There’s always a season. And the best one here – the rainy one – is about to start. The cicadas are at it full force, sometimes they are so loud that I think it’s the bell on the garbage truck. We’re into the dry season and it *could* be another two weeks, it could be another six. Who knows? All I know is that the city water here is less than enough for the pool and pond with the rate of evaporation and we’re ordering a pipa (truck) of water a week.
The city will run the water (it’s not like up north, direct to tap) three times a week. We’ve got a big cistern, probably 30,000 litres or more. But they turn the water on in our neighbourhood for a defined period of time. We’re lucky if we get 10,000 litres at a time. So we’re always supplementing with pipas at 800 pesos (about $40 USD) this time of year. There’s tons of water in Cuernavaca. It’s the systems that are so antiquated – nothing works consistently.
I don’t care that we have to buy pipas – I hate the inconvenience. And the inconvenience of checking the cistern almost every day before I start to run the washing machine or dishwasher (the cistern pumps huge loads up to the ‘tinaco’ on the roof, which then supplies the house). I’m used to water on demand from city pipes. That doesn’t exist in Mexico except in places like Mexico City or newer condo developments or gringo developments.
Normal people with houses this size have full-time staff. They don’t organize pipas and garbage days and package deliveries (not to mention cleaning or laundry). Most of them don’t even grocery shop. A lot of them don’t cook. That’s while you’ll see retirees having such a relaxed time in Mexico. They take advantage of the very low labour rates. But we don’t like having people around the house all the time. Plus, we’re not paying those rates to anyone (FM).
We do have a houseman who cleans on Fridays (and a gardener and general 4-hour helper, same days). And a pool guy. Same day. Our houseman works an eight-hour day cleaning. The minimum wage is 100p a day. Most pay 350-400p and we pay 500p a day. It’s reasonable – he has a lot to do. We don’t like people around every day so we have them all come on Friday and pay them well and they work hard. As a result, it makes Fridays unbearable but it does make the weekend lovely and the place looks like it is meant to look 🙂
But why do two seniors (albeit young seniors LOL) have a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom house? (That’s counting the casita). What were they thinking? That’s us, by the way. It may be somewhat dangerous once I start talking in the third person. I’ll stop.
When I last left you, I was off to the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island and then back to Mexico where we’d head to La Paz a week later. All is well on the book project and I’ve completed 9/24 chapters (first edit complete, so a few polishes to come) and I’ve got about five weeks to go before I need to be finished so I’m in relatively good shape. I have all the research and info organized, all the tapes transcribed (100,000+ words) and inserted into each chapter in rough form, I have the chapters outlined to within an inch of their lives and all I need to do is put the pieces together in a pleasant fashion. So that’s good.
I’ll head to the coast again mid-June for a different meeting (same guy, however), having recently at that point delivered his book in raw pdf format for his edits. He doesn’t want to see it chapter by chapter and that’s actually a good move at this point. When he gets it in June, he can go through it at his leisure and take notes. He’s gone to Europe for July so I’m not expecting to get to the second edit until mid-August or even September. So that means after I deliver in June, I’m free for a bit.
But I do have another job waiting – the last ghost book client wants to add more stories to his book. He’s already taped stuff but I can’t get into it until I’m done with the logging book (which isn’t all about logging by any means, it’s just how I’m identifying it). So, I’ll be busy until the end of the year which is nice.
La Paz. We went to La Paz. It reminded us very much of Galveston. Great sunsets. The days were nice, as were the evenings. It was March, so that makes no statement about December and January and we’ve been warned that it is colder at night. But it’s warm in the day – it’s the desert after all. Where the desert meets the sea (of Cortez). Incredible sea life and beaches. Really incredible.
Overall, we liked it. I could happily spend winters there. Not summers. It gets too hot – 40C on occasion, mid-30s always and you need to run air conditioning. I gather that despite being on the water, Baja towns and cities aren’t as humid as other beach locations, being desert rather than jungle. But it’s still hot. I was in Scottsdale one July for a week or so and I don’t care how dry it was, it sucked.
So, I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m watching the rental options on both Vancouver Island and La Paz and we are getting an appraisal on our house next week. We see being out of here, realistically, in a year or so. But, we could be surprised also. If the right buyer comes along, we’re history. And writing those words does make me a little sad, as it’s a wonderful house. But I’m starting to get nervous about having this kind of money (the cost of this house) in Mexico, to be honest.
La Paz has *incredible* streets. Incredible. Wide, paved, smooth. Roads and sidewalks. Even with his back (which is slowly improving, thank you to those who asked/emailed) – the doctor thought Chris could ride his electric bike again in the not too distant future. Just not here, the roads are too rough. In fact, he has trouble with his back after taking a taxi or uber in this town because of occasional cobblestones but pot holes galore and very poor infrastructure here on the road work overall. The La Paz roads were incredible. Haven’t seen these kinds of roads before in Mexico except new toll roads. So they do something right in La Paz.
Crime is up everywhere in Mexico – including La Paz and Cuernavaca. Not that we have experienced it but it’s up really exponentially. And the new president is acting like trump but on the extreme left – saying and doing some pretty irrational things. Like removing the requirement for teachers to pass qualification tests. What is he thinking? Prior to these tests, jobs were simply bought and sold or handed down in families, despite the lack of qualifications. Now they will be again.
This could be a first world country. It has so much going for it – from natural resources to an incredible bank of human capital and artistic talent. It could be a world leader. IF it could get rid of the corruption. It’s absolutely everywhere. Everywhere. I just heard a horrible story about a woman in town who recently found out she has cancer. She is in her 60s and worked for the municipality for most of her life. She had a pension. Until the outgoing mayor of Cuernavaca stole all of the pension money on his way out. And now, she has no pension. And nobody does a damn thing about it. They fucking shrug their shoulders.
From the way they shoot stray dogs in San Miguel and pile them up in the back of garbage trucks, some still wiggling — to mayors stealing seniors’ pensions in Cuernavaca – there is a dark underbelly to Mexico. I’m not talking about drug-related cartel dark underbelly. I’m talking dark cultural underbelly. It’s all very interesting but I’ve seen enough. Time to go home.
That said, LOL, we will spend the winters in La Paz very happily. Not Vancouver Island. In fact, from Cuernavaca, we will move to La Paz and then slowly move stuff north from there. Straight up the left coast if we drive. If trump is defeated, that is. Which I’m starting to doubt but I can’t get into that. Check my Facebook page for rants, I’m not doing that to myself here today. Or to you, haha.
So, I’m finishing the first draft of the book, then heading to BC for the last half of June (doing a triangle, will stop at Dad’s first in Wasaga Beach, north of Toronto, for Father’s Day). The Airstream should be gutted with a new floor and putting it together should be fun. I’ll see the kids – and have a meeting on another project that has to do with a long-term investment in BC that may or may not come to fruition. But you know what they say about that damn lottery: You can’t win if you don’t play.
Then, I have to be back here to process my visa renewal in early July and then, once again, who knows what will happen. I *should* plan a summer party. That could be fun. And might be our last hurrah. I won’t be here for summer solstice, so that’s out. Maybe a Midsummer’s Night Dream or Alice in Wonderland theme. Or a White Party.
Ok, chicos (has to be masculine if there is even one guy and 99 women) – time for me to go. I hope everyone is well and well into spring weather up north by now. I leave you with a song for today. Just one I felt like playing, no other reason.