Happy Monday everyone! Time to start a weekly update about the Guatemalan land, don’t you think? I have been so busy last week, with the move, getting settled, no light… that I had little time to write, let alone get online and share. But here I am!
Let’s start with a photo tour of the house, shall we? It is much better than I expected, that’s the view from outside with the plastic that covers the leaking palm tree roof. I gave it a “haircut” so the leaves don’t go over the plastic.
There are no windows, just a mosquito net that lets in a nice breeze from the lake. Some wooden slides allow to close the house if we go away for a few days.
This is my lovely kitchen, that has a fridge and a gas oven, a sink and a bit of storage.
I like the floor, which is easy to clean, and the ceramic also allows for easy cleaning. Because the roof is made of palm tree, a lot of dirt falls out. At the moment, I bring a bucket of water from the lake, to cook, and get my dishes down to the lake to clean them. Not very green, I know, but I would have to pump the water (using gas or electricity), use a septic tank, and would probably use more water, so the little soap that I put in the lake probably offsets all that other waste.
I mainly use ”stone washing” to do the dishes, using water and little stones from the lake as a first scrub, and then soap if I need to remove a lot of grease. It is lovely to see the fish having a feast with the rests of my lunch!
This is my sink, and also my shower at the moment! Same thing here, I try to use as little soap and shampoo as possible.
There is a dry toilet, with a whole probably 5 meter deep, so that is covered too.
I went to the council to ask for the water to be connected. They said it costs $100, and that on top I need to pay to bring the pipes from my closest neighbor who has water, about 500 meters away. Those pipes have to be buried and even in cheap Guatemala, the costs should be at least $800. And I could have problems if my neighbor does work at his house and a pipe bursts, or something happens on my 500 meters of pipes, it would always be my responsibility to maintain them.
I don’t like the idea very much. And the guys from the water office looked dodgy. They said you have to pay a fixed fee per tap installed in the house. But you get one free tap if you pay a year upfront. And they give no guarantee that the service will be provided. My next door guardian said that they plan on cutting public water service to anyone having a lakeside property (i.e. rich people). The other solution is to buy a pump and pump the water, the pipes are already installed for that, and there is a big tank to store water, so we could pump once a week and then live off the reserve. I don’t know the cost yet.
On the electric side, still no light at the property. A guy came over to check the entrance, and the electric line is on the other side of a dirt road. He said my connection pipe was not high enough and if he connected a cable, trucks passing by would bring the cable down and cut my electricity. I have to fix that before he can come and connect me. Apart from having no fridge, this is no major trouble. I like to light candles at night and have dinner early, then rise with the sun. I have internet access once in a while, and when in town I charge my laptop, so I have a couple of hours worth of battery back at the house to write posts and emails.
The food situation is good, considering. I bought a lot of pasta, rice, sauces, and a few fruits and vegetables. A handyman is bringing fresh eggs and offered to bring a chicken too, but I have nothing to cook it with, like potatoes or leeks, so maybe next week. Breakfasts consist of eggs with fresh tomato and onion sauce, a bit of bread, and pureed beans, which are typical here. Lunch is usually taken a bit late, with pasta, a canned something like tuna or olives, and some sauce, or we go out and have fried chicken at the nearby village. Dinner is a light snack with paté, fruits, chocolate, bread, chips… not very healthy but this is only temporary.
We hired a handyman who is a nice young man from the closest village, he knows a lot of things since he was working for the previous owner, and this is invaluable. He works five days a week and takes care of basic maintenance. So far he has cleaned and leveled the water tank, cleaned the garden, helped us move furniture around and remove all the trash from the previous owner, and gone with us to the council where his sister works, which can be a nice contact to have in the future.
I have found many things that are helpful for now, left by the seller or brought from the capital city by BF who emptied his mum’s house earlier this month. His mum had a few gift baskets that she didn’t open and provided us with canned goods, wine bottles and chocolates. We found old bed sheets that have been turned into rags for cleaning. A lot of kitchen accessories, pots, pans, plastic boxes and bottles to keep our food safe from ants and insects, tools, and many other treasures. It is a big saving not to have to buy those things right away, although I will probably change them later on and feel like having nice things.
Same thing for the bedroom, there were some bed sheets good enough to provide a place to sleep for a few days, but the sheet is for one person, so I sleep with my sleeping bag, and there is only one pillow. Not yet a show room of Pottery Barn, but we put a lot of TLC into making the house a home. I think it will stay this way for a few months before any serious work starts. I want a nice, big room, with a private bathroom and a terrace overlooking the lake, that will be for later.
The first big work is starting today, it is to build a wall to limit the property on the road side. $800 of materials and about $200 in labor will be necessary to make the actual wall higher by 1.2 meter. So far it is about half meter high, and anyone can see if we are home, if the car is there… Guatemala is a beautiful country but I don’t want to tempt anyone to break in because they can easily watch my every moves.
That’s it for now. How is your week going?
This post was featured on the Money Rebound, thank you!