May 3, 2008

Work crews hitting warp speeds at Arroyo Seco

ARROYO SECO, Jalisco, Mexico - What a difference a few days - and having a heavy equipment operator return from a stateside vacation - can make on a construction project.

The Admiral and I stopped by Arroyo Seco on our way back from Puerto Vallarta Wednesday and while progress was evident, it was short of what we had thought might be done. Amazing how much your imagination can boost the amount of work you think can be done is a short time.

But by the time we went back Friday afternoon, we were blown away at how much had been accomplished. The wall surrounding the property is done. The foundation for the bodega is in process. The holes have been dug for the poles for a big ramada over the trailer and - most impressive - there a huge hole in the middle of the property for the fosa septica (septic tank).

Michael in the fosa
Michael down in the hole for the fosa

In good part, the projects leaped ahead because our neighbor Javier came back from the U.S. and fired up his excavation equipment, saving Arturo and his workers days of digging by hand. The work is still labor intensive - stacks of bricks to be placed by the maestro, bags and bags of concrete to be mixed - but with the holes dug, now its time for construction.

Bodega foundation at Arroyo Seco
Arturo and the maestro work on the foundation for the bodega

Back wall at Arroyo Seco
Finishing touches on the back wall

One last-minute change - part of some suggestions from amigo Rusty (a retired architect from Grass Valley, Calif.) - was to put in a gate at the back of the property so we would have access from both streets. It will be used for whatever hacienda/house we put in the back next season. It also creates another gate project for our neighbor Chon, who said he is on the case and will put it together quickly.

Back gate at Arroyo Seco
Admiral peers around through the back gate

In the meantime, perhaps the biggest milagro (miracle) is that our worker guys are pushing forward while most of Mexico is taking a long weekend. Thursday was a national holiday and so is today and Monday. Sunday, of course, is a day of rest no matter what. Later today, we are taking out the makings for a fiesta for the crew to thank them for making us a priority.

The celebrations around here are pretty intense and in Cihuatlan Friday (about 20 miles away), we managed to drive right into the middle of a huge parade and fiesta on our way to do some shopping for a La Manzailla amiga who is about to give birth to a baby girl.

The whole city turned out to watch the parade.

Parade in Cihuatlan

Tractor float

Queen candidate on hood
Queen candidate on a pickup

Queen candidate
Queen candidate

Somber sombero

Dancing down the street
College students dancing to the beat

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