Sunday, October 23, 2005

Electricity in Chacala - learning more than I ever wanted to know

I am getting ready to move into Laura's new Techo de Mexico rental apartment here in Chacala sometime in the next few weeks. It's located near where I am now, Casa de Gordon's, and the gate to Marina Chacala. And it's the last house on the left walking from the schoolyard to Casa Pacifica.

It's built on top of Laura's house, where she lives with her two lovely young daughters. There is a new cement open staircase going upstairs and then a small (maybe 9-12 feet) patio area facing the street.The front door also faces the street. The roof of the house next door, where generally no one lives, is to the left at the top of the stairs, and it's a big open space. Maybe I can hang my laudry there. Or open a cantina and have wild parties. Just kidding. People would probably fall off the roof. The new rental only takes up half the roof space of Laura's house, so that is a big open area on the other side of the house too. I think it will be shady there during the morning and afternoon. I hope so.

Then the is a main room with two windows, tiled floor, and a nice local-style brick ceiling. On the other side of the big room is a little hall, that goes to the back door (and outdoor kitchen) with the large bathroom with window on the left and a built-in cement "closet" space on the right.

Then out the back door into the kitchen, which has three walls and a roof and a little wall across the back so you don't fall into the back yard. It great, and shady almost all the time (I hope). Has a little running water sink, a tiled counter, and place for the stove and my fridge. I like having the kitchen outside because of the endless tiny ants problem. Better to keep them outside. Laura picked nice green fixtures and green and white tiles for the bathroom. It is very nice.

I am hoping Laura will be okay with my having some plants in pots on the front patio. I am very excited to be moving. I have been moving every six months since I got here, this will be my fifth move if you count my arrival at Aurora's a couple (almost of years ago). Its kind of fun to change house.

I just realized a couple of days ago that the new wiring at Laura's is not grounded. It has a two wire/two pronged outlets. Laura and Paco don't seem to understand that using a two to three prong adaptor does not ground the system. I am pretty worried about my computer, but I have been collecting ideas about how to retrofit at least one plug with a ground, via copper wire and a long stake in the ground. I asked for suggestions on the Lonely Planet Thorntree message board for Mexico and got nine good helpful answers in a couple of hours. Pretty amazing and reassuring.

I didn't know until this week that surge supressors and the cheaper UPS (uninterrupted power supply) units do not work in un-grounded electrical systems. I had just been taking it for granted that surge supressors would work in both two and three wires systems. Stupid me. I lived in a house in the US for five years with a two wire system and used those 2/3prong adapters and a high quallity surge surpressor and thought I have covered all the bases. Stupid me.

I know that all the new houses built by pro's around Chacala have grounded systems. I have been checking, but none of the older places, even the techos, seem to have grounded systems. So even if I wanted to, moving wouldn't solve the problem. I really appreciate Gordon's meticulousness about the dual system wiring (solar and AC) in his house.

I am still practicing doing "active links" on these blogs, and in this case I will try to hook this post up to my only website (as opposed to my four blogs), which lists of blogs and websites about Chacala mainly.

Someone asked me for a little map of Chacala where I could identify new building sites, etc, but so far I haven't figured out how to do that. Maybe in a big.

See you.

Oh, if you are coming down soon and are interested in being picked up at the airport by Cundo (bigger groups/more luggage/in a van) or Cheecho (in a taxi, room for two or three) let me know and I will connect you or you can find their phone numbers here.

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