Friday, November 04, 2005

Why Do They Do That in Chacala?

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I have recently noticed some odd building customs around Chacala, or at least the peculiar techniques of some of the local construction workers.

For example, at least one local person is still installing two wire (as in not-grounded) electrical systems in new construction. The juice here is bad enough as it is. (Spikes in voltage, regular power outages, etc). I have also just learned from those that know about electrical system, that regular surge supressor units and the surge suppressors in most UPS (uninterrupted power supply) units do not work in un-grounded systems.

Another interesting tidbit, at least to me, is that those little orange adapters that go from two-to-three prongs do not add a ground to the electric outlet. All the adapters do is allow you to plug a three prong plug into a two-prong (not-grounded unit). Probably everyone but me and many of the people in Chacala already knew this.

Also, someone is installing toilets without bolts holding the base to the floor. The toilet in cemented in place. Repair will probably require demolition. Maybe this is common practice and I never noticed before. I hope not.

And it appears to be common to build clean water and sewer water tanks underground right next to each other. A 6 or 8 inch cement block wall is built between the tanks and plastered with cement. Three hebes (clean water storage tanks) that I know of here in Chacala have started leaking while I have lived here. To my mind, who knows which tank is leaking into which tank. Maybe I am worrying about nothing. Who knows.

In the interest of job security (I guess) there are several other interesting work styles in Chacala. I have noticed workers apparently deliberately leaving some cement in the cement mixer at the end of the day. Then in the morning they spend several hours chipping out the cement. A similar technique involves letting paint and grout dry on the new floor and then spending days removing the dried paint and grout.

There are other new and different construction techniques that seem strange too me. Leaving many spaces in the cement where the ceiling bricks met the steel beams. Nice little homes for giant cockroaches. Also, only cementing in one side of the streel door frame, so that there is plenty of room for whatever to move into the large crevices. Or better yet, leave lots of spaces between the cement block wall and the door frame, so that the walk-in bugs and spiders with have a place to walk-out too.

I finally appreciate the value of having crummy, muddy, bumpy, dirt roads filled with large holes and small ditches. These roads require drivers to slow down. The kids, dogs, puppies, chickens, chicks and ducks on the road are all safer. It's an excellent safetly precaution and I like it.

What's kind of weird is that it took me so long to recognize the value of the crappy roads around here. Plus it's cheaper for taxpayers, etc. I loved it last year when all the dirt, jillions of truck loads, that were removed from the site of the new hotel was dumped on the local dirt roads, which improved the flooded road situation, sort of.

To check out my new list of all the rentals I know of in Chacala click here.

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