Oct. 25-30, 2004 // CONSTRUCTION LOG # 3
Not a very exciting week. More of the same —excavation,
backfilling, compacting for the road base, septic beds and
rain water absorption pits. All of these are virtually completed.
We’re installing hoarding to separate the garden area
from the construction area. This will help keep the construction
dust down and demarcate the boundary for the construction
workers. It is made of an inexpensive, plastic woven netting.
Here it called “saran”. Its 75,000 colones for
a 100 lin. Meters, 2 meters wide. It is stapled to wooden
poles set every two-three meters. “We have two construction
toilets nearly operational. It was decided to build these
(used tin/light cement base,) connected to the septic tanks.
Leasing them as we did in the past was about 30,000 colones
mo. Including two pump outs. Since the construction will probably
last about 7 mo., it seemed more cost effective to build our
We’ve had hard rains most every afternoon. This has
made it difficult to work at times. The dry season is probably
two weeks away. The trade winds out of the east will hearld
Upon excavating for the footings for 114/5/6, we found there
to be clay just under the top soil with the consequent water
table about a foot below the surface. Instead of using conventional
footings we will have to use a floating base system as before.
This means excavating the top soil, and back filling with
compacted gravel. As of Saturday, that’s what
we are doing—it’s slower and more expensive but
it’s the only option. Previous experience with this
system has so far, worked very well. This will have the advantage
of raising the level of these houses a bit which has some
benefit but there were other ways to do it but this is what
we now have.
We’ve installed electronic security alarms in three
materials and tool storage places as well as the office. Most
construction sites have 24hr. security guards. I’ve
elected not to because my conclusion from talking with numerous
people is that most guards organize the thefts. And besides,
what guard, earning $1,25 hr. is really going to do anything
except run if thieves do show up? I’ll rely upon electronic
surveillance and reuse it in the finished houses. We are on
a dead end road which has a guard on it (which really doesn’t
mean anything because I’m sure he’s never been
told what to do, and has no capability of doing anything—he
doesn’t even have a phone); there is only one way in
and one way out. It is an unattractive setting for theft.
Having said that, we did have someone(s) come over the fence
last time and make off with all the small power tools—this
is normal here—guards or no guards-- but never welcomed.
We know of a construction sight in Escazu which was robbed
twice. The live in guard and family were tied up, doused in
diesel and matches thrown on them until they gave up the goods
(it doesn’t take long to make you change your mind).
This case is unusual, but it is not unheard of.
The parrot: It’s been it’s normal, mean, squawky
self as far as I’m concerned but Lita and it are still
cavorting about. It bit her hard on Wednesday; she clacked
it along side of the head and left her alone for a day; she
was a bit humbled but not for long.
Hugo has been a bit more active at night since he’s
found a couple other cats around. He hasn’t been able
to find any mice, and can’t catch birds, so he seems
to amuse himself by stalking and then running from the other
The guard dog, Canuck, is all confused. With so many new
people on the property, he doesn’t really know who the
good guys are or the bad guys. At night, he assumes all are
bad guys and has a great time barking until he somehow makes
a decision. I guess they’ve all been good guys.
Lita’s karaoke machine is not working. We haven’t
yet identified a place to get it repaired. This is a major
source of entertainment for her so we’ll have to focus
on it this week.
Lita added a few more orchids to her garden although we don’t
know what they are since they haven’t yet bloomed. Orchids
are beautiful when they bloom but they don’t bloom very
We visited our favorite fish restaurant “Machu Picchu”and
again order too much. We’ve vowed to find several more
“favorite” restaurants which offer something other
than Costa Rican fare. I have a Lebanese restaurant referral
which we’ll try this next week. There is also a new
Mediterranean restaurant which has opened in Santa Ana and
is reported to be excellent. Gino’s Italian restaurant
in Pozos has expanded in size as well as their menu. While
we haven’t been since we returned, they have consistently
made the best pizzas (including an out of this world tuna
pizza—I know, it sounds bizarre but trying it is convincing--
I’ve had anywhere, bar none.
The TV movies are good especially since we haven’t
seen many movies in the theaters or on VHS rentals for the
past several years. The reception is perfect and they are
commercial free which is really nice. Certainly much better
than we get on the boat in the summer—so it’s
Tomorrow morning we’ll go to the farmer’s market
in Santa Ana and stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables fish
and ?????? perhaps a couple more orchids.
And that’s it,