A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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April 17, 2006 — Last night we walked over to the home of some other foreigners who live about a ten-minute walk from our place, just for a quick visit. We were inviting them and another couple who live in a small town east of Chapala to join us for something next weekend. It turned out that the other couple has been unreachable by phone or internet for almost a week because some disgruntled ex-phone company employees had cut some lines and Telmex hasn’t fixed it yet.

While we were there, the sky got darker and Kelly and I thought we’d better get on back because it looked like rain. But our friends said they’d run us home if it did rain, so we stayed.

Good thing we did, because almost immediately the winds picked up and a major downpour began. Not just rain… hail too! Thunder and lightning were in the mountains just above. It was spectacular. With the strong wind, dozens of lemons fell from our friends’ tree just outside the window. Things quieted down after a while, but it rained for about an hour. The electricity flickered off and on but didn’t stay out long.

When they drove us home, it was a different story. Our street once again was without power, for about the fifth time since we moved here. As we walked up through our front yard with a flashlight, there weren’t a lot of large branches down but there were leaves everywhere. Kelly noticed about half an inch of hail still on the lawn; we later heard that it hasn’t hailed here in over 40 years.

Our dog Larry was exceedingly glad to see us, as he splashed through the water on the kitchen floor.

What was water doing on the kitchen floor?

We quickly lit our three votive candles, recently purchased after another night when the lights were out, and discovered that the kitchen floor resembled a lake in parts. It had come in the back door. From some plastic bins left outside, we guess it had rained between two and four inches, and a lot of that seemed to have come horizontally.

I’ve never mopped by candlelight before, but I did that while Kelly cleaned out the water that had flooded his toolbox in our little side porch.

We’ve got the phone number of the CFE (Comision Federal de Electricidad) permanently on our bulletin board, but nobody answered. Well, it was Easter.

In the morning, there was no power. We surveyed the damage and spent the morning cleaning up. Luckliy, our large water storage tank at the top of the land had over 600 gallons in it. No more would be added till the power was back on, but 600 gallons is a lot.

Here, Larry regards the yard from the porch:

Our pool was the worst of it, filled with debris. We cleaned out a lot but couldn’t run the filter because it requires electricity.

I called the CFE and they said there were many areas without power. It would be a while. So we moved the food from our refrigerator to the one in our RV, after setting it up on propane.

As the day wore on, I noticed how my mind kept assuming we had power, with little thoughts like:

  • Guess I’ll do a load of laundry with all these rags and towels.
  • Kelly’s not on the porch so he’s probably at his computer.
  • I’ll put this avacado from a neighbor’s tree in the fridge, as it seems perfect.
  • I’d better email my sister that my email is down.

I’ve been without power many times in my life, but somehow I found this time more disquieting. Maybe it’s because this disruption echoed the hurricanes of last year. We had watched on TV how people in several countries coped with flooding and power outages. The Mexican infrastructure is challenged at the best of times. How long would our power be out? How long would we be offline?

Kelly took a bus to Ajijic for some errands, and when he returned, he was annoyed that the power line on the other side of the highway had been fixed but ours hadn’t. We thought maybe the CFE might think there were no problems remaining in our area, so I called again. I got a recording which I couldn’t understand. An hour later, I got a real person and she was very good about asking exactly where the problem was. Encouraging.

After dark, Kelly took our cellphone down to the motorhome to charge it. Just as he was doing that, the lights came back on. It was a bit over 24 hours. I’m grateful but a bit more wary about assuming that everything will work.

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