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New construction

Lease / Purchase

Phase 3: The construction of the remaining 11 residences.

Scheduled to begin in November with completion expected
by January 31.

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Progress Report

Oct. 25-30, 2004 // CONSTRUCTION LOG # 3

Construction

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 own.

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 the change.

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.

Security

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.

Our life

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 cats.

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 often.

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 a treat.

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,

Brian Timmons

 

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