Friday, April 24, 2009

solutions on the half-shell

Mexican ingenuity never ceases to amaze me.

Several bloggers have made similar observations. But I witnessed two examples on Wednesday and Thursday.

The woman who owns the house where I will be staying has been putting a lot of effort into fighting the problems that come from owning a house on the beach. New paint. Rust removal. Salt removal.

She hired a young man named Juan to do the painting. But he has been helping her with other chores. On Wednesday, I witnessed one of those "other" chores.

She purchased two conch shells to mount on the gate to the beach. Juan looked at several options, and came up with an anti-theft method. He mounted rebar in the gate posts and then cemented the shells to the rebar.

But the most interesting aspect of the project was the manner of mounting. You can see the dedication of Juan and his assistant, Mauricio, in the photograph at the top of this post. OSHA would shut the operation down in an instant. But the job was also done in that same instant -- no harm, no foul.

On Wednesday night, we discovered we were without water. Thursday morning, Juan discovered the problem. The cistern was filled with roots from the neighbor's ficus tree.

Juan and Mauricio scrambled down a hole that I could not imagine Jiggs fitting through, and produced the following trophies:

I wanted to get a better photograph of the ladder they used for the project, but this is the best photograph I have. It is made of thin scrap wood and screws. But a full-sized ladder would never have made it through the opening.

I truly love Mexico. In both instances, the solution was simple and elegant.

We have shells and water. And I have two tales to tell -- and I just did.


1st Mate said...

I bet Juan and his compadre can climb your coconut trees and harvest the coconuts before they bean somebody too. They look like a couple of very capable fellows.

Anonymous said...

We talked about changing the blog title in the past but as I read your posts on Melaque I wondered if the blog title should remain. Or is it a new life or just the same with different ways of doing things. I am so looking forward to your take on the expat experience and if you reach what Jennifer Rose and Billie Mercer call the Wall (5-7 years)

Constantino said...

Life is is good!

Calypso said...

They are a clever and resourceful people - have to admire that.

Chrissy and Keith said...

Great post Steve. I know when Keith and I approach a problem or project, we always put on our Mexican Thinking caps. I always say, "hmmm, what would a Mexican do?" Then we attempt it, but generally end up with an inferior result. Reason 99 that we are moving to Mexico!

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Screws? Wow, really uptown! Usually it's just scraps of wood and a few bent over nails.

I've totally lost track of "time." I don't even bother with a watch any more. The only way I know what day of the week it is is that the cleaning girl comes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If it wasn't for that I'd forget to put the garbage out.


Billie said...

Steve, Your blog is already getting enriched with Mexican tales.....and you'll have a lot more so don't worry about running out of blog material.

Anonymous said...

those roots remind me of wigs. the one on the left reminds me of my hair when it was long, o.k. the hair was a little prettier than that.

glad you're enjoying that new life of yours.


Anonymous said...

After your career of working in the field of Workman's Compensation litigation this must be a total hoot for you.


Anonymous said...

Shells and water...almost as good as loaves and fishes.

Happy adventures!

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we need more guys like Juan and Mauricio

glorv1 said...

So already you are finding your new roots easy to adapt to. You are definitely going to get spoiled and Mr. Jiggs too. How is Jiggs doing? Hope all is well with him. Happy trails to you and jiggs. Hope your brother is okay too.

Steve Cotton said...

Sorry I have not responded to comments. But yesterday was a rather action-packed day.

1st Mate -- I suspect Juan and Mauricio could do whatever they put their minds to doing. They are the type of guys I knew growing up in southern Oregon -- either farm sons or from mechanical families. The breed is disappearing NOB -- now that Calypso headed south.

Richland -- I hope there is never a wall. If there is,I will head off to another adventure.

Contantino -- Si.

Chrissy -- The fact that you are willing to try is proof positive that you have what it takes to make the switch.

Larry -- On my last trip down in July, I broke my wrist watch. Haven't worn one since.

Billie -- Blog material abounds. But it appears that I had to generate some of my own with today's post. My ear still hurts.

Teresa -- I tried to get Darrel to wear one as a wig -- if for no other reason, to get a photograph of him for the blog. Didn't work.

Rick -- Our loss prevention staff would have a field day down here. To no avail.

Kim -- If Boston had more Juans and Mauricios, Massachusetts would be a better place -- present company excluded (or included: whichever way turns out to be the better compliment).

Gloria -- Nice joke on the roots. Jiggs is still feeling the heat. We have a set of stairs that he needs to ascend and descend each time he goes out. That has been hard on his hip. I go up and down with him. It irritates him to be treated as a senior citizen. I understand the feeling.

Islagringo said...

I hope you never become tainted like the rest of us and stop noticing these sorts of things. It is great to see the wonders of Mexico through a newbies eyes again.

Steve Cotton said...

Islandgringo -- I am trying to record as many of these "new" observations before they simply become part of the background of daily living.

Anonymous said...

Quote -"the solution was simple and elegant."...the essence of good engineering in my book.


Steve Cotton said...

Charley -- Exactly!