Sunday, November 26, 2006

Water in Chacala

Frankie and another little boy in Chacala, with their big cousin.
Today I was washing clothes, keeping my washing buckets full with my new “plumbing” on the teraza, when the pipes popped apart for the millionth time. It’s not to do with my new system, which runs off a metal facuet. It’s old black plastic pipes lying out in the hot sun and getting stepped on and bent. The pipe brings to water from the street facuet up to the copper tubing and the hose bibb/facuet on the side of the house. Itt’s actually about six sections of pipe, hooked together with connectors and clamps. Usually the pipe splits open, but sometimes the connections pop.

I heard the pipe pop this morning. I was really annoyed since I thought I had fixed every bad section of pipe in the two weeks since I moved in. Replacing clamps, sections, and connectors. But the pipe is just rotten. And too short for the distance. Luckily I had already watered, and pretty much finished washing clothes. And the tinaco was almost full.
And also, luckily, Guillermo, the Water Master, came driving by just at the water went over other the place, into the air. He came over and we tried to jerry-rig a fix from the parts we had, include sections of pipe thrown in the bushes from some\earlier attempts at fixing the water line.Guillermo finally called his “helper” Julio on his little radio phone, and asked him to bring some more pipe. The Guillermo and I sat in the shade of the house and drank water (him) and a Coke (me). Guillermo and his wife seem to be the only Pepsi drinkers in Chacala.
While we waited for Julio, we talked about Guillermo's small hotel, Casa Chacala, which he owns with with wife, Lupita, and his brother, Valentine. It's really very nice, new, six units, each with a perfect view of Chacala, plus a pool, and a nice breezy patio with hammocks and chairs.

When Julio showed up he was in kind of a bad mood. He had brought some blue flexible pipe and we showed him where we needed a new piece . I showed him that one of the problems with the waterline is that there is an area where the pipe is under a lot of pressure, hanging in the air. I tried to convince him to cut a longer piece to take the stress off the line. I never know if it’s machismo (no woman is going to tell me what to do) or stupidity. Or something else all together. So, of course, he cut the piece to short, tightened the connections, and drove off. And two minutes later the connections came apart.
So I went over to the hardware store and asked for 10 meters of piping. The clerk/owner said the truck would bring it over to the house in a few minutes, because it was up at the bodega (storage area). I bought some connections and new clamps and walked home. That was a noon, and about 1:45pm I realized the pipe was delivered yet, and the store was closing for the weekend at 2pm. I went over to my neighbor’s house, and she called the hardware store. Claudia said it would be here in a minute. Of course, it never came. And the store is closed for the weekend. Whatever.

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