Monday, August 20, 2007

Hay Luz

Hurricane Dean passed us to the south by a pretty good margin, but we had heavy rain and winds, and we have not had power or water for 3 days. The power finally came back.

It's easy to tell when the power comes back, because the entire neighborhood erupts in applause and cheers. If you've ever flown into San Juan, you'll know what I mean. When the plane lands, there is much rejoicing.

With any luck, we'll have water in a couple of hours, which is a good thing, because some of us are starting to smell. I like a self-administered sponge bath as well as the next guy, but it doesn't compare to a real shower.

Friday, August 17, 2007

No hay aqua ahora

Even as I was finishing up my last post, the plumber showed up to replace the faucet in the downstairs shower. We will have no water for the next six hours, and the sounds of him busting out the concrete and block walls so he can replace the pipes will no doubt leave me with a headache.

The plumber wears mid-calf rubber boots, which is not reassuring. Lovely guy though. The first time he was here, we tried to pay him after the first day of a two day job. It sounds much more poetic in Spanish, but basically, he said "You don't pay the musician before the music is over, or the quality of the performance will suffer."

No hay luz, no hay agua

Well, there are now, but hurricane Dean will be moving just to the south of us (we hope) in about eight hours. At that point, it will be a category 4 storm, with 5 being the strongest. While it will miss us, we are still in for some nasty weather. We will almost certainly be without power for a day or two, and our water is delivered via electric pump: when there's no power, there's no water.

This is George, which passed us to the north in September 2003. We were without power and water for more than a week.

So we do what we always do: stock up on batteries, water, and ice, and charge our iPods. We get the lanterns and candles ready, and make sure plenty of good reading material is easy to get to.

We will secure the perimeter, bringing all the outdoor furniture indoors. We will close the windows, which are louvered aluminum: there's no glass to worry about. We will fill five-gallon pails with water so we can flush the toilets. We will make sure we have a full propane tank so we can use the stove (but not the oven, which is electronically controlled).

I write this now because when the storm comes, long before we lose power, I will lose my Internet connection. I will also lose my TV signal. Both come from a satellite, and both disappear when it's very overcast.

I leave to your imagination what else we do when there's no power, water, Internet, or TV.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Must Hate Dogs

Of course, I don't really hate dogs, at least not all the time.

Everyone here has at least one dog, usually of the yappy little mutt variety. These dogs are more alarm systems than they are pets. If anyone or anything gets within viewing distance, the dog alarm goes off until the person or thing goes away.

This is our dog, Bengie. Bengie warns us if anyone approaches. Unfortunately, he also warns us if a pigeon, chicken, cat, or stray leaf approaches. He's treated better than most. He sleeps indoors, watches TV at night, and is generally pampered.

Not so the neighbors' dogs. Neighbors on three sides of us have dogs that remain chained in front of the house at all times. They are well fed, but generally ignored. I can always count on one of these dogs to bark uncontrollably for an hour, usually around 2 AM, and usually in response to the pack of stray dogs that roams the neighborhood every night looking for love and food.

Cats, on the other hand, are cool. This is Cochise. He's two years old, and smokes French cigarettes. At least, he says they're French cigarettes.