Thursday, November 30, 2006

Errands and Fortune

My wife and I scored on an over/under washer dryer yesterday, saving about $240 US because it has a scratch on it. Like I'm not going to beat the crap out of it. We also purchased a range/oven (mini, for our mini kitchen) a refrigerator/freezer (small, but not mini), microwave, coffeemaker and the all-important rice cooker. They threw in a free toaster oven with the fridge. All for about $1750 US. I was very happy. Appliances are very expensive here due to high import taxes.

I had the option of having everyting delivered and splitting the delivery cost with the vendor. Having been through this before, I elected to pick the stuff up in my pickup. Vendors rarely have their own trucks. They hire a taxi driver with a pickup truck to deliver - usually a very used pickup truck - with no guarantees on delivery. I pictured the Nicaraguan taxista presenting a new kitchen to his gold-toothed wife and 12 kids. Didn't like what I saw.

The painters and stucco guys are coming to repair the bad stucco and interior paint today also. I have to find water for them to use as we've turned off the well pump. We're trying to evict people in the house next door to us (which is on the same pump), so we cut off power and water to the house they're in 10 days ago and changed the lock on the gate accessing the property (go around the problem, avoid confrontation). They're still there living there in darkness. I imagine they smell pretty bad too. The guy was selling cocaine out of the house. Many of his customers were Hollywood's finest private security cops. Hollywood recently hired private security to combat the increasing incidences of theft and, now, violent crime being experienced in some of the gated communities here. The police in the next town over were useless, if they even showed up. And they let everyone they caught go. Less paperwork, I guess. So now several local hotels and real estate brokers pay a private force to do the same.

So it's a day of roadtrips, heavy lifting and babysitting today. But we'll be closer to being able to move into the new place, which we have now privately dubbed "La Jungla" ("The Jungle").

EVENING UPDATE: The electricity went down this morning before I could publish this. Coopeguanacaste is doing a lot of work on poles and wires in the area. The electricity goes down about every other day on average, from about 8AMto 4PM. Public water's been out a lot lately too. You adjust.

One thing that struck me today... I managed to sandwich all three big appliances on the back of my pickup. While driving home, I noticed a lot of heads turning to stare at the payload as I went by; people waiting for buses or rides. Nearly all of them were women, drooling! These are luxury items for a lot of folks. Many women cook over an open fire in an outdoor kitchen. The washer is an outdoor sink. The dryer is a clothes line. Most people do have a fridge, however, but many use an Igloo cooler. I felt a little guilty - and very fortunate.

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