Monday, January 24, 2011

The sound of silence

Ever since the end of the holiday season (no matter how you measure it that season has been over for some time now), we’ve been waiting for the sounds of paving and road work to once again fill the air here in Loreto Bay, particularly in the Founder's Neighborhood which has been awaiting asphalt since long before the holiday break. But it’s the sound of silence that continues to dominate, with only the occasional caw of a gull to break the monotony.

Homex started this project with a colossal amount of energy and speed that has dwindled over the past few weeks to a few workers here in AV finishing up the curbing and retaining walls. The only completed and paved portions of road after all this time are the south entrance from Highway 1 to the Paseo and then the short stretch to the Inn and a couple of other very short branches.

Even just a couple of weeks ago Agua Viva was abuzz with road construction activity, but now work is at a virtual standstill. The two photos below were taken from our roof tower at about 2:30 p.m. today. As you can see, there's a whole lotta nothing going on.

So what gives?

The most persistent rumor is that work has stopped because the paving contractor has not been paid by Homex and he’s holding out until he gets some cold, hard pesos.

I, for one, don’t blame him, if it’s true he hasn’t been paid in months. It seems unlikely that any small company could go months without an infusion of capital, while still having to meet overhead and pay employees. Why should a small Mexican contractor have to carry a behemoth like Homex for months at a time? Considering how many local contractors got ripped off by the old Loreto Bay Company, it’s a wonder anyone will do business out here at all. So if this rumor is indeed fact, then Homex should do the right thing and pay the contractor. Let’s get this show on the road, for crying out loud!!

Another whisper on the wind says Homex has stopped work because the bigwigs are mulling the possibility of asking home owners to ante up and share the cost of paving the Paseo. This particular scenario doesn’t make sense at all. Homex hasn’t allowed any home owner input regarding the layout and paving, so it’s hard to imagine they’d have their hand out for help at this point in the project. This isn’t some rinky-dink company we’re talking about here. Homex is one of the largest companies in Mexico, so it would seem safe to assume they’re not crazy. Then again, this is Mexico...

Maybe work will resume tomorrow or maybe it won’t. Maybe they ran out of asphalt like they did before the holidays or maybe we’ll never know what caused the work stoppage. Whatever the reason, we hope Homex pays up, gears up and finishes up this project before we’re all too old to enjoy a new road!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unplugged in Loreto Bay

Saturday our Internet and phone went out here in Loreto Bay. Everything went kaput. But we weren’t alone because the entire development suffered the same fate. It was excruciating that first day. Initially, all I could think was "What if something happens out there in that other world, that world of family and friends and news in the States? How will we know what’s going on?"

Sunday morning dawned and still no Internet and no Vonage phone… Holy crap! I can’t read Frank Rich in the New York Times! I can’t read the New York Times period or Huff Post or emails or call my son in New Mexico as I do every Sunday! How will I spend my day?? What the hell is going on?

George and I groused and grumbled about Road9, the carrier that keeps us in touch with the outside world. Then we left for the Farmer’s Market as we do every Sunday. We saw other Loreto Bay home owners and compared notes about our isolation. "When will this end," we asked each other. We were all dismayed, but we’d had no word on how or why our lifeline was shutdown and for how long we’d have to be incommunicado. Agony!

When we got back from the Farmer’s Market there was still no phone service or Internet. We had to adjust because we had to rethink our whole day. And we did. I made waffles and bacon and fresh squeezed OJ for brunch. And we talked. Gasp! We talked instead of reading the news on the Internet and then groaning over what we were reading. We didn’t agonize over Tea Party insanity or Sarah Palin’s latest outrageous Tweet. We talked about the things that make up our day. Imagine that! And then we spent the day reading books. Good books that we always seem too willing to put aside, opting instead to read the mostly depressing news that keeps us tethered to the "real" world.

We went to bed that night wondering what the heck was going on and we awoke Monday morning to more of the same. No phone, no Internet. We shrugged and talked idly of the rumors that were circulating. Road9 has gone out of business we heard. They’ve walked away and we’ll never have Internet again. They’re upgrading to wireless. They’re being forced out by TelMex. You name it, we heard it. More shrugs. Oh well. Hey! Let’s read some more. Let’s go for a walk to see those jelly fish we heard about this morning. Let's talk.

Imagine that!

My thoughts kept going to the those hardy souls who moved down here before the advent of the Internet and Vonage or Skype phones. How the hell did they manage?! Weren’t they worried about staying in touch with family and friends? But you know what? They managed. They lived their lives and stayed in touch however they could.

Tuesday was more of the same, but it was easier to tolerate. More talking, more reading, a trip into town for Spanish lessons and a chance to check our email. Oh well.

This morning we woke to discover that Internet service had been restored. Although a large part of me was thrilled, a smaller part of me was not.

Imagine that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

That George is one lucky guy!

Life is all about the milestone markers. When we’re young those milestones have a triumphal feel. “Hey, I got my driver’s license!” “ I can vote this year!”
“Let’s go get a drink, I’m finally legal!”

But as we get older, those milestones sometimes feel more like millstones around our neck. Our bones start aching, our joints start creaking and wrinkles pop up in all manner of strange places. When those things start to happen the passing years become a lot less exciting. Let’s face it, once you hit a certain age birthdays can be downright depressing.

George marked one of those milestones this week when he turned 60 – a very youthful 60, I’d like to add. But his milestone took on the feel of one of those youthful triumphal moments thanks to two friends here in Agua Viva. The two Tracys (one a home owner, the other a friend of her’s who visits regularly) decided it would be fun to celebrate George’s last day as a 59-year-old by preparing a pre-birthday meal before they left for home the next day.

We were greeted at the door of Tracy’s casa with the news that lobster and steak would be served, as well as baked potatoes, salad and fresh bread from Loreto’s newest (and best) bakery. My first thought was “Great!” my next was “How am I ever going to top this!”

Watching the two Tracys in action was like watching a synchronized Olympic event. They displayed a combination of gracious hospitality and intensity of purpose that was a sight to behold. The drinks were divine (massive quantities of vodka paired with cucumber and mint, yum!), the conversation was entertaining and the meal was superb, including an excellent wine Tracy 2 decided she'd like to share with us. But the highlight of the evening was watching these two friends as they worked in tandem to prepare the meal. They were so in synch it was almost scary. How’d they do that?! They shrugged off the compliments and went out of their way to make George feel special. And they succeeded. What guy on the verge of 60 wouldn’t be thrilled to have two good-looking young women cooking up a storm for him?

Thanks Tracy and Tracy for making George’s coulda been a millstone into a very fun milestone. You two are the best!

But that wasn’t the end to the 60th birthday festivities. A bunch of friends came over last night to help us celebrate and both of his birthday parties have me thinking that maybe turning 60 isn’t so bad after all…