October 13, 2008
Our New Home (from Betty)
Well I am sitting on our veranda watching the sun set over the ocean. The clouds are a pale pink and probably there will more rain tonight. It is still the rainy season as I found out when the clothes we put out to dry came back wet from a sudden storm. I also finally got our battery operated radio going and got it tuned to something called Capitol Radio but it also had news from BBC. In the guesthouse I mainly watched CNN to keep up with the news but in our new place we don’t have a TV so I am glad to have this radio and to get some good reception. Their choice of music has ranged from “Material Girl” by Madonna to Paul Simon’s South African CD Graceland. But I was happy to get the news at the top of the hour and to hear that the US market has rebounded somewhat. Who knows if that will hold as it seems to be acting more like a seesaw.
I love our new apartment. It’s big, airy, and has a wonderful view which I am enjoying this evening by myself as Bob has gone running with a local group, called the Hash Harriers, and won’t be back until after dark. It only has some very basic furniture but it’s something I can live with and build on with local craft materials, I hope. But we had some very rude shocks as we settled in. And after our first night in the apartment I wasn’t sure if I could survive another night.
This is a country with a generator culture because the govt can’t provide power on a daily basis. As you know to get this apartment we had to buy our own generator. The first night we did not have power and so we happily turned on the generator when it got dark at 7pm. And we had our first dinner that I cooked, spaghetti, not very exciting but it tasted wonderful after eating local food with rice or badly prepared restaurant food for over a month. Actually I do like the local food just not every night. Everything was going pretty well. We turned on the hot water heater but not the AC as we didn’t buy a big enough generator to do both at the same time thinking we would cool down the bedroom later.
The evening was going nicely but as I settled in to read a book on the couch I began to feel like my head was throbbing. We realized that the generator next door was producing not only noise but vibrations which I felt through out my whole body. Since my back injury my body has become more sensitive. Then our whole apartment went dark and we scrambled to find some flashlights, which in our hurried move here we had not really unpacked properly. Finally we found them and went outside to talk to the security guy at the gate. Well, the generator had run out of fuel. So we asked the guard to put more fuel in the tank, which he did, and this time it only lasted 2 hours only time enough to barely cool off the bedroom and get to sleep.
We woke a few hours later, all sweaty and to the sound of mosquitoes buzzing our ears. We found our insect repellant, applied it best we could and covered up, sweating out the rest of the night. Needless to say we did not sleep very well. And along with that the bed was very soft which didn’t help my back at all. We were both pretty miserable. But when we woke up the view was there to greet us, the generator noise had stopped, and the birds were singing. We actually had a nice breakfast with the granola that I had baked the night before and tried to decide what we would do next.
Then the national power came on and we were able to work on our computers for most of the day and life seemed back to normal. It’s amazing how things looked so much better with a bit of power and no noise. Some friends stopped by and we had drinks on the veranda watching the sunset. We even had power that evening when we came home from eating out and we didn’t have to turn on our generator. Stupid us we didn’t really understand how much fuel a generator uses. So this has been a very expensive shock…one hour of lights, etc. will cost us about $5.00. So now when the lights come on, and we never know when or how long they will stay on, we let out a sigh of relief and a cry for joy.