On Vacation

I’m taking a few weeks off from construction of the container house while a friend visits us from the States. I’ll be back writing about the house after the first of March. Wow. March is so soon? I’ve got to get busy as the dry season is passing quickly!

I took our house guest for a drive in the country to Cedelinda’s (I’m tutoring her in English) house. Cedelinda lives in the small pueblo of Chichi Bali, a five-kilometer drive on a not-well-maintained dirt road. There is no bus or taxi service, and there is currently only one pickup truck that drives the road daily to and from the pueblo. There is a trip in the morning and a trip in the early evening. People can get a ride for a dollar. If you miss the ride or don’t have the dollar, your other option is to walk.

The purpose of our visit to the pueblo was because Cedelinda had invited Cynthia and me to see her in church as she became a catechist (started catechism education in the Catholic church). The church was packed with standing room only, but the priest had car trouble and couldn’t make it to the pueblo. So after the non-service, Cedelinda invited us to her house for refreshments.

I guess there are wonderful health benefits from having to walk. But the thought of a pregnant woman, or an older person with arthritis walking to and from Chichi Bali seems like too much to me. It gives new meaning to what old folks say to kids, “When I was going to school it was uphill both ways.” Well, for school kids from Chichi Bali, it still is uphill both ways!

After the trip, I remembered that the dash cam was recording all this, so here for your viewing pleasure is The Trip To Chichi Bali. Much of the road is carved into the side of the mountains and there are precipitous drops into deep valleys. There are a couple slight pauses while I stop to pick up a few people. Watching a video of driving a dirt road may not be everyone’s cup of tea but, in two parts because of the YouTube 15-minute limit, here is the trip from our house to Cedelinda’s house:

Toward the end of part 2 of the trip we stop at the church. After we leave the church we drive to Cedelinda’s house.

So, what’s the verdict? Would you like to walk this twice a day to and from work or school? Feel free to picture the walk in your mind. Throw in rain, darkness, mountain lions crossing your path…

Here are some photos we took at the church and at Cedelinda’s house (photos by me or D.H.):

Cedelinda with her niece looking on

Fresh local flowers picked for the occasion

Cede showing off two of her pet parrots

Everyone laughed at me but I don't mind

The parrots are so well treated that they don't fly away

Cede's dad, Ignacio, and her brother, Benjamin, pick some ripe star fruit off a tree at their back door

The next day, our house guest and I went to the orchid conservatory (because of poachers and other habitat problems, many of the orchids now exist only at the conservatory). This isn’t the flowering season, but a few orchids were in bloom:

Cynthia couldn't help but play with the previous photo in my photo manipulation program of choice -- Gimp. This is the result.

I’m enjoying a little time off from the hard work of building the house. But I’ll be back at it soon. That’s all for now.