Malecon Changes in San Jacinto

Our friend Keith Williams sent me an email yesterday morning after he watched while workers took down all the small ramadas, shacks and stands on the beach side of the malecon near his home. He also said that the police were there watching as each one was removed.

San Jacinto 6.13.2014 001 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 005 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 006 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 007 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 008 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 009 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 010Keith’s comment was, ” All along the Malecon from central San Jacinto to our house, they tore down every shack, stand, lean-to, and homemade benches on the ocean side of the malecon. Local police and special uniformed police were on site to watch government workers demolish each one. 

They stopped doing it near our house and I wonder if they plan to continue it towards San Clemente today. I have no idea why it is being done as a few were recently constructed. Maybe a road widening finally?”

Joe and I had to be in Jacinto yesterday anyway so I took the above pictures. Keith is correct every single structure on the ocean side is down, leveled or already removed from the site and just a makeshift foundation remains. I did not notice anything different in San Alejo or San Clemente on our ride back home.San Alejo 6.14.2014 002

San Alejo 6.14.2014 004 San Alejo 6.14.2014 003 I hope this means that they will be reinforcing the stone walls that now separate the street from the ocean. If El Niño weather, like they are predicting, hits our area the current sea walls are not anywhere substantial enough to stop flooding inland.

Our friends Eva and Fredy had a home on the ocean back in the 80’s when there was a bad El Niño. Day by day more water came around their property and eroded palm tree by palm tree until they had no choice but to deconstruct their home and move it farther back near the cliffs.

Mother Nature is the great equalizer. You can’t get away from it                                       Christopher Heyerdahl

 

Keith and Becky’s Water Story

Our friends Becky and Keith Williams live on the beach in San Alejo, just a few miles from our home in San Clemente. Keith took some pictures during the aguaje and was kind enough to share with me and is allowing me to share with you. This happened just last week.

From Keith:

Our entire courtyard flooded. I got the car out just after this photo. This occurs every year for 3 days in Feb.. We were not concerned at all. Fabricio designed the wall for this and 27 four-inch drain holes emptied all the water within 3 hours. So, I opened both gates and created a water park for the locals !

008

009

At one time 14 kids and adults were hanging on the bars, They held on tight as the huge waves soaked every one of them ! The parents took pictures and thanked us over and over for the fun !

018

019

We had about 40 locals watching the huge waves crash over the wall and everyone was so polite and thankful. A downs syndrome child has a great time laying in the new pool ! The water came in faster than the drains could work but, it only lasted a couple of hours. Ecuador is an adventure ! Becky and I loved every minute ! We knew the house was fully safe because it has lasted 42 years of this wave cycle and the storm of the century in 1980.

For several days in a row debris from the water covered the malecon, each day a front end loader cleared the street for traffic.

022

014

013

I have seen where many other coastal towns had damage from the high tides, we were blessed to only have this slight damage.

Festival Season Begins in the San Clemente Area

There was a seafood festival this weekend in San Alejo, the next town. During the day many different seafood specialties were available and in the evening there was a fiesta with dancing. We were awakened this morning around 4am to the sounds of music and singing flowing into our home. This continues as I write this with several men hanging around a running pickup truck out in the street right at the corner of our home. It is now after 7am, the sun is up and the party continues.

San Clemente 7.21.2013 006Don’t get me wrong, Joe and I love Vicente Fernandez – his music is wonderful, We love all the festivals that will be happening in this area over the next few months.  But I am just not sure we will ever get used to having music playing outside our bedroom windows for a good part of the night. This is our adopted home and we are adapting to the cultural differences, Honestly I had several hours of sleep prior to their arrival and considered joining in the fun, OH SORRY this looked to be an all male activity, Oh well.

The truck drove away at 8am leaving just the chickens announcing the beginning of the day. And it is a good day.

Water Water Everywhere

This post will be a lesson in water systems here in San Clemente, San Jacinto and San Alejo. Because each area of the country is not the same I am going to describe what the water system is like here.

First everyone has a cistern. A cistern, for those who are cistern deprived, is a huge concrete box, this is where you store your water that comes from the municipality. Ours looks to be pretty big (8 feet x 10.5 feet by 5 feet deep or about 3100 gallons), but remember this house was a duplex with two bathrooms and 2 kitchens set up for two separate families so I assume they built it bigger because of that. When we purchased the house one of the things we requested of Patricia and Fredy was that the cistern be cleaned out and then refilled with fresh water. They went one step further and installed a system, similar to the one in the back of a toilet or maybe that is its main use, that would allow water to fill the cistern and shut-off automatically.

This is a blessing because we had no idea when we were living in the house across the street that we had to turn on and turn off the water to fill that cistern.  Serrano showed me how to turn it on but of course I forgot to turn it off and it overflowed. One of the neighbors saw it and turned off the water. I guess they must think we are pretty stupid but I had never seen a cistern before but yes I agree we were pretty stupid. But in our defense we are fast learners.

The thing is the water is only released from the municipality at certain times, in our brief experience it has been on Fridays or Saturdays. But that theory was shot to hell this past weekend when we had no water added to our cistern, but on Tuesday of this week I heard water flowing and this morning our neighbors water is running. So who knows, its like the garbage pick up, for the past two months it has been mostly Monday, Thursday and Saturday, last week they missed Saturday and picked up on Sunday. You just have to listen for the truck, the beep of his horn and after awhile you will know when to put your trash out.  Of course on Sunday mornings they don’t beep and you have to listen for their whistling. Sorry back to the water.

The office to pay the water bill is located in San Jacinto near to the church on the road going out-of-town. Do not go there at lunchtime because the young woman who accepts payments is on her lunch break from noon to at least 1:30pm. This is my excuse to get Joe to take me out for lunch at Copacabana one of my favorite lunch spots but that is for another post. Our cistern was almost empty and our first bill was a whopping $7.40 – this month our bill was $1.80.

I thought the water gauge was broken because it had not moved in over a month but we just don’t use that much water. So looking back at my $20 per month bills in Salinas and $8 to $9 a month bills in Playas either the water in San Clemente is cheaper or we had big leaks in both places. Water in the cistern is not meant for drinking but Joe has added a cup of clorox every other week. Our friend Keith from Panama has told us to purchase a pound or so of copper wire, not the fine wire, and drop it into the cistern.  This is his explanation for adding the wire.

“Basic idea about the copper is that light metals (alum,
copper, etc) are toxic to most single cell critters above a certain
level.  When they try to grow in the water they make the water slightly
acid which causes the metal to go into solution and kill them.
Usually the water is acid enough to put enough copper into the water
to keep them from forming but it takes a while for the copper/water
balance to stabilize and you might get a mild “first bloom” before
enough copper is released (or you could put a pint or so of vinegar in
the tank when you put in the copper).  Fine wire is better than big fat
wire by the way–if you use a lot of water–but both work.” By Keith Daniels

We have not found the wire we need but Joe continues to look and we are going to try Keith’s suggestion to keep our cistern in good shape.

The piped in water is of a different quality than from the water trucks. Our neighbor who lives directly in front of us is not hooked up to the municipal water system and when they are in town they receive their water from a water truck that delivers to their cistern. The piped in water is not drinkable but water truck water is so bad that if you add clorox to it the water turns yellow. Not so good for your laundry.