Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spoiled Gringa, in Chacala

Even though it's sunny and green in Chacala, and there's a nice breeze, I have been crabby and whiny for several days. The tinacho at this house does not store enough water for more than three people to take showers and to flush one toilet occasionally. The downstairs toilet is bucket flushed from a barrel I refill once or twice a day for the downstairs neighbors, a nice young couple. They are working at Las Brisas 12 hours a day and aren’t home when the town water is on (about 10am-4pm).
This is the tinaco at the house where I am living. It is perched on the roof of my bathroom, under a tile roof. Wasp and insect heavon. The hose is the hose I use to fill the tinaco. I run anotherhose up from the street facuet and then hook the two hoses together.

Anyway, a few days ago my landlady rented the other downstairs rooms another nice young couple. The only problem is that there isn’t enough water for five people to take showers unless they do it during the day, when the town water is on.

The water in the tinaco has to last from 4pm to 10am the next day, or later. The town water goes off at 4pm, so you can’t refill the tinaco until 10am the next day. But there isn’t enough water in the tinacho for even five quick shower. I have a hard time waking up not knowing if there is water for a shower, or flushing. (Which I don't do very often, maybe twice a day). It’s very sweaty at night here, even with a fan pointed right on your naked body. I love showering in the morning.

The following photos are of other tinacos in Chacala. They are on every roof except for those of inventive gringos who think they have invented a better system.My rent is due tomorrow, the 12th, and I have been looking around and talking to people, trying for find a better situation. And there just might not be one.

This place has a lot of problems. My toilet does flush, but you have to get to make sure the float seats every flush, because you just never know when a little stick or pebble or something will keep it from seating. The septic tank has been full for more than a year. The water from the showers and toilets sits on top, like a lovely little pond. The electricity is a long extension cord from the neighbors light fixture. My roof leaks in the rain, and the tinaco on the roof leaks into my bathroom. I have to fill the tinaco once or twice a day from the town water facuet at the street. When there is town water. That's because the filler pipe was blocked with something months ago, (ask my landlady's husband about this), and my landlady doesn't want to have it repaired. Whatever.
My landlady just doesn’t see not having water is a problem. Cultural and class differences, I guess.
The winter I camped at the beach the water tank in the shower/toilet area was usually full, and usually muddy. And my first winter at this house, a couple of years ago, the water was disgusting. Green and icky. It was stored in a filthy tank, and then pumped into the tinaco. I bought 5 gallon jugs of water for washing me, my dishes and my clothes. And used the house water for flushing. Ugh.

Looking back, this isn’t so bad. At least when there is water, is clean looking. Plus, when I have whined to my friends around town about the water thing at this house, they just look at me. I am such a spoiled gringo, expecting clean water on demand. What a baby!!!!Meanwhile. I am going to take a shower, while everyone is at work and I have filled all the water containers here: tinaco, cement lavanderia, 20 gallon flush water, and my five plastic buckets for washing clothes and dishes. And there is still another hour or so before the town water goes off. So I can refill the tinaco.This is one of the huge trucks hauling dirt in the gated development. They're back again. Ugh.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know how handy you are, but if I were in your shoes, I'd install something in the tinaco to keep it automatically filled when the town water is on. What comes to mind is the same device you find in your toilet. Here in the states, such a thing can be purchased for about $12. White plastic pipe can be assembled with special glue very easily, and then you could mount this toilet valve on white plastic pipe and have your tinaco automatically filled. Also, you could probably effectively add to your tinaco's volume by using a plastic garbage can as a second tinaco. Just join it and the original at the base with white plastic pipe, and seal the joints with silicone goo. You could probably buy a couple of plastic garbage cans for about 12 each also. These cans should hold about 50 gallons or so. So if you add a couple of those and the toilet valve (just put it in the lowest of either the garbage cans or tinaco) you should be able to increase your water resevoir by 100 gallons or so and save yourself the hassle of manually filling the tinaco.

Or, suggest that your landlady do these things. Plenty of clean water is not too much to ask for, even in Mexico.


Kim G
Boston, MA