10 June 2015

Not Exactly 670,616,629 Miles Per Hour, Though Close

When I moved to Africa I took with me monogrammed Irish linen cocktail napkins. Yes, it’s true. They were a reminder that in all civilized countries there’s an institution known as happy hour. I used them most frequently when other Peace Corps volunteers visited. In a dusty sub-Saharan country where all whites turned pink, they weren’t appropriate for daily use.

Here in Samara I’ve shipped a Davis family heirloom: Rusty’s mom’s Irish linen table napkins, embroidered white-on-white with small flowers. What was I thinking as I packed these white linens? I have no idea why I shipped a cashmere scarf, nor why we brought Rusty’s woolen sweater that we purchased in Tromsø, Norway. I really don’t know how the scarf slipped in; but I concede that we made a conscious decision to bring the sweater. In fact, we joked that we’d frame it in a picture-box type frame and just consider it a souvenir of our travels. Now that it’s all here and we have zero storage (and few walls on which to hang any art, much less a picture-box), it seems incredulous that we made the conscious decision about the sweater.

Last Friday five pallets arrived . . . up an insurmountable mountain in a small truck. It took less than 30 minutes to off-load all pallets, box-by-box, by the driver and his son, together with our three construction workers. So I’m as happy as a little squirrel furnishing its dray . . . nesting, nesting, nesting. I may not leave the mountain for days.

Here's the important how-we-did-it part of the pallet arrival: they arrived in Samara less than two weeks after we did. Two words: Shipping CR! Yes, you've heard nightmare tales of containers and/or pallets languishing in Customs for months. And yes, there were times when we believed that our five pallets would never arrive, or never make it up the mountain, or arrive in a pillaged state. But, joy, they made it in what must be record-breaking time, looking just as they did the day we said farewell, with nary a broken piece of Waterford (again, a stunningly stupid decision in a world where plastic should be a law).

So let's look at what else has changed since we placed a contract on little Mil Colinas last October.

First, let's look at the pool deck area, being on level II . . . versus the home, which we'll call level I. Remember the lot when we first saw it? The lot, all 1.65 acres, more or less, has undergone many changes in the relatively few months since then, starting with that drop-off-corner of the terrace. Level I is now truly level, with a sloping hill and stairs leading down to level II, the pool deck. I can't imagine how Lubos performed this Herculean feat, though massive retaining walls were involved . . . and a bunch of dirt, which undoubtedly came from excavating the swimming pool.

So this is the same corner of the terrace, now filled-in with earth creating a larger level I on which the home sits . . . leading down to the pool on level II. Simmer down, I realize it's confusing . . . switching the view from the south to the north. Hang in there.

Look at those silvery posts placed above the retaining wall. Exciting? Not yet. Though the row of palms ain't shabby. They practically line the perimeter of the property now, creating enough privacy to bound naked around the home . . . not that I'd ever do such a thing . . . frightening the monkey neighbors. Anyway, you'll soon see what this railing has become . . . not the least of which is a warning to our terrier not to bolt off the mountain side.

And bam! Pool deck . . . complete with corrugated metal panels atop concrete blocks. Now does this make any sense to you? But wait, don't answer yet. Not only does this corrugated tin create an oven underneath, our workers wait until past mid-day to perform their tile work underneath. Really? It must be 140 degrees in there. Why wouldn't they do this tile work in the early morning . . . after all, they arrive before 6:00 A.M. In any event, soon you get the gist of what's happened on level II.

I know that you're tiring of this missive about the nigh-speed-of-light transformation of Mil Colinas. So let's get to the finale. Again, BAM! A pool. When we arrived on May 24, we assumed that we wouldn't be swimming for at least three weeks. Wrong. Two weeks to the day, the pool was filled and ready for swimmers . . . tin roof gone.

And in addition to the pool [lovely, isn't it] we've got the railing along the full perimeter of the retaining walls, now with an oil-rubbed bronze faux finish, surrounding Costa Rica's prettiest retaining wall.

Stay tuned for more speed of light changes on the mountain. So, how do normal humans create a photo gallery in blogs without having to fill up the negative space with nonsense text? More importantly, as to keeping that Irish linen well-pressed . . . lo que hay.