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posted Feb 14, 2011, 9:57 PM by Ethan Shirley
I spent way, way too long in the city for my liking.  Each day spent idle there was one day fewer that I had to work on my monstrosity (a term my dad coined when I was young in reference to anything that I had built or helped build). 

I was hesitant to say it before, but now I believe is an appropriate time to say that the "rainy" season has begun.  Rain here is not regularly scheduled as in some tropical locations (I recall in a Venezuelan rain forest when I was a wee 7 years old or so the rain came daily in the late afternoon, 4:00 or 5:00, without fail).  Instead, there are days where it rains all day, and others when it is sunny all day, and still other days when there is sunshine all day and then all the sudden an enormous storm will pop up out of nowhere.  Lightning abounds all around in the evenings still, most nights.

Here at the Jaguar Reserve we now have diesel, and thus water for showers and toilets and other sanitary amenities; but the food is still, and will be for the foreseeable future, rice with beans and dried beef.  Even the locals are complaining.  

While I was on my seven-day jaunt into the city, which I expected to last more like two days (but there were no rides this far up the road until Friday the 14th), I successfully managed to forget to buy powdered juice mix.  Let me tell you, that stuff is heaven-sent.  Sugar and salt and FLAVOR!  It improves life drastically.

And... I forgot to buy it.  Luckily, our friends Fatima and Livia who live on the ranch nextdoor to the reserve (a good half-hour walk) donated some juice mix packages to our cause, and for that, I will be forever grateful and indebted.

Everything is damp, and mosquitoes are everywhere.  I always thought mosquitoes were annoying, but they're usually avoidable if you move quickly.  The mosquitoes here are everywhere and will suck your blood dry regardless of how much deet you are wearing or how fast you're moving.  Believe me, I'm pretty quick.  

In terms of progress, the seven-day Pocone trip was an unexpected setback (though unexpected, it surely is not to be thought of as unusual in any way).  I promised when I arrived on site three weeks for the termination of the building, including finishing the bathrooms (especially) and configuring all the electrical outlets and devices.  Well, there's about a week left of my planned time.  And the to-do list is still long and tedious.  The main components of the electrical system and plumbing are in place, with a few small things here and there that are yet to be done.  The roof is almost finished, though to be completely finished, we need to mortar peak tiles into place (the peak of the roof, where the two sides come together, gets special treatment and special tiles to keep as many bugs out as possible).  The cement floors and wall covering in the bathrooms are large tasks which will probably take a full week by themselves.  With all that said, another two or three weeks at most is a reasonable goal.  Of course, I am not going to totally abandon my first goal of three weeks for completion (that expires on the 26th), and will do my best to do the rest in eight days...

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