. Recovery time is in hours not minutes. Everyday I’m reminded that I’m not a 26 year old ginger ninja anymore.
Life out here is now more animated as the rains threaten. Butterflys surround us, large lizards & geckos & iguanas are everywhere. Groups of June bugs are crashing into anything that gets in their dozy way and knocking themselves out in small piles. They really are the dumbest thing out here. Our first fireflies have started to flash and glow around the fringes which is always a great indicator that water is in our near future. It’s also frog orgy time again. Riddle me this. Why is it that as the first drops of rain fall onto the arid dry dust landscape there instantly appears hundreds of full size randy frogs and toads in loud voice? Is it like a jungle pot noodle? Just add water and an entire rehydrated toad the size of a coconut is created? I have avoided Googling this phenomena as I’m happy to believe that this is just one of nature’s magic tricks.
Nocturnal ant hoards are making their presence known. Large areas of jungle have been crisscrossed with clear debris free paths where highways of black and red ants have decided to march. There is little that will stop them. Our night was somewhat interrupted recently when we noticed a few of the large black versions on our mosquito net. I leapt out of bed and was presented with a mass of the buggers all over the inside of the windows climbing the wall and heading for the roof. A small hole in the floor was allowing thousands of them to troop up the main house timbers into the house. Not good. There is a white milky toxic substance called Mata Plagas we try to avoid but we put aside for moments like this. The options are to either spray chemical barriers to divert the endless throng of fearless biting ants or be overrun. I spray where they are getting in first which has an immediate effect. The heavy flow of ants stops. There is much naked balancing on furniture so I can reach the roof and attack the army that has been cut off from it’s reinforcements. I’m holding my breath as I don’t want toxic death spray in my lungs. When I’m happy that the house invaders are all dealt with I put on my sandals and walk outside through the shower to investigate further and assess the possibilities of further attack. Through the darkness I can see the whole of the jungle floor is moving. It’s a biblical sight. The shower is full of ants and the back wall of the house is covered. I start the defence by clearing the shower and spraying a thick barrier of toxins around me. It occurs to me pretty early on that despite my efforts I’m getting eaten. My sandaled feet have a large amount of front line attack ants biting into them. I spray myself liberally and put the shower on to soothe the burn. The pain is significant. I get another few volleys of toxin onto the house and retreat. I check the balcony and the front door and all is calm. There are no more ants in the house and the none coming through the shower area. Crisis averted. It takes an hour or so of moaning and swearing and pints of lotion for my feet and legs to stop burning. They are an efficient fighting force. All respect.
As the number of guests here has reduced to a trickle. There is a lot less work to do managing the loos and the compost. Termites have, however, entirely devoured large amounts of the pallets that make up a the compost housings. Choosing how to protect your feet is an important decision on a daily basis. The flip-flop/thong/sandal is, however, the footwear of choice most days because of the heat. Hot and heavy work boots are usually only applied when there is heavy lifting, digging or thick jungle to hack through. The implication of this decision came home to me when I went to assess the process of repairing and replacing the compost retaining walls. I took a leap over a pile of sawdust and found myself unable to move. I was somehow stuck to the floor. You know the gods are smiling on you when you find a very long large and rusty nail has passed through the sole of your shoe and is now protruding from the gap between your toes.
I am for a short while transported back to the black hole of imbecility that is the UK tax system. As all my company and personal records on my laptop and hard drives have been stolen I need to reset accounts and access codes to allow me to run my business in the way the beloved HMRC dictate. Well after an eternity of being on hold on international telephone lines awaiting the next idiot to guide me in entirely the wrong direction I give up. It appears that I’m stuck in a great loop of ignorance. HMRC cannot authenticate my identity without the information that I do not have. I cannot get that information without authentication by HMRC. Only took a few hours of intensely frustrating conversations with under trained pillocks to work this out. I’ll have to be more creative. At least if they want to tax audit me I have absolutely nothing for them to see and a very good excuse why.
We are sorting our lives out one quiet afternoon when the Mexican army arrives. It’s a strange sight to see a troop of Marines in full combats carrying heavy weapons marching up our hill towards the house. They have heard that there have been robberies in the area and they are showing force. They intend to remove undesirables. We manage to convince them that we are actually quite desirable and take their contact details. We now have the phone number of some large well armed Marines. Not a bad thing.
As we settle back into the slow daily routines amongst the peace and beauty of our jungle fate intervenes. Jayne has been contacted by a colleague who is running a project in Toronto and wants her to consider coming up and spending 3 to 6 months working with them. This has created a real conundrum. We have invested a lot of ourselves avoiding commercial nonsense and false prophets. The money would certainly be very useful for investment in more infrastructure here and take the pressure off the often irritating efforts to keep our 5 star Air BnB ratings. I can hold the fort here, get on with some projects and travel North to visit when required. That aside, does Jayne want to put clothes on again? Shoes, pants, even maybe a coat? Swap tacos for cheeseburgers? Does she want to forego the hot sweaty and wet Summer in Nayarit for the temperate conditions of Toronto? It’s a dilemma for sure. Her telephone interview went very well but no offer is in hand yet. The Toronto corporate machine may require someone more permanent and less jungly. We are unsure if she will be offered a contract that she can accept. There is certainly no need for either of us to leave our home here to take on any contracts as we are financially ok for the time being but it’s a good opportunity and a tempting one. Endless possibilities arise again.
Regretfully we hear that a friend of ours has died. Dave Fisher was a great local musician and character. He and Pablo jammed for hours and hit it off like evil twins. He will be missed by all and again puts our recent issues fully in perspective.