Sunday, July 06, 2008

the answer is blowin' in the five-e

I do not need Madam Zora's crystal ball to tell me my future. I have NOAA.

In less than a week I will be flying to Melaque to look at the house I would like to rent when I retire in Mexico. On Wednesday, the town was hit with heavy rains that caused some minor "flooding." Here, it would be flooding. In Melaque, it is "flooding" because the streets did their best Venice impression, but life went on. Just north in La Manzanilla, the same storm pushed the sea past the first row of houses and shops on the beach. Some furniture did its own Noah impression.

It appears that nature has planned a reprise for this week, At about noon on Monday, Melaque could be hit with another "weather event". The last one was a storm named Douglas. This one is a depression. Apparently, weather events that fall into the same category as a DSM-IV diagnosis are not allowed to have the same names you would use for your first-born son or as a nickname for a body part.

The current threat to Melaque has the odd appellation: "Tropical Depression Five-E." I cannot figure out if it is meant to sound like a viral infection or a diminutive number, similar to Cincito.

What I do know is that these weather events can be very serious. Last year Hurricane Henriette (she of the real name and real wind power) flooded (even in the Melaque sense) a good portion of the town. If you want to see how bad flooding can get,
Scott Parks has some photographs to show you.

I said that I wanted to see Melaque during the time of year when it was offering up some of its worst weather. I meant humidity and heat. I guess I will soon know just what it is like to retire on the Pacific coast.


1st Mate said...

Steve - I like Melaque, and think it would be a great place to live, but I hope your place will be on high ground. There's always Barra, and I haven't heard of any flooding problems there (have you?). Barra's on our Top Three List of Places we might move to when we head south.

Steve Cotton said...

Last year when Melaque flooded, nothing happened in Barra. Part of that is geography. Melaque's lagoon does not empty into the sea, and it is built on a river that has not been well-engineered through the town. Of course, Barra could have its own problems in the event of a tsunami. The place sits on a very flat alluvial plain. But if that were to occur, there would be far more damage along the coast. Melaque gives me a chance to live right on the beach. I suspect I will seek permanent shelter in Barra if I decide to stay on the coast.

Nancy said...

I'm sure you'll have a great trip, and it is good to see a place when it is wet...can save a lot of grief later on.

The heat and humidity will be a shock to your system I bet...can you practice at a steam room at your gym?

We are so totally aclimated I can't believe it...the other night we had the air conditioner on and I thought it was so cold it must have been broken - I went and got our thermometer and guess what freezing is now? 80!

Have fun. Paul and I loved Barra too, but don't know Melaque. Take lots of pictures...

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- This is exactly the trip I need to take. I saw pictures of the flood last year. At that time, I could not imagine living in Melaque. Then I realized how silly that was. My house almost flooded a few years ago, and I didn't move out because of it. I am going to have a rare opportunity to see the type of conditions I may need to contend with next year.

We have been having our share of heat in Oregon, but no humidity like Pacific Mexico's. I have my own techniques of dealing with tropical humidity. But, if you would like to add any further suggestions, I am always open to new knowlodge. I suspect I will adjust just fine.

I will try to remember to take photographs and to keep a travel log. It should help me to get this blog back on a Mexico track.

jennifer j. rose said...

There’s poverty tourism, medical tourism, eco-tourism, narco-tourism, disaster-tourism, terror-tourism, but you’ve struck a first: intentionally flying into the eye of the storm. Uh, were you planning on sending your friends back home “Wish you were here” postcards?

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- Never say that I am one to shrink from a new trend. Count me in on the next volcanic eruption.

Babs said...

I didn't know that weather was happening on the coast! That MIGHT explain all the rain we've been getting........yesterday as it rained for the fourth time, I said, this feels like a tropical depression (having lived through waaaay too many of those in Houston in my life).....TRAVEL SAFE!

Steve Cotton said...

I am looking forward to the trip dow. This will be another milestone on my transition south.

Mike Fredrickson said...

If you go to Melaque Steve, notice how the land in town is highest fairly close to the sea and then slopes down into the town which was obviously part of a lagoon at one time. Casa Amatista is a block from the sea on Esmeralda and didnt have any problem when the flooding occured (2 years running!).
Mike Fredrickson

Steve Cotton said...

Mike -- I will be staying at a house right on the beach -- almost to the lagoon. I was positive that it wouild have flooded. But it has the same feature. It sits higher than the town.

Anonymous said...

As a former Californian, I can say this with some conviction: I'd take an earthquake over a flood any day! A flood seems like the worst possible kind of natural disaster because it ruins everything and can hang around for a long time.

The good news from a Mexican perspective is that virtually all houses are masonry, which means the house itself won't be damaged by a flood. Just everything in it!

Hope you don't overheat.

By the way, I lived in and around San Francisco up to the time I went to college in Houston. While I found it shockingly hot and humid at first, (How is this possible outdoors???) I acclimatized over 6 months or so.

Best of luck,

Kim G
Boston, MA
(where, someday, I'll have my own Mexico-themed blog)

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- I have grown up around minor (if there is such a thing) floods in southern Oregon and in the Willamette Valley. You are correct, thre is some sort of primordial fear of being the next Noah's neighbor. But that is one of the forces I will most likely face if I choose to live on the Jalisco coast.

Steve Cotton said...

By the way, Kim, you are more than welcome to borrow our blogs as long as you like. I really enjoy your comments.